18-Year-Old Builds Ridiculously Viral Website; Asks, What Now?

Young hacker and serial entrepreneur Mark Bao built the super-simple website ThreeWords.me and posted it on Facebook.

The app works like this: Log in with Facebook or your email address, create a username which generates a page like ThreeWords.me/markbao, then pass the link around asking people to describe you in three words. You can then log in to ThreeWords.me to see the anonymous answers.

The site went totally viral after about three days. At one point ThreeWords.me got 220,000 hits in just two hours, Bao said on Twitter.

It was intended to be a prototype, or Minimum Viable Product, with just the bare number of features needed to test on the market. But it took off with no promotion.

“Two problems: 1) what do I do now? 2) how do I afford this?” the 18-year-old Bao wrote at the programmer-centric news site Hacker News.

He’s had to upgrade his server to handle the hordes of traffic and is getting some help from the community at Hacker News, where various users offered to help with cash and computing power.

The Hacker Newsers suggested his next steps could be advertising, paid analytics (to see where the anonymous describers are and how long they took to think of words), and showing the first two words for free and charging for the third.

ajeffries [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries

18-Year-Old Builds Ridiculously Viral Website; Asks, What Now?