16 years to one million… 18 months to two million

Crowds of people gather on the mall to watch the swearing-in of U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington“It took us more than 16 years to get to one million paid households but just 18 months to double it.”

I read an article today that talked about how well Angie’s List did last quarter, posting impressive growth around users and revenues.  If you are not familiar, Angie’s List is a new age Yellow pages, a marketplace for service oriented local businesses.

One sentence caught my attention: “It took us more than 16 years to get to one million paid households but just 18 months to double it.”

How’s that for patience?  I had no idea Angie’s List  was even 16 years old.  More impressive, I haven’t heard of many companies where it took so long to reach a milestone like that.  Both are impressive feats of patience, persistence and obviously hard work.

But what’s fascinating is how quickly they reached 2 million paid accounts – just 18 months.

18 months vs 16 years.  Wow.

I’d be curious to know what they did to increase the paid user base so quickly.  Of course, a certain amount users will come from viral, word of mouth actions of existing users.  But, in the local space it can be more difficult to achieve viral growth.  It would be great to hear what has worked for them.

Never forget, the amount of work it might take to get to your first big milestone isn’t necessarily the amount required to reach the next milestone.  Just test a lot and keep doing what’s working and stop doing what isn’t.  Things do get easier and the system can start working for you once you reach a certain critical mass.

I have never really been a huge fan of Angie’s List, but I certainly have more respect for them now.

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