If you're a techie and you build stuff, you likely know Y Combinator's Hacker News, a crowdsourced community in which users post technology-related links upon which people upvote and comment. Now there's another way to keep your finger on the pulse of the tech world: the Product Hunt, a new iOS app that gives you a window into a community of startup enthusiasts, early adopters, and investors who contribute links and make comments on new apps, websites, and hardware products. The app--the latest addition to an email list with 51,000 subscribers and a website that's garnered 250,000 unique visitors in the last 30 days--launched yesterday and, within hours, Apple had featured it in its "Best New Apps" category. Here's why Product Hunt, which also announced $1 million in funding from a slew of big names, including Google Ventures and Ashton Kutcher's A-Grade Investments fund, is worth checking out.
If you're a builder, you need to stay on top of trends.
The idea for Product Hunt grew out of CEO Ryan Hoover's former work as director of product for a San Francisco mobile analytics and marketing platform where he had to constantly understand the market, emerging patterns, and what competitors were doing. He also had a passion for exploring new products with friends and other entrepreneurs, which led him to start an email list sent to a group of friends, which grew to include friends of friends until it evolved into tens of thousands of recipients, all interested in knowing what people were creating. "Let's say you're building a social messaging app," Hoover explains. "It's in your best interest to know all the social messaging apps out there not just for competitive reasons but to also understand what they're doing. Do they have interesting interactions or a unique onboarding flow? Exploring these apps can lead to new ideas and inspiration."
When there's no story to write, news can flow faster.
Hoover says that, unlike at the big tech websites that have to do the work of researching and writing stories about new products hitting the market, about 3,000 whitelisted Product Hunt curators simply post a link to a product's landing page, so products get publicity faster. This was the case with Taptalk, a Snapchat-like photo and video messaging platform and Silicon Valley darling that hit Product Hunt before getting noticed by the tech press. "We also have hundreds of people that are thirsting to post new cool stuff and they want to be the first one to do it, so we often see products hit Product Hunt before other sites," he says.
Getting your product featured depends on communicating your value proposition well.
Want to see your product on Product Hunt? You can submit a link to your own product but, unless it's surfaced by a whitelisted Product Hunt member, you likely won't see it featured. Just who are those elite people with the power to post products to the platform? It's an invite-only system wherein members invite people they respect and trust. "We built it in a way that they don't want to invite a troll or someone who will make them look bad," he says. "It's sort of like if you go to a dinner party and you invite a jerk, you're not going to do that. So that's kind of the way that we're making sure we don't have complete control over everything and empowering the community to grow itself."
Hoover says the best way to get your product noticed is to build something compelling and interesting and to communicate it well so if someone is scanning a list of new products and taking in a lot of information quickly, he or she can easily understand the value proposition from looking at a tagline.
An official Android app will be released in the coming weeks or months, Hoover says.