WALTHAM (CBS) – The most popular words his friends have used to describe Mark Bao this month?
“Awesome, smart…and, uh, Asian,” says the 18-year-old. All three seem to be accurate ways to describe the fast-talking Bentley University freshman. He and his family moved to the United States from China before he started middle school. Even as a child, the internet captivated him.
Last fall he started his business studies at Bentley and during winter break, he used his free time to develop a massively popular website. It’s called threewords.me.
WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.
The basic idea? Sign up, and your friends can describe what they think of you in three words. Threewords.me links to your Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and Google Buzz accounts so word can, and did, spread quickly.
“The initial site was made in four hours,” explains Bao. “After it went viral, I probably spent 12 hours, 14, 15 hours a day trying to figure out how to keep the servers up and not on fire, you know?”
At just over a month old, the website has had more than 20 million page views and boasts more than 250,000 users.
Why did it go viral? Bao jokes that it has a little bit to do with the fact that “most social network users are a little bit narcissistic. I mean it’s true, right? I’ll admit it myself. They want to get an idea of what people think of themselves.”
Bao didn’t want to maintain the site, choosing instead to focus on his other internet ventures. So he put threewords.me up for sale, looking for offers in the six-figure range. The site sold just days ago, and though Bao won’t say what the final number is, he does tell WBZ he’s very happy with what he got.
The budding entrepreneur wants to be worth $10 billion dollars by age 30, but only so he can donate heavily to medical research, social programs, and political activism.
His self-stated goal: to change and enlighten the world.
It takes Bao a moment to come up with the three words he’d use to describe himself. When he does, they seem as spot-on as the ones his friends have picked.
“Ambitious, thankful, and hopeful,” he responds.