March 22, 2006

Jumping on the Growth Curve

I am excited to join Plaxo as the company’s first vice president of marketing. I hope that is auspicious that on the day we announced my joining (yesterday), we also marked a more significant milestone – 10 million registered users of the service. And as important as that number is (given that Plaxo’s utility is directly linked to the size of our user base), for me it pales in comparison to the dramatic shape of the underlying growth curve that brought us to that mark.
As the chart below shows, we are now beginning to experience the “knee” of our exponential growth curve.

Plaxo Growth Chart 10MM users

I’ve been thinking a lot about exponential growth curves of late, inspired by Ray Kurzweil’s latest book, “The Singularity is Near”.
I won’t try to explain the book here (though I will make the aside that I highly recommend this book.) But there is one of Kurzweil’s key premises I will comment on, namely that people – even very smart, well educated people – are lousy at understanding the implications of exponential curves. We tend to be linear in our thinking about the future, assuming that the next five years will be reasonably similar to the past five years. Such thinking greatly underestimates the pace of progress when the driver of change is something that is doubling every twelve or so months.
In this, my first post to the Plaxo blog, I’ll stop short of making a Kurzweil-like bold prediction for Plaxo’s future. I will say, however, that I think I am in for a very exciting ride. And it’s a ride I look forward to sharing with you, the Plaxo community.
To that end, one my key goals is to help Plaxo do a better job of explaining who we are, what our offerings do – and what they don’t do. In short, to achieve much greater transparency. To that end, I encourage you correspond directly with me or to post your questions or comments.

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Redgee Capili

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