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What to do when hit by a tidal wave?

October 11th, 2007   |   by Frank Addante

My blackberry broke. Salesforce.com maxed out. 1500 emails flooded my inbox. On Monday, we announced our private beta invitation site. We spent the entire weekend putting the finishing touches on the site. We tried to anticipate everything that could go wrong with the launch. We expected positive results, however, we had no idea that we would get slammed with the number of sign-ups that we did.

Our original plan was to launch our beta on January 22, 2008. That clearly happened way ahead of schedule. We launched the private beta site on October 8. Our target was to sign-up 500 beta sites over the course of 3 months. Well… more than 500 signed up on the very first day! And, they keep on coming. Traffic on our website went through the roof from all the buzz (see Alexa chart below).

I get an email for every sign-up. We received so many emails so fast (an average of 1 every minute) that my blackberry crashed! We also learned that salesforce.com has a default limit of 500 leads per day.

So, when this all happened… The team was super pumped up and very appreciative of all of the interest and support. There have been a lot of people saying a lot of great things about the company and the product and it makes the team feel really good about all of their hard work and sleepless nights. But, the excitement quickly turned into anxiety. The question then became “what are we going to do now?”

It’s a great problem to have, but not for too long. It’s important to keep the momentum going. It’s important to us to keep a very active, open dialogue with the community. The important thing is that no one panicked. We decided to continue to let beta invitation sign-ups come into the site until we came up with a new plan. We’re working on that now.

The lesson I learned is that when hit with a tidal wave… Don’t panic, stay focused and communicate. I think it’s important to proactively communicate internally, and even more importantly externally. More on the external communication part later…

PS – By the way, since I may be posting more often, and I don’t want to flood your inbox, I’m going to set the email feed on this blog to send updates only once a week (which means you may get a group of posts in one email). If you want to get updates more often, I recommend setting up an RSS feed or changing your delivery frequency settings in Feedblitz.

PPS – Thank you to everyone for all of your support! I feel very lucky to have such a strong support group, it’s much appreciated!!!



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