Jack Dorsey wrote a blog post a while ago saying that ‘users’ is the wrong word to describe people who, well, use your service. He was perfectly right in the sense that the word elides the obligation you should feel to a customer. However, an equal problem is the use of the possessive itself. You can think of people as users or customers - but they’re not yours. They don’t belong to you, and they may barely even care that you exist. The old Google rejoiced in sending people away from the site as fast as possible, because the result mattered, not the search. Glass points to a risk of forgetting that.

Glass, Home and solipsism — Benedict Evans Found via AVC.com

I agree with Jack and with Benedict here. I’ve always disliked the word “users” and trying to possess them seems silly… but, what other way is there to refer to the people who visit your site? Who use your product? 

And when it comes to satisfying investors who demand growth and retention, what other business is there than attempting to own the relationship with them – even if it’s artificially manufactured? 

Tough questions and worth thinking through for your startup.