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Archive for March, 2011

Less Stories, More Funding!

The last few months at Summify have been really groundbreaking and we wanted to share some of the exciting updates with you!

More Funding

We have raised a seed round from a great group of investors and here is the full list is in no particular order:

It wasn’t that long ago that we were back in Romania dreaming of startup ideas and hoping someday we’d get to work with such great industry leaders. It’s truly amazing to us how far we’ve come. While the investment will help Summify accelerate its growth, the experience our investors bring to the table is even more important to us. 

By the way, did we mention we’re hiring?

Less Stories

Like just about everybody we know, we’ve been struggling to keep up with the avalanche of updates coming at us in the news, on Facebook, Twitter and RSS. It’s amazing that people have just sort of gotten used to so much noise and so little signal. It’s impossible to keep up and it’s only getting worse! 

We first thought the solution was to build a better social news reader, so we did that. After we released it, we realized that we had built the wrong thing. Our users didn’t really want another news reader, another destination site to check every day… they just wanted the serendipity offered by our results!

The nature of social media is such that even the most devoted users miss more than half of what comes at them, so we established the idea that you can’t and shouldn’t read everything – read just the good stuff! It stands to reason that the good stuff is usually what your friends and your sources are talking about the most.

We rebuilt Summify by mixing these two ideas together and we think we have hit on something magical. With Summify, you can know what’s going on by just looking at an intelligent summary of the news, only 5 to 10 stories, every few hours!

Obviously, we had to put a lot effort in making sure it doesn’t become a popularity contest, and we think we’ve struck the right balance of highly relevant and diverse stories. Sign up, check it out and please tell us what you think!

Tech entrepreneurs stuck in immigration limbo

Tech entrepreneurs stuck in immigration limbo

Mr. Wertz said it was his experience trying to invest in a group of entrepreneurs from Romania that convinced him the system was broken. He describes them as brilliant. They had worked for Google and Facebook and were keen on Vancouver for its proximity to Silicon Valley and its environment and quality of life.

“We had tons of trouble getting them a visa to stay here,” he said. “It has been an ongoing saga. People were spending probably 20 per cent of their time on immigration visa issues while they could have been building a company.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/time-to-lead/shareTweet/article1960705/

Bye-bye Summify Web, hello Web Summary!

It’s all about the Summary!

Remeber those awesome email digests you’re getting? Well, we’re now calling that a Summary (Pretty clever, eh?) and we’re making it a core part of our product.
You might have noticed some of the recent improvements to the email:

  • We detect and extract images from stories for a more visual experience
  • We show you one of the comments from your friends (tip: hover on their faces to see each one)
  • You can now get your summary more often (twice or 3 times a day)


Social Bar

When reading a story it’s always useful to have context – as such, we’ve built the Summify Social Bar!
You can see it at the top of any story from Summify. It allows you to see which of your friends shared the story, what did they say about it, how many retweets and likes does the story have and you can also share directly from the bar. (tip: you can share to all networks at once if you’re logged in)


Web Summary

You’ve told us that getting a relevant summary in your inbox is great, but sometimes we want functionality that’s just not possible in an email.
As such, we’ve put the summary on the web and we’re going to use it a a building block for a whole new set of amazing features!
If you received an email summary in the last 16 hours, you probably have a web version as well and it should be available at http://summify.com/summary


“Sunsetting” Summify Web

We’ve realised that a summary across every platform (email, web, mobile) is the best way to deliver relevant news without the feeling of being overwhelmed. (less is more)
As such, we’re sorry to announce that we’ll be shutting down the “realtime news reader” Summify Web.Effective March 25th 2011, the product will cease to operate. You don’t need to take any action and we apologize for any inconvenience this will cause you!


Thank you for your support and stay tuned for the next update from Summify!

Downtime Postmortem

As many people have noticed, we had an outage this morning starting from 07:23 AM PST to 14:05 PM PST (~7 hours). That’s some serious downtime and we’d like to attempt to explain what happened.

So, what happened?

Yesterday, in order to cope with the increased volume of links we added more crawler processes on one of our machines. (more details about our infrastructure)

Unfortunately, on the same machine we had our MySQL instance which stores user data and is required by all our services. At some point this morning the load increased 5x, the machine became unresponsive and eventually hanged, taking down all the other services with it.

We have email alerts for these kind of situations (we’re using Monit, Munin, and BlameStella) but they don’t really help while you’re sleeping. We’ve noticed the issue and started to work on it as soon as we woke up.

We take these problems very seriously and we’re really sorry about the outage! We’ve learned something important today and we’re working hard to prevent further issues.

How are we going to prevent it?

  • Keep MySQL and other critical services on separate, dedicated boxes
  • Setup phone and SMS alerts with PagerDuty so we can wake up
  • Avoid high loads by re-distributing some of our services to new machines

Thank you for your patience! If you have any questions or feedback email us at team@summify.com 

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