Share this page!

Thread Reader is happy to present
an unrolled Twitter story with 48 tweets

If you wanna learn how to launch a startup: in this thread I'll TL;DR how I got mine on Reddit's frontpage last week
🤔 The problem:
When I arrive in a new city I have no idea which area to stay, eat and drink. Tourist areas suck: where do locals hang out?
🛠 Solution
When my friend @generic_dreams asked me where to go in Amsterdam I drew a map
So I wanted to make a Google Maps map, and you can draw colors on it for 🎅hipsters, 📸tourists, 🤑rich, 🏡suburbs, 👔bizniz and 🎓students
I would save everybody's drawings and then see what the most popular categories were for each 🏡 area.
I started coding while 📺 livestreaming on @Twitch, 100 ppl watching forced me to code fast without procrastinating
On day 2, I had a live very early protoype where people could draw on a map:
I used a 🖼<canvas> HTML element and put a Google Maps map below it, and then wrote some plain JS (w/ jQuery) to make the 🐭mouse draw on it
I then save all the drawings with its coordinates in an array, and AJAX that to a PHP script on the 🖥server regularly
PHP saves the data to a SQLite database with its (latitude,longitude) coordinates, the category drawn and the user_id (based on IP etc.)
So I normalized it by simply removing decimals:


Each decimal less is ~10x as big area
I now had a grid of the most dominant values for each (normalized) GPS coordinate area, but this was just dots, so I made the brush size big
Because the data was unprecise by nature (this is LA), I added a simple 🌫blur in CSS to the 🖼<canvas>:

canvas {
I added tag text labels, so people can write opinionated things about places on the map:
I had already bought hoodmaps .io, .org and .net. But I didn't have .com. It was a lot of $, but I bought it with @nomadlist cashflow
Now what you were waiting for: 🚀the launch!
My 🚀 launch philosophy, each launch platform (like @Product Hunt, @Reddit etc.) has its own language, style and vibe ⚠️
- @producthunt's culture is 😺happy, positive, a bit marketing-y. So I adapt to that.
.@producthunt'er mental cues:
"crowdsourced”, OK?
"🗺" emojis, cute!
“city 🗺 maps”, OK how?
“you can draw on”, oh cool let me try 👉 ACTION
- @newsyc's culture is sceptical, intellectual and highly allergic to marketing and sales. I don't sell here. I just state what I made.
.@newsyc'er mental cues:
"crowdsourced”, OK? 🤔
“visualization”, ah data viz! 🤓👍
"neighborhoods in cities", ah geo info sys (GIS)! 👨‍🏫👍
- @reddit is like HN for mainstream: 🚫 no sales tactics + they're highly critical of anyth. For Reddit, everything NEEDS TO WORK, no bugs!
.@reddit'ors same mental cues:
"crowdsourced”, OK? 😙
“visualization”, ah data viz! 🤓👍
"neighborhoods in cities", ah useful 😏👍
For @reddit, I read the subreddit's guidelines /r/dataisbeautiful and immediately jumped in the comments to follow them. Explain what I made
Here's the 2 secrets to get on @Reddit's frontpage:
- 📈 get #1 on a subreddit that's on the frontpage
- 🔥k🚒 don't let your server crash
Recently, @reddit changed. The frontpage is now slightly dynamic and any subreddit will appear on it.
Most of its userbase still has the old default subreddits though. /r/dataisbeatiful is one of them. Get high on there and you close in on FP
If you close there, that mass of upvotes will push you to everyone else's frontpage too! But now your server will probably crash cuz traffic
The problem here is, your server will simply become unresponsive at a certain amount of users (for me ~500 here)
This line of code can save any server from being flooded by @reddit traffic. It makes a dynamic a static HTML file. Static is fast.
I wrote a script to generate HTML pages for EVERY 1,000 cities on, then I configd NGINX server to show those instead
Within seconds the server was responsive again and we broke our ~500 user limit and were going up on Reddit again!
Literally nothing else happened than just waiting and 🙏 praying we'd hit the frontpage. And we did!
I messaged my server guy @DanielLockyer just when we went up on @Reddit and together we did quick fixes to keep the server up. Mostly static
The point repeated: most sites COULD get to @reddit's frontpage but literally just crash when they reach page 3 already!
I was now up for about 36 hours! Not good. But this is how a launch goes. We had hit the 🏆 jackpot of Reddit. So I wanted to 😴 sleep, but..
Google shut me down. I passed the quota of 100,000 map loads. Instead of keeping it up and msg'ing me, they just kill the site DURING LAUNCH
#rude IMHO. I try to find a BUY QUOTA button, but their API console forwards me to a contact form. But I'm in the middle of launch!
All of you: Ditch Google, get @mapbox

Me: OK

It takes me 2 hours to change all the code. It's annoying. But it works. And @mapbox has 3D!
Launch stats:
- 200,000 users
- 500,000 uses
- 29,566 users drew (7%)
- 6,823,865 drawings (230/user)
- 11,922 tags added
💰 Monetization? Yeah 🤔
- Posters didn't sell
- Ads didn't sell:

.@reustle found an IRL Hoodmaps in 🇰🇷Seoul, so I thought...
I can sell these IRL branded whiteboards with maps so your Airbnb guests can draw on them! But physical biz? 🙅MEHHHH
I'd love to sell the data though. It's a lot of very useful data. Stuff like this:
Launch in 2017:
📺 Build in public (good promo)
📅 Be live on day one
💃 Adapt launch style to each launch platform
🚫 No bugs
🚒 Keep server up

This was a tweetstorm summary of 👉

Please use my app @
And thanks @RinseFM @SWAMP81 @KloseOne @UKREDLIGHT @SIRSPYRO for always supplying the music I code to
Did Thread Reader help you to today?
Buy the developer a 🍺 beer or help for the ⚙️ server cost.
Donate with 😘 Paypal or Become a Patron 😍 on

More from @levelsio (see all)

Trending now