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Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days by Jessica Livingston

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CHAPTER 27James HongCofounder, HOT or NOT

While looking for a job in 2000, James Hong launched a website with his friend Jim Young just for fun. HOT or NOT lets users submit photos of themselves and have others vote on their "hotness" on a scale of 1 to 10.

The site spread virally, and within hours their server was swamped. Hong and Young sensed there was a business in it, and worked frantically to scale the site to handle the load.

A few months after launching, they found the way to generate revenue from the site: they added dating for a monthly fee. Despite many acquisition offers, HOT or NOT continues to thrive as a stand-alone company. As of July 2006, HOT or NOT had counted about 13 billion votes.

Livingston: Take me back to when you had ...

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