Newcomers can be lost ...
I've seen this happen more than once with people I've introduced to the site, as well as reading comments to this effect here and in the forum.
A contrast to this seems to be people who have come to the site after exposure to Jane's TED talk or to her book. With that background, a newcomer has the "big picture" and can make more sense of the site.
As a short-term solution, I might include a big link on the initial page encouraging people to watch the TED talk before signing up.
Thanks for the feedback. We’ll keep this in mind!
This is a good idea, I've noticed a similar thing, I think streamlining the entry process almost like Dropbox does at www.dropbox.com. I have no idea why that's always the example that comes to mind, but it's a good one. As much as I try and have faith in people, they have short attention spans, so breaking each step down to a couple of sentences and a task to complete may be better.
I'm going to introduce a couple new people to the site, so we'll see how they react.