Since relaunching Anonymously Ask A Black Person the traffic and SMS we receive come and go. Somes days we get one or two and others we can get up to 10 to 20 sms messages. Late Thursday night, my phone started to receive tons of notifications of inbound SMS and and Slack notifications as I had build a way for users to Anonymously SLACK A Black Person too.

The traffic came from the team over at Just Kidding Films who created a real and funny video about the service. Just Kidding Films youtube channel has 1,218,438 subscribers with 473,503,697 views. After I realised the video was the reason for all the traffic I had to disable the Anonymous Slack feature. You can watch the video below. It’s interesting they call the service “Controversial”. I guess when we’re having a conversation about race or to a black person it could be controversial? Anyway… the video generated 4,960 pageviews with 3,423 unique visits since late Thursday night. By tonight we’ll hit 5k pageviews.

I will say they are incorrect about a couple of items about the service. It’s not one person, we’re a team of 10 and growing to 13 next week and no I didn’t create this to be the voice of all black people. It’s not all guys either. There are three women on the team.

New Controversial Service Will Let You Ask A Black Person Anything ft. David So

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 4.13.37 PM

To date we have received 1576 inbound text messages and have sent 1474 messages.
Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 3.55.54 PM

Be sure to watch the video. It’s funny, real and clearly identifies the need for the service. If you have any questions, you can Anonymously Ask A Black Person.

3721

To say it’s been an interesting and emotional ten days is an understatement since I built Anonymously Ask A Black Person (#AABP). Today makes an official ten days the platform has been actually live. Time will tell the overall impact and value, one thing we do know Anonymously Ask A Black Person is sure starting a lot of conversations around why or why not it should exist or is this good or bad for the world.

Regardless, let’s look at some numbers of the first 10 days using Microsoft Power BI, Twilio and Google Google Analytics. Twilio recently announced “Twilio Monitoring Within Microsoft Power BI during their Single’s conference late May and since all messages are sent through Twilio let’s start there.

Total SMS Sent and Received: 1,050 in 10 active days

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 7.22.50 AM

For page views and age and gender demographics, let’s take a look at Google Analytics. The highest age is 25-34 with 82% being male and 17.4% being female.

Age and Gender


Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 10.18.10 PM

Total pageviews 16,497


Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 7.30.01 AM

While the pageviews are ok for a 10 days weekend hack, there’s only a 9.7% return rate, which make sense with the current setup as the platform goal is to start answering questions via SMS. But we do need to address a way to bring people back to the site to participate in the dialogue.

People have been tweeting and want to see some of the responses and we’re going to work on building a system that can show both the outgoing answers along with the incoming questions.

Team Size Answering Questions: 10


I can’t say enough about the team answering questions. They’re funny, smart and dedicated. I’m learning a lot from them and we’re excited to see where Anonymously Ask A Black Person can go.

As for what’s next,we’re going to setup an offical Anonymously Ask A Black Person (#AABP) blog and create a public features voting trello board.

ask a black person

“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.
– Morpheus

Stats

Friday May, 29th 5pm – June 1, 11:59pm Stats
SMS Questions Received: 230
SMS Questions Sent: 262
Page Views: 4970

stats

The quote from Morpheus above is what I posted in the slack group to the team answering question on Anonymously Ask A Black Person. We’re up to 10 Brilliant Black People from across the country. The team is 7 guys, and 3 women. We have developers/engineers, sales guy and a couple of growth hackers. Everyone does not live in the Bay or Silicon Valley either. The team is from Austin, Cleveland, and the Bay area.

Last Friday, I wrote the blog post “Anonymously Ask A Black Person via SMS (ABP) is Back Online” in which I listed our core values, features list and goals. I was at Google I/O and wasn’t expecting a big flood of text messages to come in. I pinged the team in slack and said we’re live!

After a few tweets, and a Facebook post the messages started to come in on late Friday such as:

“What’s the best Kool Aid flavor”

“Is Nikki Minaj’s butt real?”

