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The One-Person Product

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In 2006, I moved to New York and started working for David Karp doing web development for various media companies. That fall, in a brief gap before starting a new client, David said that we were going to make a prototype of an idea he’d had for a while. He had already bought the domain: tumblr.com, because it was an easy platform for publishing tumblelogs.


David Karp in September 2006, a few months after hiring me to build websites with him for clients.

In March 2007, Tumblr exploded after Gina Trapani wrote it up on Lifehacker and her post made it to the Digg front page (the first Digg!).

We soon added following and reblogging, which dramatically turned this publishing platform into the social-publishing hybrid that has made it so compelling and unique.

That summer, David decided we should stop doing client work, take some funding, and take Tumblr full-time. I was nervous about the idea, but he knew it was the right thing to do — and since he had been paying me (and the hosting bill) from consulting income and his own savings until then, we’d clearly need some headroom in the budget.

On November 1, 2007, we announced the funding and launched Tumblr’s third major design with lots of new features and architectural improvements.


David’s characteristically spotless desk in December 2007.

Growth continued extremely strongly. It’s a good thing we got the funding, because we desperately needed more capacity. In what was becoming a pattern that would continue throughout our working relationship, my previous doubts and fears were proven wrong, and David was right.


David and me in February 2008. David had done some sort of interview that required a photo, so I set up a tripod and shot this with a remote trigger. We both still look pretty much the same.

David and I were like-minded in prioritizing user-, geek-, and designer-friendly needs. Our priorities, free custom-domain hosting, and full HTML-template editing made Tumblr a big hit among creative people from the beginning.

MySpace was where you went in the past, WordPress and Movable Type were where people went if they had the patience and writing output to maintain a traditional blog, Facebook was where you went to define yourself by schools and checkboxes, and Tumblr was where you went to make your own identity and express your creativity.


David and I surprise-attended the very first Tumblr meetup in February 2008 organized by Lee “Sharingtime”, left-center.

Even though Tumblr was never a one-person company, it usually felt like a one-person product.

David always had a vision for where he wanted to go next. I was never the “idea guy” — in addition to my coding and back-end duties, I often served as an idea editor. David would come in with a grand new feature idea, and I’d tell him which parts were infeasible or impossible, which tricky conditions and edge cases we’d need to consider, and which other little niceties and implementation details we should add. But the ideas were usually David’s, and the product roadmap was always David’s.


My infamous standing desk improvised from Coke cans and IKEA bookshelves, March 2008.

David always obsessed over his newest ideas, features, and designs until they were completely polished and ready to go. He’s a workaholic — he truly lives and breathes Tumblr. I’ve never even seen him show any desire to work on a side project. David is all Tumblr, all the time.

He expects people around him to be similarly into work and Tumblr, and often drove me hard with seemingly impossible demands. But David has a lot of Steve Jobs-like qualities, and like many people who worked for Steve, I look back on Tumblr’s crunch times with mixed feelings: I don’t want to return to that stress level, but David pushed me to do amazing work that I didn’t think was possible.


David working on a Dashboard redesign in November 2008.

Intense focus requires neglecting almost everything else. David’s focus on pushing the product forward meant that he didn’t want to think about boring stuff: support, scaling, paperwork, and money.

Every time we’d get close to needing more funding, I’d try to convince David to hold out a bit longer or try to become profitable, and he’d convince me that everyone was better off if we’d focus on the product instead. And every time, he was right.


Jacob Bijani joined in December 2008 as a designer, front-end developer, and wall of hair.

We tried to hold out as just two (and then just three) people as long as possible. We were scared of growing the staff, so we just put it off — for too long, in retrospect.

Eventually, David knew that we’d need to expand to handle the load, but his job never changed: rather than become a businessperson, he just hired one.

Then Tumblr began its most challenging growth: David needed to become a product manager, start overseeing a lot more people, and delegate some of the duties he really wanted to keep doing himself.


David and me I figuring something out in January 2009. Most Almost all of our conversations looked exactly like this.

After a rough start, David got the hang of being a manager. But he still didn’t want to think about money — his heart just wasn’t in it.

Instead, he continued doing what he does best: driving the product forward, knowing exactly what people want from it.

I’ve only seen one other “product person” as good as David, and that was Steve Jobs. (Believe me, there are many parallels.)

