Friday, February 18, will my last day as a HubPages staffer. You will still see me in the forums but I will no longer have the official H on my profile photo. Also, I will no longer be posting my occasional “Larry’s Random Thoughts” in the HubPages blog. This post is the last one before I leave.
I joined HubPages in June of 2008. At that time, HubPages had just launched its Yieldbuild Ad Optimization technology. There was excitement in the air as the company attempted to duplicate its success with HubPages in a new space. Because many of the existing team would be transferring to this other project, they were hiring engineers and marketing folks to work on the HubPages side of the business. One month earlier, they hired Fawntia Fowler; Maddie Ruud was already on board as the community manager, Paul Deeds was staying as General Manager of HubPages, and then there was me. Next came Ryan Hupfer as the Director of Awesomeness. I still smile when I remember the job title that Ryan chose, the giant HubPages business cards he handed out at conferences, and his blog posts on a street performer who was performing just outside the HubPages office. James Edmondson was doing design work for both HubPages and the new Yieldbuild project. Paul Edmondson stayed active in both HubPages and Yieldbuild.
HubPages was #250 on Quantcast then. For those who aren’t familiar with Quantcast, this ranking is based on the number of unique visitors who come to HubPages from the US. I remember that a few months later, with roughly 200,000 Hubs, HubPages was attracting 8 million unique visits world wide.
One very special part of being on the HubPages staff is the great interactions with the Hubbers. I remember when inspirepub visited the HubPages office right after I had first started. She wrote a Hub about her visit and included the picture above. DJ Funktual wrote a staff care package for each Hub staffer. More recently, wordscribe43 has noticed similarities between Hub staffers and famous celebrities. I also enjoyed this year’s April Fool’s post by James.
The HubPages Community has always been great about providing suggestions and feedback for existing features. The categories in their current form are based on feedback from the community. Fawntia wrote the tools for implementing the categories. I took the lead on coming up with the initial list and getting feedback. I started out with two levels of categories and then Paul Deeds said that two levels was a good start. Can break down each subcategory into a list of smaller subcategories? That eventually led to over 6,000 categories. Ryan identified me with categories so he took a bunch of pictures of me in a red shirt. Ryan, Cam Edmondson, and James Edmondson were the one responsible for the “Larry” graphics if you have ever seen those. The move toward categories went against some of the thinking at the time. Many people asked me if I had read Clay Shirky’s classic criticism of categories. After enough people brought it up, I wrote a response as one of Larry’s random thoughts.
Paul Edmondson is always trying to figure out how to improve the Hubber experience. He loves to meet with staffers and bounces ideas off them. One of these ideas led to the Hub Feed. This feature was a response to Hubbers who wanted Hubtivity to be more interactive. I really think that Fawntia knocked the ball out of the ballpark with the feed. It is a gem that greatly improves the ability to follow the changes that occur across HubPages. It was featured in a TechCrunch article about HubPages.
Gosh, it amazes me how many different capsules that were added during the last two years: amazon capsule, updated text capsule, quiz capsule, poll capsule, code capsule, map capsule, and table capsule.
We had a celebration inside the office on October 28, 2009, when HubPages shot up to #100 on Quantcast. Just a month before, we had hit the milestone of 500,000 Hubs published. The relationship between these events was not a coincidence. I wrote a blog post in July, 2009 where I had compared the relationship between number of unique visitors and the number of hubs published.
2010 was a big year for HubPages. We celebrated our 4th year birthday. That team of 5 was now a team of 23. A new HubPages awning and sign have been added to headquarters in San Francisco. HubPages is now #46 on Quantcast with over 36 million unique visitors each month to the site and over 10,000 likes on Facebook. We now have over 1 million Hubs published. Paul Edmondson has recently begun telling the business story behind HubPages which I am looking forward to following. HubPages was chosen Best of the Web by Family Magazine.
The event that really showed how much HubPages is growing as a company was when Robin Edmondson organized the first HubCamp in San Francisco on October 6, 2010. It was a great evening. Attending the event were many of the current Hub staff: Simone Smith, Ren Chin, the VP of Marketing, Jason Menayan, the Director of Marketing, who had done HubPages marketing before Ryan came on, Paul Deeds, Mausmi Deeds, Norah Casey, Maddie Ruud, Paul Edmondson, a large number of Hubbers, and a few members of the Google Ad Sense team. Robin was masterful in her presentation and the number of HubCamps that have followed are testament to that first event. It was a great opportunity to meet Hubbers face to face. For example, I got to chat with Urban Farm Girl who wrote this Hub about the event.
