I've been running a thought experiment and would love to hear peoples' thoughts.
"When are you going to open up to everyone?"
I know one of the most common questions that people ask Sandi is, when are you going to open up the site? People ask because it's a natural assumption that you start with a closed community, then eventually let in the floodgates. However, that's not been the discussion that Sandi's been having with Quibb- instead, we've been talking about the idea of keeping the product invite-only forever.
You have to curate the people, not just the features
There's a good reason for this: Social products are different than other products. An elegant single-user product experience comes from curating a list of features down to just the best ones. A social product experience is based on the features, but also the interactions with other users of the product - picking just the features isn't enough.
This means that if you're really fanatical about great user experience within a social product, you have to curate the people, not just the features too.
Doesn't this limit the market?
The inevitable question is, won't this limit the product's growth? Maybe. But you turn away 50% of the users (which is about the current acceptance rate) so that you can create a great experience for the other 50%. And in a huge market like professionals, where Linkedin has 200M+ users in an overall market of 1B+, if you can segment out the top 5% or even 10% of professionals, that's still insanely valuable.
What is Quibb were invite-only forever?
I think it would be a good thing :)