ProductHunt Olympics

So, let’s get it clear from the beginning, this is not a how we made it on ProductHunt, or how we failed, or how much visitors and signups we got. It is also not a story about a mysterious investor who waited for us at the Berlin airport as we came back from our #Nordics coworking tour, last night.

This is more of a story about what does participating on ProductHunt meant for us, a small team of 3 that started in January of 2016 to develop a concept of a platform to connect professionals between different coworking spaces, glocally. We have learned a tremendous amount by constantly doing, failing and succeeding in the small steps we take to make the project happen. Bootstrapping it.

But let’s set the story straight. The Coworkies team has now visited 73 coworking spaces, and the last 28 have been in the Nordics(Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki) in the last 15 days. Our ProductHunt story started on the morning of the 10th of August, at the seaport of Stockholm. We were just embarking the Viking Line ship to Helsinki to do the final leg of our coworking tour to meet relevant spaces in 4 Nordics capitals. As we walked slowly up the deck, leading to the massive ship I got a notification that Joost Schuur just hunted Coworkies.

It was a ouuuu s**t moment, as we barely had an internet connection and didn’t know how connected is the ship during its journey out in the sea. I sat down to quickly say hi and explain the basics about Coworkies in the comments, add few product details and screenshots. As we released the early alpha of Coworkies a few days ago, I was quite careful in my description to let people know that it would be great to get some fruitful initial feedback. Ben Tossell thought that it would be better to unfeature it, but I asked him to keep it, as it is actually working alpha release and we would benefit tremendously from the feedback. That was quickly resolved and we were back on the front page, slowly getting the attention of people who found our startup interesting.

I know there are plenty of articles out there on what to do and what not to when featured on PH, yet we decided to take it as raw as we can and just share the news on our social channels and the few relevant Slack groups we know. I guess different startups have different needs, ours was to gain important feedback from random people who didn’t know about our product, in essence, to participate on a ProductHunt day. So, armed with few cheese sandwiches, a coca-cola and a bottle of water we found a quiet table near a window overlooking the sea and started to experience the slow internet connection on the ship. Every 20 or so minutes it would go off for like and hour and then come back again for 20–30 minutes. As the lady at the info desk said ”Sometimes it is here, sometimes it is not:)” Encouraged by this lightweight humor, we continued to observe the wi-fi and anxiously to swipe-down the twitter screen while clicking on the refresh button on ProductHunt. For the next 17 hours, when the internet connection allowed us, we answered comments and tweets, chatted with visitors on the website, and emailed back and forth with people who were giving us valuable feedback.

As the Olympic games were slowly rolling on the nearby TV screen, we gave it all as participants in the ProductHunt experience, and as true Olympians, we did it for the greater idea of ProductHunt, not to be 1st at the end of the day. As important as this might be for some, we took it more as an opportunity to make valuable connections with potential users, engage our community and gain new coworking spaces to join our alpha and submit their feedback — we are building this product together with them.

As our coworking tour in the Nordics tough us, coworking spaces are human spaces, we take this seriously in our approach to building the product in a lean and collaborative way. Thinking deeply about every valuable input we get from a coworker, coworking owner, community manager, freelancer or a startupper.

So, what are our takeaways from being “hunted”? here is the shortlist:

  1. ProductHunt gives you visibility, even if you are a niche product. Your people are there, they pay attention to what is published and if you happen to be there, they will contact you.
  2. ProductHunt is beyond ProductHunt. When hunted, your product is everywhere. Pay attention to Twitter, Facebook, Email and your user support tool(Thank you Zopim!)
  3. ProductHunt is a long-term story. It starts with a sprint, but then you have to be prepared for a marathon. Even after the 24h you get to be visible on the top of the front page, people will continue to check your product, visit your blog and engage with your social media channels. Be active, responsive and pay attention to details.
  4. Being on Product Hunt reactivates your close network. It celebrates your success. Our friends were sending us messages like: “Congrats on the PH feature, super happy to see you there” How cool is that, a true celebration of what you do. Never forget that what you do is important and keep pushing it forward. Your friends see that and a PH feature can just showcase it in a more vivid form.
  5. It showcases your product to people who “don’t care”. They are not your friends, they are your reality check. This is by far one of the most important benefits of being on ProdictHunt. The opportunity to connect to people who are not emotionally attached to your product is invaluable opportunity to get real feedback about what you do. Be observant, listen to the comments, questions, and feedback.

Started to write this when we flew off on Stockholm and now we have landed in Berlin. Hopefully, there is someone reading this far:). Would love to hear your take on Coworkies and on the Future of Work in general. Drop us a DM on Twitter.

Check COWORKIES on ProductHunt, and join the conversation:)

What’s next? We continue to chop wood and carry water….

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