The Importance of Your Early Adopters

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Early Adopters for Tech Startups 5 minute read 

Did you know that when Whitney Wolfe was faced with the challenge to grow her co-founded app,Tinder, with almost no budget, she literally acquired the first users herself? She went to college fraternities and sororities and pitched the app to students. She created a flyer, printed 1,000 copies and paid students $20 to help her put it on car windshields, hand it to people and throw it into dorm mailboxes. She repeated that process with several universities. Twitter is now a unicorn.
As the example shows, acquiring those first users is key to success. Once you’ve achieved product-market fit, you will know what channels to focus on for growth. Early adopters will point you in the right direction as you can analyze where they came from. Early adopters help you to discover the growth channel for your business and are important in bringing your product/service to the masses. 


How to find your early adopters

1Mavens 
Word of mouth is the most powerful force in early adopter marketing and the best WOM comes from so-called ‘Mavens’. 

Mavens are :

  • Opinion leaders in the community
  • The respected
  • Thoughtful people who watched and analyzed what those wild Innovators.
  • Educated
  • Financially well to do

And they care deeply about a market and its products. Find and target the mavens for your market, and you’ll find your early adopters.

2. Communities 
Communities such as Subreddits, Slack channels and web forums are the perfect platform to identify early adopters and engage with your target audience. Finding communities is easy. Just google for:

“[target audience] community”

“[target audience] forum”

“[target audience] slack channel”

“[target audience] Reddit”


But your goal is to become a power user, which is harder. You get there by helping other users out, answering questions, and sharing good content.  The benefits of being a power user are:

  • Credibility which you can use to advertise your product later on
  • You get in touch with other power users who become advocates of your product
  • You get a lot of exposure to your audience, which helps you understand their pains, needs and wants.

Once you are a power user, you can start to mention your startup here and there. But even more powerful is reaching out to other power users and asking for their honest opinion about your product. The results of someone else then yourself advocating your product are always better. So, build strong relationships with other power users.

3. Direct approach 
For some businesses, direct outreach might be the only way to get early adopters.And regardless, every startup should use email as an acquisition vehicle.
In best case, you’ve have built an email list before you started a company. This is the best position to be in because you already have trust and can simply spread the word in the next email you send out. The size of the list doesn’t matter. If you have a qualified list of 50 people and 40 sign up it can be worth more than having a list of 1,000 subscribers and 0 sign-ups. You can email out a mix of curated content and your own articles. You can also use your LinkedIn network, building a network in your target industry. 
Thanks to Kevin Indig for allowing us to repurpose one of articles for this piece. For a much more detailed read on early adopters, take a look at his original article in full:

 Early Adopter Marketing – How startups get their first users

Where next?

Does your tech idea have the potential to develop into a successful purpose venture?We’re currently offering a free consultation to anyone who takes the Fruition test to find out. One minute could be all it takes to kick-start your business. 

What are you waiting for? Click here to take the test

#earlyadopters #techstartup #firstcustomers #techlaunch

#earlyadopters #techstartup #firstcustomers #techlaunch

Am I the right leader for my start-up?

Wes Okeke, Fruition CEP & Founder, shares his personal insight into how he gauges his leadership success.

“Starting a business from an idea can be very difficult but, from my own experience, what’s hardest for any founder is learning to listen and take advice from others, especially those on your team! As the famous saying goes ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’. This can apply to so many situations in our life but, in regards to entrepreneurship, I believe this is a frequent and devastating pit that many startup founders tend to fall into.

As the leader of your startup, you feel that your idea is the most fantastic idea and that no-one else has the capability to do it as well as you. You may have the best idea, you might be the only one who has figured it out so perfectly (though I doubt it) and you might also be the person with the right skill-set or experience to bring this idea to fruition, but will you be the right leader who frequently solicits input from your team, from followers, mentors or even some of your critiques?

An article by Entrepreneur published some time ago noted some of the key reasons startups fail were based on leadership, even when it came to raising funds. Either because the founder got discouraged or lost sight of their vision and gave up, or they failed to attract the right investor and partner. I can only imagine how many companies would be successful if their leaders, founders or CEO’s decided to listen more and speak less. I am sure the rate of success would drastically increase.

