From the Avatech Accelerator in Tehran to the Hacker News front page


Below is a guest post by Farhad Hedayati, co-founder and CEO of Taskulu, a management platform that lets you keep all the stakeholders and resources (tasks, files, chats, time logs) inside a single project, while letting you to control what everyone can see and do by defining Roles and Permissions – making project managers lives, team management and communication a lot easier. You can follow him on Twitter.


We never imagined that one day our blog post would be the #1 link on Hacker News front page, which occurs after receiving enough upvotes from the HN community in a small amount of time, and even if it did, we never expected to get 29000 visits in 5 hours!

About two weeks before submitting our blog post on HN, we started monitoring Twitter for people who are already using project management tools but are not happy with them and are looking to switch to a new platform.

But while we were getting good results from the small number of people we found this way, the whole process of finding these people turned out to be a lot more time consuming than we had in mind – It was a full time job.

Looking for an easier way to do this, I ended up writing a small script that glued a few APIs together: Twitter Stream API to monitor keywords on Twitter, AYLIEN Text API for sentiment analysis and Google Drive API to send tweets matching what we were looking for to a Google Spreadsheet, and we got ourselves a small, smart and free Twitter Lead Generation tool that gave us exactly the people we were looking for and could help.


We got great results and decided to share the story with others on the Taskulu blog and release the code on Github (read it here).


After a few days I decided to put the blog post on HN and see how it goes, and to our surprise, within minutes it was the first link on the front page and getting 200 live visitors reported on Google Analytics.



A few minutes after submitting the blog post to HN. We ended up getting 165 up votes.


In all the excitement, we took a laptop and put the Google Analytics Real-Time reports on the the big screen in the Avatech cafeteria – a few minutes later, everyone from every team at Avatech was in the cafeteria, cheering and waiting to see if we’ll hit 1000 live visitors, and we did it! A picture is worth a thousand words, watch the youtube video to see the excitement:

The Aftermath:




1082 live visitors at peak and 29000 unique visitors in 5 hours! That’s something we’ll never forget.

I’m not sure if it’s the norm for converting people from blog posts or not, but we ended up with 0.67% conversion rate – 192 new customers – which I guess is a bit low considering the conversion rate of the traffic to our homepage last time we got to the HN front page was something around 25%.


But we consider this a huge success anyway. We’re very proud to be an Iranian startup (maybe the first) to have gotten to the HN front page twice (the first time was our launch day – we didn’t get to the #1 link then). While we didn’t get a lot of new customers, it did direct a lot of attention to Taskulu and our blog, resulted in a lot of Twitter activity and Taskulu mentions, and most importantly, made the Iranian startup scene a bit more visible.