Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Nuffnang's First Year

Warning: This entry is rather long and text-heavy. So much that I don't know how many of you would really want to read this but it's just something that I want personally recorded in my blog for me to look back on one day.

It's about... our first year at Nuffnang.

In the Beginning

It's hard to imagine the life I am living now to the life that I lived one year ago. Time flies.Exactly one year ago, at this very same minute, I was tossing and turning on my bed trying to get some sleep. was due to be launched at between 2.00AM-4.00AM on the 27th of February 2007. We had to launch at that very odd time because Ming went to some Feng Shui Master who told us that it was the best time to launch our website.

I eventually managed to get a short hour's sleep and woke up in the middle of the night hoping that the clock would show 2.00AM and we could all start getting to work in bringing the website to life. But alas, it was only 1.30AM and I lay in bed staring at the ceiling, listening to the fingers on my alarm clock tick.

In what felt like an eternity later, the clock finally hit 2.00AM.

I jumped out of bed and straight to my laptop. I saw Ming and another colleague of mine already online on MSN waiting to get to work. We opened up a chatroom and started to bring the website to life. I was nervous. I really was.

The first launch was meant to be a small Beta launch which involved just a few of my blogger friends to test the site with me.

By 4.00AM the website was online and I had made this blog entry on my blog to share with my readers about what the "leetle dotcom" I always referred to really was.

The First Nuffnang 1.0
Nuffnang 1.5

Nuffnang 2.0

The First Baby Steps

The next day, before I knew it... a number of my friends had started joining Nuffnang to test it out. NONE of them expected to make any amount of money... they were all just being good friends of mine, supporting me in every way that they could. I still remember them today: Cely, WilliamLeong, Jasonmumbles and Rojaks to name a few.

Soon the number of sign ups we had picked up and by the end of the first day we had over 50 blogs signed up with us. This was a huge achievement for us back then.

In our business plan, we were only hoping to hit 300 blogs in a span of the first 3 months so 50 in the first day was... unbelievable. We eventually hit our target of 300 bloggers in a span of 3 weeks but not without problems.

The number of bloggers signing up with us was so immense that we kept having to upgrade from server to server and optimize our code to ensure we can cope with the load better.Nuffnang Opens Up To Malaysia

I remember the first time we publicly went to promote Nuffnang among the blogging community. Wingz, always a true friend and always will be... was nice enough to allow us a spot at the Together Gather blogger gathering that he and his group were putting together.

We set up a booth there to dispense information to our bloggers, but always staying within our bounds to respect the sanctity of a blogger gathering.A blogger gathering is for bloggers to get together and have fun. If any companies like ourselves were to participate as a sponsor or otherwise, we had better learn to behave and not try to hard sell our product way too much to the bloggers.

We had some mixed reactions from bloggers. Some welcomed the existence of Nuffnang, some were skeptical.

The Bloggers Who Believed In Us

Let's face it.

When Nuffnang first started out, we didn't have that beautiful and high-tech a website that we have now. We didn't have a stable of advertisers waiting tied around our belt and we didn't even have the big team that we have today to support the network. Nuffnang was... like it or not... Ming, me and another 2 dudes.Even under these circumstances, a good number of the top bloggers in Malaysia believed in us from the start and have stuck with us through thick and thin since then.

I can't possibly name them all but to name a few... Shaolintiger, Chanlilian, Kimberlycun, Jolene Lai, Suanie, Kyspeaks, Nicole, Xes, Jeff Ooi and last but not least Kenny Sia... all of which who had put their faith in us from the very beginning.

Thank you so very much to all of you. I hope we never ever disappointed any of you.

Finding Our First Ads

Once the first bloggers had joined us, we had pressure. Pressure to find ads to satisfy the growing community of bloggers under Nuffnang. Now Ming and I knew nobody in the advertising industry. Not soul. But we knew we had to find our way in.

We started off by reading magazines just to find the ads on them and writing them all down on a piece of paper to later compile their contact numbers and make cold calls. Cold calls are hard to make. Especially when you're from a very unknown company, worse still a dotcom.
Many skeptics told us that cold calling will get us no where and they had good reason to believe so. But Ming and I didn't have anywhere else to turn to. It's either we cold call... or we sit around hoping that advertisers might find us. We chose the former.

