This post was authored by Michael Johnstone, who was a Technology Consultant for Mark Cuban Companies at the time this post was written.
It’s Friday night. A handful of hopeful young startups just pitched their businesses to Mark Cuban and the other investors on ABC’s Shark Tank. While some get funded and some don’t, one thing is certain: these companies’ websites will experience traffic volume they could never have imagined. It’s called the Shark Tank Effect, and it presents a huge opportunity for these promising startups—one that is quickly lost if the site crashes.
At Mark Cuban Companies, we work with a number of startups that appear on Shark Tank. We help ensure that during their time in the spotlight, their websites support the traffic and capitalize on the opportunity that comes from being introduced to millions of people. We’ve had sites reach 10,000 to 20,000 visitors in a minute, and average 40,000 to 50,000 visitors in the first hour. One of our companies, Villy Custom, survived a spike of 3.2 million hits in 25 minutes.
To make sure these sites survive the Shark Tank Effect, we refer them to Rackspace (that’s also where we host the main MarkCubanCompanies.com domain). For the startups, Rackspace is a no-brainer. Startups are technical, but they are building businesses, and don’t always have the resources or know-how to tackle urgent infrastructure problems. With Rackspace Managed Cloud, they get a dedicated team of specialists, comprising high-caliber engineers who are available 24×7—a great solution for startups that need to invest every dollar in product and business development.
Our companies leverage a number of products in the Rackspace portfolio, including Managed Cloud Servers, Cloud Sites and Cloud Files with the Akamai CDN. For us, though, it’s the service that differentiates Rackspace. Rackspace assists startups in preparing their sites and ensuring everything from the web servers and databases to the load balancers and Cloud Servers are ready for primetime. Rackspace can also adjust in real-time if something on the site needs tweaking, and can quickly chase down issues if a problem arises. We’ve been fortunate to have had Rackspace engineers diagnose and correct website problems in the middle of a show.
The power of Rackspace’s service and expertise shines through in the number of visitors our companies’ websites can handle when the show airs. That’s where you can see the value and performance. How many hits, unique visitors and sales do we see? Does the site survive? That’s the measure of performance.
We have found that performance with Rackspace. And when it works, you repeat it.