I jotted down a few questions that I asked myself routinely to gauge how I am doing as a founder and leader:

1. Is my focus more on success than it is on the people that work with me? 

2. Do I talk about my product or idea more than I share about the journey and my team? 

3. Do I value humility and honesty as very necessary strengths to success? 

4. How would I define success for my startup? Is it growth, progress, financial, impact or is purely financial? 

5. Am I working hard at building a culture and a brand that is appreciated both inside and outside of my business? 

6. Am I an inspiration for others ? 

7. Do I micro-manage or does my team feel empowered and have the freedom to innovate? 

8. Do I stay focused on my mission or do I wander often from the vision I have set forth? 

9. Do I get easily upset over misunderstanding or when things do not go as planned by others?

Lastly and most importantly, as my mentor and friend Tom would often say, have I left my ego at the door!”

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Top Tips for starting your Tech Start-up

You’ve had the thought, you’ve passed the Fruition disruption TEST and you think you’re tech idea has the potential to go the distance, What next?! We’ve put together a checklist of the 8 most important areas to consider first:

  1. Company’s mission: You need to understand the Why behind your idea to build a successful business from it. 
  2. Strategy: Do you have a watertight business plan with projections of where your business is going, and how you are going to get there.
  3. Funding: You need to know exactly how much you need to raise, and how you are going to do it within your planned timescales. 
  4. Target market: Who is going to buy your product and why do they need it?
  5. Early adopters: Who are your early adopters and how are you going to reach them?
  6. Research and Development: Have you tested your product to make sure it will deliver what you’re aiming for? Doe the tech work as it should?
  7. Market analysis : How crowded is the marketplace and how are you going to enter? Are there significant barriers to entry?
  8. Team & Talent: You need the right team in place to be able to build and develop your prototype.

To find out how we could help you develop a blueprint for growth, click here. 

#engineers#entrepreneur#incubator#innovate#R&D, v#sustainability#technology#womenengineers

Why do some product ideas fail to gain traction?

One of the main reasons why products with fantastic technology and features may fail to get good traction, is the lack of proper research & development at the crucial concept stage. R&D is seen as challenging as it’s hard to work within budget and timeframe constraints. Indeed, businesses who have been burnt by costly and ineffective R&D in the past can fail to see the value. But it can be the key difference between success and failure. Perhaps a previous product launch wasn’t successful because it didn’t get a proper market validation?
The idea is just the beginning. From there, it’s a long journey to get to concept building but all too often, companies rush products onto the market to generate revenue, missing out on that vital stage. But by doing that, they’re setting themselves up to fail.
No-one would ever buy or set up a company without proper and complete due diligence. R&D is effectively the due diligence needed on a new product.
  1. Is the product essential?
  2. Does it solve a problem?
  3. Does the target audience even want it?
These are some of the many questions that need to be addressed thorough R&D.
Understanding the reason why a product should be developed is extremely important and it determines the right path to take. But having a clear purpose on why a product should be developed begins in knowing the purpose it will address.
Only once businesses have addressed the Why, do they need to consider the R&D on the product itself. The proof of concept and the prototype – is the technology watertight? How easy will it be for competitors to copy? Will it actually solve the problem it’s addressing? Does it fulfill its purpose?
From start-ups to multi-billion dollar businesses, the same applies – without detailed research into the product and the target market, a product won’t be successful. The difference between a failed product launch and a successful product launch is knowing who your target audience is early on and validating that there is Real PMF (product market fit).
Key Takeaways (Box-out) 
  1. R&D is the key to the successful launch of a new product
  2. A new product needs to have a clear and defined purpose – why is this product necessary? What problem does it solve?
  3. Successful R&D is impossible if you don’t right people in the team. You may not have the right engineers or team members with the skill you need to carry out the R&D you need.
How we can help (Box-out): 
Fruition is making R&D more accessible to every business – from start-ups to established businesses. Whether you need a prototype, proof of concept, engineer resources or market analysis to support the development of new technologies, we are here to support your vision. Our team delivers the technical expertise demanded by these complex projects.We have product designers, engineering designers, firmware programmers, 3D printer specialists and website developers who provide industry experience, and conduct marketing research to help build product prototypes.
Fruition is in the unique position to be able to offer R&D services for a small fraction of the cost of an internal R&D team to your company.
Click here for more information or to get in touch with one of our R&D team direct.

