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My understanding is that the launch of Stack Overflow was brilliant from both a business perspective and a technical perspective.

Having recently discovered the site, I was not present at the launch and the Spolsky blog and podcast don't seem to do the launch justice.

Can you summarize and explain the aspects of the SO launch that were brilliant? Which of these aspects can be copied by other startups?

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Did I miss something last year? I thought the 'launch' was just a bunch of blog posts, or did I miss a jolly with free drinkies and canapes? – Kev Jul 9 '09 at 16:37
There were podcasts which inspired a drinking game, but that's as close as it came.… – Bill the Lizard Jul 9 '09 at 17:56

I think it was mostly a success due to both Jeff and Joel having existing blogs with big groups of people who would be very interested in this product. That and the site did a good job of filling an existing hole. Before SO there was no good place to get answers to a broad range of programming questions besides hunting through scattering of forums and IRC rooms.

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The combined blog readership is DEFINITELY the answer. Just having an excellent idea isn't enough if you can't get anyone to check it out. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if [Jeff's blog readers] + [Joel's blog readers] > [number of stackoverflow users] – Benjol Oct 8 '09 at 9:56
  1. Come up with idea for website
  2. Get bright minds together to make this website
  3. ???
  4. Profit
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You're missing two question marks in step 3. – random Jul 10 '09 at 14:33

Have a critical mass from the day one.
Without this even very brilliant site can fail.

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Can you define "critical mass"? – user130657 Jul 11 '09 at 10:11
@unknown: Sure. The least amount of users making site successful. Yes, I know you didn't expect such an answer but it's the only one I can give you :) – Piotr Dobrogost Jul 11 '09 at 10:42

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