Out of every 10 cold calls, 9 will have us rejected for various reasons ranging from "I not free" to "We no budget" (When they really do have). Only 1 will result in a meeting, giving us a chance to pitch.

Our first clients were Exabytes and a boutique hotel in Singapore called Perak Hotel but they were a good start. In the beginning, we couldn't afford to be choosers. We took anything that came by. I remember servicing the client for one of our first ads.

The client owned a small website that sold parenting items and her budget was only to spend RM100, and on top of that we had to design her banners for her as well. We took the business anyway because there wasn't anything else for us at the time. Those were hard times.

3 months after we launched... in June... we ran a campaign for our very first BIG client: Nike. It was for their very localized "Jangan Togel" campaign and it was our first chance to prove ourselves. I was so excited by it and it meant so much to us just to have that one campaign eventhough the people who gave us that deal at the very beginning probably didn't realize it.

Subsequently, we kept working hard to build our clients and eventually closed more deals. From Nike, to Honda,to Nestle and the likes.

The Growth Stage

From the 6th month onwards, things started to grow really really fast for Nuffnang. We were securing more and more ad deals with more and more clients and our team was growing fast. We not only had hired more but also expanded from Penang to open up 2 more offices, a humble office in KL and one in Singapore.An important component of our growth is in finding the right people in our team. Believe me when I say this... the right people are very hard to find.... and when you find the right people to work with, it's like finding the love of your life.

You go to work every day very happy to be able to know that you're working with the very best, and when you know you're working with the best you know the company you're in is going somewhere.

To name a few of the Nuffnang team that had been essential to us:
Tim 2, Lee Meng, Nicholas, Firdauz, Raff, Samantha, Hui Wen, Skyler, Michelle, Su Ann and not forgetting Suet Li.Ming and I did not bring Nuffnang to where it is today. You guys did... all we did was help.

The Critics Speak

From the birth of Nuffnang to around the 9th month, Nuffnang has always had its skeptics. People, some of them bloggers who always did whatever they could to put us down for whatever motives they had. They bashed us online and offline, downplaying all the things we had done right and magnifying the things we had done wrong.

Fortunately for me, I personally never lost any sleep over whatever any of these people talked about. Most of the time in fact, I never really read any of them eventhough I knew they were there hoping to get my attention.

I ignored it all not because I felt cocky or arrogant enough to ignore them, but because I always believed that an opinion is only as good as the person that gives it. More often than not, that person is either an anonymous blogger or someone who always had ulterior motives that he did not make clear of, making him a person of no credibility.

Furthermore, I decided that if I were to read each and every one of these things that the skeptics wrote, it would leave very little time for me to do what matters... to work.

Kimberlycun once told me
"The worst thing that you can ever do to anyone who's out to smear you is ignore him like he never existed."

Honestly, I never believed it to be true at the time. But guess what.. it really turned out to be true.

Sooner or later, the critics got so worked up they started to cook up rumours. The most recent one that happened last year cracked me up the most.

I was in Singapore sitting with Ming at his home after my cruise when a journalist called Ming up to ask
"Ming... I heard that you and your partner Timothy had a big fight and are no longer in talking terms. So bad that you sent him away on a cruise".
Ming looked at me sitting on his couch, trying very very hard to hold back his laughter when he finally replied to the journalist
"Hey.. actually Tim is here with me right now and we're going through some work together. You wanna talk to him?"

When I took over the phone from Ming, the journalist sounded really really surprised to hear my voice. We cleared things up and we all had a good laugh at the end of it.

Nuffnang Today

Nuffnang today is a company that is growing so fast in both the Malaysian and Singaporean markets it's very very exciting to be at the front seat. Our company has grown so much so quickly that for the first time ever, I actually see myself sitting on a different role.I used to have to handle everything on my own. The accounts, invoicing, HR, admin, marketing, hell I even used to reply the Helpdesk e-mails by myself etc. Today there are people in place doing all that and doing a better job than I could ever do myself.

I find that my role at Nuffnang has changed, not because I have become less important but because Nuffnang has grown up and Ming and I need not babysit it anymore. It can run on its own. My job is no longer to feed it every day but to keep it growing.When I look back that it has only been one year since Nuffnang has started, I can't believe it myself... it certainly felt very much longer than that. I look back and I see not only what Nuffnang has grown into... but what I have learned and what good friends I have made along the way.As such, I shall end this entry of mine with a dedication.

