daily articles for founders

Running a startup in the UK (or with a UK subsidiary)? Get in touch with my company, GrantTree. We help with government funding.
How to deal with sudden succeess  

Mark Bao, a young (18, by last reckoning), serial entrepreneur, has thrown quite a few things to the wall (including some that stuck enough to sell three of his companies). One more thing he recently threw to the wall was http://threewords.me, which, he says, has gone viral and is gathering an avalanche of traffic (which a small linode server can't cope with).

What to do, then but to ask Hacker News for help. Offers of help immediately come in:

hey Mark, if you need server capacity I can set you up with four machines on very short notice, let me know. j@ww.com (no charge, help you handle the spike and see if it has staying power without having to get in to long term contracts).


Sites like this typically see eCPM between $0.10 and $0.30 for advertising. So you're looking at around $30/day revenue right now.


As for what to expect in the future, growth will not be infinite. There are a finite number of people on earth that are going to love your site and Facebook integration is a fantastic way to reach nearly all of those people in a very short amount of time. After a while most of those people will get bored and you will see traffic begin to fall. The best ways to address this are by consistently releasing new features to reengage users or by referring your users to other similar sites that you build.


This has happened to me a few times and usually the Twitter/social media storm blows over fairly quickly. I suggest getting an extra Linode for now and wait a few days to see what happens. If the numbers do stay up the site will probably be able to pay for itself with ads. Your site is down at the moment so I can't really see what it's about.

and many more.

The amount of qualified, intelligently presented help you can get from a community like Hacker News is simply astounding. It remains to be seen what will happen with this site, whether it will blow over quickly or whether Mark will be able to capitalise on it to build something lasting.

More from the library:
Picking technologies on the right side of history
Ask for forgiveness, not permission
An easy way to increase startup success rates