How To Get One Million Users

The number one million, doesn’t mean what it used to… but it is still an important number in mobile health technology. Mainly because we haven’t heard it used much, in the context of adoption. The fitness and nutrition category has bested the coveted one million user mark, but I haven’t seen any other category touting the number one million when talking about their user base. For example, if 25.8 million Americans have Diabetes, how many of the 590 Diabetes related iPhone/iPad apps have you heard of talking about their one million users?

Being that the one million user threshold is a milestone that I’m interested in, I did some research and charted the amount of time it took some popular Web 2.0 companies to reach one million users:

I performed this research via Google Search, and tried to pull the information from the site itself, when possible. We can see from the graph that MySpace was an outlier, and immediately start to ask why. If you ask Jonathan Abrams, founder of Friendster, MySpace’s rapid growth can be attributed to the fact that MySpace was a Friendster clone that worked AND that MySpace opened up their electronic doors to minors.

Are Young People the Key?

I find this last fact to be very interesting. Especially when looked at relative to the other services growth rates. Facebook started in colleges and universities and reached one million users in ten months. Foursquare targeted young people who go out on nights and weekends and took a year to reach one million users… While Twitter has always appealed to the over 30 crowd, and also took twice as long to reach one million users.

I think this raises an important question in the adoption of online services. Taking out all other factors, as the age of a user base decreases, does the likelihood for massive, rapid adoption of the service increase? My theory is that it does… and this is a direction we’re headed with Mood 24/7.

If this is the case, then what are the implications for health technologies? And why aren’t we designing more tech-health services for an audience that has the highest likelihood of spreading them?

Chris Hall
Director, Clinical Platforms
Health Central

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