Glossi Founder Shares Tips for Starting Company, Avoiding Crisis

Posted by · March 29, 2012 11:39 am

It’s the stuff a start-up founder’s dreams are made of:  You’ve been working to launch your web app for months.  It finally launches and gets coverage on a major tech news site.  New users flock to sign up for your app…and your web server crashes from the load.

For Glossi co-founder Dan Goldin and his team, that nightmarish dream became a reality on Monday when Glossi, a web app that turns people’s social media accounts into a Flipboard-esque magazine, experienced server problems after receiving coverage on The Next Web.

“As soon as users sign in to Glossi, they can connect it to their social networks. We want users to see something elegant as when they sign in, so the site immediately pulls data.  Unfortunately, that means that there is a heavy load upfront.  We can handle that load when users are signing up passively, but as we discovered Monday, we couldn’t support having a bunch of users register at one time” says Goldin.

For any company, the first major crisis is a make or break moment; and if the way Goldin and his team handled Monday’s trouble is any indication, Glossi is going to make it just fine in the crazy start-up scene.  As soon as the Glossi team discovered the problem, they took to Twitter and other social media sites to personally message as many users as they could to apologize for the problems.  In addition, Goldin frequently posted updates on the status of the problem in the comment thread of The Next Web article.

“It was important for us to be as transparent as possible,” says Goldin.  “As a startup you have a lot of goodwill.  People realize that you’re just starting out and they don’t have as high of expectations as they would for say, Google.  As long as you talk to your users and let them know you’re aware of the problem, people will understand.”

By late Monday afternoon, the Glossi team had the site back up and had learned a few lessons along the way.  Aside from transparency, Goldin has a few other recommendations for start-ups:

“In our case, we needed to upgrade the memory on the server to make it faster.  In hindsight, I wish we’d have moved to a system that’s more flexible, like Amazon’s EC2.  It costs a little more money but you won’t have to scramble to get more resources in place like we did.  If you design your system to be flexible and efficient, it will work the right way.”

What’s next for Glossi

When Goldin and his co-founders Sandy Lin and Marc Schaffner-Gurney founded Glossi in June of 2011, they were looking to solve a problem:

“Marc, Sandy and I worked at the same company and when we started sharing our social media profiles with each other, we realized that those webpages defined our identity.  We wanted to give people the ability to combine their identities on various sites and put them onto an attractive page that gave a complete picture of who they are,” says Goldin.

Currently, Glossi syncs up with users’ Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Tumblr, Instagram and Flickr accounts as well as your blog’s RSS feed. The result is a clean compilation and visual representation of your social activity.  While Glossi is still in its beta period, the site has over 2,000 individual users and the team is currently in talks with large corporations about how businesses could use Glossi for the enterprise.

“Larger companies are often using their own solution to highlight content across multiple social media channels. In the future we’d like to offer both individuals and businesses premium features that make Glossi more customizable and engaging.”

And as for Monday’s mishap, Goldin feels confident can win back any users they may have lost:

“Someone once said it’s a lot easier to make a fan out of a customer who has had a bad experience then one who has always had a good experience. We’re making pages that people are proud to show and share, so I’m hoping we’ll have a lot of fans.”

To check out Glossi for yourself, visit the website and request an invite or leave your email in the comments section below and I’ll invite you myself.