How I landed a job at Product Hunt – #BlameEricWillis

Ben Tossell
Aug 22, 2015 · 6 min read

I wanted to write about how a non-technical wantrepreneur (me) has managed to land a Community Manager position at Product Hunt.

Taking inspiration from Jeff’s post “Why I left my ‘Dream Job’” (after he wrote this, I told him I’d hope to be writing my own soon – here I am a few months later, told ya!)

Different things work for different people, this is what worked for me

In university I studied international Business with Mandarin, which included studying for 5 months in a Chinese university and then working for GE Capital – I loved China but not GE.

I moved to London to work for a mobile app startup as their only salesman. The app allowed you to order a drink from the bar without waiting in line. I was there two months, made a grand total of zero sales. No bars in London cared or wanted the app. It has since disappeared, no surprise.

I was planning my exit as soon as I got there and managed to land a job for a social media agency TBG Digital, I loved it. It was a cool, young company full of great people. It suited me. After almost a year we were acquired by the social tech giant, Sprinklr. Quite a few people were leaving. I was having doubts.

I always wanted to be in the startup game, but in London I was riddled with debt and never had any time and just was not doing what I wanted to be doing. So, in January I handed in my noticed and planned my move back in with my parents….great. Not what I wanted to do but it was what had to be done and truthfully I am fortunate to have had this opportunity.

At this time I had already:

  • Been using Product Hunt almost daily to check out products, upvote and share
  • Seen #Startup slack group and joined at the very beginning
  • Started contributing to channels and throwing ideas around with people
  • Being non-technical I needed help to help build my ideas so continued contributing to the community in every way I could
  • Connected with two guys and started working on a project…one of the guys gave me an invite for commenting on PH too :)

February 2015…now living at home and working as a Social Media Executive for a Law firm. I knew I needed to spend a lot of my spare time in the startup communities and get involved.

So I:

  • Received an invite to join MakerHunt – The Slack chat for driven product makers from the Product Hunt community – (technically I wasn’t a classified maker yet, but I slipped in at the very beginning, thanks to Eric Willis)
  • Contributed there a lot! Eric wanted to run AMAs with makers every day, so I offered to write them all up in an easier to read format on Medium -there are around 50, so yes I did this everyday for almost 2 months but it was so valuable to learn from makers and the community benefited so I was more than happy to
  • Told the two guys I couldn’t work on the project anymore, they wanted to launch on PH, I supported it but stepped away (project is no longer live)
  • Continued contributing in MakerHunt and connected with lots of people, one of which was Bram
  • Saw his StartupStash and had an idea to do one for marketing resources and tools — not glamorous, but useful
  • Asked in MakerHunt if anyone could help build a site…Mubashar aka Mubs (top maker and launchaholic) kindly offered to help
  • Built and curated Marketing Stack with Mubs including some design input from Daniel (one of the guys from previous project) – In the meantime, Eric Willis recommended me to Erik Torenberg to help manage the Product Hunt Global Community (I had also been helping with the Product Hunt Book Club and writing up the AMAs for that) – I became the most active member in this slack group and helped everyone I could! No hidden agenda, that is what I like to do!
  • Bought my own apartment and moved in
  • Launched Marketing Stack on my 25th birthday with help from everyone I had connected with previously (thank you again!)
  • Smashed the number one spot of the day and over 1500+ votes to date
  • Spoke with Erik Torenberg from the Product hunt team and he asked if I’d be interested in a community position at Product Hunt….uhhhh HELL YEAH!
  • Emailed with Ryan, the founder of Product Hunt, to arrange a call (these included a lot of emojis, obviously). We had the call and I was very excited but had to wait to hear back (v anxious at this point)
  • I received a notification on Twitter “@rrhoover followed you” and I thought “Oh shit, this is when he is going to message, isn’t it?!” Sure enough it was, he wanted to chat again…
  • Call #2 – he offered me the job :)
  • Been working for Product Hunt for a few weeks now
  • Huzzah!

Reach out on Twitter if you need help with any PH launches/questions/advice etc.


Special thanks:

Eric Willis for letting me work with him on MakerHunt. We are currently both writing “The Maker’s Way” together – due to be released soon!

Erik Torenberg for letting me help out with PH book club and then PH Global. And also recommending me for the position ;)

Bram for his support while building Marketing Stack and helping me get it launched.

Mubs for your continued help and building the site!

Daniel for design input and continued support.

The MakerHunt community in general! There are a lot of great people I have connected with so just to name a few Jonas, Josh, Cat, Fred, Marc, Harry, Nicolas, Olivier, Ross, Kiki, Violetta, Dylan, Sujan & William Harris <3

And of course a massive thank you to Ryan Hoover and the Product Hunt team :) loving every day of it so far!

Published in Startups, Wanderlust, and Life Hacking


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Ben Tossell

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