🎯 Forget waitlists. Do this instead.

PLUS: Some behind-the-scenes thinking

Read time: 2 minutes 38 seconds

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Something I’ve realised Strategy Breakdowns needs to do much more of:
Sharing the thinking behind our decision-making.


→ We spend all day documenting the strategies and tactics behind successful companies, and these continuously shape the direction of Strategy Breakdowns. So, our own strategy feels like a valuable (and hopefully interesting) thing to share with you.

→ Strategy Breakdowns isn’t built in a vacuum. Quite the opposite in fact. One of the most wonderful attributes of audience-first business models is the high volume of feedback and interaction. Every article, decision, and update we’ve made has been influenced by reader interaction - a fundamental part of our DNA.

→ Our favourite brands aren’t just the ones with an incredible product. Its those that we know the story of, align with, and feel connected to. Resonance, taste, and craftsmanship are some aspirational qualities we strive for, so its a privilege to have the ability bring you closer to that process.

In that spirit - here’s 3 quick updates (plus, some reader feedback that influenced each one):

1. Added categorisation to our articles on the Strategy Breakdowns website (strategybreakdowns.com). Quite a funny exercise to create these retrospectively. Click ‘Explore by category’ in the navbar to see the first attempt - how do you think we went?

(We also added 6 ‘Featured Posts’ to the home page - our most popular articles, as voted by you, the reader.)

2. Bring more strategy frameworks, mental models, and psychological principles to our analysis. This is something we’ve been trialling recently (e.g. X-ray vision products, AI investment thesis, long-tail framework) and we’ll certainly continue whenever applicable.

Today’s article below is centred on user psychology.

3. Highlight relevant tools and tech. Strategy and execution are 2 sides of the same coin. Although tools aren’t the focus of this newsletter, feedback on the Strategy Breakdowns Tech Stack has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re thinking about thoughtful ways to integrate this type of content more regularly.

Hope you enjoy - thanks for being here.


Forget waitlists. Do this instead.

Chess Move

The what: A TLDR explanation of the strategy

Here's a dead-simple way to generate hype before launching a software product:

Instead of just capturing email addresses on a waitlist signup page…

💡 Strategy Playbook: Invite early evaluators to ‘reserve a username’

Canva’s pre-launch page was the first time we noticed this tactic. After a little digging, we found several other interesting implementations, including …

FOMO can be such a powerful psychological driver.

Let’s unpack why this tactic works.


The how: The strategic playbook boiled down to 5x key takeaways

1.  Scarcity effect

The scarcity effect is where people place higher value on an item with limited supply, leading them to act quickly before it becomes unavailable.

By allowing users to reserve a username, you create a sense of exclusivity.

Users feel they are getting early access to a limited resource, which enhances its perceived value.

If they don’t act now, they might miss the chance to secure the username they desire.

2. Consistency bias

Consistency Bias is where people have an inherent desire to maintain consistency in their actions and self-presentation.

People want the same username across the web.

This is particularly true for ‘early adopters’ (i.e. the ICP for a pre-launch campaign), who see short and personal usernames as a status symbol.

Usernames are inherently unique, so once a username is taken by someone else, you lose the ability to maintain consistency.

3. Commitment Bias

Commitment Bias is where people strive to act in accordance with a course of action or decision, once they have made an initial commitment.

By reserving a username, users make a (slightly) stronger commitment to the platform than just offering a contact email address.

This increases the likelihood they will follow through with the larger future commitment of becoming an active user.

4. Identity formation

Identity formation is where users start to associate your product with their sense of self.

Reserving a username does this, and in the Canva example they even go a step further:

By teasing creation of a personalised URL with the chosen username (e.g. “canva.com/strategybreakdowns”), they create an even stronger sense of ownership and connection to the platform.

5. Expectation Bias

Expectation Bias is where people’s initial thoughts and perceptions influence their expected outcomes.

A simple, single-player, one-trick-pony app has no need for usernames.

The mere existence of a username implies interaction with other users.

When claiming a username, one can’t help but speculate about how their username will shape their product experience:

  • Team collaboration (like Slack)

  • Social mechanics (like Twitter)

  • Portable / shareable profile (like Linktree)

It repositions the product as an interactive platform - one with lots of future users and use-cases.

A simple way to get users excited about what features will come downstream of their action taken today.

Our Tech Stack

Let’s try something different today. Instead of the ‘Rabbit Hole’, an extra scoop of ‘building-in-public’.

We recently launched the Strategy Breakdowns Tech Stack - an inside-look at the complete list of tools we’re using to power each corner of the Strategy Breakdowns operation.

For this sneak-peak - 3 tools we use, love, and recommend trying:

AthynaOur go-to platform for sourcing and hiring best-in-class remote talent.

TaplioThe ultimate swiss-army knife for LinkedIn creators - we use it for scheduling posts, performance stats, content repurposing, and engagement with other creators.

Jira Product DiscoveryWe use JPD to organise / prioritise audience insights, product ideas, and roadmap items in a visual and highly-intuitive interface.

We have a growing audience of 45,000+ readers from top companies like Google, Meta, Atlassian, Stripe, and Snapchat. If you’d like to sponsor Strategy Breakdowns, see more information here

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That’s all for today’s issue, folks!

Quite a few experiments running today. Much more behind-the-scenes. What did you think?

Let us know by replying to this email. We always write back.

— Tom Alder

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