A Year and a Day

Why will it fail?

This is going to be a very self indulgent post, and I make no apologies for that. When you have a job like this (Hi, I’m John, founder and technical lead of BristlrM14) it’s very easy to sail past milestones without flinching, continuing to run as fast as you can away from trouble.

I’m sat in bed, on a rainy Manchester day, about to carry a hastily decorated store-brand cake through the damp to a small gathering of friends to celebrate a year-and-a-day since Bristlr launched. And I’m taking the opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments of the last 12 months through the power of statistics. This is a blend of vanity and therapy.

Year 1, by the numbers

  • Members: 115,000
  • Matches: 500,000
  • Beard ratings: 1,300,000
  • Messages : 1,000,000
  • Pageviews: 39,500,000
  • Unique visitors: 500,000
  • Countries: 187
  • Top 5 countries: USA (32%), UK (22%), Brazil (13%), Netherlands (10%), Canada (6%)
  • Top 5 cities: London, Sao Paulo, New York, Amsterdam, Chicago
  • Desktop users: 22%
  • iPhone users: 37%
  • Largest traffic spike: December 26th, 3am GMT
  • Funds raised (excluding director’s loans): £28,000
  • Verticals: 1 (and a half?)
  • Full-time staff: 1
  • Freelance staff: 9
  • Git repositories: 16
  • Git commits: 2,600
  • Individual services (Heroku apps): 25
  • Database nodes: 2
  • Primary database file size: 8GB
  • User-facing errors generated: 7,400
  • Cumulative downtime: 1 hour, 57 minutes (99.98% uptime)
  • Cups of coffee drunk: 900
  • Miles driven: 10,000
  • Car parts replaced: Tire, spare tire & hub, clutch, coolant header tank, exhaust shield, windscreen wipers x 4
Our birthday cake
Our birthday cake

These numbers are good at showing where we’ve been and how much we’ve achieved. But they’re basically useless for predicting our future. We’ve been busier than people realise, and we have big plans and expectations for the next 12 months. My goal is to improve on all of these metrics at least ten fold.

The past year has been littered with happenstance, luck, chance encounters, and supportive friends and family. Whilst I can’t thank everyone individually, I do want to say thank you to everyone who has helped put us where we are today, and everyone who’s taken a chance on us.

Happy birthday.

There’s a global beard shortage. No, actually.

Emma and Danny

I ran the numbers; there are a lot more people who want to date someone with a beard, than there are people with beards. And this is a global problem.

For every person with a good beard, here’s the ratio of people wanting to stroke them:

Amsterdam 3.64
London 2.36
Manchester 2.24
New York 2.08
Los Angeles 2.04
Sao Paulo 2.02
Paris 1.98
Austin 1.66

Meaning, for every 10 people with beards in Amsterdam, there are 36 wanting a bearded partner.

If ever there was a time to start going a beard, I would say it’s now.

The only place we found there isn’t a shortage is in South Asia.

One of the fun parts to my job at Bristlr is that I get to learn things that are impossible for anyone else to learn. Most of that is also totally useless, but sometimes I find something that’s just super interesting.

When it comes to dating sites, you normally assume it’s going to be filled with a significant majority of guys. In Tinder’s case, for example, it’s basically a two to one ratio of men to women. But an interesting thing happens on Bristlr; because we reduce the number of guys able to use our service, we see an almost 50/50 split of those with beards and those who want to stroke beards (we don’t track gender), with a slight majority wanting a beard.

If you limit the beard-havers to only those with a “good” beard (rated 2/5 or above by the community, i.e. an actual beard), the number of available beards for stroking halves. This is the case in pretty much every major territory and city where Bristlr exists.

I don’t doubt the “peak beard” study from last year which told us that in 2014 beards were seen as the most appealing they’ve been for generations. But if anyone suggests this means we’re going to see a decline in beard popularity any time soon, I have the data to tell them they’re wrong.

If you’d like to see the stats on a city or region I’ve not mentioned above, just leave a comment or drop Bristlr a tweet.