T is for Tech superstar

Stories of internet legend

There’s a few individuals out there who have accomplished some truly epic stuff in this Wild West era of the internet we’re living in right now.

I’m not talking about some over funded, venture capital backed douche bags either — if you want to read about those guys go read Techcrunch.

I’m talking about mavericks that have skyrocketed to internet greatness through sheer hard work, stupidity, raw creativity, luck and sometimes a combination of all of the above.

Guys that have made something from nothing but a laptop, an internet connection, and too much time on their hands.

These are the stories of internet legend.

These are the stories of the self made tech superstar.

Read on my friend. Be inspired.

Dong Nguyen

Flappy Bird

Dong Nguyen, creator of Flappy Bird. Genius. Photo from Rolling Stone.

Coming straight out of Vietnam this guy was the centre of the fucking tech universe for about a month straight.

Dong Nguyen created a simple side scrolling game that featured a bird. A bird that flapped it’s way through a Super Mario like setting when you tapped the screen.

He launched it himself on the app store with no marketing whatsoever and very little fanfare.

8 months or so later, the thing went viral. Like really viral.

Not a day went by without a news article or a write on this guy. People were smashing their phones. Ridiculous amounts of hating was happening on social media. Over what? a game he created called ‘Flappy Bird.’

Screenshots from Flappy Bird.

When you get as much media attention as this, there’s always a fuckload of fast cash involved. Nguyen was no exception.

Even with Apple and Google’s 30 percent take, Nguyen estimated he was clearing $50,000 a day. This went on for weeks. Weeks.

According to Rolling Stone magazine not even the great Mark Zuckerberg became rich so fast.

At Flappy Birds peak, it was number one on the charts in more than 100 countries and had been downloaded more than 50 million times.

As this game reached these epic proportions, so did the hating. Like the true tech superstar he is. Nguyen did some random, unprecedented shit. He pulled the game. WTF? Of course the world went mental. Again.

After tweeting that he was taking it down, 10 million people downloaded it in 22 hours. Intentional? probably not. A fucking bonafide genuis tech superstar move? Definately.

In the aftermath of pulling the game I remember seeing people selling iPhones on eBay featuring Flappy Bird pre-installed for over $8000. Mental.

Wherever you are Dong Nguyen, best believe you are one of the greats.

Scott DeLong

Viral Nova

Scott DeLong founder of Viral Nova

In just one week Scott DeLong, from North Canton, Ohio in the U.S. created a site called Viral Nova. Launched in May 2013, it exploded in popularity thanks to DeLong’s gift for creating viral content and his brilliant manipulation of Facebook.

Within eight months from launch Viral Nova was clocking over 100 million unique visitors a month.

Now we’re not talking about some staff of fifty, global media empire here. We’re talking about one guy and a Wordpress theme.

According to Business Insiders calculations, and confirmed by DeLong — the site was hauling in a astounding $400,000 a month in advertising revenue.

What a fucking legend.


Since the sites epic rise over the last two years, DeLong has entertained offers to sell up the site. But has since doubled down and is now focusing on growing Viral Nova into an ‘awesome media company’.

I’ll leave the last word on this up to the man himself.

Mat Carpenter

Ship Your Enemies Glitter

Mat Carpenter from Sydney created a website called Ship Your Enemies Glitter.

The site allowed you to ship a harmless envelope filled with glitter to any friend or enemy anywhere in the world for $9.99. Simple enough.

Well, as the internet sometimes does. Things got out of hand.

Within hours of launching, the site clocked up an insane $20,000+ in sales and some 2.5m unique visits. Boom.

The media grabbed hold of this thing and ran with it, it was featured on Time.com, Fast Company, Huffington Post, TechCrunch the list goes on.

A screenshot from Mat’s original site. The copy was just gold.

Now as many of the tech superstars before him, right at the peak of when this madness was going down — Mat pulled some crazy epic move and posted the site for sale on Flippa. What!? Was he insane.

Next thing Flippa.com is crashing from the weight of traffic this guy and his glitter site is generating. The site sells f0r a retarded amount. Ingenious.

The site launched on January 12 and by January 22nd it had been sold for $85,000. Just 10 days.

Hat tilt to you Mat Carpenter my friend. We look forward to your next arse kicking of the internet.

Well there you have it folks.

At a time when everyone is preaching non-stop about user testing, what problem does it solve? market fit, minimum viable products and endless funding attempts.

These guys simply ignored all that shit and ran with their guts. And aren’t we glad they did.

If you liked reading about these legends, please hit the recommend button.

Be sure to Techstarrr my new t-shirt brand. Inspired by these very guys.

Craig Barber