It would have been much easier to follow an invitation to one of the #DataFarms
walling millions of people on their meadows - and have them draw in more stock. Easier than to join some outsider network by selecting from individually configured infrastructure supported by individuals you do not know, with individual rules. Or even than to acquire and set up a web server or shared host, and install, setup, and configure hubzilla yourself.
The first time I tried, I setup a sub-domain on a vServer (much more than Joe Average might be able and willing to do...) and, in parallel, crawled though the hub lists with individual versions, add-ons, permissions, and rules, and after being confused, registered with start.hubzilla.org because it sounded and was presented as reasonably legitimate. I had no contacts, and did not know how to tap in and make a start. In the end, I gave up the vServer because I was not sure that I could provide for server security.
What I want to say: If we want to draw more people out on the open range of the 'verse (to connect to them without selling our data), including - there is no need for competition - to hubzilla as my personally preferred sub-galaxy, I can think of a few ways to thin out stumbling blocks and to clear a few paths.
1) The whole internet was spawned by a network of university servers. What if Hubzilla could be adopted from some universities as their default virtual campus social software for campus life, teaching, and research, with the ability to federate beyond one campus, plus to other independent protocol networks? If can a few educational institutions could be made curious to explore Hubzilla as a social platform for their students/citizens and staff (as an alternative to feeding them to the big data farms), I am convinced that they will appreciate the self-contained benefits soon. If a few of them adapt it as a beneficial tool, they might federate with each other (and the rest of the 'verse), appreciate the freedom for that even more (including the freedom to take their identity with them) - thus forming a nucleus of change that sparks maybe even more interest as they share their experiences on conferences for digital education, and other school administrations might become curious and follow. Some might even be willing to dedicate dev ressources to the improvement and extension of the Fediverse and its tools. And if thousends of students are provided an Hubzilla or other ZOT identity that they can take with them, those might be multipliers for more people. So I think it well worth adressing multipliers to society for a good cause.
2) While I think that independence and diversity of federated instances is one of the greatest strengths of the Fediverse, it can also be an overwhelming jungle for people who are used to their social mutual "place". I understand neither the Fediverse, nor ZOT nor Hubzilla is an organization to be affiliated with an infrastructure of hubs. However, I think it would be great if there were one or more reliably designed, community-driven and -approved hubs (referred to by start.hubzilla.org or other offical place). New, interested users need an immediate first go-to in order not to lose interest over "It is easy to set up your own hub". Maybe those community hubs should follow a mutual concept in order to limit complexity of choice for users (to be discussed), and to limit abuse and ressource consumption for moderation and ressources (clear rules / filters / flags, file/foto space per user, etc.). I am no dev, but maybe it is possible to offer an add-on for automatic standard configuration that enlists such servers also as community server, reducing the hubmin configuration and abuse-fighting effort to a minimum. So whoever wants to can donate ressources to the community by offering a hub with the community plugin with low effort. I know that Hubzilla does not censor - But hub operators can (and for specific purposes like that, have to). Whoever feels like community hubs limit their ideas to much can find or open up their own as a next level.
I am not trying to sketch a crusade to draw most users to one tool here (no need for that in the 'verse) - But I would love to be see a change of culture where friends and family ask me for my #Fediverse
address instead of my facebook name. And I think Hubzilla (and probably the rest of the ZOT suite) can play a role in that.