The Power of the 3 – Engineers, Entrepreneurs and Innovators

Closeup portrait of beautiful businesswoman with male colleagues

The Power of Three

Separately, engineers, entrepreneurs and innovators are experts in their fields. But, together, they are more than the sum of their parts – they have the potential to be the drivers of development and change that can impact the world. When these three groups collaborate and learn from each other, they can achieve key technological advances.

The engineering discipline has been responsible for significant breakthroughs in the way things are done.  As stated by Gordon Lindsay Glegg, engineers can take what scientists have found and identify new uses for them. Engineers love to build, develop, and create. They also typically have the required expertise behind the technology that needs to be developed.

Innovators, by contrast, are the idea generators. They are great at coming up with new ideas and solutions to problems in our world. They embrace doing things differently and taking on things that have never been done before.

Finally, but by no means least, you have the entrepreneurs. As noted by Peter Drucker, “the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” With their skill set, they are the savvy individuals who take the ideas from the innovators and the solutions built by the engineers and make them into a business. As part of developing a business around these ideas and solutions, they also create a market and target the right customers.

Can you master all three disciplines?

Innovation and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship and engineering. These are some of the program combinations being offered by universities. See for example the Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate or Dartmouth’s Engineering Entrepreneurship Program (DEEP). As you search, you’ll find there several university programs combining engineering or innovation with entrepreneurial training. So, the nation’s universities have identified the need for these disciplines to be combined to bring a higher value.

Building a solution or new technology is just the first step in effecting change and impact. Taking it to market requires a level of entrepreneurship that does not come naturally for many. So, some engineers may believe the development of the tech is the hardest part of the whole. However, “poor technology is not near the top of most lists of common reasons for business failures.” (Martin Zwilling, It’s a Big Step from Engineer to an EntrepreneurForbes). That’s part of the reason why universities are now combining programs. In academia, they’ve come to see what we’ve known all along – that entrepreneurial skills are necessary to bring innovations and engineering developments to market.

And it’s not just in academia. Take, for example, one of the World Bank’s approaches to helping countries grow out of poverty. According to The World Bank:

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are recognized as key building blocks of competitive and dynamic economies. Countries and regions with vibrant innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems tend to witness higher productivity rates…”

So, can you master all three? An individual may have training or skills in two or all three disciplines. However, they may not have fully mastered them all, and this limits their individual impact. For example, where an engineer may hate unpredictability and risk and try to eliminate all risks before going to market, a true entrepreneur will thrive in these conditions. They enjoy the challenges presented by the unknown, embracing it as an opportunity.

The Power of the Purpose-Driven Team

Where individuals specialize in an area and partner effectively with each another, they can make groundbreaking discoveries and solutions for the modern world. In the fast-paced world that we live in, we can’t afford to be delayed in getting ideas to market. The go-getters, the ideators, and the makers have to combine their strengths. In all three disciplines, these individuals embrace challenges and are problem solvers. Together, they can be a purpose-driven success team that generates ideas, builds solutions, and creates meaningful businesses faster than working on their own.

As a purpose-led team, they will offset each other’s weaknesses for faster company growth. They can be a cohesive unit making changes that impact the world. The world needs more of these change makers working together to present their knowledge, initiatives, tools, and solutions that could fundamentally change lives. This is the power of the purpose-led team.

For more information on how Fruition brings entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators together to create purpose-driven solutions, click here.

Innovation in Energy comes to Houston

We are delighted to announce we have teamed up with The Mexican Energy Council (COMENER) and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) on ‘Acceleration COMENER’; a programme which aims to promote development in the national hydrocarbons sector.
In January 2019, we will be hosting 15 chosen technology SMEs from Mexico, and taking them through an intensive 30 day program to help them develop their innovations ready for market. Wesley Okeke comments: ‘We are honored to have been selected as one of the partners for the COMENER program and are excited about the prospect of working with the top entrepreneurs in their field.
We have an outstanding curriculum put together and are bringing in a variety of advisors, investors, consultants and mentors to give these individuals unique insight.
Partnering with Fruition also gives the entrepreneurs the added competitive advantage of ensuring that the purpose-driven methodology becomes integral to their future business model, as we will take them through the stages of our unique 5-step process.
We understand from experience that adopting a purpose driven approach strengthens a company’s value proposition and enhances the success of the founder through-out their journey as an entrepreneur.
“The introduction of new technology and new solutions often come at the price of forgetting the people whom the product is designed to serve. Here at Fruition we focus on a long term, innovative infrastructure produced with community input and regular inspirational reminders for the team to ensure we are working for the people instead of getting lost in the process of business.” Wes O.

