Hidden networks, networks that don’t appear to have network effects but do, have an advantage over their competitors. Types of hidden networks:
- These have a longer time horizon until the network reaches a critical mass, when it then grows quickly.
- These often have long product loops or insufficient saturation.
- The product feature or a strategic decision leaves the network temporarily incomplete in some material way.
- The emergent behavior of users is primarily on the incomplete side of the network.
- The product feature, or a strategic decision, limits the size or engagement of the network.
- There are positive or neutral effects, when one or more of these constraints are relaxed.
- Companies build a network before they build the actual product or tool
- The networks users are engaged primarily with just the central node
While hidden networks have their own challenges, being "hidden" can be an advantage to an entrepreneur hoping to reach critical mass before their competitors.