Why Snapchat is winning.
Over the Christmas holiday I read multiple reports of Snapchat’s recent financing and when I headed on over to a my usual internet watering holes to learn what everyone thought I was tickled to read a many comments to the tune of:
Good on them, but I still don’t get Snapchat
As someone who [thinks he] gets Snapchat, I though it would be an opportune time to write down my personal thoughts on the subject and what makes social products successful in general. All opinions — and theories—are my own.
What is “social”?
Let’s lay some groundwork so we’re all talking about the same…
Most software today is very much like an Egyptian pyramid with millions of bricks piled on top of each other, with no structural integrity, but just done by brute force and thousands of slaves.
- Alan Kay
Fast forward twenty years and you have multiple billion dollar companies (Facebook and LinkedIn to name a couple) pouring endless engineering resources into figuring out how to build state of the art applications in HTML. My company (bubbli) fell into this trap as well. “Use CSS transforms,” they said! “Optimize your code with Closure,” they said! But it was all a fools errand, we were trying build a bridges across abstractions so deep (web browsers) that it was like trying to build a house that spanned and sat atop ten skyscrapers. …
Forget you know how to program for a moment.
When you were a kid, you probably learned about functions in Algebra 1. You probably learned to write out tables for functions like this:
f(x) = x^2 + x + 1
f(0) = 1
f(1) = 3
f(2) = 7
After this, maybe you learned about function composition:
g(x) = 2x
f(g(0)) = 1
f(g(1)) = 7
f(g(2)) = 21
Still with me? Hope so. Let’s add a new function into the mix:
h(x) = √x
Now, I need you to remember back to middle school, before you were taught imaginary numbers existed. …
Background: I’m a co-founder/developer of bubbli, a new iOS app. I previously worked at Yelp where I created Yelp Monocle which generated in hundreds of thousands of new users in a matter of days. Given that the “magic factor” between the Yelp Monocle and bubbli is similar, I wanted to make sure we were prepared for anything. With the following set-up we indeed scaled to hundreds of thousands of users without any major issues/downtime. I also happen to be the only engineer on the team.
Note: skip to the bottom for the juicy bits/code snippets
I will spare you the long road which lead to Go (hint: it’s Python and gross amounts of Puppet) and just cut to the chase. …