In November 2009, I was a 14-year-old teenager and I was building things on the Facebook Platform. I mostly developed silly apps, such as, ones that tell you random things, like how handsome you are from 0% to 100%? The kind of games your grandma or aunt plays on Facebook today.
I didn’t have a lot of technical experience building stuff, I had been programming in Visual Basic for four years and had started with PHP and web development around a year before.
One day I came up with an idea for a super simple game. It took probably only around three or four hours build. It consisted of a button, a timer that counted down from 30 seconds to 0 and text that indicated how many times you had clicked on the button.
That was the idea, how many times can you click the button in 30 seconds. It was so simple that it didn’t require a lot of text, so it was extremely simple to translate to other languages using Google Translate. I mean, translating the word “Time” to other languages is extremely accurate because it’s only one world.
Clickometro takes advantage of a feature that allows the user to share their score on their page, which means that all their friends could see that they were playing the game and how many clicks they had achieved. So the idea was for everybody who saw a friend playing to join in, play and compete to see if they could score higher. When someone managed to get a high score they would naturally want to tag a friend.
I monetized the game using Google Adsense, and I promoted the game in a forum called Taringa!, this was the original post (in Spanish). No comments or likes in the forum post, but I got around 100 visitors, the first 100 players.
At that time I was at high school from 7am to 3pm, so the first day, when I came home from the school, I saw around 100 visitors on Google Analytics. The following day I saw 500, and the next I say around 7000. After two weeks the game had been played by more than a million users in more than 90 countries worldwide.
It was not a game that you’d play every single day, like Farm Ville at that time. However, I did managed to get a lot of traffic and some income from the ads. I was 14 and at that moment, I generated three or four times more in money in a single week than my parents did in a whole month. That was my very first experience of earning money on the Internet.
Clickometro was so popular than some people even added videos to YouTube explaining how to hack it.
It was amazing to see 4,000 views on that video! Also, a we had a couple of comments. Here is another video from a different version:
Here are a few tweets from 2009:
Making this game was a really important milestone in my life and in my career, let me explain why.
First of all, I was a 14 years old teenager that was spending too much time on the computer. For my parents, at this point, I was playing too many games on the computer all day long instead of playing with my friends, doing sport and going outside. Now, I can clearly understand their worries in respect to my situation. However, I wasn’t actually playing games at all, I didn’t like to play then and I still don’t play video games now.
I was working on my own version of an open-source video game and trying to build my own video games. It was a very conflictive time between me and my parents because I really wanted to keep doing what I loved. We had a lot of arguments about that. That was, until I made Clickometro and showed them that I was able to make money. Don’t get me wrong, money was not the most important thing, but the fact of being able to live from your passion was!
Making Clickometro was a turning point in my relationship with my parents. They started to respect what I was doing more and began to feel more confident about my future.
This experience taught me that you can do what you love for a living, so it was really the first “big hit” for me. From that point, I started to be more sure about what I wanted to do with my life and my professional career.
Earning money with such a simple HTML + JS project at a young age was critical for me because I started to think that it was possible to do useful things for people on the Internet and get paid for it!
Finally, a few years later, I can see what my parents’ issue was with being on the computer or working too much time. Nowadays, I’ve learnt that taking some time off, going for walk or just doing nothing is important for me. It helps me to clear my mind and relax, and after doing this I can be more productive and often come back with a different focus or point of view about an issue or situation.