It has been a month since I posted about LiveJournal and the goals we should have. It's time to review what we've accomplished, and try to lay out where to go from here.
What we have now that we didn't have on January 12th:
- T-shirt designs from Holyloki, Roshi, and Zebra.
- A company other than cafepress to create a LiveJournal e-commerce page, T-shirts and other LJ merchandise (more details as things become official...)
- optimized BML
- An OC-3 connection
- 2 new servers installed
- to-do lists
- an FTP server with directories for lj_dev developers
- a LiveJournal background document (for the press)
- an official LiveJournal client for PalmOS, programmed by kvance
- corachaos, working with communities to promote LiveJournal on external sites
- piman's cool new work on headline syndication (slashdot, advogato, etc.)
- qlurker, running live.livejournal.com
- genders, who is setting up newbies.livejournal.com
- a great party for Brad's 21st birthday
- a hundred other notable contributions that I'm an ingrate for not mentioning
Any small startup would be happy to get so much done in a month... we should be thankful for what has been accomplished. I see the roots of problems, however. We had an initial surge in new account growth after my announcement last month, but the account growth stats are starting to level off. We have two new servers to handle some of the workload, so we should rededicate ourselves to growing the site, telling our friends about LiveJournal, promoting LiveJournal to outside websites, and getting the word out to the press. This has been a particular problem we are still facing. I still need to have the LiveJournal Press room set up. I will work with Brad to make sure that this is a reality sooner than later.
I am also concerned about the number of paid accounts per day we are currently getting. Our membership growth isn't keeping up with our member growth. In fact, LiveJournal's percentage of users who are paying members has actually decreased about 8% in the last month. That means that there are probably a lot of new users out there who haven't gone through what many longtime LiveJournal users have gone through before with endless delays to connect to LiveJournal. If we want new features and new users, we must be willing to put up the money for new servers... we are growing exponentially, so if we needed two new servers this month, we could very well find ourselves needing 3 or 4 new servers in another two months, 6 or 8 servers a few months after that, etc. We will need these servers just to keep up with demand... if you want more applications and more server power for cool new features, we need power to burn. Only the users of LiveJournal can decide whether we get ahead of the demand for server power, or we become backlogged again. After purchasing four servers in a short amount of time, LiveJournal is running short on funds. Please, do what you can to let other LiveJournal users know how important membership is to keep us running.
I've also noticed a bit of burnout lately for one reason or another, and a loss of focus on what is important. We need to focus on the big picture and do what we can to not just reach our goals, but to exceed them. I mentioned a goal of 85,000 users by the end of March. We are at 55,000, up 15,000 users in one month. We have 48 days to get another 30,000 users. We're running behind, frankly... and I want to see us not just reach our goals, but exceed them.
Take a close look at the questions below. They are the main problems we face. We work on a lot of minor issues and small features at LiveJournal, but we need to really concentrate on solving the big issues, since everything else we do depends on them. What can you do right now to answer these questions, or, better yet, be part of the solution?
- How can we program more software more effectively?
- How can lj_biz function more effectively and get more done?
- How can we raise more money to support increased users and additional features?
- How can we attract more users?
- How can we make it easier for others who aren't LiveJournal users yet to become LiveJournal users?
I really like the add-friend buttons that appeared on the site a couple months ago. What would be even cooler is when you click on one, the page that appears contains the option to place the friend you are about to add in one of your premade groups. It's kind of a pain to add a friend and then go into your client or a separate page and then put them in the appropriate friend group. It would just make things more streamlined and easier for us organization freaks :)