I dedicate this blog entry to all the people that are responsible for bringing Nuffnang to where it is today.


Lee Meng
Hui Wen
Su Ann
Suet Li
Ai Ping
See Yin
Kau Sern
Ker Loon
Hooi Leng
Jia Wei
Ming See

Thank you all for all you have done for all of us at Nuffnang.

I am forever grateful.

If I had missed your name, it doesn't mean that you're any less important... it just means I'm up too late typing this while I should be in bed sleeping by now.

Nuffnang has had one helluva First Year... I can't wait to see what the second year holds for us.

Happy Birthday Nuffnang!


Phil said...

First of all, Congratulations!

Nuffnang gave all of us bloggers a whole new meaning of blogging. For that I thank you.

Hopefully one day I can be a true entrepreneur like you.

therevolutionaryrebel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kimfei said...

halo boss...even though I just start blogging not more than half year,but i am really glad there is Nuffnang in the blogsphere which makes a great change to my life for organising all those events where I manage to know lot of new friends from there....In other words,I may say that Nuffnang had bring some one from virtual to the real life and it is really great..keep it up and Happy Birthday to Nuffnang!!

therevolutionaryrebel said...

happy b'day nuffnang! the 2am launch of website was quite an amusing one, but it seems the feng shui master was pretty right from the start ;) you must be so proud, this is not just any company, it's the first of its kind, congrats!

rockdandy said...

Way to go Tim, I wish to see more of this, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012....

Maybe you were too sleepy, it should be ".....February 2007" and not "2.00AM-4.00AM on the 27th of February 2008"


Jason Lioh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason Lioh said...

The next time you are going to write such emotional post, give a warning, because by the end of the entry, I felt so touched that half of me wanted to shed my tears due to extreme kam-tung-ness.

Nonetheless, it seemed like it was yesterday when you offered me to run a beta test for Nuffnang and when Nuffnang was first launched. Just a blink of an eye, Nuffnang is celebrating its first birthday.

Throughout the year, there were times when I had tonnes of questions and doubts about Nuffnang, you always took the time to explain to me and I truly appreciate that.

The faith, trust and belief I have for Nuffnang has gotten stronger and deeper each day and with each action, achievement and milestones that you, Ming, the Nuffnang team have showed us.

Of course, business aside, you always have the time for charity and also to give back the community. Something that I really applaud Nuffnang for. The PoTC3 screening, the up-coming party, the many bloggers gathering held and more to come.

Boss, you and the Nuffnang team have done very well over the year and Nuffnang has grown tremendously. And I am really happy that you have achieve something at age of only 25 while I am still studying for my degree. Keep up the good work, stay humble, be honest and walk the talk, I am sure you will be a household name one day in the business world and the Internet world. Well done.

Congratulations and happy birthday, Nuffnang. I certainly hope to see what's Nuffnang is capable of for the many years to come, and one day, goes international.

As long as I am still blogging, you will have my support, my one and only support and loyalty to the local blog advertising company. Even if I quit blogging, you will still have my support.

Thank you, Timothy.
Thank you, Ming.
Thank you, Nuffnang team.
Thank you, Nuffnang.

I <3 Nuffnang!

P/S : Maybe you should come out and campaign as an independent candidate in the next general election, with your leadership quality and effort, I am sure something can be done. :P Nice idea, right?

pinksterz said...

eh jason baru post comment! haha hello jason *waves*

sniff i am also touched reading this post. omg and i totally forgot the first layout of the web during its beta!!!

i <3<3<3<3<3 nuffnang also!!!

happy birthday nuffie boi!! (assuming that nuffnang is going to grow up as a MAN with no tutus)

KY said...

I have the exact same watch!

Swatch Irony

peggy said...

happy birthday nuffnang!
i may not be with you every step of the way, but it is good to have seen you grow. and will definitely continue to watch you grow even bigger

Beans said...

I think it's really cool you guys have come so far. Well done!

samantha said...

well done!

Observer said...

u r using swatch irony too ???

ME TOO !!!!

Twinkle said...

Hepi Besday to all Nuffies!!!

Unknown said...

