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Quora is hockey sticking.

Stashed in: @alexia, Valuation

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Alexia reports, you decide:

Well today, because of a promotional video the startup itself has released on its blog, we know that that growth is accelerating, with all user numbers up at least 3x from where they were last May, including DAUs, MAUs, users registered, questions answered and questions voted on. The startup is hockey-sticking, according to founder Adam D’Angelo who, no matter how much I beg him, won’t show me where the y-axis of any of their growth graphs was a year ago.

“Why are you choosing (and do you always choose) not to reveal actual numbers? Despite your users clamoring for them,” I asked D’Angelo, because, while 3x in a year isn’t to be scoffed at, 3x of 10K DAUs is significantly less impressive. ”We don’t see a good reason to,” he responded. “Usage numbers don’t reflect quality and user experience, which are what’s important to us.”

“What do you say to critics who bring up sites like Alexa and Compete as evidence of your traffic decline?” I also asked, because when a company is clandestine like this, people look for external cues of success. “Since I have our real metrics, I look at those and not external ones,” D’Angelo says. He does reveal that this growth spans beyond Silicon Valley, disputing the perception that Quora is singularly Valley-focused. “All of California is less than 10 percent of usage. New York City is the biggest city.”

In the question linked above, Thiel insists that focusing on hyper growth for consumer startups is an outdated and too-superficial heuristic.

“The focus, particularly in companies with exploding growth, is on next month’s, quarters, or, less frequently, years. That is too short a timeline. Old Economy mode works in the Old Economy. It does not work for thinking about tech and high growth businesses. Yet startup culture today pointedly ignores, and even resists, 10-15 year thinking.”

Thus I asked D’Angelo what the 10-15 year plan was for Quora: “You say you’re not planning on ever selling it in the video. What big opportunity will eventually justify the $61 million put in by investors 10-15 years from now?”

“Our mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge,” he says. “We believe that if we can deliver on that mission at scale, we will create a lot of value for everyone.” He brings up this robustly filled-out Quora question about the International Space Station as an example of that value. There are countless others like this onethis onethis one and especially this one.

"Everything is set up so nothing is holding you back."

~Adam D'Angelo on Quora company and culture

"What you're working on is something that's going to be around forever."


This is awesome. You have to believe it to build company culture. Also the video is made really well. Lots of $$$ invested into the team and hiring A players. Seems like a great plan. I like that Adam said "if we can execute". The challenge gets you going.

"We the American working population hate the fact that 8 hours a day is wasted on chasing the dreams of someone that isn't us, and we may not hate our jobs, but we hate jobs in general that don't have to do with fighting our own causes." - Aesop Rock

When its everyone's cause, that's what builds team spirit and in turn a great company. Know where you're going and make it important for everyone. Hire people who will fight for the cause, then empower.

BTW - Are all their designers also developers? And vice versa?

All their designers have to write CSS and HTML but not all of their engineers do.

Quora does seem like a monoculture of mostly 20something dudes and Asian women.

If that's not the demographic they are looking to hire then the video does them a disservice.