The story of Michael Birch and Bebo is fascinating on it’s own, but all the more so, because he just repurchased his tremendously successful social network for $1 million, after AOL spent the last several years running it into the ground after buying it from him for $750 million. It’s going to be very cool to see what he does with it, but this article focuses on what every startup(especially consumer focused startups) should be considering when they are trying to grow their business and that is on the growth levels and the associated metrics to help tell you whether you have the right formula.
It’s a lesson in keeping your eye on the metrics that matter and how to tweak to make them better.Birch is an excellent example of someone that learned the lessons early and made it work for him. It’s a great story on multiple levels.
Birch realized that Bebo had finally attained a viral loop. From a base of 6 million users, the site was increasing page views by 10 percent a week. The steep course correction had proved the right move, but it was growing in a surprising direction. Another teen population had discovered Bebo: British youth, who took to the site with the enthusiasm American teens had when the Beatles first crossed the Atlantic. Over the next several months it spread to Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand and Australia. As one British commentator put it, teenagers were “taking to Bebo quicker than they can pop a can of paprika-flavoured Pringles.”