" was due to be launched at between 2.00AM-4.00AM on the 27th of February 2008"

You said 2008 in your letter to us too... 1 year ago is 2007 lah...

MrChrispy said...

Happy Birthday to Nuffnang, Timothy, Ming and all the co-workers!

It has been a journey of highs and lows for the company who started with just 4 people on 27th Feburary 2008.

Nothing feels better than seeing your "baby" grow to what it is today, garning the support of not only the advertisers, but the bloggers themselves.

You deserve a pat on the back. You and the team who believed in Nuffnang's missions, goals and objectives.

Congrats! Cheers!

Kimberly Low said...

ah tim, thanks for letting me be part of nuffnang! huggggggs

Boss Stewie said...

Philip: Thank you for your kind words Philip. I’m sure one day you’ll do a lot more than I ever did.

Kimfei: thank you so much Kim Fei. I’m so happy to hear that people are starting to look at us more as a community rather than simply a medium to make money from

Pink: thank you kit mey. We still have a long way to go but I’m happy with the start we’ve had.

Rock: hahaha!!! Ookok dude.. already changed the error. Thanks thanks

Jason: Dude.. thank you so much for your long comment and most importantly, for all the support you’ve given us from the start. And hey.. I’m only 23.. 24 this year… and hey.. I’m going to stay away from politics haha

Pink: aww thank you pinksterz! :P

Ky: haha awwww!! Looks like quite a few of us have the same watch

Peggy: thank you so much peggy

Bee nee: thanks so much !

Samantha: thank you Samantha :P

Freethinker: hahaha yes.. that makes 3 of us here with the same watch

Twinkle: thank u :P

Lanatir: sorry dude.. always too used to typing 2008 now. Fixed it di

Chris: thank you chris… we have a lot more to work for.. and a lot more to come but thank you for all you’ve done for us thus far.

Boss Stewie said...

kimberlycun: kim.. thanks for being a part of nuffnang :P

The Who said...

Well done boss!

Happy Birthday to nuffnang from the team

Empowering Youth

eyeris said...

happy birthday nuffnang!

you know what i like best about Nuffnang as compared to the er... other alternative? it's that most of you are humble little bloggers as well, and not some hot shot ad guy with flashy ideas and no substance at all.


Christine said...

Happy Birthday to Nuffnang.. In this one year, Nuffnang had really grown alot therefore congrats to you and Ming on the growth of Nuffnang and the Nuffnang team. The effort all of you guys put had paid off.. *smile*

All the best to all of you!!!

Linora 'Aronil' Low said...

That's really sweet tim. Happy Birthday to you guys at Nuffnang, the journey must've been bump and going to get bumpier :P, but all the same I think you guys have out done yourselves. So we, or at least I am and i'm sure other people can second that are very proud of you guys. Keep it up Nuffnang!

Pam Song said...

Aww, your post so blardee touching lah. *tear* Except for when I laughed at the cruise ship part. Haha.

Congrats, Nuffnang!

You guys really did a great job and you've revolutionized blogging in Malaysia. I salute you for not biting back at the people who've been picking your bones. Kimberlycun was right. And it made you the 'bigger man'. =)

Keep going.

Boss Stewie said...

ken: thank you so much dude

eyeris: thank you eyeris... yes most of our team are all bloggers... i always lean to hiring bloggers.. in fact i just hired another one :P

christine: thank you very much christine. I will always remember how much support you've given us all this while

aronil: aww thank you .. i'm proud to have you as part of our community too

pam: thank u pam... yes the cruise ship part was funny hahaha..

Geek @ Kedai.TV said...

A touchy one
Happy Birthday Tim..Ming....and the Nuffnang Crew.

Tim...U are going to pay for dinner.

Monica said...

Happy Birthday Nuffnang!!!

Boss Stewie said...

azrin: haha! okok i pay for dinner

Wingz said...

tenkiu nuffnang! tenkiu tim! tenkiu Ming! Tenkiu for a wonderful year of blogging!

suanie said...

my goodness, tim so emo :P
*pats* sayang *

suanie said...

i go buy chipster n blog just for u

Cheng Chun said...

Congrats to Nuffnang and Happy Birthday.

I think it's time for me to join Nuffnang too. :)

I hope that fine with you boss?

meow said...

happy birthday, Nuffnang!

chanraymond said...