“Do you like chicken and waffles”

Come, Saturday afternoon more text were coming and the team and I started talking about ways to improve tracking who replies back to what messages. We also started thinking about growth. Since I haven’t sent the site to hacker news, I thought why not. So I posted “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” to the Show Hacker News section and waited. I didn’t have to wait long as I immediately saw traffic increase and more traffic means more SMS. We started getting questions like

“I’m on a date with a black girl right now. What should we do?”

“Do you all really have bigger dicks than white people?”

“How do you feel about non-black people singing the n-word at concerts when its part of the song?”

“What’s the best thing to say to someone when they make a racist joke to show you’re not cool with it?”

Not making the same mistake I did with Product Hunt, I decided to answer some of the comments on the Hacker News thread. Some were curious to why I built it and others had real suggestions on how to make it better. Be sure to check out the thread.

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 3.25.44 PM

Saturday’s Page views where 1,389 with 1,237 uniques. Not bad.

Sunday, I again woke up to an unusual high number of page views. It turns out someone had submitted the site to Reddit’s CoonTown. I have never been to that section on Reddit… you are warned it’s real over there.

Either way, more Hacker News comments and traffic from Reddit started to increase the number of SMS questions coming in and the team was ready. We stared receiving some real tough questions like;

“hey. 1. are you really black or this is some social justice movement/horrible prank 2. you ever think social issues (of race,gender,orientation) are just handled horribly in the US? like it has to become a big movement in the newspapers and tv with people debating and moralizing about shit, so that bigots can have something to talk about. its like blindingly fucking simple isn’t it? all people are the same. do you feel that way?

Hi, I’m a white woman and often the target of sexism in my career. If I bring this up, men shut me down and laugh it off, “that’s not sexist”. It’s very frustrating. I feel like if it was a racial issue and I accused someone of being racist, they would quickly back down, if only just for appearances. Do you think that’s the case?

How do you feel about non-black people singing the n-word at concerts when its part of the song?

What is the worst and best thing about black church?

Are black people racist towards white people?

How would you fix the problem of diversity in tech specifically black people?

What’s the best way that I, as a white person, can help people of color?

Then more of the not so serious question started to come in such as:

Curry or LeBron?

What was Jay-Z’s first album?

do black people really have the biggest weenies?

Is it just met but there’s seems to be a real interest in blacks having a bigger penis parts than whites.. I’m going to leave it right there… #thatisall

At the end of the day on Sunday, this message warmed my soul.

“I want to apologize on behalf of humanity if people have texted anything terrible. Happy Sunday!”

Sunday’s numbers were: 2,570 page views and 2,294 unique visits.

Yesterday I was heads down on few projects buta reporter reached out to us for a story on Anonymously Ask A Black Person. I asked the team who wanted to remain anonymous and who wanted to be public. We also talked about growth, features and getting more returning users. I just checked some of the questions from yesterday and most were serious. The stats from yesterday are 1001 page views and 858 unique visits.

We’re going to really think about new features, partnerships and growth over the next week and see how we’re doing on numbers to reach our 90 day goal of 10k messages sent and received.

As of today we’re really 3 days old with almost 5k page views and have replied over 250 SMS questions. We’re getting ready for press and growth plans and to some up one of the reasons why we’re doing this. I believe this Q&A below that happen via Anonymously Ask A Black Person sums it up!

Question: Why do black people on average have such low IQs compared to whites and asians?

Answer: Black people don’t have low IQs. We have the most underrated IQ :-)

-your friendly neighborhood black person #aabp

You can view the first 3 days of questions below!

Yesterday I sent the email below to the organizers of Future Insights Live, Ellie and Sarah. Both were two of the most well organized and professional conference staff I’ve interacted with. I really did not want to cancel speaking at the event especially last minute but I know right now it’s what best due to an injury, having items stolen from me a week ago and I’m still waiting on new CC. As I said in the email and to the organizers and attendees. I apologize for not being able to participate.

