DANG!!!

Launched In March 2010 - The Age Of Finding Yourself

At this point you don’t even know what product you are going to build. You have ideas, so you are iterating and changing things quickly. So you end up with a lot of strange little MySQL queries you would never do in real life.

The numbers at this early date:

  • 2 founders
  • 1 engineer
  • Rackspace
  • 1 small web engine
  • 1 small MySQL DB

January 2011

Still in stealth mode and the product is evolving from user feedback. The numbers:

  • Amazon EC2 + S3 + CloudFront
  • 1 NGinX, 4 Web Engines (for redundancy, not really for load)
  • 1 MySQL DB + 1 Read Slave (in case master goes down)
  • 1 Task Queue + 2 Task Processors
  • 1 MongoDB (for counters)
  • 2 Engineers

Through Sept 2011 - The Age Of Experimentation

Went on a crazy run where they were doubling every month and half. Insane growth.

When you are growing that fast everything breaks every night and every week.

At this point you read a lot of white papers that say just ad a box and you’re done. So they start adding a lot of technology. They all break.

As a result you end up with a very complicated picture:

  • Amazon EC2 + S3 + CloudFront
  • 2NGinX, 16 Web Engines + 2 API Engines
  • 5 Functionally Sharged MySQL DB + 9 read slaves
  • 4 Cassandra Nodes
  • 15 Membase Nodes (3 separate clusters)
  • 8 Memcache Nodes
  • 10 Redis Nodes
  • 3 Task Routers + 4 Task Processors
  • 4 Elastic Search Nodes
  • 3 Mongo Clusters
  • 3 Engineers
  • 5 major database technologies for just their data alone.
  • Growing so fast that MySQL was hot and all the other technologies were being pushed to the limits.
  • When you push something to the limit all these technologies fail in their own special way.
  • Started dropping technologies and asked themselves what they really wanted to be. Did a massive rearchitecture of everything.

January 2012 - The Age Of Maturity

After everything was rearchitected the system now looks like:

  • Amazon EC2 + S3 + Akamai, ELB
  • 90 Web Engines + 50 API Engines
  • 66 MySQL DBs (m1.xlarge) + 1 slave each
  • 59 Redis Instances
  • 51 Memcache Instances
  • 1 Redis Task Manager + 25 Task Processors
  • Sharded Solr
  • 6 Engineers
  • Now on sharded MySQL, Redis, Memcache, and Solr. That’s it. The advantage is it’s really simple and mature technologies
  • Web traffic keeps going up at the same velocity and iPhone traffic starts ramping up.

October 12 2012 - The Age Of Return

About 4x where they were in January.

The numbers now looks like:

  • Amazon EC2 + S3 + Edge Cast,Akamai, Level 3
  • 180 Web Engines + 240 API Engines
  • 88 MySQL DBs (cc2.8xlarge) + 1 slave each
  • 110 Redis Instances
  • 200 Memcache Instances
  • 4 Redis Task Manager + 80 Task Processors
  • Sharded Solr
  • 40 Engineers (and growing)
  • Notice that the architecture is doing the right thing. Growth is by adding more of the same stuff. You want to be able to scale by throwing money at the problem. You want to just be able to throw more boxes at the problem as you need them.

Just how much value do you represent to these companies? Backupify, a cloud data backup service, decided to do some quick math. The infographic below gives you a glimpse. Dividing the estimated valuation of the company by the number of users tells you, roughly, how much value each user contributes to the company’s value.
Path: $12.50 per user
Instagram: $18.52
Yelp: $21.21
Pinterest: $28.09
Foursquare: $40.00
Twitter: $71.43
Dropbox: $80.00
LinkedIn: $104.46
Facebook: $118.34
But it’s the value of each individual status update that’s especially interesting. To get this number, Backupify took each company’s estimated annual revenue and divided it by the number of items of content. Here are the results:
Tweet: $0.001
Facebook share: $0.024
LinkedIn search: $0.124
FourSquare check-in: $0.40
Path update: $0.50
Yelp review: $9.13

Just how much value do you represent to these companies? Backupify, a cloud data backup service, decided to do some quick math. The infographic below gives you a glimpse. Dividing the estimated valuation of the company by the number of users tells you, roughly, how much value each user contributes to the company’s value.

  • Path: $12.50 per user
  • Instagram: $18.52
  • Yelp: $21.21
  • Pinterest: $28.09
  • Foursquare: $40.00
  • Twitter: $71.43
  • Dropbox: $80.00
  • LinkedIn: $104.46
  • Facebook: $118.34

But it’s the value of each individual status update that’s especially interesting. To get this number, Backupify took each company’s estimated annual revenue and divided it by the number of items of content. Here are the results:

  • Tweet: $0.001
  • Facebook share: $0.024
  • LinkedIn search: $0.124
  • FourSquare check-in: $0.40
  • Path update: $0.50
  • Yelp review: $9.13