Why having a lot of users doesn’t matter for startups

A year ago, I started a website called The premise was simple — in one click, it would transform your online resume from LinkedIn into a beautiful infographic. The site became phenomenally popular. All the popular tech blogs covered us. People tweeted about it constantly. Signup rates on our home page were over 60%. Organically, we grew from zero to 100,000 users in less than one month. By the second month we were close to 200,000 users. We were even breaking into the mainstream audience, with mentions on TV (CBSBBC), Marie Claire andEntrepreneur magazine.

But to what end? What we found out quickly was that users would sign up, spend 15-30 minutes (coming back three to five times) to set up their infographic resume and then share it with their friends or add it to their website or Linkedin profile. And then they might come back a few times the first few weeks to check their stats and do a few updates. But unless they were looking for a job or were a recruiter, they would most likely not visit the site again (or presumably until a significant event happened to their careers that required an update on their resume). The product wasn’t “sticky” enough. We had what we called a “leaky” bucket situation, where we were losing active users faster than new users were signing up.