If there's something we did not ask Maxime, that you'd like us to pass along to him, please leave a comment below.
Behind the Hype: Maxime, how long have you been working online?
Maxime Valette: I've been developing websites since I was 10. At first, old school HTML, and PHP/MySQL when I was 13.
BTH: Can you explain what you do as the CTO?
MV: I'm in charge of the website running well, by maintaining our servers and the code behind the website.
BTH: So how many hours a day do you work?
MV: Between 14 and...24 :) It happens.
BTH: FML is only two months old - when did you know it was going to be a success?
MV: I must say that we were pretty confident about our success, since we launched the French version (ViedeMerde.fr) first in January 2008, and it is now the top entertainment website in France. In about 8 months, we have 400K visits a day, which is pretty awesome in France. We didn't know that it (FML) could grow so fast, but with FML in less than 2 months we now have more than 1.5 million visits a day. For sure, it was a big big challenge as the CTO, since I'm in charge of all the scaling.
BTH: Being that the French version is so popular, do people recognize you in France?
MV: Nope. That's the best part of being Internet "popular", I think.
BTH: Can you explain how FML got so popular, so fast?
MV: The FML concept is quite unique and addictive. We reinvented Schadenfreude on the Internet; in a way, that's very entertaining. When you have a bad day, it makes you feel so much better, and in these crisis days, everyone needs to feel better :)
BTH: How do you feel about the site's success?
MV: Well, I feel that's pretty amazing as you said today and as I can remember, it's a unique growth in the Internet industry. So unique that even Facebook sent us an email yesterday (3/19/09) to know how we managed to have so many fans on our FB page :)
BTH: What are the hardware requirements for the type of bandwidth you see?
MV: Bandwidth requirements - as you say - it's a very light website, so we don't need so much B/W, but we need very fast servers in order to keep a fast-displaying website. People won't wait to see text, though they can wait for a YouTube video. We have SSD MySQL servers, which is the top technology for hard drives (22 times faster than a 15K RPM hard drive).
BTH: What are some of your future plans for the site?
MV: As you may know, we are working on a book based on the website.
BTH: Can you tell us about future plans for the site itself?? ;)
MV: Nothing right now, since we have many options and we don't know which one will get to the website, as many people are involved ;)
BTH: How many people have offered to buy the site, or work on it?
MV: To buy the website - numerous - can't tell you exactly...we have about one email a day I would say. To work on the site, not so many. We have our team, so we don't look for anyone.
BTH: Do you have any tips or advice for webmasters just starting out?
MV: Many ask me how they can promote their websites and make people talk about it. Every time, I say to them: first of all, make a good website, and be passionate about it. That's the best way to make it known, because I see many many people who make a blog or a website, in order to make money (first). That's so wrong.
BTH: Since you started the site, what's the strangest email you have received?
MV: Haha. A mother who asked how she can unsubscribe her daughter from the website, since she believed it was pornographic material.
BTH: What's your favorite entry on FML?
MV: Haha, we see so funny FML's every day, but I must say I have a crush on this one:
Today, I was having sex with my boyfriend. When he was about to orgasm, he screamed "Yes Brittany!" at the top of his lungs. My name's not Brittany. That's his sister. FML
BTH: Must be weird at the dinner table with that family. :) Thank you for your time, Maxime, and we hope the site continues to grow. Do you have any last words for fans of your site?
MV: I don't have much to say except thank you for loving the website. We'll do our best to keep it going :)