As most of you know, my business partner Jesse and I launched a visual bookmarking website for guys, MANteresting, back in February. Aside from a few casual references sprinkled throughout some recent blog posts, I haven’t really talked much about it. Today I thought I’d give you a little insight in to how our first four months have gone, some of the struggles we’ve had, and where we are headed.
While I believed the idea of a Pinterest site – sans cupcakes, puppies, and weddings – would be successful, I don’t think Jesse or I quite realized just how quickly this thing could take off. When we first launched there was only one other site like ours. Now I know of at least five others. We are all jockeying for position to be the standout Pinterest site for guys. Fortunately we’ve managed to establish ourselves early and separate ourselves from the pack.
Our site has been viewed over two-million times, we’ve been averaging well over 200,000 visitors each month, our users have uploaded over 52,000 images, and as of Friday we can check off another major milestone: we were featured on the front page of CNN.com this last weekend (as of this writing we are still on the front page under the “tech section”).
After this latest mention, I can now say with relative confidence that we’ve been featured in EVERY major news media outlet out there. CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, MSN, CNET, CNN, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Huffington Post, Gawker, TechCrunch, and Washington Post. To be honest, it’s been surreal.
As awesome as things have been, there have been times where Jesse and I get sick of it. We were bogged down, worn down, and beat down. Our site was constantly crashing due to heavy traffic. We struggled to scale properly. We switched servers and hired on a handful of independent contractors to help us out. We grew tired of responding to interview requests, managing the social media, and interacting with users. After two months of no sleep, we needed a break. We were exhausted – both physically and mentally – so from late March to early June, we retreated and let things coast.
About a week we reconnected to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, but more importantly talk about where we want to go. Do we want to sell while we have a ton of great press? Do we take on partners to help mitigate our increasing costs and give us more free time? Do we suck it up and push on, maintaining sole ownership, in hopes of something greater down the road?
Right now, we are about $8,000 in to the site. We have another $4,000 left to spend to keep us at (or under) our $12,000 12-month spending cap. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard to commit so much money to something we haven’t even tried to monetize. It’s also near impossible for us to put an accurate value on our site. Our we worth $10,000? $100,000? Or $500,000? When we think about all of the things we’ve accomplished in the last 5 months, and all the things we want to accomplish in the next five, we are moving forward; hoping our $12,000 investment rewards us handsomely.
F.Y.I. When I registered MANteresting.com, Pinterest was valued at $40,000,000. When we launched, Pinterest was valued at $200 million. As of today, they’re valued at around 1.5 billion. While we don’t necessarily think this site will make us millions we, at the very least, recognized the potential from a very early stage.
AMAZING stats there – I tihnk you are destined for great things -stick in there 🙂
Sounds awesome! Keep up the good work.
I don’t understand how Pinterest can have a $1.5B valuation. *smh* If I were you, I’d give up a bit in order to get your lives back. Any return on your investment would be great but it’s a bit of a gamble considering how much of your time you’re spending on the site. I’d hate for you to struggle to retain 100% ownership only to have a small reward at the end (considering that you don’t know how much you’re really worth + how accurate Pinterests valuations are. Remember Zynga?)
Wow your site is doing well! Hope it’s worth millions 🙂
Yeah you need to look into your app servers because the site isn’t loading very well. Users won’t waste time waiting for the site to load.. Good luck though! Good idea.
Congratulations! These are good problems, but you are probably understaffed. This is way too much work for just part-timers. Good luck.
This is amazing! I’ve been very interested in watching how this thing grows and the amount of work you’ve committed yourself to and then delivered on for something that could just be an alligator. I WANT to have that kind of commitment to something. But for me, I’ve never wanted to invest unless I was SURE there was a return. That’s why I hated gambling until I learned how to consistently win.
In any case, you seem to have some great ideas and the wear-with-all to pull it off, so best of perseverance to you!
Considering hiring more people to help you scale? Or an intern or two?
Your site is worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it or whatever amount you think you could make my monetizing it.
If you find someone willing to pay a large sum (you get to decide what “large” is) then sell it.
If you don’t have a way to monetize the site, you’re better off selling and leaving that problem to the new owner.
Go on Shark Tank! I’m only partially kidding. MANteresting would get awesome exposure, maybe they’ll cut you a check, and you can retain some ownership along with their expertise and connections.
Didn’t you have some interest from outside individuals? Anything happen on that front?
Nice Work! Having scaling issues isn’t a bad thing – it’s a good problem to have.
You should probably decide what you want out of it before you decide on weather or not you should take on partners. Goals, exit strategy and alike will help give your direction which will drive the “how do we get there” decision.
Selling/acquisition is a totally legitimate exist strategy 😉 But, that’s only if you want that.
Awesome news! Well not awesome that you guys haven’t had any sleep, but most start-ups fail, so this is sweet that it’s taken off so quickly! I would say hire more interns or more help if you really want it to grow. Perhaps you could sell it, or continue to run it even when you expand. Expansion seems like it is necessary right now, but if you guys can handle it on your own I’d say keep pushing!
in my opinion I would seek a majority partner to buy into your idea and have them run the day to day operations with the need for your approval on any major changes. You seem to be the type of person who likes to make your money work for you (i.e. your retirement investments), so why not see if you can do the same with the site…to me it would be worth it to get a chunk of cash, retain some percentage of ownership in the site (if that option is available to you), and let someone else deal with all the operation headaches. You get to move on to other things and still have something alive and kicking (hopefully) on the backburner and still say its yours (in part at least). Whatever you decide though, i hope it works out for ya. Go Vikes!
Great site. I bet it is very time consuming to keep up, but imagine the time that was put into Pinterest before it was recognized and analyzed to be worth a billion dollars. If you can stick it out, it may pay off.
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