David has an impeccable sense of what’s best for Tumblr, and he doesn’t need anyone else telling him what’s best for the product. Many people, myself included, have tried to convince him to go different directions, and we’ve been proven wrong every time.

Tumblr is David, and David is Tumblr.


By June 2009, the staff had grown to include (clockwise from Jacob’s wall of hair) Jacob Bijani, Jared Hecht, Meaghan O’Connell, Peter Vidani, and Josh Rachford.

I didn’t have any advance knowledge of the Yahoo acquisition — I got official confirmation this morning, just like the public. When I read the Yahoo acquisition rumor a few days ago on AllThingsD, I didn’t know whether to believe any of it until I read this:

Sources said that as part of the deal, founder and CEO David Karp would continue to operate the business, with Mayer promising him a level of autonomy, despite the need to integrate closely with Yahoo too. He will be locked in, sources said, via a four-year deal…

That sounded like David.


Peter, Jacob, Topherchris, Andrew Terng, Matt Hackett, and I tested new shirts at Shake Shack in June 2010.

Generally, what Tumblr needs, and what Tumblr has always needed, is to get support and maintenance roles off of David’s plate so he can focus on the product.

David’s perfectly able to worry about money and operations, but I bet he really doesn’t want to. At best, it would be a tremendous waste of his time and talent.

We — internet users, creative people, publishers, socializers — will be much better served if David can focus on his product’s features, design, and messaging instead of worrying about server architecture and raising more money.


Shortly before I left Tumblr, in

In
July 2010, the original corner of the office looked almost the same as it always had.

This is why I’m optimistic about the Yahoo acquisition.

Anyone who knows David can tell, very clearly, that he wrote every word of his announcement post. Not only did Yahoo let him end it like that, but the subhead on their official press release shows that Tumblr and Yahoo are seeing eye-to-eye on quite a lot already. In many ways, this feels more like a merger than an acquisition.

This is clearly what David believes is best for his product. On such big decisions, he hasn’t been wrong yet. This time, though, I don’t have any doubts.

Acquisitions on this scale usually work well — YouTube, for example, has gotten much better, faster, more stable, and more sustainable since Google bought it.

Buying Tumblr is a big enough deal for Yahoo that they clearly aren’t intending to ruin it or shut it down — like YouTube and Google, Tumblr will probably become an extremely important part of Yahoo indefinitely. And I believe they’ll do a good job with it. Yahoo today is a very different company than the Yahoo that neglected Flickr for years — it has extremely competent new leadership making bold changes. (Including fixing Flickr.)

More importantly, it gives David, and the rest of Tumblr’s team, the freedom to continue making the best product they can while offloading a lot of the grunt work to Yahoo’s leadership, staff, and infrastructure.

As for me, while I wasn’t a “founder” financially, David was generous with my employee stock options back in the day. I won’t make yacht-and-helicopter money from the acquisition, and I won’t be switching to dedicated day and night iPhones. But as long as I manage investments properly and don’t spend recklessly, Tumblr has given my family a strong safety net and given me the freedom to work on whatever I want. And that’s exactly what I plan to do.

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2753 days ago
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What It's Like Being Verified on Twitter

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Twitter verification is an interesting phenomenon on the service; It's very visible since everybody sees and follows accounts which are verified, but also sort of secretive because nobody really knows how it works or how Twitter defines the criteria behind having one's account blessed.

It seems like Twitter verifies certain accounts in waves, bringing in new batches of verified users on an ongoing basis, with an obvious bias toward people who are famous, but also including those who might be impersonated or the occasional odd exception for people (like me) who aren't famous but happen to have a large following.

I can't explain how Twitter makes the decision to verify an account, but after seeing another recent spate of users being verified, I thought I'd give a little glimpse into what the experience looks like. (I'm told that some celebrities who are invited to use Twitter or coached on its use skip this process, but this is what us non-celebs see.)

  1. First, you wake up on a day that seems like any other day, but then, out of the blue: It's a direct message from the mysterious @verified account! It says "We at Twitter would like to verify your account. Please click this account and follow the instructions." and then gives you a link to a little guided setup process. I got this on my mobile phone, and wasn't surprised to find out the whole thing works just fine on an iPhone.


    We at Twitter would like to verify your account.
  2. The first thing the setup guide says is "Hi!" and then it explains "Twitter's verified badge is our way of making sure that this is you."


