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Startups love to point to big growth numbers, and the press loves to publish them. We are as guilty as anyone else in this regard: one million downloads, 10 million registered users, 200 million tweets per day. These growth metrics can often be signs of traction (which is why we report them), but just as often they are not. It is important to distinguish between real metrics and what Eric Ries calls vanity metrics. The vanity metrics aren’t completely useless, just don’t be fooled by them. There are ways to back into real numbers from the vanity metrics. VC Fred Wilson blogged today about his 30/10/10 rule: 30 percent of downloads or registered users are active once a month, 10 percent are active once a day, and 10 percent of the daily users will be the maximum number of concurrent users.