I love that you are posting on this. It’s so important and so frequently underestimated.
For every product, there are two completely different experiences that need to be designed:
(1) what you call the middle: the person who has the need, knows that this product is perfect to address their need, and has the product mostly set up. That experience needs to be seamless, fast, delightful.
(2) what you call the beginning: the first time (or second or third or more) that someone shows up to your product because they heard it could maybe do the cool thing they think they want done. But they don’t understand the product yet, they don’t have it set up, and they don’t find it particularly easy to use.
When you design for the middle, you design for yourself. When you design for the beginning, you need to think back to when you first heard of the product. And talk to users who don’t get it yet and keep exploring ideas that will help them. it’s different.