    Twitter's verified badge is our way of making sure that this is you.
  3. Then Twitter starts to give a few bits of advice on how to be a good tweeter; These are clearly aimed at people who aren't too familiar with the service. Interestingly, they're grouped under the heading of "Learn how to tweet effectively." Each one offers a sort of Goofus-and-Gallant version of "which one is better?" and the first asks explicitly, "Which Tweet will help double your rate of new followers for the day?". The choices in this first test are between a bland recitation of having watched the Oscars and a little more lively take on watching the show.


    Which Tweet will help double your rate of new followers for the day?
  4. The next step of the guide tells you when you've made the right choice about how to tweet effectively, offering the tidbit that "Live-tweeting a relevant event can increase your daily follower rate by 260%." Pretty heavy promotion of the Twitter-is-for-celebrities idea.


    Live-tweeting a relevant event can increase your daily follower rate by 260%.
  5. After that, there's another quiz question: "Which Tweet will more of your followers engage with?". Interestingly, this mimics one of the big things we've learned from working on ThinkUp — you have to ask answerable questions on Twitter. It seems obvious in retrospect, but lots of people don't do it.


    Which Tweet will more of your followers engage with?
  6. Again the indomitable Melisa provides the right answer to Twitter's training class, yielding the insight that "Your audience loves to interact with you. Invite questions for a Twitter Q&A to increase your followers and engagement!"


    Your audience loves to interact with you. Invite questions for a Twitter Q&A to increase your followers and engagement!
  7. A final question, fundamentally challenging the about-to-be-verified tweeter about whether they know how to drive their biggest stats on Twitter: "Which Tweet will get more clicks, favorites and retweets from your followers?" In addition to boldly eschewing the Oxford comma (U.S.A.! U.S.A.!), they provide two options on how to talk about running into Taylor Swift backstage at the Grammies, which happens to all of us blue checkmark people all the time. One choice is awesome and has a photo and the other choice is for idiots.


    Which Tweet will get more clicks, favorites and retweets from your followers?
  8. Okay, you did it! You passed the test. (I didn't grab a picture of whatever affirmation they offer after the third "Learn how to Tweet effectively" page.) So now it tells you to "Increase your trustworthiness by following other verified users", which in my case included Gavin Newsom, who was formerly the Mayor of the hair club for men. I did not follow him (instead I clicked "Next") but they let me become verified anyway, and I have not yet heard any complaints about my diminished trustworthiness.


    Increase your trustworthiness by following other verified users
  9. After all this setup, they get down to the nuts-and-bolts stuff, telling you to "Protect your account", by asking for your phone number. "Phone numbers allow us to contact you in case there is a security issue with your account", which made me think someone has the job at Twitter's office of calling celebrities and asking them "Is this stupid tweet really from you?"


    Protect your account
  10. Success at last. A happy little confirmation screen (which oddly didn't show up properly on my iPhone browser) affirms that you're now a proud new owner of one blue checkmark on your Twitter profile. Fawning followers sold separately. The very top of the screen says "Congratulations, [your name]! Your Twitter account is now verified!" The fine print says, "With your newly verified account, you will receive weekly activity reports with information about the number of people following you, and simple tips about how to increase that number. Stop getting the report by choosing 'unsubscribe' in the email footer, or uncheck the box in your email notification settings in your profile settings." That weekly email seems to be the same one that everybody else gets (I get it for my other Twitter accounts), but I was verified about six months ago, so maybe they just extended the verified email to everyone when they added those notifications.


    Congratulations, [your name]! Your Twitter account is now verified!
  11. And then a little postscript. This is the notification I received immediately after finishing the verification process. It let me know that the official @verified account was following me. I followed it back, which reminded me that I hadn't been following it in the first place, so how had it send me the DM to start the process?! Twitter Magic.


    @verified is now following you!

Life With the Blue Checkmark

Other than of course gaining membership to an exclusive worldwide Illuminati cabal, there really isn't any difference in using Twitter when you're verified. Some folks think it matters a lot, and there are definitely teenagers (and aspiring hip hop acts?) who desperately want a verified checkmark next to their name, judging by the rash of @ replies I got immediately after verification, from people asking how they could be verified.

One minor thing I've noticed is that verified accounts have access to Twitter's analytics, which I think are otherwise only accessible to advertisers. Users who got verified because Twitter officially brought them onto the service (who don't go through this setup process) have told me that Twitter actually showed them the analytics features. In my case, I didn't know I had access to it until I accidentally discovered that fact, and this setup process didn't give any hints to that fact.