Hi Ellie and Sarah, I owe you both and the attendees of Future Insights live a sincere apology but I’m unable to attend the conference due to an emergency and injury.

I’ve been looking for a replacement all day and did not want to send you this email. In my 8 years of speaking at conferences etc, I’ve missed only 1 once due to a life or death illness (SXSW 2013). Fortunately this is not the case but still it’s not good that I’m not attending.

I also would like to apologize for the lack of communication, thank you for your patience, and congratulate you on a successful event and the hard work you put behind it. As a person who organizes events/conferences etc, I understand the hard work and thought you put behind the conference. I also understand the rare opportunity myself and other minority speakers get – please do not hold this against us. This is all on me, trying to do too much.

In full transparency I will publish this in a blog post, so the blame is not put on you all.

Again, I’m sorry for any trouble and inconvenience I’ve caused!

Have a successful event!!

Well, that was unexpected. After posting about my weekend hack about Anonymously Ask A Black Person via SMS. I’ve received another couple thousand page views on the blog post, numbers of tweets saying it was awesome and dozens of request to keep Anonymously Ask A Black Person up and running.

ask a black person

The blog post, “How and Why I built “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” SMS platform that reached almost 10,000 page views & removed from Product Hunt in 48 hours with Twilio” was viewed over 2500 times in two days.

Now Anonymously Ask A Black Person is a team of seven and yes.. we’re all black :). The good thing is we’re all developers and the gender demographic is three women and five guys. After talking with a couple of the team members we decided setup a slack group, and the strategy is there is no official schedule we’ll mark messages that we want to reply to in the google doc and reply when we can. Also we’re all going to remain “anonymous” except myself of course. A couple members of the team said they might post via Twitter/social media that they are contributing.

Before starting out I felt we needed two things, team core values and reachable goals.

The Anonymously Ask A Black Person Core Values are:
#1 Be authentic
#2 Reply with compassion and empathy
#3 Provide Value
#4 Be Creative
#5 Innovate with technology
#6 Enhance community
#7 Have fun

Our goals are:
Receive and answer 10,000 questions within 90 days

I also wanted to make a couple updates to enhance the user experience and add credibility. Last night was a long night but here’s the tasks list and growing feature set.

Task last
Remove long twitter hashtag and change to #aabp
Blog post about ADP is back on socialwayne.com

Updated Features,Tasks and Bugs List
1. Learn how to reply to twilio sms from slack (this would be awesome)
2. Rebuild backend response chat with firebase or slack (I’m going to try this https://github.com/DevMountain/TextSupport
3. Update Twilio sms to google spreadsheet columns for team
4. Create Ask a black person slack room – DONE
5. Review overall Twilio logs and configuration
6. Create a login system for updated chat/admin room if slack doesn’t work
7. Add stripe payment option to website
8. Update website footer with company address – DONE
9. update website footer with history blog post link – DONE
10. Review people who want to get involved via google spreadsheet
11. Install wordpress askablackperson.com/blog
12. update team on twitter login
13. Host team video chat for introductions
14. Review weekly
15. Create terms of service and privacy policy pages used TermsFeed – DONE
16. Convert mobile number form to ajax submission. The original idea was change submission post php layout of submission page or create alert message after user submits their number. http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5004233/jquery-ajax-post-example-with-php/14217926#14217926
http://ajtroxell.com/build-a-simple-php-jquery-and-ajax-powered-contact-form/ – DONE
17. Edit input form redirection
18. Update example questions with real previous questions – DONE
19. Register aabp.co domain name to use as a short url – DONE
20. Setup aabp.co short url on bitly.com for tweets – DONE
21. Edit display of twitter widget using https://github.com/kevinburke/customize-twitter-1.1 – DONE
22. Create a reminder sms service or way to send group messages
23. Change default welcome text from “Ask me anything. How may I help you?” to “Hi, ask me anything. How may I help you?” – DONE
24. Add testimonials from twitter – on hold
25. SETUP SSL(https)
26. Edit twitter card and Facebook meta open graph data and default image – DONE
27. Test FB open graph data with https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/og/object/
28. Format ajax thank you message mobile media css property for mobile devices

