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A Summary of

Viral Effects Are Not Network Effects

by
Gigi Levy-Weiss, James Currier, Pete Flint, Josh Elman, Chris Anderson
NfX
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Virality and Network Effects are Different

  • Viral effects = growth of new users
  • Network effects = adding value and defensibility to your product
  • Can exist without each other and the playbook to build each is very different

Building Virality Into Products

  • Build the product around language, the rails on which products are shared
  • Get a user to feel the emotional content of your product (e.g. what will the user feel about themselves when they share?)

Building Network Effects Into Products

  • Create value for customers by getting other customers to put value in
  • Retention builds defensibility

Complementary Relationship Between Viral Effects and Network Effects

  • Network effects approach helps you achieve virality given its easier to include viral language hooks (e.g. “share”, “get”, and “see”)
  • Virality helps you achieve network effects by growing the network more quickly

Future of Virality and Network Effects

  • Hard to go viral today: must be high quality, shocking, or deliver 10x value
  • Network effects never go out of style
  • If you have to choose, choose network effects
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