Future blog post:
"We didn't even have any idea how to go beyond programming questions. Our our 'technology' if you can call it that was trivial. We had no business model. My personal job board had higher revenue. Still, these crazy guys in suits offered to give us millions of dollars at ridiculous valuations because I'm a blogging celebrity and we did what any sane person would do: we took it! It was fun while it lasted..."
It is an open question whether they successfully move beyond developers. If they do, gadzooks, good news for the world. There are similar expert questions with canonical right answers which are a) difficult to find at present and b) extraordinarily consequential for people.
I had two canonical examples in recent weeks on tax and visa questions, for myself and other people. Answering one took a week of research and directly lead to $5,000 in my pocket. It is ungoogleable at present. The one asked by a friend of mine is similarly ungoogleable, the right answer is easy but nonobvious and virtually undocumented, and many of the numerous wrong answers lead to deportation.
expertSEXchange dot com
edit: wow. Just showing the people who didn't get the reference.
I typed in the url once with an extra 'e' and my company's internet filter blocked it. ;-)
Unless I'm just missing a joke here.
I'm kinda curious what their burn rate is. I think there are 20 odd employees now, not all of them engineers. That'll consume $2-3 million a year. One hopes they're simply stockpiling cash while valuations are good.
I'm kinda curious what valuation they got. I haven't seen anything about that anywhere.
Next to Facebook at $50bn that seems almost reasonable...
Joking aside it does seem on the high side but in it's favour it is a top 100 site by traffic, it has something resembling a basic revenue model in place, they have a plan for growth which they seem to be executing on reasonably and they are in a space which is under going growth and which clearly has some potential.
Yes right now Stack Overflow eclipses the other sites but having one massively successful site to fall back on and that they've learned things from is actually a pretty major asset.
I'm enjoying using it, and I would hate to see it fall over due to overexpansion/lack of cash flow.
The burn rate is very low.
The valuation is private.
The linked comment is dismissive and, in hindsight, ludicrous, saying that SO won't be around in a year (in 2008).
The only reasonable conclusion to reach from this is that your response is a not-so-subtle derision of my statement, basically claiming it is just as ludicrous. Or am I reading this wrong?
If not, this confuses me for several reasons:
1. It's very un-HN to be so snarky, even petty. You might be confusing HN for proggit?
2. I love SO, the (original) site. Not once have I ever questioned its viability or value;
3. I have however raised questions about the ability of SE sites to gain traction in their respective verticals, a position thus far backed up by your own numbers .
4. I actually wish you guys well. I'm a big fan. The snarky response to a dispassionate position/question makes me wonder if I've hit a nerve?
There are two kinds of comments you'll see on the Internet: uninformed hate/trolling like you linked to. You seem to be suggesting my comment falls into that. I disagree but hey, that's your prerogative. Whatever the case, there's no point in responding to those kinds of comments.
The second kind are neutral/positive, arguably informed and generally reasonable. My position is my comment falls into this category. When you respond to those with snarky comments, it actually does you a great disservice, portraying you as petty and small-minded (neither of which, for the record, I believe to be true).
I can't imagine how paying 20 people fulltime salaries is anything approaching "low" - as in under $1 or 2 million. Of course "low" is a relative term, so it all depends on what the number is you are comparing it against...
Expense != Burn Rate
A burn rate is just negative cash flow. It's just the negative value found on the end of your income statement.
You're only considering salary. They're also bringing in money from their careers offering and their ads. Also, Amazon links get auto-converted into an affiliate link. On a site that gets as many pageviews as they do, these would be not insubstantial revenues, which reduces their burn rate.
What? That's not good enough? Look at the graph. That's what it's about.
Good for them for growing. I hope they remember their base.
You don't need books and consultants on social media marketing, you just need a bit of personality and to treat your audience and community as real people.
(this blog does fail at something I always note here - not having a paragraph bio on the article pages that a lot of people land on, but they have nailed everything else)
It does sort of make you wonder what the reasoning is behind the stilted and formal marketing speak that is everywhere. How can that possibly be effective? Is it all just CYA and writing in such a way that nobody could possibly take offense to it?
I've long been confused about the naming of SO/SE. I mean, there was stackoverflow.com (the site), stackoverflow inc. (the company), and stackexchange. For a while I thought that the VC money was only for stackoverflow.com because of this. Hopefully the company name change will help me keep things clear in my head.
I am not trolling, btw.
I convinced myself they'd rename to simply Stack for shortness' sake. I still think they should; stack.com doesn't look too expensive.
It’s been a while since we’ve done something arbitrary, complicated, and confusing, so today I’m happy to announce that the name of the company has been changed, effective immediately, to Stack Exchange Inc!
There’s a method behind this madness, of course: we want to emphasize the importance of the 45 sites in our network, which has long since stopped being about programmers:
That, plus, whenever we told The New York Times that we were “Stack Overflow,” they would go to stackoverflow.com and have a heart attack. At least this way people wondering about the company understand that we’re about more than just programmer questions. We have Battlestar Galactica too!
Now the surprise ending. When we first raised venture capital way back in the long-ago year of 2010, we actually had quite a few great investors interested in buying our stock. And since then, the buzz hasn’t abated. We were pretty sure that given the current market conditions, we could easily raise a big pile of new Unicorn-bucks without losing control of the company. We made a few phone calls, took a few meetings, I flew to London and Boston, and hey presto, we sold another $12 million worth of the company to some great investors.
The new investors are Index Ventures, based in Geneva and London, and Spark Capital, based up in Boston. Our first investor, Union Square Ventures, will also put in more money so as to keep the same ownership percentage that they had before (this is called a “pro-rata”).
Needless to say, the new investors will want to keep an eye on all that money, so Neil Rimer from Index will be joining the board of directors, and Bijan Sabet from Spark will be an observer on the board (he can come to meetings but he can’t vote). And to keep from tipping the board to the investors, the “common shareholders” (that is, the founders and employees) will be entitled to elect another representative of their own to the board. We picked Anil Dash, who has been blogging for even longer than I have and has been one of our most valuable advisors.
Now, you may be wondering how we plan to spend all that money. First of all, of course, we need new stickers and T-shirts. And a ping pong table…
We’re also improving the employee snack room a little bit:
If you would like to receive your own totally free commemorative 1,000,000 Unicorn Buck Bill and a Stack Exchange sticker, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
Stack Exchange Inc.
55 Broadway 26 FL
New York, NY 10006
Good move, and keep up the good content (now that Google has woken back up and is indexing them properly!)
Null pointer fail on that page, incidentally; the graphic at the top is actually a pointer to null, which isn't the same thing.
I'm sure there is one in German...
You may want to add an "only" in there.