One day at the top

Well almost one day, and almost the top. I submitted the Startup Rush article to Hacker News yesterday and made it to #7, and spent the better part of the day on the front page. This is the first time I’ve been anything close to ‘slashdotted’ so it was just a little exciting and interesting to see the effect. I know it’s cliché to blog about your blog post being front page on a social media site but I don’t have anything better to write about and I’m waaaaaaay behind on my #NaNoWriMo blogging spree (tomorrow I literally have to write 10 blog posts).

So here is a little graphic of the site traffic spike I saw.

traffic stats

I hit 4,998 visitors that day, which is more than the last 3 months combined. Interestingly that only translated into 15 new RSS subscriptions (that is if Feedburner stats are to be believed). I got 43 points so that gives you an idea of how many people click vs how many vote. The really interesting thing is how few votes it takes to get onto the front page, after 3 points I was around the bottom of page 1. As far as I can tell, getting a few quick votes early on bumps you way up, but it may not last unless you keep getting votes. It’s an interesting algorithm that I suspect is quite effective and well tuned.

Based on past submissions I’ve made that went nowhere, you can expect about 10-20 views just from being on the ‘new’ page, so you only need a few of those people to vote for your post to have a shot at front page glory.

Anyways it was fun while it lasted. Out of the comments on hacker news I found a number of people didn’t quite understand the purpose of my two analogies and perhaps took them a bit too literally. One response that I really liked though was this one:

Neither of these ideas make much sense and are both based upon agrarian ideas of economics. The agrarian idea is basically that is only so much land, and he who controls the most of it will be richest.

The new economy is a situation where each new idea creates new opportunities and the only real scarcity is that of attention. Attention is largely an intangible asset, certainly not ownable or protectable and the only real moats you can build with regard to attention are that of network effect.

A very interesting point of view. Again, I really want to emphasise that the analogy can quickly be taken to far. I’m not trying to suggest the economics of software startups is the same as that of a physical resource, or that events that occurred over a century ago are a perfect model for what is happening today. An analogy is only meant to help provide some insight and perspective through relative comparisons and contrasts. I do however, really like the point being made in this comment about ideas and building attention and interest around them and so I wanted to share it.

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