Updated budget
V2
Short url godaddy: aabp.co – $15.18
TermsFeed (https://termsfeed.com ) Privacy Policy – $3.00
TermsFeed (https://termsfeed.com ) terms of service – $9.00
V2 Total: $27.18

V1
Twilio starter credit and phone number $20.00
Napier basic plan $15.00
Twitter Bootstrap theme $18.00
Askablackperson.com domain name with private registration $12.17
Coding Time: TBD :)

Total V1 + V2: $133.18

What happens now is TBD, but I’m excited to be working with a team. Ironically as I fished some of the updates above last night around 3:00am an investor friend from kleiner perkins emailed me saying he had heard about Anonymously Ask A Black Person via Kristy Tillman @kristyt . His response was BRILLIANT!

If you are interested in joining the team to answer questions or help develpe out the app fill out the form on the Get Involved page http://askablackperson.com/getinvolved.html.

Now, what are you waiting for, tell your friends, send a text message question to 1-877-605-2741 and “Anonymously Ask A Black Person“.

UPDATE #3: We’re back online at http://askablackperson.com – Read why and how here: Anonymously Ask A Black Person via SMS (ABP) is Back Online – Team, Goals, Features and Task List

UPDATE #2: Several people have agreed to help keep “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” going. Stay tuned!

If you are interested fill out the form here -> Get Involved

About two months ago I saw a site called “Stanford Nerd” on Product Hunt. Stanford Nerd works by sending a text message from the website to a Stanford student and a Stanford student replies back to your questions. The site tag line reads “Nerd gives you access to brilliant Stanford students. Get whatever help you need. Send us a message and we’ll have great minds working to answer you.

I thought this was a great but simple idea and also thought, heck I could build this. I also thought it would be great if someone could text anyone anonymously and ask questions or for feedback. I also was reading about the highly valued YC startup Magic that recently raised $12 million from Sequoia Capital at a $40 million valuation. Magic works by texting a phone number to get whatever you want on demand with no hassle. I too was like… I could build that.

This past Friday I was having lunch at Reddit with my friend Heath Black. Heath is a product manager at Reddit and we were talking Reddit’s update on harassing behavior. I mentioned to Heath my idea about building an anonymous ask me anything platform. He thought it was a good idea as he shared a recent experience where he was hesitate to ask someone a question about their race. I also had been talking about the idea multiple times with my girlfriend Melinda Epler.

Being this was a holiday weekend and I’ve been heads down planning BUILDUP events, technical workshops and scheduling fund raising meetings I wanted to do something fun and build something. As a geek,nerd, UI/UX guy, developer and as an entrepreneur when you have an inch to solve a problem or the idea to launch something, you do it. Therefore late Friday night I started reading how to build Anonymously Ask A Black Person ( http://askablackperson.com).

Here’s the articles and the development stack.

Build Your Own Agent SMS Chat Using Twilio Toll-free Numbers
Making an AJAX Web Chat (Part 1) – PHP and MySQL
How To: Send an SMS Text Message via the Twilio REST API with PHP
GitHub Repository intel-tel-input for entering and validating international telephone numbers
HOW TO USE THE TWILIO API TO SEND AN SMS MESSAGE
Zapier for sending incoming SMS to
Twilio for toll free number and sending SMS

Dev. Stack
Twilio
Php
Ajax
Javascript
Twilio API
HTML5
Twitter Bootstrap Theme
zapier
Google Spreadsheets
Twitter Widgets
JQuery plugins
MySql
Webhost: BlueHost
Submlime Text

Total cost = $106.00
Twilio starter credit and phone number $20.00
Napier basic plan $15.00
Twitter Bootstrap theme $18.00
Askablackperson.com domain name with private registration $12.17
Coding Time: TBD :)

Finished Product
Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.04.25 PM

How it worked?
Simple. A user would go to the website and input their mobile number in which they would receive a SMS auto responder reading “Ask me anything. How may I help you?” When a user replies their message would then show up in the ajax chat room that I built from the Build Your Own Agent SMS Chat Using Twilio Toll-free Numbers article. I would then respond back using the “@“ sign and their phone number. Oh yeah first I had to buy the Twilio toll-free number. A user could also just text a question to the number on the site.

