Just watched @dollarvigilante's talk at steemfest. I agree totally with him, the 3 key things are:
Marketing ( steemit still uses old logo on twitter account, another fail sadly, we are very bad at this...)
Sign up process/ apps needs to be as good as facebook ( fast, user friendly, etc..)
Attracting more influencers to join ( people are brainwashed, they will only do something if their idol does it)
Regarding the last point I wrote this post many months ago https://steemit.com/steem/@snowflake/unleashing-the-power-of-wom-could-a-decentralized-referral-system-be-possible
A referral program will be a huge incentives for people with lots of followers to talk about steemit.
I'm glad that @ned seems to agree
We only have to make it happen!