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Technology levels the playing field

Human Hand Drawing New Idea Solution Concepts on Chalkboard BackgroundBrian Turyabagye from Uganda has designed a biomedical smart jacket which identifies pneumonia’s symptoms – temperature, breathing rate and sound of the lungs – diagnosing pneumonia at a rate three to four times faster than a doctor. The jacket is named ‘Mamaope’or ‘Mother’s Hope – in reference to the 27,000 children who die of pneumonia in Uganda every year.

Documented tech innovations like this one are becoming more and more frequent, regardless of the financial challenges, available resources or social and political climates globally. It is the beginning sign that technology levels the playing field when it comes to an idea, invention or an entrepreneur’s passion of concept to product.

Most people have by now realized how prevalent technology is being routinely used by people throughout the world. From a young age, girls and boys are not only excited and enthusiastic about the benefits that technology brings, but have become innovators and inventors themselves. Right here in Houston a few years ago I was among a group of judges who were amazed at the ideas and inventions that 2nd and 3rd graders had creatively and methodically drawn up and presented. The value of technology cannot be denied, as it opens up opportunities and unleashes potential in people who may not otherwise be able to access it.

I believe that launching new innovations and being successful is very possible, wherever you are and with whatever you have. In my early 20’s, I developed a small software program that solved a $300K-$400K per year problem for a national business chain. For me it was relatively simple to develop based on what was accessible to me, and for them it was a fix that was well worth it.

Here are a few ideals that I try to remember:

  • Know their pain:

Every community, town or country has needs specific to them. Study carefully what need is the most pressing and how your idea or invention would address the right pain points. It can be simple or complicated but if it is a big enough pain point, there will be a market. As mentioned, from personal experience even large business’ have areas of need and areas of pain that are unique and at times crippling to them. Know what they are!

  • Develop together: 

Diversity in developing the best technology is indispensable. From children to adults, different races, ages and genders working together can greatly increase the effectiveness of any Tech idea. Most of our best resources are nearby – search for them!

  • Start Now: 

Many great ideas remain in our minds,  in a file cabinet, a garage or in a box inside the closet somewhere. I always mention to my clients, the time to start is always now! Just find the right guidance and team to begin!

Next steps:
Is My idea(s) potentially disruptive? Take this 2 min quiz!

Fruition understands the challenges entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators face when it comes to taking your concept and transforming it into a disruptive product where its value clearly resonates with your customer.  We provide our proprietary 5 Step Process in the development of Tech Startups or the re-launching of any company regardless of the age of the business.

For more information visit www.fruitiontechlabs.com or email Wesley at weso@fruitiontechlabs.com

iTEC – facilitating Innovation

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We’re delighted to be co-hosting the first iTEC Conference, highlighting the true ingenuity of innovation throughout Texas, on Saturday November 10th 2018 2pm-6:30pm.

Fruition Founder Wesley Okeke explains the importance of holding events such as iTEC: “In order to facilitate innovation, barriers that prevent collaboration must be taken down and like-minded individuals need to be able to find each other.”  He adds: “We have engineers creating new inventions but keep them hidden, even at times from family and friends. We have entrepreneurs who would love to join or lead a startup but don’t have an idea of their own. Then we may have the idea generators who have countless ideas but do not know where to begin to get it going – they only know of an innovative idea that takes root. When these 3 types of individuals align, innovation flourishes and events like iTEC create the perfect environment for these groups to come together and bring Innovative ideas to reality.”