Selamat Hari Jadi =D said...

Yam Seng!!! And many more years to come.

sultanmuzaffar said...

happy birthday nuffnang !!!

cool huh !! we shared almost the same birthday, but my blog is one day earlier...:)

keep up the good work guys !! :)

Unknown said...

Congrats Tim.

Let keep the entrepreneur spirit high!

ZB said...

you are welcome :)

michelleho said...

Congratulations and a very HAPPY Birthday to Nuffnang! Good job on your successful 1st year!

I'm working towards securing a budget for online advertising for me company, if and once I get it, I know who to call! Hehe...

Unknown said...

You've done the right thing pushing on to what you believe. We're all a glad bunch seeing a friend who is successful, which in turn will motivate us that we can do the same.
We're here for Nuffnang and the team.
Friends stand together right?

Happy Birthday Nuffnang...

Resa said...

Happy first anniversary!

ShaolinTiger said...

Happy 1st Birthday to Nuffnang, it's been a great year!

Let's all push onwards and upwards together and make the market even bigger!

yapthomas said...

was at nuffnang blog and i was like jumping here and there..

now, reading emo already..

why why.. why a celebration must include emo wan.. emo because it is so "kam tung". sungguh mengharukan!

Anonymous said...

congratulations! i know nuffnang can make it and it has proven it itself. Good luck Tim!

MikeM said...

happy birthday nuffnang... great job tim...

Miss Nobody said...

happy b'day nuffnang!
at last you all's effort really paid out and the challenges are worth it all.

revel in me said...

Such an inspiring story! <3

And it's not only a first year anniversary for the community, but for the dreams and aspirations and efforts that you all set out to fulfill... :) Happy birthday, nuffnang!

Ellone said...

HappieEee b'day ! =)

bibliobibuli said...

well done, Tim. you all delivered on your promises and i'm grateful for the side income (which this year will pay for me to fly to the ubud writers festival so i will have something nice to blog about)

sorry i got snarky the other day about "dumbing down". i'm a lone voice i know. hope i didn't upset you too much when i know you put so much into the company. (and as all bloggers know from their commenters, it's easier to criticise than to be constructive)

here's to the next year and beyond!

Unknown said...

Job well done with Nuffnang!


Boss Stewie said...

Wingz: thank you wingz… for all the support a true friend could ever give

Suanie: hahahaha aww thank u

Cheng chun: hahahah yes it’s time!!! Join join

Serena; thank u serena

Little Raymond: thank u dude

5xmom: yes.. drink with me !!! heh

sultan: muzaffar.. you are another one of our earliest supporters. Thank you so much for all the faith you’ve put in us

kahseong: I shall! Thank you kahseong

esther: thank u esther :P

michelle: hehehe thank you very much michelle.. we have one helluva second year to go

William: yes thank you so much William!

Resa: thank you resa! You are too kind

Shaolin: thank you so much dude

Yapthomas: hahahaha yes… I nearly shed a tear too

Mackerel: thank you so much

Michael: thanks bro!

Miss: yes yes but we still have plenty more work to do and plenty more to achieve

Revel: thank you :P

Ellone: hehehe thank you very much

Bili: hey Sharon… I took no offence to whatever opinions you shared with me the other day. You’re one of our earliest bloggers that I will always remember. Thank you Sharon! We will work harder this year

Goh: thanks dude!

3POINT8 said... survived 365days already!
Happy bday Nuffnang!
Thanks for the creation of nuffnang. I found a few cool friends through the nuffnang community! thanks tim!

vss3t said...

happy birthday nuffnang!!!

tim, seriuosly, i couldn't wait for the day that Nuffnang goes public [as in listed on stock exchange, coz i'll be one of the loving shareholder!! =) ]!!


rachel said...

congratulations, mr timmy! ;)

amb3r1te said...

happy birthday nuffnang!!!

Unknown said...

happy b`day!!

Nicole said...

dejavu... I still remember the first time i received your call.

Thanks for all the good times and moments shared. It has only been a year and has many more to go. I'm still waiting for Nuffnang to hit billions.

Mayz said...

