1. The Edison Stage
The first stage you encounter along the Hypergrowth Curve is the Edison Stage.
To quote Drift CEO David Cancel (aka DC):
“This stage of business is defined by invention. It’s the stage Edison went through when he was creating the light bulb. You’re investing all your time trying to figure out:
Can we actually build this thing?
Is it possible to build this thing?
And this is really the phase where patents come into play, where invention comes into play, and this is the first phase of a market.”
Example: When Salesforce came to market, bringing on-premise software into the cloud.
2. The Model T Stage
The next stage of the Hypergrowth Curve is the Model T stage. To quote DC:
“The Model T stage, just like the name implies, is when Henry Ford took something that had been previously invented, which was the automobile, and figured out how to bring it to the masses.
This stage is about building factories. And it’s about operational moats that you build in your business.
While in the Edison stage you’re still finding early adopters and building your tribe, in the Model T stage your tribe goes mass market.”
Example: When WordPress brought CMS and blogging to the masses.
3. The P&G Stage
When you’re in the Model T stage, it’s still relatively easy to stand out in your niche. You might have 10 competitors or so, so there’s low competition for attention.
But in order to transition into the final stage of the Hypergrowth Curve, you’ll need to change your approach. Because in the P&G Stage, you might be dealing with upwards of 100 competitors.
As DC explained:
In the third stage, we cross the chasm into a global audience.
“This is the stage we (Drift) are in now, and we call it the P&G (a.k.a. Procter & Gamble) stage. Because in this stage, it’s all about investing in your brand.
It’s about selling Tide laundry detergent and getting 20 cents more for a box of Tide than for a box of All or a box of Cheer or a box of whatever laundry detergent.
In this stage, you’re trying to create a moat around brand, and brand preference.
You’re helping a global audience answer the question, “Why do I want to buy this brand versus another?”
Ultimately, there are two ways to excel in the third and final stage of hypergrowth:
By becoming a top contender in the overall category (example: MailChimp with email)
By creating a micro-niche that you can then dominate (example: Seventh Generation with organic/green laundry detergent)
“Those are the two ways to win in this world,” DC explained. “And disproportionate results go to the winners.”