If you’ve not already got your ticket, you won’t want to miss this celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship happening in Houston. We’ve brought some of Houston’s most creative engineers and inventors together to showcase their ideas and network; and also have great speakers including NASA’s Technology Transfer Strategist Steven González and Smart Fashion and Wearable Technologies expert Sam Alexander. iTEC also has a Pitch Competition where the winner will win $5,000 and 3 free months of work space at Innovation Depot.

Limited tickets for this event are still available – you can register for free here: bit.ly/2EfvzDA

“Day dreamers, artist, engineers, inventors, all have this in common”

Ideas—we have a brain filled with them. Some times too many ideas and all we are trying to do is focus on one! I have many memories right from my early teen years where I was doodling sketches of random ideas, up to being in a career and day dreaming about inventing the next greatest thing during long boring office meetings. I know that I cannot be the only one out there that has a traffic of ideas going through my mind. I consider myself a dreamer and a person that has this crazy notion of brighting up someones day or even more. Is it not why most of us love super hero movies.

Day dreamers, artist, engineers, inventors and those creative types like my wife who is an interior designer all have this in common, they want to burst that dream from the prison of their mind, design it, build it and set it in motion. If you are one of the many million creators out there and want that dream-idea to finally take shape, consider a reputable business incubator in your community. Don’t wait any longer, the dream is yours, so go make it a reality. (www.fruitiontechlabs.com)

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Security Now Has a New Partner – Guardian Zone

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Just like the rest of the world, since 9/11, I have watched foreign and domestic terrorism, school shootings and just unbridled violence take control of our peace of mind and turn us into nervous and suspicious people. We look at our neighbors with narrowed eyes trying to gauge if they can be trusted.   Do they wear a baseball cap, a hijab, turban or hoodie?

Guardian Zone has created a mobile application that answers the growing need for people in medium and large public places on how to protect themselves from criminal activity, lone shooters and terrorist attacks. It is a simple, intuitive product that allows users during high stress to connect immediately with venue security.

No matter where you sit right now, in the past few months or years, you have questioned if you are safe.   Maybe as you strolled through the mall, went to a concert, sent your children to school or you entered the high rise building where you work in the city, you asked yourself what would you do if a lone shooter entered your life to wreak havoc.   Law enforcement is overburdened with the same questions, knowing they can’t save everyone every time. Realizing they can’t predict where the next tragedy will take place. So, what do you do? Guardian Zone wants to be part of your solution. We want to help smartphone users with our app immediately contact venue security during these emergencies or threats. Guardian Zone wants to empower its app users, to give them some control and allow them to be the eyes and ears of venue security

On 9/11, I was serving in the U.S. Consulate in Mexico when we received a bomb threat.   All members of the U.S. mission were asked to scour our immediate environment looking for anything out of the ordinary.   At first, I thought, what am I doing? I don’t want to find the bomb. But little by little as I moved boxes from deliveries past, I began to feel empowered. I was taking a role in my own security, and from that day forward, I looked at my relationship with venue security and law enforcement differently, as a partnership. Guardian Zone allows for casual visitors to medium or large venues to become a part of a venue’s temporary network in order to communicate with security via their Guardian Zone app. Most importantly, Guardian Zone app users do not need to be a part of an established community.

In 2015, DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier said it best, when she said, “Your options are run, hide, or fight”. “Confronted with the rash of school and workplace “soft-target” shooting scenarios that now include possible terrorist acts like those in Paris, police departments are no longer preaching the passive approach of calling 911. Active shooters like the terrorists in Paris call for more active responses, including running away, hiding or actually attacking the attacker.” Watch the full interview that aired on November 22, 2015 at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/when-calling-911-isnt-enough/.

The men and women in blue will continue to do their best to protect us, but I believe we need to start thinking about how to protect ourselves and our loved ones until the cavalry arrives.   Our lives depend on it.

Sheryl Maas CEO Guardian Zone  (www.guardianzone.com)

Two Security Tips to Keep in mind

  1. When in large venues with the family, do you have a designated meeting point in case someone gets separated from the group?   If you have small children, take a picture of them with your smartphone, so security can have an actual photo of the child and what they are wearing.
  2. Workplace violence is very real and on the rise. Do you know where all the exits are at your company and where they lead? Does your company have a security guard and do you know how to contact them?

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a fruition client company