In all, despite the oddly celebrity-centric nature of the tips they give users in the setup, I think Twitter's designed a good process for users that they want to verify. In fact, the coaching concept is terrific and should probably be incorporated into everybody's Twitter experience somehow. It's obviously far too intrusive to put into the signup flow for regular users, and the tips as written are only appropriate for bigger accounts, but the idea of teaching people how to tweet is a great one.

That fundamental idea, that we can teach people how to use social media more effectively, is in fact one of the big goals for what we're working on with ThinkUp. In our case, though, I think we assume users can have a more goals than simply increasing your daily follower rate or, um, your trustworthiness. Although those are fine goals, too, I think normal users have a broad range of things they're looking to get out of their networks.

Beyond Verification

I spend a lot of time around very digitally-savvy Twitter users, who sort of understand the Verified checkmark to be an arbitrary, Twitter-run program. But the less tech-savvy folks I talk to, if they're familiar with the Verified marker, see it as much more of a status symbol.

What I'd love to see is ways to either make more accounts have meaningful verification (I'm not sure how that would scale) or at least ways to indicate a Twitter account is an "official" one for a particular website or organization. Twitter's analytics tools already allow me to claim my domain name and get stats on tweets about it; Being able to verify that @anildash is the official Twitter account of Dashes.com might be a happy medium between verifying every account on Twitter and simply providing another layer of trust and identity on top of Twitter's existing account names.

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to7
2815 days ago
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Nice read!
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Three Months to Scale NewsBlur

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At 4:16pm last Wednesday I got a short and to-the-point email from Nilay Patel at The Verge with only a link that started with the host “googlereader.blogspot.com”. The sudden spike in NewsBlur’s visitors immediately confirmed — Google was shutting down Reader.

Late night at the office

I had been preparing for a black swan event like this for the last four years since I began NewsBlur. With the deprecation of their social features a year ago I knew it was only a matter of time before Google stopped supporting Reader entirely. I did not expect it to come this soon.

As the Storify history of the Reader-o-calypse, NewsBlur suffered a number of hurdles with the onslaught of new subscribers.

A few of my challenges and solutions

I was able to handle the 1,500 users who were using the service everyday, but when 50,000 users hit an uncachable and resource intensive backend, unless you’ve done your homework and load tested the living crap out of your entire stack, there’s going to be trouble brewing. Here’s just a few of the immediate challenges I faced over the past four days:

  • My hosting provider, Reliable Hosting Services, was neither reliable, able to host my increasing demands, or a service I could count rely on. I switched to Digital Ocean and immediately got to writing new Fabric scripts so I could deploy a new app/task server by issuing a single command and having it serve requests automatically within 10 minutes of bootstrapping.
  • It didn’t take long to max out my Amazon Simple Email Service (SES) account’s quota of 10,000 emails a day. So a few hours into the melee I switched to Mailgun, which unfortunately resulted in emailing myself 250,000 error reports. If you tried to email me and couldn’t get through, it’s because 50,000 emails about lost database connections made their way ahead of you in line.
  • Eventually, I was just plain blacklisted on SES for sending too many emails.
  • Fortunately, when the PayPal fraud department called because of an unprecedented spike in payments, I was prepared.
  • HAProxy would Having HAProxy serve errors (site is down, maintenance, timeouts, etc) with a 200 OK status code instead of the proper 500 Exception status code because of a ridiculous undocumented requirement to include HTTP Headers at the top of the error template. When your webapp uses status codes to determine errors, you get extremely strange behavior when it loads utter crap into your DOM.
  • The inevitable file descriptor limits on Linux means that for every database connection you make, you use up one of the 1,024 file descriptors that are allocated to your process by default. Changing these limits is not only non-trivial, but they don’t tend to stick. This is responsible for bringing down Mongo, PostgreSQL, and the real-time Node servers, all at different times of the night.
  • The support queue is enormous and I’ve had to spend big chunks of my 16 hour days reassuring paying customers that eventually Stripe will forgive me and my unresponsive servers and will send the payment notification that is responsible for automatically upgrading their accounts to premium.

The sad extent of my St. Patrick’s Day

As a one-man-shop it has been humbling to receive the benefit of the doubt from many who have withheld their judgment despite the admittedly slow loadtimes and downtime NewsBlur experienced. Having the support of the amazing NewsBlur community is more than a guy could ask for. The tweets of encouragement, voting NewsBlur up on replacereader.com (If you haven’t yet, please tweet a vote for “#newsblur to #replacereader”), and the many positive comments and blog posts from people who have tried NewsBlur is great.

