Quora Outside the Valley

I’ve been using the new Quora iPhone a lot. It’s great. For version 1.0, I expect the next iterations to just get better and better. I also just got back from Las Vegas and tried to see if I could use the app to get some interesting content/suggestions on what to do, given that Quora is great for surfacing up content that doesn’t already exist online. I found that there were plenty of questions about Las Vegas, but not many answers that differed too much from what Yelp would generate. And, that got me thinking about the biggest U.S. cities, and what their Quora “counts” were relative to population. Since I’m unable to access more data, I just ranked the cities from 1-10 according to population, with San Francisco at #14 (with the most activity) for obvious reasons. I also listed out the number of “topic followers” (those who have elected to follow the city), and the number of questions that are unanswered (or “open”) and the number marked as a “best source.” (Note: these stats are as of Oct 3, 2011 and present a very “foggy” window into how many users across the country may be actively using Quora.)

  1. NYC (~8.2m pop), 13,566 topic followers, 49 best / 572 open questions
  2. LA (~3.8m pop): 2,750 topic followers, 15 best / 207 open questions
  3. Chicago (~2.7m): 2,749 topic followers, 4 best /118 open questions
  4. Houston (~2.1m pop): 474 topic followers, 0 best / 24 open questions
  5. Philadelphia (~1.5m pop): 2,094 topic followers, 0 best / 26 open questions
  6. Phoenix (~1.5m pop): 960 topic followers, 2 best / 56 open questions
  7. San Antonio (~1.3m pop): 179 topic followers, 0 best / 18 open questions
  8. San Diego (~1.3m pop): 1,072 topic followers, 0 best / 55 open questions
  9. Dallas (~1.2m pop): 666 topic followers, 0 best / 56 open questions
  10. San Jose (~0.95m pop): 491 topic followers, 3 best / 39 open questions
  11. x
  12. x
  13. x
  14. SF (~0.88m pop): 12,863 topic followers, 55 best / 960 open questions

Quora is relatively young as a company, but I’ve always felt it’s going to grow in a very different manner than its predecessors. While they could theoretically pay for answers for specific locations to populate the list above, the real story is that these are the first numbers that start to show that perhaps Quora hasn’t grown beyond the larger cities and/or the Silicon Valley area. Quora hasn’t released any statistics about number of users. At the same time, it has collected a massive amount of structured content around thousands of topics, most of which have nothing to do with location, all with little to zero marketing. It’s all been organic, which is promising despite the numbers above reflect today.