Backend Screenshot
admin

Through Zapier the “zaps” web hooks would send any incoming sms to google spreedsheet and another zap would auto tweet any incoming sms to the @aablackperson twitter account I created.
Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 11.09.12 AM

I spent most of Saturday coding, reading how to links and watching the Warrios game. By late Saturday night (actually Sunday AM everything was working and I posting on Facebook at 1:03am “Interesting: Anonymously Ask A Black Person http://askablackperson.com”. A couple of text message started to come in and I replied to each and was feeling good.

Interesting: Anonymously Ask A Black Person http://askablackperson.com/

Posted by Wayne Sutton on Sunday, May 24, 2015

I woke up Sunday morning with more text and was testing out bugs and a way to make the backend ajax chat stop clearing the sms messages. Either way, I posted one tweet saying the same thing I posted on Facebook. I also sent the link to Product Hunt. Ryan sent me a tweet saying it was going on product hunt Monday morning.

Sunday was a chill day, Melinda and I went to the movies to see “Tomorrowland” and dine out. I’m sure she could tell that my mind was on “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” as people were sending real questions. Everything to “Am I racist if I think X”, to is it ok to say this to a black person, to thoughts on Ferguson and Baltimore. My Sunday night was filled with researching and answering SMS messages.

Come Monday morning, Melinda and I had planned to go hiking and when I checked “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” website stats it already had over 2,000 page views by 9am. I was like whoa, is all that from Product Hunt. It turns out, it was part Product Hunt and mostly Reddit. I checked with Heath from Reddit and it wasn’t him. Anonymously Ask A Black Person was on the “internet is beautiful” Reddit section staying at number 2 position on Monday.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.17.42 PM

As for Product Hunt, Ryan had to remove “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” from the homepage of Product Hunt due to “extremely offensive to any one person or group of people”. Either way, I was like, great and secretly wishing it could make 10k page views in one day. But more importantly tons of SMS questions were coming in and Melinda and I was going hiking. This is where Magic and even Nerd wins. Magic says “we have trained operators standing by 24/7 to answer every one of your requests”. “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” is a weekend hack and just me.

I started thinking I could get some help managing the backend and answering questions “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” but that would require a lot of time and trust and I had a certain vision for the site. Plus there were some real rascal questions and text coming in that I expected and since I’ve been doing this whole “internet diversity in tech thing” I’m used to but everyone is not.

Regardless Melinda and I went hiking and I was checking page views and by Monday night it had peaked around 9,500 page views in one day. I answered over 100sms and sent another tweet that it almost made it to 10,000 page views.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.19.13 PM

What I learned from building ”Anonymously Ask A Black Person”?
While building the site, I was thinking it would be fun and people would look at it part satire and part real. On the fun note people started asking two questions. One is the person behind the site really black or was I a bot. One person send an SMS saying if I’m black what does “GL” mean? I responded “good luck” the next text was no, it means “good look”. I guess I wasn’t “black enough to know that.. :).

An interesting tweet that was posted that said “ where no one knows black people so they have to text them to ensure they’re not being racist” .. I found that interesting to say the least.

In all honestly though it wasn’t about the page views, it was about building, learning and solving a real problem, a people problem. Something Heath reminded me is that regardless of how much technology we have today at the end of the day we’re dealing with people. People have feelings, questions and real bias towards one another. I learned that everyone does’t understand how culture, music, trends and markets affect people’s lives and decision making. I was reminded of my own bias and stereotypes. I became more self aware of how people think and view black people and my desire to educate people on empathy in their everyday life.

