Thank you Product Hunt
After an incredible few years, I’ve left my full-time role at Product Hunt.
I can’t help but feel the same way as Product Hunt CEO Ryan Hoover, who wrote the following in a similar piece a few years ago on why he was leaving a successful startup to do something new.
“I’m paid well, the company is growing, and I work with an amazing team of friends. I still ask myself, ‘What the fuck am I doing?’”
Here’s my story
I met Ryan in 2012 when I was building my own startup at the time, rapt.fm. He had written an article on turntable.fm — a company that inspired me — and I reached out for what would be our first of many product jams. Little did I know, he’d been one of my first beta users (shocker!). We kept in touch and connected over an appreciation of music, personal development, and community.
Fast forward to 2014, this email list called Product Hunt had just turned into a website, and I was helping my friends get on it.
I had just decided to end my own startup when I realized that Ryan was swamped with inbound, so I offered to volunteer — for free (Ryan insisted on paying me).
Ryan responded, “Sure, can you start Monday?” This was a Saturday. I was still living in Detroit and had no place to stay in SF.
“Sure.” I said, as I booked a flight immediately and searched for the cheapest hostel I could find.
There are tons of lessons I’ve learned the past few years, but I’ll describe them in future posts. The truth is I haven’t processed them yet. What I can say with confidence is this:
Moving to SF on a whim to help Ryan build Product Hunt was one of the best decisions I ever made. I helped grow the community from the ground up, build the team, expanded verticals, bring amazing guests onto PH LIVE, the podcast, meetups — all the things that don’t scale and then the things that did.
I’ve never worked harder and I’ve never felt more rewarded.
How could one even encapsulate the Product Hunt journey? You could mention the early glory days, the YC story, the Andreessen Horowitz story. You could mention the 60,000+ products we’ve launched in the past few years. The hundreds of love letters users have written us. The hundreds of volunteer meetups all over the world.
But mostly, you’d talk about the community. Every day, PH helps people launch their companies and passion projects. Whether you are an engineer in India, or a 16-year-old in the Netherlands, PH helps you find your your beta testers, your users, your fans, your support system, your online family, you future hires, co-founders, and investors. Indeed, PH has inspired countless products, opportunities, and relationships. It’s a core piece of the startup ecosystem, and, soon, the internet.
Above all, what’s been most inspiring is the team. Ryan has that rare mix of both community and product genius; Andreas is one of the best engineers + team builders I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with; Corley is an absolute operations & strategy boss; Ben is a hustler’s hustler; Niv is a social media Picasso; Steven Sinofsky is literally Yoda — if he were also a yogi; The whole engineering team (Mike, Lukas, Ayrton, Rado, Vlado, Ves, Korbin, Shaun, Steph, Julie, Seth) and community team (Emily, Jacq, Kate, Andrew, Jake) are absolutely stellar.
I love Product Hunt and am proud to have been a part of the team that made it.
So why leave?
In short, after seeing 60,000+ launches and helping countless founders begin their journeys, I’ve got the bug, and I can’t do anything but chase it.
It might be crazy, but so was moving across the country for a little site called Product Hunt.
Helping makers launch has been incredibly fulfilling, and what excites me is this idea that there are other equally powerful ways to help and support companies.
I’m about to launch a passion project next week, but as for what’s next exactly, stay tuned.
So. To the ridiculous crew of talented people who make up and have made up the Product Hunt Family (and future mafia ;), forget a gene pool. Never been anything but family to all things me.
And to the community — the makers and builders and hustlers — thank you for inspiring me. You always have.