How does Class box get 1 million users with only 4 people?
"Class box" is an app which helps students create course plan developed by 4 Chinese. This app was created in 2012. They get over 1 million users with only 4 people. How do they make this?
The co-founder of "Class box" Tianfang Li explains this on Zhihu. Here is what he said:
About millions of users, in the mobile Internet era what we need to do is just find a good entry point, rapid iteration and with a little luck, a small team or even an independent developer can make millions user level product is not a rare thing in China.
Why our team is so small, there are two main reasons. The first We are convinced that the early members must be the best and most matching. No matter how much help we need, how anxious, how many things do, we would never lower the standard to find new member.
Until a few months ago, only me and the other one in our team wrote code. He did Android, Web and Chat, I do the backend, data analysis and iOS. Other teams which develop the same type of products are more than twenty or thirty people. If I need to go out and meet the investors, we will be unable to release the new version in a few weeks. In this case, I will still continue to refuse dozens of unqualified interviewees. The team also questioned whether I was too strict and suggested whether we could recruit a few for emergency situations, I refused. Investors and founding partners repeatedly got worried, in fact, I was also very anxious. But looking back, I still believe that my insistence is correct. The culture of the team is self-replicating. The first few people will determine what the entire company looks like in the future, it's difficult to change once it's fixed.
The second reason is my serious mistake. I have seen many fabulous stories in Silicon Valley, so I thought that entrepreneurship should be like Instagram with four or five engineers. These stories make me feel small team is the coolest. Until recently, I came to understand the Instagram story belongs only to Silicon Valley. Entrepreneurial environment in China is very different. Along the way, there are many stumbling block, "robbers" and free riders. Four or five nerds get together is very dangerous. Large companies is on the road in front waiting for you, however in their hand it's not a cheque but a copy of your product.
In fact, for those top entrepreneurial team, only a few people to make a million user level is not difficult. They choose not to do so because this is not a meaningful goal. To meet the needs of users will not care about whether the product is developed by 4 people or 40 people. Similarly, investors do not care about whether your growth is natural or by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads. The top VC will take into account the efficiency and scalability of a team, but there are also many investors who only look at the superficial data and listen to the story.
I will be very proud to answer this question if it's one year ago. But now I do not think this is a good thing and I even regret to have this tiny group.
We have done a lot in the past few months to adjust our team, our team now is more complete and more powerful. Our role model is no longer the story of those Instagram class, but to build a diversified team which can simultaneously accommodate the nerd and fighter.
Indeed the group size is not what determines the product's popularity. If you have a good idea which many people agree with and you can make it into reality, users will use it. They will not care about how many people you have in your team. Usually why we keep the team small is that we want to better manage the team and want to be flexible at the beginning. Since in the early stage, many things are not mature, a small team can quickly adjust to the change and make a decision. This is very important to the early phase of a startup.