Flaming out before catching fire

Hollywood has found they need to score big on the opening weekend of a new film. Slowly building an audience over several weekends underperforms "bursting out of the starting gate". The promoters of new movies have mastered the art of generating buzz. They care much more about how high the buzz goes at first than how long it lasts in the coming weeks. They fuel this fire with paid advertising, guest appearances on TV talk shows and reviews by entertainment news reporters. 

Hollywood's strategy can be applied to any perishable good or service with a short window of opportunity to make sales. For any enterprise "in it for the long haul", this skyrocket to fame and glory is the road to yet another pitfall: flaming out before catching fire. The enterprise passes up slowly building a following of loyal customers, repeat purchases and long term relationships. It opts for generating a furry of press coverage. It appeals to early adopters as the next new thing without any clear use, benefit or outcome offered. It's extremely fashionable like the latest "it" boy, girl or thing. The hype is very seductive. It looks like the startup is going to scale until the flameout comes along. Suddenly the future looks like the end of hype cycle or the chasm between the early adopters and the early majority. 

Once again there are several strategies to avoid this pitfall:
  1. Consciously dismiss the hype as seductive, misleading and distracting from appealing to the pragmatic early majority who want proof of specific features and benefits.
  2. Cultivate relationships with early adopters as if they can provide feedback to develop the next upgrades and forewarn you of potential negative reactions to the current version.
  3. When asked to extoll the virtues of your "next new thing", put the ball back in the laps of the fans who are final arbiters of why they like it, want it and see uses for it.
  4. Give a heads up to reporters about the long term development plan that could evolve into other stories for them to work with you on in the future.
Each of these strategies ground the flighty excursions of early adopters with long term relationships. They present a humble, grateful and unassuming face to the public. They turn off the desperate approval seeking of insecure product introductions. They turn on intentional collaborations with fans and reporters to improve on the initial launch. 

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