Principle #3: Focus your efforts on the immediate challenge

Note: for the full essay click here.

You must move linearly through the market segments of innovators, then early adopters, then pragmatists, and finally conservatives (see below). If there is new technology involved, “Do not go straight to mass deployment: if you try, you will not pass Go, and you will not collect $200.” Mainstream users (pragmatists and conservatives) make up nearly 70% of any market. And they expect a product to work right away with little to no training. If you try to deploy a new technology too quickly, you will get off on the wrong foot with a huge portion of your target market. It is similar to growing a garden: you must first survey and dig your plot, then fill it with the proper soil, and then you can focus on the “real” gardening (or in our case, the mainstream users).

The reasons to buy something evolve from functionality to reliability to convenience to price. These attributes nest within one another: for people to buy something for its improved convenience, that product must already reliably perform the functions it promises to perform. In other words, a product doesn’t offer convenience – and thus doesn’t appear to pragmatists – until it can function reliably.

Getting reliable results in a convenient way is a challenge for much of the nascent legal tech, which explains why many trying to push it encounter resistance. Whatever resistance you encounter is not necessarily disapproval of the product, but signals what about the product you need to improve before that person will adopt it.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Marcus Aurelius

Even if you can’t do anything about improving the product itself, you can still nudge it along toward greater adoption by improving your servicing of the product – educating, adapting it to specific pains of your target group, generally owning your customers’ successes.


Ironically, while mass deployment can be especially tempting in an organisation (because you have such a captive market), it is in fact especially problematic. Because the faces in these target markets change so little, one needs to be extra cautious about getting off on the right foot. Understandably, if you are sitting at 15% adoption you might feel pressure to get more usage. You need to focus will be tested. But do not go after everybody right away. Especially, do not bother going after anybody conservative at this stage. Follow principle #4 and focus even more.



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