Gaia back then, Gaia today, and Gaia tomorrow (part 1)
It's been a long night working on the different aspect of the site, and to wrap things up, I want to update my journal with a quick re-cap of where we're at and where we're heading. With so many things happening around Gaia, I'm sure many of you had been wondering about this. First, let's take a quick trip down memory lane:
Gaia back then
When Gaia first started, there were 4 guys working on the entire site. One programmer worked day and night trying to build servers, keep the site running fast and build features at the same time. Site would go down all the time, and pages took forever to load. This impossible feat lasted for less than a year until Gaia members offered to donate to Gaia, and the rest was history. With users supporting Gaia's development, we were able to have more engineers in the team, and within half a year, there were 7 developers building features. Finally, we can improve the forum, build marketplace, make better holiday events, and keep the website running all at the same time. Later we were able to build games and Gaia Towns also, as we expand up to around 15 developers. As the site grows, we have all new challenges towards supporting an un-precidented amount of users at the same time. We had twice as many staff members, but maintaining the site took much more people than before. So we kept growing our team in order to do more.
As a team building Gaia, we wish to do more in a shorter amount of time. This requires us to hire even more developers. Gaia had around 45 people when we decided that we need to have more than a hundred people to build all the features that we need in a timely manner. Just having a hundred people alone will cost a lot, not to mention all the other expenses. At this point, we found a few investors to help us handle the burdon some of the cost so we can grow faster. To make things sound more simple, we borrowed some money so that we can grow faster. Gaia makes a healthy amount of money from monthly collectibles, but that alone can't sustain a large team.
Two paragraphs is definitely not enough to round up everything that happened in the past 5 years, but that was pretty much a general overview. My next entry will go over some of what we're currently focused on and where we're headed.
For those who are interested in "just how much does it cost to run Gaia?", the brief answer is "roughly 1.5M a month". There are many factors involved. From the number of people in Gaia, which counts for most of the expenses, followed by the cost of bandwidth, equipment, rent, and a huge list of items. In the world of websites, we are spending more because Gaia is so big and we build a ton of features. However, companies like Facebook uses even more money. Check out this article for an example. (Facebook article)
Seeing numbers in millions might sound scary, but if you divide that by the number of people in the whole team (Gaia HQ has 110 full time people), things might start to make sense. Note that people don't walk out with a load of cash every month, people get paid like everyone else in other companies, which means a lot of the cost go towards things like health insurance and other hidden cost that all companies in the USA are required to handle.
Next time, I'll start talking about where we're at and what are the projects we're balancing.
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