The Origin of Product Hunt

A story about building something cool over a weekend

The original Product Hunt was hosted on a service called
One of Ryan’s initial mockups for Product Hunt
Can you tell I studied philosophy in school? ;)
This is a newer screenshot, but the design for the “Bashaw pane” hasn’t changed much since the original launch


This is an actual screenshot from the early days. Look at that — the top post only had 7 votes!


I put this in scare quotes because people generally make way too big a deal about launches. The goal is to generate sustainable, compounding growth by making sure the site is full of interesting new content every day. If people don’t stick around, you’re toast.


What happened next was something very different from most other launches I’ve been a part of: the traffic stuck around! Sure, a lot of people churned, but a lot less than usual. Why did that happen?


As the community kept growing, it eventually become clear that Product Hunt needed to become a real company, which put me in an awkward situation: I already had a job at General Assembly that I liked a lot, and wasn’t planning on leaving anytime soon. The way I saw it, I had three choices:

  1. Leave GA and work on Product Hunt full time
  2. Try to keep working on Product Hunt while still at GA
  3. Step back from active management of Product Hunt entirely

What’s Next

Product Hunt is one of the most successful things I’ve ever helped create. I will always be proud of the small role I played at the beginning, and always be there for Ryan and be a part of the community. I am incredibly excited to watch Ryan grow it and keep telling the Product Hunt story, now that my chapter there has come to a close.



on the art & craft of constructing software

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