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Grow first and make money later?  

Andrew Chen:

...let’s say that you wanted to create a cancer-curing drug. You don’t need to crunch the business model for that- if you had it, it’s valuable. You don’t need to price test or do customer development. All the risk is in the science, so you just focus on the science.

Similarly, I’d argue that in consumer internet, the real risk is that you can’t get millions of users actively engaged in your product, and that risk is ultimately driven by growth and long-term user retention. Thus focus on that first, then figure out the monetization once you’re at scale.

My take-away: given how hard it is to get to the required millions of users (Andrew later guesstimates that maybe 10'000 sites globally have achieved this), and that the pay-off for millions of users is not even that huge (a $40k burn rate is hardly outrageous for a business with millions of users), it seems that the smart thing is to not build a consumer startup in the first place and instead invest your hard-earned money in lottery tickets.

Alternatively, build something that has the potential to make money right away and leave the moon shots to people with the money and time to waste...

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