The Inception of WhatWouldMyHarvardGrade.Be

For anyone who hasn’t already seen it, Harvard Crimson LogoThe Harvard Crimson recently published an article entitled Substantiating Fears of Grade Inflation, Dean Says Median Grade at Harvard College Is A-, Most Common Grade Is A.  As is pretty clear from the title, the article pointed out that the most commonly awarded grade at one of the world’s most elite institutions is an A.

For most of us at Princeton, the news of this rampant grade inflation was more than a little depressing.  Since I’ve been at Princeton, I’ve known that for the same amount of work at Harvard, I would have been getting an A- instead of my B+.  Even though it doesn’t sound like much of a difference it looks very different on your transcript (and that is what potential employers are looking at).

Consequently, I have been contemplating for a while (ever since I took statistics) making a site that would do an accurate conversion of your grade at Princeton into the equivalent of that at Harvard using a statistical analysis.  I still haven’t gotten around to that (and it turns out something like that already exists: http://gradedeflation.com/), but the Crimson article got me thinking.

The one other thing that I have wanted to do for a while is to create a viral site.  This would be for no other reason than to watch the traffic flow in and see how far and fast it can spread.  I envisioned something like isitchristmas.com or whatrhymeswithhug.me.  It would have to be something simple with no real purpose, but I didn’t really know what to do.  I wanted to capitalize on some sort of social trend, but I’m not necessarily the most on top of things so it seems that someone always beats me to it.  So finally this time I felt like I had a good idea.

This is what led me to create whatwouldmyharvardgrade.be.

Over the course of the day that the article was published, it appeared on my newsfeed countless times.  I started talking with my girlfriend about the possibility of throwing together a site and we realized that it would be easy (and pretty funny, in our opinions).  After I got home around 12, I registered the domain and set up the site in all of 30 minutes.  The longest part was just waiting for my custom domain to get linked together with my AppEngine app.  And that was all there was to it.

Finally, once all was done, I wrote a single Facebook post, which I published at 2am.

Facebook post

I wanted to see how this would grow organically, so it was important not only to hide the fact that I had myself created the site, but also not to do much to promote it.

From this single Facebook post, the site got 60,000 unique views on the first day.  Clearly creating something relevant is all you need to get viral traffic.  Promotion, while it may help, is completely superfluous.

Since then, the traffic has died down, but the site still gets several thousand views per day.  A few days ago, the site passed 100,000 views, which I think is phenomenal for the 30 minutes of work that I put in.  While this may be a little narcissistic, it amuses me to search for the site on Facebook and Twitter, just to see what sorts of gems I find.

traffic stats

Traffic stats

Facebook stats

Facebook stats

My very own Crimson article: The Harvard Grade Generator

Twitter:

Anyways, thats about it.  I hope this doesn’t seem too braggy I just wanted to talk about something that I think is pretty cool.  Also:

Disclaimer: I totally mean this as a joke, so I sincerely apologize if anyone from Harvard was offended by this site.

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