Maybe it's the fact that in the end it was sold to Kevin Ham; (taking absolutely nothing away from what Kevin has done). Maybe it's that the site had such a quick flame out.
Having been on this site for quite some time now and having the shared passion of others on here to scratch an itch, I'm both inspired by and wanting to turn the other cheek at the same time w/r/t the adventures of threewords.me.
Congrats on the sale, but I hope it's not a sign of a trend to come on here.
Bottom line is: I really want to focus on my projects that have high revenue viability. I'm not experienced with monetizing free products, but someone else is. Until then, having threewords.me on my back is extra baggage that I'd rather let someone take care of, so I can focus back on what's important for me: creating profitable startups.
I had the opportunity to take six-figure funding amounts from big firms and individuals, but I said no to that. I'm passionate about building better support systems for startups. I'm passionate about building an OpenTable competitor. I don't feel the same passion with threewords.me, and since I never take capital on something I don't really think my soul has a connection with (to go all zen on you), the other option was to sell it.
I really appreciate the kindness of the Hacker News folks for taking an interest in the threewords.me 'saga' (thank you!) but I'm admittedly a little embarrassed because the image that all this coverage is putting out for me isn't something that I actively pursue. I secretly hoped that the threewords.me sale wouldn't hit HN, and was satisfied (until now :P). It's just a side project that went big.
I thought you handled it extraordinarily well, and this should be a case study on what to do when you've got a successful project on your hands that you aren't inspired by... a number of people fall into this circumstance, and usually they just let the project languish and die a slow death. I think you handled this really well and I'm inspired by it.
Congratulations and I'm hoping this is a sign of things to come when people have side projects go big.
And once I find out some kind of number for the sale amount, that's exactly how it will get written up on swombat.com.
Edit: apparently, the figure will not be forthcoming. Oh well.
Quote of the month.
I hope, though, my explanation will also help others in the same situation!
edit I also didn't explicitly say what @jeromec did, but I definitely share his sentiment. You owe nobody an apology for the success that you had and will hopefully have in the future.
Playing it safe is one way to get ahead in a sure and steady way and I'm quite sure that the way you've positioned this project and how you handled yourself in the execution of the project and the subsequent sale does nothing but confirm the fact that you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur under his own power.
Don't forget yourself either, though. People like you are the guys behind every success that happens. You've always been there to help. So thank you :)
Oh, sounds like you built an app and not a business! http://sahillavingia.com/blog/build-apps-not-businesses/
Think about it, from idea to successful flip in a time this short, we can only hope that that becomes the norm. Of course there is plenty of room for every kind of start-up, so why not have a bunch of these, I can't see anything but good to come from that.
Sadly, I think that normality will re-assert itself and that this will be a very rare occurrence.
But for all those that might get discouraged by these words, please keep trying, some of you are bound to make it.
If everybody that's in college today manages to score one like this I'd be one happy fellow.
Nobody forces anybody to flip, it's all up to the people involved.
For instance, I keep sitting on http://langpop.com because I've grown fond of it, but I think it'd be worth more in someone else's hands. Maybe it would have taken up less of my time if I'd sold it off immediately after it got popular.
What Mark did is what 99% of the visitors here can only dream of, and if more of them manage to achieve it because of his example then that's the best possible outcome as far as I'm concerned.
It's just that there are more ways than one to achieve that goal and essentially by selling threewords.me Mark just made pretty good profit by selling a 'good' (threewords.me + the work invested) to a customer.
Why does everyone on HN ignore advertising revenue? Or is it lumped in with the above?
Why not? This is exactly what startup incubators do. Instead of building companies that aim to go public after 7 years, they help to create startups that can exit after 2 years. Now you can build your product and exit in 30 days. What is the problem with that?
I've worked on short projects as well and then have my longer projects. For example http://www.Blabberize.com has been running for over 3 years now. We could have had a quick and early pay off by flipping the site but instead we took the long haul route to build it out. It feels completely different from a quick turn over project. As such, comparing a site like this to a much larger business with deep technology and IP does not make much sense.
How's the site going, btw? And are you going to BarCamp Boston 6?
Or if someone can give a reliable estimate
But here's my completely unreliable estimate, just for fun
Based on your metrics, I'm curious to know what the market sentiment is for them.