I want to end this post by thanking the people who are most responsible for HubPages’s success: the Hubber Community! Thank you very much for publishing so many high quality Hubs, for your requests, your questions, your comments, and your feedback! HubPages will only continue to thrive if the Hubber Community remains active! HubPages has always been about its community. 🙂
15 replies on “It’s Been a Great 2 1/2 Years!”
All the best to you in your next gig. Thank you for your hard work and interesting columns. It was always comforting for me to think you were keeping an eye on things and at the ready to help.
I hope you really will continue to write hubs and be a hubber.
Your work has helped make HP the great place that it is – for writing and for interacting. We all wish you success in whatever you choose to do next.
I hope we will still find you around in the forums, and writing some hubs too.
Best of luck for the future Larry, I can lay claim to be only one of 5 or 6 hubbers to have, albeit briefly, seen you in the flesh 🙂
May I ask, where are you going to? Another exciting new start up? Or have you been headhunted by Mark Zuckerberg?
(By the way Hubbers, I can 100% confirm that Larry does exist and that he is certainly not a James Edmondson virtual creation).
Larry I have only been here a short time and have enjoyed your quick responses with the iPhone app.
I’m sure your hard work will be missed.
Good luck in your future endeavor.
Thank you for your helpful tactics with categories and much more that you have contributed to HP.
Good Luck man and keep the community posted on your future success!! 🙂 WP
Good luck and good fortune on your future endeavors Larry,
Many of us Hubbers will not know the benefits you have provided us during your tenure at HubPages HQ and the phenomenal growth within the company and of it’s Hubbers.
Personally I will miss your blog updates as I always found them insightful, educational and I hope you still remain a long time Hubber yourself.
Best wishes to you and your family Larry.
Hubpages loss is someone else’s gain – and they’ll be very fortunate to have you! Good luck and best wishes in whatever new project you are moving on to.
It won’t be the same without you around here!
Thanks very much for your kind words. 🙂
I really enjoyed working at HubPages! I plan to continue to write more hubs.
I’ll be heading to United Health Care as a software engineering manager. Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t contacted me but my HubPages account is public information so he’s free to contact me if he ever wants to. 😉
I can also confirm that Ryan Kett exists. 🙂 Ryan, I hope that you had a great visit to the Bay Area!
We will miss you terribly. You have been such a huge part of the HubPages experience for many of us, and we are very sad to see you go. Please keep us up to date on how the new gig is going.
Larry, Thank you for all you have done to make HubPages what it is! I’ll enjoy getting to know you in a different role as you write Hubs and comment in the forums. All of us here will miss your engineering skills, but also wish you all the best at United Health Care and wherever else you may go.
Hey, Mark Zuckerberg, are you paying attention????
Just like Hup always made you smile, you always made me smile, Larry – well, those pictures of you did anyway.
From our brief interactions on the HP forums, I can say that you were always a polite and courteous man in my experience, and were always open to new suggestions to improve the HubPages experience.
Good luck, and it’d be good to see you poke your head in at the forums from time to time… which I should probably do sometime as well.
Thanks for being the super-categorizer you are and making HP a better place.
Oh wow Larry you’re certainly leaving a big hole behind (your talent and likability – not your ass lol)! I wish you all the very best in your new post and all the good things in life that you deserve. You’ve always come across as a thoroughly nice guy and I’m sure that you’re going to become the asset at United Health Care that you have been for the HubPages group and we of the Hubberz Nation.
I echo others – don’t forget to remain just a little attached to the site by way of a hub, a word in the forum and a few comments here and there.
Best of luck,
Even though it is very hard to believe that we are going to miss you Larry, I really want to wish you for your bright future at United Health Care as a Software Engg. Mgr. Thank you very much for your assurance of continuing to write more blogs. God Bless You!
Hi Larry —
You blog here is just the sort of thing that makes HubPages so personal. It is indeed a wonderful site, and I know it took a lot of hard work and dedication by people like you to create it, nurture it and make it so successful.
I’ll miss your well-written informative blogs, and I’m sure you’ll be missed by the HubPages crew and Hubbers around the world. Best of luck, Larry.