So this article is talking about the math of consumer facing apps when it comes to growth. It basically says that unless you’re viral (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) it’s really hard to get from 1 million users to 10M.

I can’t dispute that, it’s an order of magnitude difference. I do ask why 10M is better than 1M?

It seems to me that the general conclusion is that bigger is better. More users equals more success, but I think there is a right size for a service/site/company. Further you can make a boat load of money serving 1M users, but you only get that choice if you haven’t got investors breathing down your neck for growth.

My Own Math

My math is based of paying users, which I know is a bit of a novel thing. Let’s assume we’ve built a service and between your plans you average $15/month from users. At what point then does the service become really viable?

users at $15/month
users at $15/month

So at 500 users it’s viable really. You aren’t making millions but you have enough to pay yourself (living modestly) and could hire a support person part time. At 1000 paying users it’s pretty comfortable (again living modestly).

So what about at $10/month?

users at $10/month
users at $10/month

Well at $10/month 500 users is enough for just you and not really enough to have a part time support person, but 1000 paying users is comfortable.

The Point

My point is that you can earn a very nice living at something with waaaaay less than 1M users. Who cares how many users you have, just make sure your service allows you to live the lifestyle you want. Yes that means charge something from the beginning.