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My rule of thumb is that if you can get 100M monthly users you can sell your company for $1B. It doesn't matter what your product or platform or service is. It doesn't even matter if you have any revenue. If you can get a hundred million monthly users then you can sell for 1 billion dollars.

At least that's what I've observed over the past few years. Twitch was bought $1B with a mere 50M users. But highly engaged users with successful monetization. So it fits my model. WhatsApp was bought for almost $20B under the assumption they could hit 1B users. A 2x premium for being so large.

So roughly $5 to $20 per user. That seems pretty reasonable.

Unless I see evidence to the contrary, I assume that all startups follow your model - i.e. they don't give a damn about the product they're making[0]; they need something that'll give them a good growth curve in order to get bought for $alot[1].

I wonder if and when people get tired of that. I also wonder how user engagement/retention numbers evolve globally over time; if almost everyone treats their users like cattle, I won't be surprised if more and more people started treating on-line services as throwaway.

[0] - corollary: all the "we're trying to change the world", or "our passion is to help you do X" they say on their page is just lies.

[1] - that also applies to paid services; I've read that classic Maciej's post[2] about paid vs. free services, but companies aren't stupid; if being paid signals trustworthiness and leads to more users, they'll make the service paid

[2] - https://blog.pinboard.in/2011/12/don_t_be_a_free_user/

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