Inside Quizlet

Launch Day Synopsis

News ·

In the excitement of a launch, it's easy to forget to properly introduce oneself.

So allow me: My name is Andrew Sutherland and I created Quizlet.

I made it because learning vocabulary is hard. And a lot of people have to do it. So my goal is to make learning vocabulary easy for a lot of people. For the past year and a half, I've been working on this project, designing, developing, and testing Quizlet, in between being a high school student and a freelance web developer. I'm happy with it now, and it's ready to share.

Now on to Wednesday, January 17, the big launch day.

It was fun stuff. I went to my first period class, then left during my free period to "flip the switch" and launch Quizlet. I had waited for more than 16 months to let the world into Quizlet, and the moment finally came. It's funny, when I created the first prototype I though it would take no longer than a couple months to have a final product. Not so much...

So I fired off news emails, posted to Digg, and tried to get the hype up. Everything went surprisingly smoothly, except for my Digg story. It got up to 48 diggs very quickly, and it looked like a front-pager for sure. And then, the story disappeared from the upcoming stories list. I realized it had gotten buried, reason unknown, so I sent off a inquisitive email to Digg, to which they replied:

That story was reported as lame and subsequently removed by the digg community.

Say what?? My...precious...Quizlet...lame?! Well I got it over it. You can come up with any wacky conspiracy theory you like about why such a fine website would be reported as lame. It'll happen another day.

Regardless, new signups were flowing briskly in, about 40 an hour. My server wasn't skipping a beat, so I was very happy about that. I got lunch. I went back to school for Biology, then ran home to check on everything. Still smooth. I had some last minute complications with my press release, but finished it around 3. I sent out a couple copies to various press people. Quizlet landed itself on some apparently big Spanish blogs, so a huge flow of signups came from Spain:

At 4:30, my dad drove me to Stirr (I really should get a license). Stirr is this mixer thing where start-up founders go to shmooze. It's actually sort of fun, once you get the routine down. Here's how it works: 200 people in a big room. Most people are chatting with other people. But a few, like yourself, are wandering. Go up to one such wanderer, shake their hand, and introduce yourself. Next, cock your head slightly to read their name tag and find out what wacky name their start-up has. Ask about what the company does. Listen and nod while they give you their 2-minute pitch on why they're the next YouTube. Then, they'll ask you about your own company, and you give them your two minute pitch. They nod and maybe ask a question. Then, you exchange business cards (very important!), shake their hand again, wish them luck, and get back on the wandering circuit. Repeat, for three hours. Fun!

So there you have it, the mostly-successful launch of my startup. In the past 48 hours, over 550 new users have signed up. Sweet!

If you want more, check out the full Quizlet backstory. If you're just finding out about Quizlet, you can check out the home page or the sign up page.