On Sunday the website of Indian designer Anita Dongre crashed after Kate Middleton wore her dress to a high-profile charity cricket match.
Dongre’s team started receiving orders from all over the world, resulting in the crash. The good news is that her team were able to get the website quickly.
This reminded me of a similar scenario when i was helping out a startup whose focus was to run an entertainment website.
For starters, the website design was good and i emphasized the need to be the first to break a story.
In one of those rare moments for a startup, we received a tip about a specific event which we immediately published and alas traffic went through the roof!
It went from 500 average daily visitors to 6,000 online visitors in 20 minutes! However, our celebrations were short lived when we were notified an hour later that we had exceeded our bandwidth!
In that 1 hour, the traffic we got was thrice what the site had the previous 7 months combined!
By the time we managed to restore the site, the story was all over other websites that we could no longer benefit from it and 3 months later, the site was shutting down because there was no money to run it.
Which brings me to the aspect of being scalable.
When we were looking for a host, the major consideration was price and we did not plan for moments like this. We were caught unaware and the whole process of increasing bandwidth required someone to run to the bank, make a payment and then submit a ticket, a process which no less than 2 hours.
The startup’s main source of revenue was from the different Ads, and if we had successfully been able to contain all the traffic we were receiving, we were guaranteed to make enough revenue to keep us running for the next 6 months.
The example above illustrates the same scenario a number of StartUps go through.
Being scalable means you have the potential to be quickly enlarged in order to accommodate growth.
Whereas most startups may not experience the same kind of opportunity, it pays to be prepared.
When WhatsApp was blocked in Brazil last December, users resorted to Telegram, causing the Major SMS-Gateways to stop delivering SMS to Brazil. Despite them fixing the issue later on, it did not leave a great impression on some users, since the sign-up experience plays a big role.
1.500.000 and counting, SMS-Gateways overloading. Hang on, your codes are coming! We’ve got all hands on deck to accommodate the crazy load.
— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) 17 December 2015
Conclusion is that whatever you are building, make sure you model is scalable.