🛠️ The Product Person - Issue #4

How to make your product go viral like Tesla's Cybertruck

Hey Product People 🛠️ Today’s email isn’t a summary but more of a quick case-study on how Tesla’s Cybertruck became so viral. I apply concepts of consumer attention from Issue #2. I know I usually release on Wednesdays but I wanted to test out a monday release. I may still release another issue this Wednesday. Hope you enjoy…


⚡How to make a viral product (like Tesla's Cybertruck)

So, why do people share anything?

Almost everything viral on the internet shares 1 common characteristic: They allow the people who share to benefit personally. People gain some sort of social capital from the act of sharing.

For Twitter, likes & retweets = the social capital gained.

The 4 incentives

There are 4 incentives for people to share anything broadly on the internet:

1) Communication of values

2) Creation of tribal community based on "inside joke"

3) Being seen as someone with privileged access to good content

4) Being the center of attention

Let’s break things down

Incentive #1 - Sharers get to communicate their values to others.

Ex: Some people tweeted about Cybertruck to signal their love or mixed feelings for Tesla and their design choice.

Incentive #2 - Sharers create a tribal community on an inside joke or insider knowledge.

Ex: Many took the opportunity to make retro-gaming references or references to the Back To The Future films. Some referenced popular & dated memes.

Incentive #3 - Sharers get to be seen as people with privileged access to good content & products.

Ex: Influencers, tech people, and people with a good amount of $ laying around signaled their ability to purchase a cybertruck or preview it live.

Incentive #4 - Sharers get to be the center of attention for a split second.

Ex: News & media outlets rushed to join in the cybertruck frenzy to attract some of those eyeballs to your articles for some sweet advertising revenue.

People also tend to share when they feel joy or surprise.

Coupled with the Cybertruck's unique shape & design, Elon's demonstration of the Cybertruck's "impenetrable" glass windows left everyone, including himself, quite surprised.

Some key takeaways

Remember these keys to building a viral product:

- Next time you create something, ask yourself "What can others gain by spreading the word about it?"

- Incentivize your audience to share your product, with either tangible or intangible rewards —i.e. social capital.

- Inspire joy or surprise in your audience.

I want to acknowledge…

Big thank you to Thales Teixeira who conducted studies on consumer attention and documented his findings in a paper for Harvard Business Review, where I learned these concepts from. You can read his paper here.

Would love your support…

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Thanks for reading Issue #4 of The Product Person!

Please “@ me” on Twitter @antdke or email me at anthonydike@nyu.edu and tell me your feedback on today’s issue. I ❤️ hearing feedback (good or bad).

Enjoy the rest of your week :)