Now, I’m shutting down the service and back to focusing on BUILDUP which mentors, educates and connects underrepresented entrepreneurs in technology. One piece of advice I’ll keep telling entrepreneurs is if you have an idea or see a problem, don’t wait for someone else to build it, but your head down, learn the skills and build it yourself.

It was an interesting weekend… #keepmovingforward.

UPDATE: A lot of people wondered what kind of messages I received. I stripped out the phone numbers from the google spreadsheet below.

UPDATE #3: We’re back online at http://askablackperson.com – Read why and how here: Anonymously Ask A Black Person via SMS (ABP) is Back Online – Team, Goals, Features and Task List

UPDATE #2: Several people have agreed to help keep “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” going. Stay tuned!

If you are interested fill out the form here -> Get Involved

About two months ago I saw a site called “Stanford Nerd” on Product Hunt. Stanford Nerd works by sending a text message from the website to a Stanford student and a Stanford student replies back to your questions. The site tag line reads “Nerd gives you access to brilliant Stanford students. Get whatever help you need. Send us a message and we’ll have great minds working to answer you.

I thought this was a great but simple idea and also thought, heck I could build this. I also thought it would be great if someone could text anyone anonymously and ask questions or for feedback. I also was reading about the highly valued YC startup Magic that recently raised $12 million from Sequoia Capital at a $40 million valuation. Magic works by texting a phone number to get whatever you want on demand with no hassle. I too was like… I could build that.

This past Friday I was having lunch at Reddit with my friend Heath Black. Heath is a product manager at Reddit and we were talking Reddit’s update on harassing behavior. I mentioned to Heath my idea about building an anonymous ask me anything platform. He thought it was a good idea as he shared a recent experience where he was hesitate to ask someone a question about their race. I also had been talking about the idea multiple times with my girlfriend Melinda Epler.

Being this was a holiday weekend and I’ve been heads down planning BUILDUP events, technical workshops and scheduling fund raising meetings I wanted to do something fun and build something. As a geek,nerd, UI/UX guy, developer and as an entrepreneur when you have an inch to solve a problem or the idea to launch something, you do it. Therefore late Friday night I started reading how to build Anonymously Ask A Black Person ( http://askablackperson.com).

Here’s the articles and the development stack.

Build Your Own Agent SMS Chat Using Twilio Toll-free Numbers
Making an AJAX Web Chat (Part 1) – PHP and MySQL
How To: Send an SMS Text Message via the Twilio REST API with PHP
GitHub Repository intel-tel-input for entering and validating international telephone numbers
HOW TO USE THE TWILIO API TO SEND AN SMS MESSAGE
Zapier for sending incoming SMS to
Twilio for toll free number and sending SMS

Dev. Stack
Twilio
Php
Ajax
Javascript
Twilio API
HTML5
Twitter Bootstrap Theme
zapier
Google Spreadsheets
Twitter Widgets
JQuery plugins
MySql
Webhost: BlueHost
Submlime Text

Total cost = $106.00
Twilio starter credit and phone number $20.00
Napier basic plan $15.00
Twitter Bootstrap theme $18.00
Askablackperson.com domain name with private registration $12.17
Coding Time: TBD :)

Finished Product
Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.04.25 PM

How it worked?
Simple. A user would go to the website and input their mobile number in which they would receive a SMS auto responder reading “Ask me anything. How may I help you?” When a user replies their message would then show up in the ajax chat room that I built from the Build Your Own Agent SMS Chat Using Twilio Toll-free Numbers article. I would then respond back using the “@“ sign and their phone number. Oh yeah first I had to buy the Twilio toll-free number. A user could also just text a question to the number on the site.

