Four and a half years into its existence, Q&A site Quora has finally released an iPad app. It’s been the summer of mobile for the company, from an entirely redesigned Android 2.0 to a new website application that more closely mirrors the mobile experience. The new iPad app tops it off.
The company sees the iPad as the ideal distribution form for the its Q&A’s, which frequently run multiple paragraphs and sometimes include video and photos. Marc Bodnick, Quora‘s head of business and community, told me, “This is the best reading experience for Quora.” So why did the company wait so long to build an iPad app? “Most of our team is focused on quality, so as a result we don’t always get to do things as fast as our readers would like us to do it,” Bodnick said.
Quora has been nothing if not unconventional. The company refuses to conform to what the outside world expects of it — like bringing in revenue — instead staying laser-focused on making quality scale.
Now, it appears to have succeeded. Along with the iPad announcement, CEO Adam D’Angelo released new metrics on the company. It has seen 3x growth in answers per week since the beginning of the year, and it says it expects to see more answers posted in the next twelve months than in its entire history previously — four-plus years. Quora has finally hit the hockey stick curve in its growth cycle.
The obstacle Quora struggled with for much of its existence was making quality scale. The company wouldn’t be worth much if it devolved into Yahoo Answers. Fighting a slide into mediocrity required tedious community upkeep by Quora staff: Filtering out duplicate questions, making sure the best answers were seen and moderating any bullying and negativity.
Now the challenge facing Quora is the same, but bigger. The company hopes to take its site international, with support for multiple languages in different countries. “You can’t share and grow the world’s knowledge if you’re only in English,” Bodnick said. He predicted internationalization efforts would begin in the next year. That means scaling all Quora’s quality endeavors across different cultures and communication barriers, not an easy task. “I don’t think we’ve figured it out yet,” Bodnick admitted.
Quora has put off making money until now — it hasn’t brought in a cent in revenue. Does it plan to keep waiting? “We have not achieved our mission,” Bodnick says. “If we achieve this mission we are confident that the financial opportunities will be very exciting. There’s only so many things you can do at once.”