So, the other day when I signed onto FourSquare for the first time in a while I found 442 people waiting for me. As I looked through the names I saw the same names that had first added me onto Twitter. And Dopplr. And Google Reader. And Facebook. And FriendFeed. And others.
You see, there’s a gang of about 2,000 people who really control tech industry hype and play a major role in deciding which services get mainstream hype (this gang was all on Twitter by early 2007 — long before Oprah and Ashton and all the other mainstream celebrities, brands, and journalists showed up). I have not seen any startup succeed without getting most of these folks involved. Yes, Mike Arrington of TechCrunch is the parade leader, but he hardly controls this list. Dave Winer proved that by launching Bit.ly by showing it first to Marshall Kirkpatrick and Bit.ly raced through this list.
By the way, having this list use your service does NOT guarantee market success. This list has all added me on Dopplr, for instance, but Dopplr has NOT broken out of this small, geeky crowd. Studying why not is something we should do.
Who is on this list? I’ve added as many as I can find onto my Twitter following list (don’t just look at the ones on the first page — the real important people are deeper in the database).
I study this list and share the most important Tweets from this list on my favorites.
One place you can study what these folks are using is on Wakoopa. Lots of them have added Wakoopa to their computers and let this service track what’s going on.
Want to see what this list is adding to their iPhones? Appsfire is a great place to look at that. I just added that to my iPhone. There are a variety of others, that are similar to this too.
Anyway, why do you think that Dopplr got a lot of the 2,000 gatekeepers to sign up, but hasn’t escaped from them into mainstream acceptance? Will Foursquare be the next Twitter and escape the list?