Happy Birthday, Nuffnang!
Fantastic job from you, Boss Stewie and of coz, everyone else that makes Nuffnang what it is today! I'm proud to be part of it - a Nuffnanger :) Some of my friends may still be blur about Nuffnang but worry not, i'll keep spreading the words ;)

Anonymous said...

hi! i guess this is my 1st time reading the history of nuffnang.. i can't remember what makes me join but i'm having fun right now.. happy anniversary.. i mean nuffnang!

§oŁЇtǺ®ÿ ®o§ě said...

happy birthday Nuffnang!! I think your friend there Jason...he said something about you being an independent candidate for the next election...i'll definitely be on your side. seriously! =D see! one vote guaranteed! tee hee!

you know i've always wanted to have ur ad in my blog...especially about the wwe and pandas! =( i love pandas...but I reckon my blog aint good enough for it!...until it has a lot more readers...i'll sign up!

so cheers! may Nuffnang last very long until I get a steady flow of readers! =D which may take a while xD...SO U BETTER KEEP IT GROWING TILL FAT FAT!

its good to hear successful stories about ppl starting from scratch! kudos!

Suet Li said...

eh eh u forgot who won your first lucky draw ah wtf. i will never forget my first internship /big wet eyes
and the first boss who was soooo freaking kind to me do you remember the days when i forget my stuff and u'll fetch me back to get it /big wet eyes

Horny Ang Moh said...

Congratulation Bossy! I believed I am one of the early batch to joint Nuffnang & being a really blurr in internet I even ask u to put the code on my site & u did it!
That gave me a very good impression ( It is very rare for the founder to attend to this simple requst )! Thus I have remained a loyal supporter ever since!
Have a nice day Bossy!

Horny Ang Moh said...

Congratulation Bossy! I believed I am one of the early batch to joint Nuffnang & being a really blurr in internet I even ask u to put the code on my site & u did it!
That gave me a very good impression ( It is very rare for the founder to attend to this simple requst )! Thus I have remained a loyal supporter ever since!
Have a nice day Bossy!

Tim-Kimokeo Voon said...

Happy Birthday Nuffnang!
Keep Up the Good Work!
Congratulations Tim

Anonymous said...

happy birthday nuffnang!! good work and keep it up for the years to come! cause this is already made a huge impact in the malaysia-singaporean blogosphere and i believe much more is going to come out of this!! good luck! =)

May Leng said...

Happy Birthday Nuffnang, your precious baby !

Only the ones worth the gossip cooks up the media, so when you're on their radar, means Nuffnang is indeed something to shout about. ;)

Stand on your glory and pride, you have nothing to fear. Only success ahead with all those standing behind and beside you. =)

Three cheers for a great year ahead and many more to come ! Hip, Hip, Horray ! Hip, Hip, Horray ! Hip, Hip, Horray !

Boss Stewie said...

3point8: hahahaha yes yes 365 days!!! And counting…

vss3t: hahaha please lar.. don’t get ur hopes up so fast wei

Rachel: thank you Rachel :P

Amber: hehehehe! Thank u thank u

Em: thank u

Nico: yah! I remember that too.. thank you for being ever so supportive Nicole

Mayz: hahaha aww thank you so much!!!

Baby: aww that’s really nice to hear. Thank u

Solitary: oi you can just ler.. it’s not about the traffic, money or ads.. it’s about the community!

Suet: hahahaha awww I miss u suet li

Hor ny: thank you hor ny.. I’ve noticed your support all this while

t-mo-t: thanks dude

cbb: aww thank u .. we have a long way more to go

may leng: thank u may leng… you’re one of those other people I’m glad I met through nuffnang

May Leng said...

awww......thanks ! =) ditto.

Anonymous said...

selamat hari jadiiiiiii I shall sacrifice my time willingly to work for you :D

And You are one of my fave bloggers aside from pinkpau taking my top 5, you shall be no6. :D

Boss Stewie said...

may leng: :P

michelle; haha!

Simon Seow said...

Congrats to Nuffnang.

Hey, I got a very old Swatch Irony too. Got it back in 1997.

Cold call ftw!

nAoKi said...


Danny said...

I'm shy to ask but I'll ask anyway. Was that suppose to be me? Or did you forget my name? :P


If I must, maybe I'll go outta the way and join the discussion on my own account. So it'll be FOC okie.

Take care man.