Sunday, September 30, 2007

Growing a Startup

A quick status report... We're GROWING!

Group News Blog made its first post July 1, three months ago tomorrow.

We just broke into the the top 15K List on Technorati which is massively fast growth (there are roughly 8 million blogs ranked on Technorati, plus many unranked.) We have 30K absolute unique visitors as our baseline, and grew by one-third last month.

I've been getting questions as to how GNB is growing so fast, often accompanied with a request I exchange blog links. Primarily, I defer to the concept that "If you write it, they will come" which I deeply believe.


Steve taught us to keep our Blogroll very limited. We modify our roll occasionally, but we like that it fits completely on one screen. Who is on our blogroll? Blogs we visit all the time, writers we personally like, and an occasional wild card. There are sites on our blogroll I hit 15-20 times a day; the same is true for my colleagues.

How to get on our blogroll? Write amazingly well and post great content. When you start getting lots of links from us, you're likely to end up on our blogroll eventually. If we don't give you links, the next time we reorganize our blogroll, you may well drop off no matter if we're friends or you're a big dog among blogs. GNB bloggers use our blogroll on a daily basis. They are truly our working links.

But how is GNB growing so fast?

Read Paul Graham's essays on startups (all of them; one a day till you're done) and Joel Spolsky's essays on software & business (all of them; one a day till you're done, even the ones which seem to just be about software and you don't understand or care about software. Trust me: a) they're all about growing a business, and b) even the one's which aren't, you'll learn something from.)

I have stuff to say and lessons we've learned about how it is we're growing this fast. Yeah, we are pretty much calling our shots (13 ball in the corner pocket) in the sense that this growth is planned, not accidental.

The details -- the what and how -- of our growth, needs to wait:

  • 'Cause it would be the height of hubris to say we've got it wired, before actually, like um, winning the game,
  • I'm at my absolute physical limit and simply don't have anything left to put into laying out how we're doing what we're doing. There is very specific method to our madness. Often several.
  • I'm keeping semi-accurate notes and once we hit at least the 5K list or better, the 2K Technorati list and 50K absolute unique visitors, and I'm getting regular sleep (and if Mary-Sue ain't in Jail, Pregnant and the Creek Don't Rise), then I'm open to discussing how we got there, and
  • It's the writing, fool.
The GNB Bloggers, my perspective:
  • Hubris brings in a perspective on the war which schools me all the time, plus a deep grasp of international & U.S. politics. He's even better in person. Plus he's a serious foodie. As is his wife.
  • Sara is coaching me on finding a possible fill-in for vacation relief, and gives me notes on my essays. She turns out flawless work with professional ease. She's so good I sometimes hate her.
  • Lower Manhattanite leaves me holding my breath each time he posts. Sometimes I spit up on my keyboard; other times I weep. Sometimes both within minutes.
  • And me.
Each of these people is my friend. How fortunate am I?

Our first quarter is over. Our next quarter is beginning.

We know where we're going and are glad you're here with us. I'll call one of our shots in public: No later than one month from now, Halloween/Nov 1, GNB will be on the Technorati 10K list.

Thank you for an amazing first three months. Here's to a terrific fall quarter.