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Hey App

How Product Hunt Helped Jumpstart My App “Hey”

kurt braget
Sep 29, 2014 · 7 min read

So you built an awesome product. The market is HUGE, billions of dollars. You feel confident that you’ve solved a real problem. Your close friends think you’re brilliant and even your mom is super proud of you. You’re on your way to being the next Zuckerberg. You even know what suit you’re going to wear on stage at TC Disrupt.

There’s only one problem: reality.

Nobody really gives a f*** about you and your stupid app. Investors won’t talk to you because you can’t say the magic word: traction. It’s too soon for investment; you’d be dumb to take it, and they’d be dumb to give it. Users aren’t piling in because you’re nowhere online. Nobody really wants to listen to you pitch your app because they are busy trying to pitch their app to you…. and their apps sucks.

There is only one solution, roll up your sleeves and start hustlin’.

This is the situation I was in a about two weeks ago. I just finished my app called Hey. It was about two months of super hard work. To finally see it on the App Store was a beautiful thing.

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Hey app on the App Store.

So why did I build Hey? Because I believe there is a massive untapped potential in connecting with people locally, even random people. It’s all about serendipity. I think we need more of that.

Yo doesn’t cut it: I say Yo, then what? And I only say Yo to my contacts that I might even be trying to avoid. I want to Hey new people. Tinder is cool but it assumes that girls are pieces of meat, and my job is to be the butcher.

I believe that people are the most valuable resource, especially the people around you. If people have more simple ways to connect to those around them, a lot of really cool things are going to happen. So how do we do this? Say hey to somebody nearby, if they say Hey back, you can chat.

Hey = Yo + (Tinder — creepy) // I love maths

After releasing, it was hard to find people who were willing hear about Hey. Some people passed it off as yet another Yo clone (it’s not!). Getting one user on Twitter was hard work. In one day, sending out SMS messages to friends and friends of friends, I could get 20 installs if I was lucky. I wasn’t ready to spend cash on ads, just seems like a waste of money without good user validation.

This is the spot that a lot of startups are in. Your product is out and now it’s time to spread the word. All you hear are *crickets*. It’s like trying to build a fire, in the night, with no wood in sight, and it just started raining.

Enter Product Hunt

About a month back I met Andy. I told him about Hey. He was kind enough to offer posting it to Product Hunt. I almost couldn’t believe it. Seriously, I look at Product Hunt every day, multiple times. It was a good motivator to get the app out more quickly.

Getting on Product Hunt became the first milestone for Hey. (Check it out and give me some upvote love!)

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Hey app makes it to Product Hunt front page!

My first thought about getting up on Product Hunt was “Please don’t fail”. In the first few minutes we only had 3 upvotes so I was sorta nervous. I reached out to people on Twitter who liked Hey and they showed some support. By the end of the day we had 110 or so upvotes. I followed and thanked every one of them personally through our Twitter account. It might seem minor, but it really means a lot to me. I am a big believer in doing things that don’t scale, as Paul Graham of YCombinator says. Thanking every single user and person who interacts with your product is one of those things.

The Product Hunt Boost

First up was the landing page for Hey.

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Hey app landing page and App Store download link.

Our landing page got thousands of hits. 586 clicks on the app download links total. Even if I had a high conversion rate on visitors to our page, like 20%, that would be 2,930 hits, and at the highest, maybe 5,000 hits on day 1. Yeah, if you’re Expedia you’re fired, but for a new app, this is pay dirt.

Check out how many people clicked to download Hey on the landing page. 99% of this came from Product Hunt.

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These are clicks on the link to download Hey on the App Store

The next thing Product Hunt brought in for us was a lot of in-app activity. Take a loot at this:

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The pic above shows Mixpanel data that tracks different actions in Hey. Here’s the run down. Looking at people nearby +227%, people viewing other peoples’ profiles +306%, people viewing their conversations +142%, chat messages sent +257%, viewing a chat with another person +145%, people saying “Hey” to each other +279%, new users created +849%.

Sure, we aren’t Facebook. Some people would say “Who cares? You got a few thousands messages and people looking for others thousands of times. We get millions of actions per day…”. But for the other 99% of us, just trying to get our app out there, it matters… a ton.

Below is what you want to see when you open up your analytics on your phone ☺

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Hey app analytics boosted by Product Hunt

Another boost was in our ASO (App Store Optimization). We had a major blip on the radar because of being on Product Hunt. From 1500th or so place in the App Store, all the way up to 619. Yes, nobody is going to see us at 619, but it definitely makes you feel optimistic about the future. This is just one site. Image if this happened every day 10 times (0_0). For another app this could mean the difference between hundreds of downloads, and thousands.

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Product Hunt making a big dent on Hey app’s AppAnnie / App Store ranking

Product Hunt, The Early Adopter Dream Network

The value keeps coming. I have met over 100 people in Hey, including Angel Investors, Startup CEOs, Marketing Experts, Hackers, Computer Scientists, Devs, Students (mostly tech), Tech Geeks, and Singles. There are guys and girls, we don’t separate. So far, most of this crowd has come from Product Hunt.

These users are really helpful. I had dozens of people message directly in Hey and tell me what they wanted. They told me they came from Product Hunt. They told me what broke. They told me what I should do. They even told me where they imagined it could go. They asked me to get coffee. They introduced me to people. Product Hunt users just get it. These are the kind of people you want using your app right out of the gate.

Just from being in Product Hunt, Hey has now been featured on a couple other small blogs. Product Hunt users have also posted to hacker groups on Facebook and in their own networks. This is bringing more users, and more good people to our network. I met a founder of a successful startup who has been super helpful, and trying to get us featured on Tech Crunch. In the last couple of days I haven’t slept much ☺

The beauty of having a chat app is that you can go ask your users what they think and get immediate feedback. You don’t have to waste a lot of time drilling peepholes in the wall and concocting elaborate analytics schemes. Like this:

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Awesome feedback from Product Hunt users about Hey app
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Product Hunt user giving great feedback on Hey app

So in summary, here are some things that Product Hunt brought to Hey:

  • Social Validation: I can send a link of Hey on Product Hunt, and people will see that others loved it, and they will be more likely to love it themselves. There they can see the pitch, see how much people loved us, and go get the app.
  • Brought in at least 300 new users on day 1: These users are super intelligent and give awesome feedback.
  • Boosted our in app activity, a lot.
  • Helped us to stress test our app and find hidden bugs. With a small team, this means a lot, we simply can’t power use our app with 3 people. Now we know how a lot of people use the app at the same time.

The biggest thing I’ve learned from this is: we are onto something big.

Our next milestone: Tech Crunch? NextWeb?

Why not.

  • @kurtybot

If you haven’t downloaded Hey yet, you probably should: Hey on the App Store.

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