From an email list to a $20 million company

The story behind the website that helps test ideas

Hi there! I'm Jose E. Ruano, Welcome to The New Gazette. a weekly newsletter about all things digital. Each time, a new case study about a brand or person that is doing an amazing job on the internet. Thank you for being here. If this email was forwarded to you, subscribe by clicking the button below.


Hello,

I’ve got a question for you today. ​

If you had a new project, app, game, book, or product, where you believe would be the best place to launch it to get new users?

Is it on Facebook? Maybe not

Instagram or Snapchat? I think it will really hard

maybe TikTok? nope.

Twitter? probably but you need a decent amount of followers

For the majority of us, we agree that these places are not the best to launch or share what you’ve been working on

To build a successful project and then try to test it after many days, weeks, months, or even years of sacrifice and hard work, and then present it to the world and don’t receive any type of response would make you quit immediately.

Lucky for us, as the internet grew, product-loving enthusiasts who needed a place to share and geek out about the latest mobile apps, websites, hardware projects, and tech creations, found it over the internet, thanks to some guys who got the idea to build it.

The place? some of you probably thought about it at the beginning,

It’s Product Hunt

PH, we see it now, as the website where almost every day is a new thing to discover, in fact since it was founded:

  • 200,000+ products have been launched on the platform, including early versions of household names like Notion, Airtable, Lambda School, and many others

  • 350,000,000+ product discoveries

  • 750+ in-person meetups around the globe from San Francisco to Tokyo

Making it the place to show what you’ve been building over the internet, to get feedback, early users, and customers. To test if your idea is actually good or have what it needs to be a huge success.

But, do you actually remember how Product Hunt started?

To do this, let’s go back to 2013.

The world was still recovering from the economic crisis of 2008

Airbnb, Uber, Instagram were just 3-year-old startups. I was still in high school at that moment

The big tech companies we know today weren’t as powerful as now and thousands of curious people were searching for a place to gather and test their ideas.

Around this time, in November, more specifically over the Thanksgiving break, Nathan Bashaw and Ryan Hoover who were in a coffee shop in San Francisco started Product Hunt as an email list, launching it on Twitter.

They put on the work and created a newsletter, just like this, to talk about up-and-coming founders with cool projects, nice ideas that were created to make the internet a better place.

Thankfully, as the startup scene got bigger and more creators decided to show what they were building, Product Hunt became an instant success, creating a community of makers sharing and celebrating the latest in tech around the world.

In 2016, the website became even more famous as AngelList, the company that helps investors find startups to invest in, acquired Product Hunt, for $20 million.

They decided to move it on into a website to make it more accessible but with the same goal in mind, sharing stories and products for users created by users of the platform.

I went to the Web Archive to find the oldest screenshot of the website possible, and here it is what I found, a photo around 2014. As you can see in the image below, a lot has changed but some design elements are still in there.

Forward 7 years and now, Product Hunt has become the place to celebrate every single project someone has built, to give it a try to new ideas, and to bring curious people together.

Now, you see people creating “rituals” and giving advice on how to succeed over this website, how to get the most upvotes possible, and why it’s a priority to present and share with the world their idea.

A simple launch here can change someone’s life forever.

I’m not gonna lie, I spend more time than I want to admit on this website as there are thousands of cool ideas to try and cool people you would want to meet

I’ve seen some of my favorite products in there and hope there will be more in the future.

I like this kind of story, how thanks to the internet, someone with an idea can literally become a success overnight and change the world for the better

PH is just a company for some people but for me is a place where like-minded people try to create a better future for themselves

what do you think?

Until next week,


Jose.

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The New Gazette presents

  • Are you building a project and need some help? Go to Fiverr, crazy talented people are working there, check it out as they can help you achieve your goals faster, also really a time saver.

  • As I talked about AngelList and PH, here’s a ridiculously brilliant compilation of @naval’s ideas. Their founder and early investor on these two projects. I promise you will want to read it, there’s really good advice in there. it’s called The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness

  • Packy McCormick, who is an incredible writer, created as people call it, the best alternative to Business School, as he shares what’s going on in business and technology via pop culture, go check it out here

Some of the links included in this newsletter are part of an affiliate/referral program, just to be clear with you.