In building out a community of users, I have stumbled on a new concept instrumental to the success of my products: Pioneering users.
Much like power users, pioneering users have a specific set of traits and can be supported in a specific way.
Pioneering users are the users who get the deeper ethos of the product (they are 100% in), and critically: they are thinking alongside you about the problems being solved, and how they could be solved better. These folks send in thoughts, suggestions, requests, questions, and ideas that really get your (the product creator’s) mind going. These are the users I enjoy being closest to.
Interestingly, traditional customer support systems would view these users as a heavier burden on the whole system; their messages are longer and more frequent, and they write in with things that are not immediately addressable problems.
This is one of the many benefits I get out of handling all support myself: I get to have awesome conversations with pioneering users discussing the unexpected questions or wild ideas that came to them from seeing the new way of thinking baked into my product. Particularly as an independent creator, getting to think alongside other minds this way is a blessing.
And one of the benefits of building a community of users is that pioneering users can engage with one another, often riffing on each other’s thoughts and ideas.