Friend Theory Launch: the platform crashed due to high traffic (Thanks for all the love!)

We would’ve never expected such an amazing response from all of you! You’re making this project a reality – thank you ❤️ And don’t panic, we are working hard to have Friend Theory platform running smoothly very soon.

*UPDATE* Platform is working smoothly again – bring on the traffic 🎉

It’s been a while since we first came up with the Friend Theory idea and our entire team agrees that building this project has been the closest thing to having a baby. Like many other entrepreneurs would agree, this process is incredibly exciting. However, people don’t tend to realise all the hard work behind it, so it’s pretty scary to finally reveal this baby to the world.

The more hours you put in building your platform, the stronger the fear of rejection is and nowadays, it feels like there is launch of an app or website every other minute, so the stake levels are high in order to impress people with your own platform.

We kept delaying our platform’s launch for weeks, and I honestly blame the vision and the incredible potential that Friend Theory has. It just felt like what we had built so far was insignificant compared to where we want to take the project to, and at the end of the day, people only see the current version of the product. This is extremely tough, but when you get into this loop, you need to remember this incredibly famous (and true) quote:

“If You’re Not Embarrassed By The First Version Of Your Product, You’ve Launched Too Late”

And I can already assure you we we are far from being fully proud of our product.

Due to our lack of our development capacity, it was still going to take quite a long time until we could fully be proud of our platform. Friend Theory is not a corporate company with 1,000 Software Engineers – not even close. Friend Theory is a bootstrapping start-up with basically 1 full time Software Engineer who, with the only help of another developer friend, has been able to build all the platform from scratch (what a rockstar hey!). As you can imagine, it would take ages to get to the level of other well known platforms like Spotify or Snapchat. We realised we had to leave our protective mindset behind and press the button – we had to finally launch.

So… it’s go time! 🚀

However, we didn’t have much money for marketing. Even with a decent marketing budget, it was still going to be hard to get decent traction, but if you don’t even have the money to reach your market… then the situation goes from being difficult to close to impossible.

We decided to launch organically and let our community know about Friend Theory before putting whatever little budget we had behind it. It was going to be a fairly simple launch, or as many people call it, a “soft launch”: We made a video around the launch (which is actually sick!), posted it on our social media channels and reached out to some of our early supporters to make sure they knew about what was happening. Due to the simplicity of the campaign, we expected to get a hundred users perhaps. No big deal.

That’s when everything started.

Our early supporters were amazingly stoked with the platform, and they started sharing the launch video like crazy. Other people who were following us on social media started sharing it as well and then the friends’ of those early supporters also shared the video.

That’s when the snow ball effect kicked in… Within the first hour, we got an average of 1 share per minute. And not only on the social networks where we posted it, like Facebook and Instagram, also on other platforms – on WhatsApp for instance, we got contacted by a friend who told us that some her friends thought the video was a WhatsApp virus since they received it from different sources at the same time.

Simultaneously, our database was already experiencing some pumping activity. User acquisition, started increasing from both people joining the platform after watching video or from referral URLs shared by the new users with their friends.

Within less than 24h we had already acquired over a 1,400 users, the video was shared by over 200 people on Facebook and reached 40,000 people. Our Instagram account nearly doubled in followers due to the 170 Instagram stories shared by people.

And it didn’t stop after a day. The website URLs sent by the acquired users started to be even more shared than the video, and the snowball effect started getting bigger and bigger – to the point that even job applications came through!

As of now, we are getting closer to 3,000 users and over a hundred of messages have been sent among users. But as you can all imagine, this comes with a price:

The website traffic was so high the platform crashed 💥😳

At the beginning, we ran out of Google Maps searches as we reached the limit, and that was easy to fix. However, later on the platform started getting slower and slower due to the overall traffic until the point it wasn’t even loading.

From a user point of view, this is a terrible experience to have during your platform launch, but we honestly think it’s pretty flattering. It’s flattering because the only reason why this happened is because people loved the platform and the idea way beyond our expectations, which is the most amazing thing to hear as an early stage entrepreneur. After all, our CTO knows the platform’s code like the palm of his hand, so as soon as it happened he knew exactly how to get the platform running smoothly again very quickly, and more importantly, make sure it never ever happens again.

To all of you who are already part of the platform – thank you. The entire Friend Theory team is very proud of having such amazing people supporting the project behind the scenes. As I said at the beginning of this post, Friend Theory is still a baby compared to what it will be very soon – and we can’t wait to share the journey with all of you. If anyone wants to get involved, please do not hesitate to reach us out on hello@friendtheory.com.

PS: You know what’s the best part of the story?

We ended up spending $0 in the launch 😉

Curious about Friend Theory platform? You can join on friendtheory.com. And by the way, we post the most epic content, so make sure you follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay tuned with exciting news about the project!