Backend Screenshot
admin

Through Zapier the “zaps” web hooks would send any incoming sms to google spreedsheet and another zap would auto tweet any incoming sms to the @aablackperson twitter account I created.
Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 11.09.12 AM

I spent most of Saturday coding, reading how to links and watching the Warrios game. By late Saturday night (actually Sunday AM everything was working and I posting on Facebook at 1:03am “Interesting: Anonymously Ask A Black Person http://askablackperson.com”. A couple of text message started to come in and I replied to each and was feeling good.

Interesting: Anonymously Ask A Black Person http://askablackperson.com/

Posted by Wayne Sutton on Sunday, May 24, 2015

I woke up Sunday morning with more text and was testing out bugs and a way to make the backend ajax chat stop clearing the sms messages. Either way, I posted one tweet saying the same thing I posted on Facebook. I also sent the link to Product Hunt. Ryan sent me a tweet saying it was going on product hunt Monday morning.

Sunday was a chill day, Melinda and I went to the movies to see “Tomorrowland” and dine out. I’m sure she could tell that my mind was on “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” as people were sending real questions. Everything to “Am I racist if I think X”, to is it ok to say this to a black person, to thoughts on Ferguson and Baltimore. My Sunday night was filled with researching and answering SMS messages.

Come Monday morning, Melinda and I had planned to go hiking and when I checked “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” website stats it already had over 2,000 page views by 9am. I was like whoa, is all that from Product Hunt. It turns out, it was part Product Hunt and mostly Reddit. I checked with Heath from Reddit and it wasn’t him. Anonymously Ask A Black Person was on the “internet is beautiful” Reddit section staying at number 2 position on Monday.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.17.42 PM

As for Product Hunt, Ryan had to remove “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” from the homepage of Product Hunt due to “extremely offensive to any one person or group of people”. Either way, I was like, great and secretly wishing it could make 10k page views in one day. But more importantly tons of SMS questions were coming in and Melinda and I was going hiking. This is where Magic and even Nerd wins. Magic says “we have trained operators standing by 24/7 to answer every one of your requests”. “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” is a weekend hack and just me.

I started thinking I could get some help managing the backend and answering questions “Anonymously Ask A Black Person” but that would require a lot of time and trust and I had a certain vision for the site. Plus there were some real rascal questions and text coming in that I expected and since I’ve been doing this whole “internet diversity in tech thing” I’m used to but everyone is not.

Regardless Melinda and I went hiking and I was checking page views and by Monday night it had peaked around 9,500 page views in one day. I answered over 100sms and sent another tweet that it almost made it to 10,000 page views.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.19.13 PM

What I learned from building ”Anonymously Ask A Black Person”?
While building the site, I was thinking it would be fun and people would look at it part satire and part real. On the fun note people started asking two questions. One is the person behind the site really black or was I a bot. One person send an SMS saying if I’m black what does “GL” mean? I responded “good luck” the next text was no, it means “good look”. I guess I wasn’t “black enough to know that.. :).

An interesting tweet that was posted that said “ where no one knows black people so they have to text them to ensure they’re not being racist” .. I found that interesting to say the least.

In all honestly though it wasn’t about the page views, it was about building, learning and solving a real problem, a people problem. Something Heath reminded me is that regardless of how much technology we have today at the end of the day we’re dealing with people. People have feelings, questions and real bias towards one another. I learned that everyone does’t understand how culture, music, trends and markets affect people’s lives and decision making. I was reminded of my own bias and stereotypes. I became more self aware of how people think and view black people and my desire to educate people on empathy in their everyday life.

Now, I’m shutting down the service and back to focusing on BUILDUP which mentors, educates and connects underrepresented entrepreneurs in technology. One piece of advice I’ll keep telling entrepreneurs is if you have an idea or see a problem, don’t wait for someone else to build it, but your head down, learn the skills and build it yourself.

It was an interesting weekend… #keepmovingforward.

UPDATE: A lot of people wondered what kind of messages I received. I stripped out the phone numbers from the google spreadsheet below.