Facebook, WhatsApp, Android, the iPhone … All these platforms, products or services have been growing like foam for years, and in all cases, they exceed the 1,000 million active users monthly or throughout its history.
However, none of them is the technological platform with the fastest growth of all time. It is easy to be surprised when one discovers that shared bikes have had overwhelming success in China, but there are more surprises in a study that brings together many of the most popular technology platforms in history.
Booms and falls everywhere
This is a study carried out by Horace Dediu, a technological analyst ( @asymco ), who has evaluated the growth of a good selection of platforms, products, and technological services
In this graph, somewhat chaotic and difficult to follow, we have the number of users (in millions) on the vertical axis indicated along a timeline that shows the different quarters of recent years.
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The analyst has recorded those variables for all those platforms over time, and in the graph, we can quickly see how activations of Android, iOS or the growth of Facebook occupy that upper part of the graph.
Surprise: It is the Bike Sharing System
However, these achievements have taken many years, and we can look at the graph from another perspective: who has grown the fastest. It is important to keep in mind that the vertical scale is not equally proportioned on purpose to show that growth is slow at the beginning and much faster as time passes.
By studying that graph, one appreciates how the fastest growing platform is a very recent one: bike sharing services in China have emerged almost from scratch, and in the last two years -Dediu has access to only that data, has worked with public and official figures – has exceeded 400 million users, a real barbarity.
The graphic also shows how some platforms or products have been falling – in many cases, due to the appearance of a new iteration – or stagnating: it happens for example with AOL, with the Xbox 360 or with the Wii.
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The growth of Netscape is, for example, spectacular, but after approximately five years in the market, that curve changed completely.
As always, they are not all that are there but they are all that is: some may be missing some platform, company or service in the graph, but of course this is quite revealing.
Source: Horace Dediu on Twitter
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