What happens when your blog gets to the top of Hacker News?

What happens when your blog gets to the top of Hacker News?

It was a quiet Thursday afternoon, in fact I was on holiday in the UK, recharging the batteries before taking the kids to the swimming pool.

In a moment of inspiration, I decided to write a blog post, create a brand new hacker news account (I'd always been a long time reader) and submit my post. I hadn't actually blogged in 7 years and this was my way of getting the wheels back in motion.

The blog post was titled: I stopped advertising everywhere and nothing happened

Here's what happened:


A traffic graph for theantistartup.com
A traffic graph for theantistartup.com

Traffic on the site before was literally zero, I hadn't blogged in many years, no one was visiting the site. Then, boom. The post was number one on hacker news for a few hours, in truth, I'm not sure how long as I went to the pool with the kids.

I actually hadn't set up proper analytics yet as it was just on a whim, the above screenshot is from CloudFlare, but as you can see I got a around 40k unique visitors on Thursday and 15k the next day. There were no major hiccups, the site stayed stable (I use Midnight as my host).


Previously to my post, the blog didn't even appear on the first page of Google organic results, now its the number one result.

Google results for searching "the anti startup" on 13/04/22
Google results for searching "the anti startup" on 13/04/22


The most unexpected result was when some people reached out over LinkedIn and we started to chat, I had some great conversations about what I had found, and a few people linked to my blog post in their LinkedIn posts. I also got one really interesting connection that would never have happened if they hadn't have seen the post on HackerNews.


A little under a week later and I think I have grown my @davidjames twitter following by... 20 followers. To be fair, that's about a 10% increase.

The Comments

There were 388 comments on the hacker news thread as of today. I read some of them and there were some really interesting discussions, people having seen the same, some people who had clearly not read the article and my favourite....

Screenshot of a hacker news thread
Screenshot of a hacker news thread

Never read the comments eh?

The fact that someone suggested a better solution that mine of simply turning it off and measuring the delta, was to... run 50% of my ads for a charity and compare the conversion, I found... interesting.

The Feeling

The best part, for me, was the fact that it reignited my passion for writing. Lots of people are interested in the minutia, in the "one weird trick", in the rambling thoughts, so I intend to carry on and see where it leads me.