A peek behind the scenes of Vinepeek
It’s been a rather exciting weekend in PXi-land. We have been amazed by the support and excitement over our little Friday project - Vinepeek. In a matter of hours, the frenzy of watching the world in 6 second snippets got covered by Hacker News, TheVerge, Mashable, VentureBeat, BuzzFeed and CNET, to mention a few.
We got so many questions from friends that we thought we would give you a bit of a behind-the-scenes peek at how we made Vinepeek.
Vinepeek took just 6 hours to go from idea to production. In between, we still had a team lunch, and we were testing one of our other new products coming soon (Tagstar). Stay tuned for more on that later.
The PXi Ventures team consists of @xenophin, @petermacrobert and @jalada - a bunch of techie geeks based in Shoreditch, London. This reasonably new team, working away on quite a few new ideas, have a few rules already. Every Friday we make a point of taking a break from our main product development to work on a quick hack project. (We call these “Friday Projects”). Vinepeek was our most recent one.
All of the PXi’s are huge fans of Twitter - so when they launched Vine, we were all quickly having fun with it. The original idea for a Friday project - to stitch together Vines - was the brainchild of David (@jalada) - our PXi guru who runs all our development. After a quick morning brainstorm to plan the logistics for kicking off the Friday Project, we were off…
By lunch we had a fully working prototype. We had a bit of a team vote on domain names and settled on Vinepeek.com - to let people get the sense of “peeking” into peoples’ Vines. We did last minute cosmetic fixes (like rounding the borders on Vines) followed by a end of day vote on whether we should push to production before weekend. It was rough and ready - but that’s what Friday projects are about. So the PXi’s pushed Vinepeek into the wide interweb. We woke up Saturday to share in the excitement of the world, who thought Vinepeek was “the most addictive new site on the Internet”
Here are some interesting stats from Vinepeek during the weekend of go-live:
- Number of concurrent users peaked at 1500.
- Over 3 million Vines were served over the weekend to Vinepeek fans.
- 57% of our users are from the USA, 10% from the UK.
- 44% of all users accessed Vinepeek from Chrome.
- The average visitor spends between 2 and 3 minutes watching Vinepeek continuously. 5% of our users spend over 1 hour watching Vinepeek continuously. Wow?!
- Twitter drove 33% of all our visitor traffic - while the rest was driven mostly by large news sites such as Buzzfeed and TechCrunch.
Finally - a lot of people have asked us what the secrets are to getting something to go viral. Well, here are a few PXi tips:
- Beware the indecision-vortex. Make sure you move fast and don’t sit on an idea for too long. Spend as little resources as possible to get the idea out and tested. Iteration is easy afterwards if your idea sticks.
- Keep it really simple. Over-engineered and over-designed products really are the worst thing you can do. People want something that is simple, clean and which has an immediate story to tell.
- That said - never, ever launch anything (even in prototype phase) without these two key ingredients: Google Analytics to see what’s happening with your audience and scalable self-healing infrastructure (we use Heroku or Amazon EC2).
- Twitter is an incredibly powerful tool for seeding viral growth for your product.
- Don’t necessarily anticipate viral growth, but when it happens - jump on it! We pushed various changes to Vinepeek each hour during the weekend to solve major niggles people were experiencing, but also to add functions for re-sharing on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook, so that people could let us and their friends know they were enjoying Vinepeek.
- Don’t let your product crash or slowdown during the hockey stick growth phase! (See previous point about infrastructure).
- Have fun. If its not fun - why bother?
- Above all - get a great team. Ideas mean very little without a great team to get it going.