It has also been a dream come true to receive accolades from the many who are trying NewsBlur for the first time and loving it. Since the announcement, NewsBlur has welcomed 5,000 new premium subscribers and 60,000 new users (from 50,000 users originally).

NewsBlur users are intelligent, kind, and good looking!

The next three months

Over the next three months I’ll be working on:

For those of you who are still trying to decide where to go now that you’re a Reader refugee let me tell you a few of the unique things NewsBlur has to offer:

  1. Radical transparency. NewsBlur is totally open source and will remain that way.
  2. It still feels like RSS, just with a few more bells and whistles. NewsBlur provides actual list of posts, as opposed to the more curated magazine format of some of the other popular replacements. This clean interface makes it easy to see the stories you want. One innovation however is the four different view options you have. NewsBlur can show you the original site, feed, text or story view.
  3. It has training. NewsBlur hides stories you don’t want to read based on tags, keywords, authors, etc. It also highlights stories you want to read, based on the same criteria. This allows you to find the stories you care about, not just the stories that the hive Hive cares about. And best of all, NewsBlur will show you why stories are either highlighted or hidden by showing the criteria in green or red.
  4. NewsBlur has rebuilt the social community that Google had stripped out of Reader. Users can share stories through their Blurblog and discover new content by following friends’ Blurblogs. The People Have Spoken is the blurblog of popular stories.
  5. Because NewsBlur is entirely open-source, if you don’t want to pay you can host your own server. Instructions are on GitHub, where you can also find the source code for the NewsBlur iPhone + iPad app and Android app.
  6. Most importantly, NewsBlur is not entirely a free app. The immediate benefits of revenue have been very clear over the past few days. Not only are NewsBlur’s interests are aligned with its users, but as more users join NewsBlur, it makes more revenue that can be used to directly support the new users. Not convinced that paid is better than free? Read Pinboard’s Maciej Ceglowski’s essay Don’t Be a Free User.

Shiloh during better times. Your premium subscription goes to both server costs and feeding her

With NewsBlur’s native iOS app and Android app, you can read your news and share it with your friends anywhere. And with the coming improvements over the next three months, you bet NewsBlur will be the #1 choice for Google Reader refugees. survivors.

Join NewsBlur for $24/year and discover what RSS should have been.

