I have been learning a lot about Bitcoin recently and I am excited about the possibilities that opens up to provide an anonymous currency to the internet. Apparently, I am not the only one excited about it. Lately, we’ve seen an explosion of startups trying to build technologies around Bitcoin. This fast growing ecosystem is an example of startups building on a foundational platform, in this case Bitcoin.
For any startup, there are very quantifiable advantages of building products on disruptive platforms but these benefits are even more obvious in the enterprise where technology disruption happens at a slower pace. For enterprise software startups, customer acquisition and awareness are well known challenges that end up consuming a lot of time and resources. Disruptive foundational technologies such as the IPhone or AWS can provide very interesting side effects for enterprise software startups to help them overcome some of those early-stage challenges. Below are some of my favorites:
- Indirect customer acquisition: Once an enterprise decides to embrace a disruptive technology such as the IPhone or AWS they will be one step closer to needing your complementary product or solution.
- Customer Network Effects: Being part of a selective group of technologies needed to implement a foundational platform in the enterprise will put your company on the radar of any enterprise looking to implement those type of solutions.
- Indirect Marketing: The marketing developed around the foundational platform will bring more visibility to your enterprise software product.
- Product Evolution: As the underlying foundational platform evolves, adds more features, etc you will have additional avenues to leverage those new capabilities as part of your enterprise software product.
- Being part of a bigger ecosystem: To complete the cycle, being part of the ecosystem around a foundational platform or technology, will allow your enterprise software product to indirectly benefit from the efforts.
Obviously, not all enterprise software startups have the option of building on a disruptive platform neither is this a requirement to succeed. Quite the contrary, the startups that can capitalize building on a disruptive platform or technology movement are a very small percentage of the general enterprise software ecosystem. However, there are no doubts of the indirect benefits and network effects that a disruptive platform can bring to your enterprise software startup.