Reflections on start-up life: Week 18

I woke up Tuesday morning last week to see that Twendly had suddenly gone “nuts”. Since our launch of Twendly we’ve been studiously ignoring it, not wanting to get distracted from the main goal — it taught us a lot but we didn’t want to waste more time on it in the short-term.

It’s no surprise that while it’s actually held some traffic, it’s generally been declining week on week in search numbers. People still use it, but without any changes to the site or promotion, they drift off. So it was a massive surprise to see that suddenly 80 new users had signed up and we had some 200–250 mentions on Twitter in one night. For the most part, they were all in French so I spent a bit of time in Google Translate to understand what was going on.

I learnt a LOT of new french phrases for interesting sexual practices. Someone mentioned Chat Roulette and Twendly in the same Tweet and all of a sudden we picked up all this cross-traffic. Our number one search on Twendly last week (by a massive amount) was for L’ejaque Faciele. I’ll let you run that through Google Translate yourself.

On the one hand I’m really pleased that something we developed is getting use and proving popular, on the other hand our contribution seems to (inadvertently) help the world of adult porn. It’s not exactly solving cancer or anything is it? As Fenn said to me the other day, ‘The Internet, it all trends towards cocks’.

On a more serious note, we again made significant steps forward last week, to the point where we are getting our separate code streams integrated back together (some minor hiccups with that but now resolved) and this week should see us actually producing the prototype and integrating with the UI.

I think it’s important for both of us to get out of the technical tunnels that we’ve been delving in, pull it all together and just see where we are at. It’s too easy to become concerned about things that we know will be issues eventually, but at the same time, we don’t know if they are critical right now. They certainly won’t stop us showing people the experience we are building.


  • A burst of usage in Twendly
  • Processing pipeline framework in place and seeing the stages working (handing off to the next process in the pipeline).
  • Generally an “up” week with the feeling that we are continuing to emerge from the rabbit warrens we’ve been in.


  • Never get as much done as we’d like.
  • Concern about performance which is annoying both of us and will take discipline to put it aside for now to focus on showing the capability — speed can come later if people like what we can do. If they don’t like what we can do with the data, the speed at which we can do it will be irrelevant.

Goal this week?

  • Integration — a fairly ambitious stretch goal, but to get the elements of Tribalytic plugged together and working so we can let people experience an early (non-performant) beta.