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to7
2817 days ago
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Newsblur news:
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44 public comments
ksw
2805 days ago
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Excellent write-up. I'm growing more confident about my decision to use NewsBlur in place of Reader.
Manhattan
shanel
2805 days ago
This is what brought me here.
datavortex
2807 days ago
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Great tale from the DevOps battlefield
Stockbridge, GA
parisferra
2811 days ago
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Excellent stuff. I go straight for premium membership. Good products deserve support.
heliostatic
2812 days ago
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Best news reader around, and the best team building it. Plus, you always know what features are coming next if you check the various branches on github.
Williamstown, MA
sigvei
2813 days ago
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_Slik_ snakker du med kundene dine. Enmannsforetaket NewsBlur tjuedoblet brukermassen over natta.
Oslo
maistrack
2815 days ago
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Simply awesome!!
keri
2816 days ago
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might not be for everyone, but it's for me
chapel thrill, nc
htakeshi
2816 days ago
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Google Rederがサービス停止を突然、発表。試行錯誤しながら、私も環境移行をしています。
その後の展開は、ビジネスモデルのケーススタディとしても、考えさせられることが多いです。
andycwb
2816 days ago
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Excellent opportunity. Just signed up for the super-premium extra dog food option.
gienahghurab
2816 days ago
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Actually just testing my blurblog... *'.'*
BLueSS
2816 days ago
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I love NewsBlur, and this was a nice read.
KevinMMeredith
2816 days ago
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Nice summary of what happened
Victorville, CA 92392 USA
smadin
2816 days ago
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Some interesting detail on @NewsBlur's Readerpocalypse.
Boston
pastorwalters
2816 days ago
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Interesting story of NewsBlur's rapid growth after Google's Reader shut down announcement.
Two Rivers, WI
tfield
2816 days ago
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Post Mortem on Readerpocalypse glitches from Newsblur which I switched to from Google Reader a while back. Great service.
Alexandria, VA
robferrer
2817 days ago
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Really interesting story of a sudden spike in demand for @newsblur
Leamington Spa, UK
indra
2817 days ago
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fun times :)
Canberra
lpmpessoal2
2817 days ago
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Como a vida está a mudar ao NewsBlur com o fim do Google Reader. História interessante. Na primeira pessoa.
TheRomit
2817 days ago
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I hope that doesn't mean those API end points requested by the W8 developer are going to take a back seat :-(
santa clara, CA
superiphi
2817 days ago
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love the transparency at #newsblur :)
Idle, Bradford, United Kingdom
CliffS
2817 days ago
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Thanks for the update Samuel! This is why I prefer to support smaller operations--my input actually counts for something.
Wahiawa, Hawaii
trepidity
2817 days ago
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Excellent story
adamgurri
2817 days ago
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Notes from the front
New York, NY
agonist
2817 days ago
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Trial by fire is always an exciting challenge. I paid up and like what I see so far. Good luck to you.
the dark side of the sun.
mithrandir
2817 days ago
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I'm super excited to see NewsBlur take off like this. Congrats!
sredfern
2817 days ago
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Congrats Sam! (awesome name btw)
Sydney Australia
danatnr
2817 days ago
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Fascinating story of NewsBlur programmer whose demand increased tenfold when Google Reader announced closing.
Ohio
nickoneill
2817 days ago
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5 days and @samuelclay already has time to write blog posts, amazing.
san francisco
smilerz
2817 days ago
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Kinda wished I had found NewsBlur before becoming a Reader refugee. Great work and hang in there - all of the hard work will pay off!
Chicago or thereabouts
fredw
2817 days ago
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Great read on scaling exploding web apps. Been there, done that.
Portland, OR
pberry
2817 days ago
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Love the run down and appreciate the time it took to update us.
Chico, CA
samuel
2817 days ago
Ok, I'm going to admit it right now. My girlfriend wrote a good chunk of the post as a template, which I then rewrote with specifics. Seriously, she's the absolute best.
jbloom
2817 days ago
Hire your girlfriend to do PR. She is awesome! :D
jbloom
2817 days ago
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Love this detailed account of NewsBlur after the Google Reader closing announcement. NewsBlur rocks!
Columbus, Ohio
jbloom
2817 days ago
Going to get my dad a premium account.
DracoLlasa
2817 days ago
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been very impressed with the service and the ramp up. only took a few days and things are running pretty smooth. Glad i made the move here
mgeraci
2817 days ago
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Congrats, Sam, and keep up the amazing work!
New York, NY
tedder
2817 days ago
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all hail Samuel Clay! Great work. I reached out in case I could help in devops, but I didn't know the extent of your personal inbox disaster.
Uranus
samuel
2817 days ago
Don't know if you noticed, but I accidentally sent myself 250,000 error emails, so yeah, my inbox is currently jammed.
tedder
2817 days ago
yes- that's why I said "personal inbox disaster" :) spam cannons are always fun.
jzsimon
2817 days ago
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Great story!
blueminder
2817 days ago
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"Paypal’s fraud department just called, asked me what’s going on. Asked the rep from Omaha if she’s heard of Reader, and then a big Ohhh."
San Francisco, CA
pyrona
2813 days ago
Heeeey, when you share something you should always comment something so we can reply to you! Newsblur has a, uh, "feature" that makes it so others can't comment on your shares unless you do first. (I'm only telling you this here, because it's the most recent thing you shared that you commented on ^_^)
blueminder
2813 days ago
Ah, I didn't know that's how it works on this end of the RSS world. http://sighroll.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/themoreyouknow.jpg
SuzeVich
2813 days ago
BTW: You TOTALLY got me with Shiloh ... I would have paid even if you hadn't stopped the free subscriptions. ;D
iross
2817 days ago
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Holy crap. Am I reading that right? NewBlur went from 1,500 users to 60,000+?

