“Escape velocity” commonly refers to the speed at which an object must travel to free itself of Earth’s gravity without propulsion. If a satellite were to reach escape velocity, it would slingshot out into space rather than continuing to orbit the Earth. This could also be a useful model to think about product development. The “gravity” is your market’s preconceived notions and expectations. People want to categorize & bucket everything they see, and new apps are no different. “What kind of app is this?”
Far from reaching an escape velocity, most products must burn tremendous fuel to break free of that gravity: sales teams, marketing campaigns, outreach & evangelism, and fielding an ever-growing influx of requests and demands. What would escape velocity even look like? A divergent vision. An idea so clearly articulated and different that it makes people squint and think, “what are they doing?”
Products brought to market with venture capital are under enormous time constraints to “find market fit” or quickly “pivot” to a new way of “disrupting” the market. Not make money, mind you, just to acquire attention. There’s a reason phrases like “The YouTube of X” or “The Uber of Y” became cliche pitches in Silicon Valley and beyond. It’s the intense pressure to find your bucket and make it clear to everyone what bucket you belong in. This isn’t free; it’s conceptual handcuffs.
“Escape delta” is that moment of breathing room bought by people trying to figure out what exactly you’re doing. It’s not an obscured value proposition, but rather an obviously compelling one whose methodology cuts in a different direction hard enough to momentarily avoid a bucket (or, optimistically, create a new one). “Try it my way for a minute before you tell me what you think of it.” And they do.