One tweet, 10 years ago today, by @ConanOBrien changed my professional life in the most amazing and unexpected ways.
I remember that day vividly. Conan was going on tour and I had been asked to build a site to accompany his social media presence. The initial plan was for Conan to tweet a link to the site at 9:00 am. I spent the night before running performance tests, optimizing the server, projecting traffic based on his social following, and mentally preparing for the next morning.
Back then it was just me in my apartment. I was the lone developer and did all the ops work myself. I wasn't overly concerned or worried about the launch. I had spent the past three years at Yahoo!, working on sites with hundreds of millions of pages views a day. I was confident I had planned accordingly.
It... didn't go as planned. Conan ended up tweeting at 7:21 am (not that it would have made a difference if he had tweeted at 9 am). Luckily I had woken up at 6:30 to go for a bike ride and caught the tweet before I left my apartment.
The site had crashed almost immediately after the tweet. Turns out I had the right capacity for our projected traffic, but I was a bit off on the projected traffic. Apparently, people were more interested in what Conan was up to during his "television hiatus" than I though.
I spent the next few minutes franticly spinning up more servers, getting them into rotation, and restarting servers as they failed. After about 20 minutes, things leveled off and the site was stable. I spent the rest of the morning glued to my monitor, watching the logs, tweaking Apache and making sure nothing else went down.
Later that day, I heard from Team Coco. I was terrified I had ruined the launch, torpedoed the tour and they would never want to work with me again. It was the exact opposite; the tour was close to being sold out, Conan enjoyed the "exiting rollercoaster" of his first big website launch and the team was excited to begin work on the next iteration of teamcoco.com.
Over the ensuing ten years, I have had the privilege of launching several successful projects (none of which crashed on day one) for , build out a full cloud infrastructure, digitize and release Conan's full late-night archive, win two Emmys, worked with some amazingly talented people and watch Team Coco grow into the powerhouse it is today.
...and it all started with a tweet!