Any chance those shirts make a comeback? I'd buy some NB swag.
Madison, Wi
CliffS
2817 days ago
I think it's 50k to 110k.
kyleniemeyer
2817 days ago
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Hey, I'm in this post! Perhaps not my most flattering picture...
Corvallis, OR
kyleniemeyer
2817 days ago
Also, I think that NewsBlur has pretty much recovered from the Great Reader Exodus.
samuel
2817 days ago
Nope, not even close to recovered. While the servers are stable, the load times are now 9X where they should be. I have charted some remedies, but they're going to take time. And I still have yet to go 24 hours without a server meltdown.
kyleniemeyer
2817 days ago
Yeah, I did notice the outage this morning. At least, things seemed better today than they had all last week.
jbloom
2817 days ago
Samuel, at least I am able to use my iPad now. And I am glad to see from all of this that you know your stuff with databases and such. You know WAY more than I do! :D
satadru
2817 days ago
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Excellent work.
New York, NY
BiG_E_DuB
2817 days ago
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This guy is awesome. Premium is basically confirmed for me...might do it Monday
Charlotte, NC, USA
samuel
2817 days ago
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Here it is, my last five days in blog form. Biggest lesson learned: take more photos!
Cambridge, Massachusetts
gazuga
2817 days ago
Epic post from a prescient fellow. It's plain you've been mulling over the question of free users, with good cause. For my counterpoint to Maciej Ceglowski, see "Transitioning back to freemium" in the ideas section of the support forums.
gazuga
2817 days ago
Loving my t-shirt, by the way!
ChrisHamby
2817 days ago
Thanks for all your hard work! I didn't send in a photo of my tshirt because it's a few sizes too big... but that's the last thing I'd want you to worry about now!
sashae
2817 days ago
thanks for working so hard to keep all of us poor news junkies happy... you've built a really great thing!
InKunKa
2817 days ago
I'm thrilled with Newsblur, and happy to be a new paying member. I wish I had known about it before :)
mocker
2817 days ago
Keep up with the transparency of what's going on with any site issues. As someone who already went premium, I appreciate it.
sredfern
2817 days ago
Your dog may gain some weight with all those premium subscribers...
trekkie
2817 days ago
Wore my shirt all day but forgot to take a picture.
2817 days ago
You won me over, I completely ditched google reader and deleted all of the data over there. I need some confirmation on if the price will go back to $12 and when exactly it will do this, I understand why you did it but I was there when it changed and that obviously made me do a double take. I NEED the features of the premium account so please let me know if I should wait or if the price will never go back down.
mfitzhugh
2817 days ago
You're doing a great job, Samuel. When I checked out Newsblur last week, your dedication to building a great service was evident from the get-go. It made signing up for premium an easy choice. Keep up the good work, and don't worry about breaking a few things along the way.
PunkRockWarlord
2817 days ago
I joined a few days ago and have been very impressed. I'd been wanting an RSS client that would sync between my laptop and iOS devices (and wasn't tied to Google), and NewsBlur delivers on all fronts. Thanks for putting in all the work, Samuel!
pdp68
2817 days ago
Speaking as a Reader refugee, I have been very impressed with NewsBlur so far - so much so that I am starting to wish that Google had shut down Reader sooner. In many ways, NewsBlur strikes me as being everything that Reader could have been.
kworr
2817 days ago
Maybe you need some help? I have some skills on nginx/freebsd/pgsql and making sites go stable on the high load (not just extremely high, like 2kk request per day).
raorn
2817 days ago
You did a great job, Samuel! dev.newsblur.com is something I always wanted. Already fell in love with "intelligent training" feature.
sylvaingaffie
2816 days ago
Man, you are AWESOME !! I still wonder how I would react in your case. I probably would have sank into madess :o).
stavrosg
2816 days ago
I live in Europe, so I woke up one morning with NewsBlur already in meltdown mode, and found about Reader a while later, so I just decided to sit out the mayhem and return to my feeds a couple of days later. You handled the situation as best as you could, congratulations and be assured that my premium subscription will be renewed once it ends. I am also glad that I quit Reader away ahead of the announcement of its shutdown and found this service.
nebkor
2816 days ago
As someone said on HackerNews, your first hire should be a good sysadmin; making changes to ulimits is easy and easy to make stick :)
cmn
2815 days ago
Here's 24$, love it!
Alpha_Cluster
2817 days ago
reply
Interesting post about the the aftermath of the Google Reader announcement on the awesome NewsBlur service!
DaftDoki
2817 days ago
reply
What one person has built is impressive. Success disasters are always better to deal with than normal disasters.
Seattle
ocrammarco
2816 days ago
Agreed, as a developer I have nothing but admiration and sympathy.
katiegirl
2816 days ago
This is exactly why I have given this guy my $24. He seems pretty up and up.