It was early morning on a Tuesday. A fresh brew of 49th parallel was busy waking up my senses. Spring was teasing Montreal with one of those days where you’re like “Do I even need a jacket today?”
But I wasn’t going outside anytime soon. I was in my bedroom on my computer. More specifically, I was on Product Hunt — with my thumb on the ⌘Command button and middle finger on the R key. More specifically, I was repeatedly refreshing the PH leaderboard, my eyes rapidly scanning the screen for the word Leantunes.
My online friend @dshan had graciously offered to hunt my startup that morning, and man was I ever excited. I’d heard of products absolutely blowing up when featured on PH, and my daily email service introducing you to 1 song and 1 startup everyday was thirsty for subscribers.
Perhaps a little too thirsty.
You see, I’ve always been one to look for the easy route. It’s mostly an ego thing I think: I feel as if everything I put any thought or effort into is pure gold and will automatically become popular on its own. I also get bored and impatient rather quickly, so I usually look for shortcuts.
(Edit: I gave up on writing this article 3 times. I only finished it because it’s probably gonna be massive.)
That fateful Tuesday morning was no different. I got all excited that my incredibly genius idea had made its way onto Product Hunt. And I wanted it to be #1. And I wanted it to be easy.
So I fucked up.
Once Leantunes got published, I figured Hey! If I can get some initial upvotes going, that momentum could spring me to the top.
So I inflated the upvotes…
I signed in and out of every Twitter handle I’ve ever registered for every random idea I’ve never followed through with and created Product Hunt accounts and upvoted Leantunes a bajillion (read: seven) times.
In a matter of seconds, Leantunes went from 2 upvotes to a mind-boggling 9 upvotes! I was flying.
But my moment of upvote-inflated glee swiftly deflated. Before I could switch tabs over to Facebook and preach to friends of my feat, PH’s backend quickly did its homework and all but one of my upvotes remained. Not only that, but Leantunes was forever buried deep down at the bottom of the leaderboard.
Or what I like to call, The Loserboard™.
Would things get better?
In short, no. They would’t.
At first I thought this Loserboard™ situation was just a minor hiccup and would soon resolve itself. As the day goes on, surely Product Hunt will forgive my foolishness and Leantunes will work its way back up the ranks.
But a quick scan through their FAQ page informed me that I was lucky to even still be in the ranks at all.
There was nothing left to do but brood
Punishment came in the form of less traffic to my site than I had originally hoped for.
I still managed to add ~150 subscribers, but as the analytics below portray, the influx in traffic was underwhelming.
Did I learn my lesson?
In short, yes. I did.
I knew what I was doing was wrong. But I did it anyway. Because I got real excited and that excitement demagnetized my moral compass.
But I truly believe this experience has taught me an invaluable lesson:
“From honesty, authenticity and hard work, does greatness do come.” — Matt
And also I learned another lesson:
“Whence forthright does nature achieve thy pursuits, and into thy vessels does goodness plant roots.” — Matt