Getting from here to there

So, a few times a day, I hear from a reader who wants my advice on how to be Google. Or Reddit. Or Scoble.

There is a good place to be. There is traffic and attention and influence and profitability. Here, on the other hand, is nothing special.

If I could only get to there, people sigh, then everything would be fine.

Check out this chart of the traffic of They’re now 33 in the world. What’s neat is that the progression from one place to another was pretty linear. No miracles, no interventions, no tipping point or inflections.

The reason is simple and one that’s worth understanding:
At every point, fotolog worked. It worked when it had one user and it works with millions of users. One user found it convenient and helpful and yes, remarkable. It was worth sharing. So it got shared.

The mistake bloggers often make (actually, all marketers make sooner or later) is the believe that being popular is its own reward. That once every one does their line dance or visits their restaurant or wears their fashion or reads their blog, then it will be popular for being popular.

Stated so baldly, it’s pretty obvious this doesn’t work, mostly because you can no longer afford to prime the pump. So, instead, we’re left with bloggers like Hugh, who got to the top of the list by creating a blog that people wanted to read, regardless of who else was reading it. Not only that, but they wanted to share it as well.