It’s Been a Great 2 1/2 Years!

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 FowlerMaddie 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 officeJames Edmondson was doing design work for both HubPages and the new Yieldbuild project.  Paul Edmondson stayed active in both HubPages and Yieldbuild.

Some of the HubPages Team and InspirePub in 2008

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.  🙂

HubPages Behind the Scenes: Larry and the HubPages iPhone App

With this installment of HubPages Behind the Scenes, HubPages’ very own Larry Freeman shares his experience with creating and working on the HubPages iPhone app!  If you listen carefully enough, you can hear Ren in the background 😉

If you don’t already have our fabulous iPhone app (which, BTW, is totally free), you can download it here.

Also, you might be interested in a more detailed walkthrough of the current iPhone app features that Larry shared earlier on the HubPages blog, and you might also like to have a peek at Appceletator’s Titanium software development kit that Larry mentions in our interview.

As you’ll see in the interview, Larry is already hard at work on some awesome new features that shall come to the app soon, so keep checking back- plenty of awesomeness is in store.

James gives the office unicycle a try

Don’t ask me why, but we have a unicycle in our office. I’m not sure if Paul Deeds has high hopes of being part of a circus act or if Larry is looking for some supplemental income by becoming a unicycle-riding street performer, but it’s here and it’s always waiting for the next brave soul to give it a ride.

The last person to attempt to take it for a ride was James, one of our designer extraordinaires and as you’ll see in the video below, he has a ways to go before he perfects it. Either way, Maddie seems to have a great time just watching him try. Maybe I’ll give it a shot next?