Rowan Simpson

#3: Let the server run the business

About 450,000 people visit Trade Me every day. *

During a month they collectively view over 1.1 billion page views (that’s around 434 every second on average and many more than this at peak times!) *

This represents over 70% of all domestic web traffic in New Zealand. *

Despite these impressive numbers we don’t have many of the things normally associated with a big business.

We don’t have stores or warehouses full of stock.

We don’t have an expensive sales force.

We don’t have a big marketing budget (see #1: Create great websites and people will tell their friends).

We have chosen businesses that scale and grow like only internet businesses can.

We prefer to let people participate.

All of the content you see on Trade Me is created by our users.

This scale is only possible because 99%+ of our customers interact directly with our servers and not with us.

However, this is not to say we’re not available to help.

We reply to thousands of emails and hundreds of phone calls from customers every week. We’re proud of the quality of service we provide to these customers, but we’re also proud of the fact that most of our customers are able to do what they want to do on Trade Me without having to deal with us at all.

If only the same was true of other businesses: “your call is important to us …”.

* Traffic stats in this post from Neilsen NetRatings for August 2007.

Related posts:

Other posts from the Trade Me Manifesto series: