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Black Friday is over. Where to go from here?

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philip 28 months ago

Back when the site first started Black Friday was just a blip on the radar. I'd hunt for a few deals like everyone else on the internet, maybe score a monitor, hard drive, or a peripheral of some sort. No one really knew about this site, and that was ok.

A couple years passed, and PCPartPicker was still at that point all running on a single server. We had family in our house for Thanksgiving, and I was glued to my laptop in the living room making sure the server didn't go into swap. If it did, everything was toast. Being single server with no load balancer there was no quick upgrade path. It survived, barely.

The next year I had it load balanced, db split out, and much better prepared. We've been fine since then. As the site has grown, so has the infrastructure. Leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday is usually a sort-of mad dash of coding. Trying to get last minute things in, but nothing so risky as to risk messing up price accuracy, latency, or part compatibility. This year I threw in some last minute changes to further reduce price latency. Today in the middle of Black Friday I rolled out a hack / experiment to detect lowest-ever prices on our price drop page. (I'm refactoring that hack now to make it a more long-term addition.)

But here's why I'm writing this post: with the extra traffic, click-throughs, and purchases from Black Friday also come extra affiliate revenue for PCPartPicker. Every time this happens I step back and ask, "We have this revenue, where do we go from here?"

Here's what we do. I take a portion of the revenue, and I give it to the staff for their extremely hard work on the site. I'm incredibly blessed with the people I get to work with every day. They are amazing people - you see a portion of it on the outside but you really have no idea. It's a joy to work alongside them every day. They tolerate me and my quirks, limitations, and inadequacies. They work extremely hard, and they all do a great job. So I want to make sure that as the site succeeds, so do they.

Another portion of the revenue goes toward future projects. We have a handful in the works, some more capital intensive than others. It's investing in this site in a big way, and I think users here will really appreciate what we're putting together. Some of it isn't direct revenue generating stuff, but I think it'll benefit the community.

And the most important to me, a portion of our revenue goes to fund water projects in developing countries. So every Black Friday when we're looking at good traffic and affiliate revenue I ask "Where do we go from here?" We help those who need it most. Every day we take for granted the simplest things granted to us by clean water and sanitation. Water is one of the most critical human needs.

Back when PCPartPicker started I never thought it'd amount to much. I told my wife that if we were lucky, maybe we could use the money to go get coffee or go see a movie once a month. But then in 2012 when it became apparent that it was going to be more, the focus shifted. My wife and I talked about it, and I told her I wanted this site to be something that truly benefitted people. She, being the amazing wife that she is, 100% agreed. I researched and picked Charity:water. Then I set in my mind what I thought was a lofty donation amount that I never thought we'd hit. This year we closed in on it, and if our trajectory stays on track we'll surpass it next year. I... I cannot even begin to express how that feels. But it also means new goals are in order.

Where do we go from here? Oh, we're just getting started.

Comments Sorted by:

Cicero_ 4 Builds 14 points 28 months ago

PC Part Picker: VR Edition

SuperStormling 10 points 28 months ago

Where do we go from here?


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BeerzGod 2 Builds 4 points 28 months ago

Knowing PCPP isn't shoveling money away in greed, but instead using it to the benefit of its staff and those less fortunate make me enjoy this place even more. Entities like this that provide for their employee's, donate to the less fortunate and keep their focus on community isn't as mainstream as I wish it was. Great job PCPP.

Enrico411 1 point 28 months ago

Its amazing indeed!!!

There are no limits to what this community can accomplish!!

gorkti200 3 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Good Guy Philip. Setting an amazing example with your site, IMO. Major kudos to you and the team for what you do, and to your wife to for supporting your endeavor.

unicykle 3 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

I can't agree with this more.

Congrats to you and the PCPP team! What a beautiful business model that I hope continues to grow and reach new heights!

GentlemanShark 1 Build 1 point 28 months ago

It's very refreshing to see a company not obsessed with just revenue.

Wolfemane 7 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Out of all the vast amount of Charity's you probably researched, how did you come to the decision to support Charity:water?

The.Geeked. 1 Build 2 points 28 months ago

Water is Life <3

whirichardson 1 point 28 months ago

Had not seen this section until now. This is the best example of how sowing into others reaps not success or mo'money but a knowledge that some person out there is living a little better. It's not ego, it's called caring. I'll continue to click thru here whenever I can. On Amazon I used their Smile to help another clean water project and have supported others who drill wells in Africa and India too. With so much that we have how can we not share something with people who just want a clean drink of water.

KDsXiled 1 point 27 months ago

My name is also philip maybe i can do this one day lol

TheMightestOfUsAll 1 point 26 months ago

New to the site my self and shocked to see how helpful and mature everyone is. Making a PCP store would be amazing.

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TheMightestOfUsAll 2 points 26 months ago

Like me. Which is why it's more surprising lol...

vagabond139 5 Builds 1 point 26 months ago

We are still waiting for the Comment Karma Store...

Shhh. Don't you remember the NDA we had to sign? We won't get the Titan XP's if you don't keep your mouth shut.

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Nuckles_56 4 Builds 0 points 28 months ago

And give him the tag "god"

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Mason54 25 Builds 2 points 28 months ago

I second this notion. Though my job is pretty fun i think PCPP may be a close decond

Matthewtina2015 2 Builds 3 points 28 months ago

Pcpp must be great if it's decond

Evil_Paroxysm 5 Builds 2 points 27 months ago

decond slightly edges out first in my book.

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