One in a million happens a lot when your site is big

 
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When I sold my last company, we had about twenty million cumulative user registrations, were signing up about one million new users a month and were sending out about one million emails a day.

When you get those kinds of numbers, the one in a million occurrence happens quite frequently.

  • The craziest person you've ever met. An all caps rambling email that makes little to no sense.

  • The angriest person you've ever met. The accusatory email claiming something ridiculous like you deliberately hacked into their computer or caused it to go haywire and they are reporting you to the Attorney General's office as consequence.

  • The strangest piece of mail you've ever received. The African woman who insists your site is a dating service where you personally match people up and so physically mails to your PO Box a profile with picture.

  • The code path you never knew was possible.  How did that get in my server logs / in my database / on that screen shot?

  • The check in the mail. We didn't take checks. Yet that didn't stop people from sending them.

The first times these happened, I was pretty amazed/scared/intrigued, or whatever the case may be. But what was really amazing to me, was how repetitive these events were.

These cases above happened on the order of one in a million, which means I was getting a few a month. 

The same you-hacked-my-computer emails. The checks in the mail. And yes, I would receive about one letter a month from some African person who misunderstood my site and sent me their life story with picture. It was always from Africa. And I never quite figured that one out.

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I'm the Founder & CEO of DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn't track you. I'm also the co-author of Traction, the book that helps you get traction. More about me.

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