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Maintaining astronomical growth in stagnant market conditions

COW Blogs : Ron Lindeboom's Blog : Maintaining astronomical growth in stagnant market conditions
In December of 2008, we hit the venerable Google Analytics 1,000,000 totally unique users a month threshold. In January 2009, we crossed over the 1.1 million marker. February found us hitting the 1.2 million level. Then, in March, the 1.3 million level was passed. And so on and so forth until, today, in September of 2009, we have reached the 1.7 million totally unique users a month marker. (Being that we serve a professional audience, we always drop during the Summer months but bounce back fast in mid-August or so, as vacation season ends and people get back to work.) At our current growth levels, we will hit TWO MILLION totally unique users a month by February 2010 or thereabouts.

We have been doubling every year for the last few years and this current cycle appears that it will be no exception. We will have doubled again, from one million to two million totally unique users a month, in a little over a year.

It's rough to keep up a growth curve like that, year after year. Especially when the technology behind all of this is quite expensive when you hit the level that we have hit -- not to mention that we compete against companies who, for the most part, are international publishing conglomerates that are mostly billion dollar enterprises.

Back when I used to teach business classes to active business owners and managers for a couple of the banks here in Central California -- as well as speaking at California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo's business classes -- one of the things that I pointed out regularly was that uncontrolled growth kills more businesses than under-capitalization. Surprised? Don't be, you can adjust and rescale a business to meet the level of monies available, far easier than most can figure out how to succeed with a business that is demanding more and more resources quickly due to the growth that is driving out of control.

Juggling these kinds of growth levels -- and the demands on both people and the technological backbone that supports it all -- is a real feat in a market wherein the number of available sponsors from which to draw support dwindles with each new acquisition. What used to be 10 companies a decade ago (in some cases), is now a single company.

Building something like Creative COW is a constant juggling act and it's one in which every ounce of both human and technological resources are constantly being drawn on and leveraged to maintain the kind of astronomical growth that we have to support here at The COW.

Sometimes, we have phone conferences and our team discusses the next phase of what we need to do to assure that The COW does not collapse under the weight of its own popularity. It isn't always easy but when you have a team such as we have built over the last decade, the job is doable and we look forward to early 2010 when the COW will in all likelihood be rolling past the 2 million unique users a month marker.



Comments

Treat the others as you would
by Rafael Amador
Treat the others as you would like to be treated.

That will always works.

rafael

PS; Inside the peaceful COW it beats a mustang's heart.

You need a very fine hand to drive it (no way to ride it).

Some times an iron fist in a velvet glove:-)
Thank you for recognizing the essence of the difference, Rafael
by Ron Lindeboom
Kathlyn and I remember well sitting at DV Expo 2005 at the L.A. Convention Center and thinking that the audience's face showed that they had forgotten that they were a part of history's biggest fundamental shift in human communication ever made -- bigger than the printing press, as this one involves desktop publishing, desktop video and the internet, combined. We try hard to remember to add that to the equation here, as we truly do live in incredible times and it would be an egregious injustice to let it slip from our thoughts for long. I think it is also why the COW continues to grow.

In fact, 10 days ago or so, we passed the 1.8 million unique users a month marker, and today, we are moving up quickly towards the 1.9 million marker. In fact, I told the team that we could hit it by the middle of October.

Incredible. But it's even more incredible that most all of the major publishing houses still have no idea what to do with or about the internet and seem to be in a "We wish it would just go away and go back to what things were" mode. They still seem to think that staff writers pontificating downwards to the admiring masses, matters. It doesn't.

Kathlyn, Tim Wilson and I all laugh and say that "We could disappear from this thing tomorrow and would only be missed for a few minutes, and then the community would re-adjust itself and go on as usual." It's true, the community matters more than the people keeping the lights on, etc.

As you say, Rafael, it is the one knocking on the door that is important, not the fact that there is a door. And that is why it works. And that is why everything we do is in answer to what we see you doing and saying. We administrate the community, not pontificate down to it.

And that is a fundamental difference between the COW and the ones with the billion dollar checkbooks.

And the difference is in..
by Rafael Amador
[Ron Lindeboom] "not to mention that we compete against companies who, for the most part, are international publishing conglomerates that are mostly billion dollar enterprises"

But those big companies shows an interface. In the COW with show our FACE. Nothing INTER the one who write and the one who answer.

When you interact with big companies you are just dropping a message in an answering machine.

When you come to the COW you are knocking a friends door.

Very well done Ron.

Best,

rafael

blush
by Mike Cohen
I learned it by watching you.
Thank you, Mike. It is an honor to have you as part of the COW Team.
by Ron Lindeboom
Your kind words are appreciated more than you know, Mike. As you might suspect, when you build something as big as this around obviously opinionated creative types -- hey, we are all confident creative types with strong opinions, it is what makes us all good at what we do -- not everyone is as nice as you. So, all of us on the admin team wish to give you a special nod of the cow hat, because you are one of the most gracious and amazing people in this site. You truly are a remarkable person, Mike, and we are proud to have you here.
that's amazing
by Mike Cohen
Ron - you and the rest of the head bovines do indeed do a great job. I am amazed that you have time to participate in the forums, blog, administer the site, presumably do sales for the sponsors and no doubt have the odd moment to eat, drink and possibly sleep. Hmm, sounds a lot like being a surgeon...that's the group of people I spend a lot of time with. These folks sleep very little, get a ton done and occasionally save or extend lives.

Likewise, the COW is a life saver to all of us. For all the enjoyment I get out of contributing to the discussions, I have received double that amount of help and support over the years. No wonder the site is so popular.

Hand shakes all around.

Mike Cohen





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