Seriously, Just Freaking Do It!
October 10, 2016 · Startup · Product Hunt · Motivation
1 week build + 20 minutes prep = 1 on Product Hunt
This is not a story about “how to succeed on Product Hunt”. Nor is it a story about “how Product Hunt turned my business into an overnight success”. There are plenty of those out there…
I think the point of this story is to highlight that you don’t have to get into YC to be #1 on Product Hunt. You don’t need millions of dollars to build something that people care about. You don’t have to wait months before you put your creation out into the wild.
Sometimes, you just need to do it!
I feel like everyone in the startup space talks about Product Hunt. I think I had only ever been on there once before. I dont know why, it never really caught my attention. In any case, I recently met Ben Guild while I was in Tokyo and we started discussing Product Hunt and how his app Café Wifi did really well. One thing led to another…
It only took 20 minutes from the idea of trying a Product Hunt entering my head, to having prepped my very first Product Hunt. This included:
Write a tag line (10 sec)
Send a link (5 sec)
Create a thumbnail (19m 45s)
To be honest, my Photoshop skills are pretty minimal. I also had to Google for a GIF maker. Shout-out to gifmaker.me
I can just imagine what this process might look like for some startups. Some entrepreneur tells you that you should start preparing for a Product Hunt. You probably spend hours (if not days) drafting the perfect tagline, putting together the perfect thumbnail, and writing the perfect first post.
I pretty much just said “I made this”, and linked to my medium story. To be fair, I did spend quite a lot of time putting together my medium story — but I count that as part of the “build time”.
Some time passes (lots of F5:ing).
By the end of the day (PST), I had 441 upvotes, 42 comments, and was featured as the #1 product on the Product Hunt home page.
A pretty graph:
Some nice numbers:
Ok, so why did it “succeed”?
I think it’s safe to say that the Product Hunt succeeded. I’ll have to spend a lot more time to figure out if the product will succeed. But, in any case, I think there are a couple of key reasons that I’ll describe below:
I try to solve concrete, practical problems. I don’t really think about it in this way though. I generally just try to build things I need myself.
I built a solution as quickly as possible. This was great. I kept saying to myself “can I build this feature within one week”. If no, skip it.
I had tons of fun building it during that week. I just love building new stuff. I love coming up with new designs and new ideas.
I didn’t get emotionally attached (initally). The longer you work on something, the more you’ll “care” about it. I didn’t care at all about how many upvotes I’d get. The thought didn’t even cross my mind.
I found a relevant crowd. By this I mean that I think the problem/solution (product) fit well into the Product Hunt crowd (market), which consists of startups, freelancers, productivity geeks, etc.
I respond to all feedback. As soon as I got a comment on Product Hunt, I gave a thorough response. I think this helped get other people to comment as well.
I maximized exposure time. My Product Hunt was posted early in the morning (PST). This didn’t even cross my mind earlier. Now I know why Ben said “I would submit it soon”.
These points apply to more than just Product Hunt. It worked just as well when I co-founded my app startup Unified Remote. It hit the exact same points! Just replace “Product Hunt” with “App”/”Play Store”.