The Product Hunt Community Scares Me, In a Good Way

On February 24th, Yvo Schaap, an active member in the Product Hunt community, tweeted:

@rrhoover Created a Product.co Leaderbord: http://t.co/A9s0E1SS5P. Working on sorting :)

— Yvo Schaap (@yvoschaap) February 24, 2014

My response:

@yvoschaap THIS. IS. AWESOME.

— Ryan Hoover (@rrhoover) February 24, 2014

Yvo's leaderboard of top products and contributors was the first of many unexpected, delightful Product Hunt hacks. Since then, several others in the community have built things.

Built by Product Hunters

Here are some of the creations[1]:

Producthunter Chrome Extension: The most recently hunted products in your new tab by Andreas Klinger[2]

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The News (iOS): Hacker News, Designer News, and Product Hunt in one app by Tosin Afolabi

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Product Hunt Search: Algolia-powered search by the awesome team at Algolia

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Panda: Comfortably browse Hacker News, Designer News, Product Hunt, and others in one place by William Channer and Ahmet Sülek

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The Scoop: Hacker News, Designer News, and Product Hunt all in one place by Clark Dinnison

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Product Hunt Alert: Get a text when your domain is mentioned on Product Hunt by Jesse Pollak

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Hook: An unofficial Product Hunt API by Karan Goel

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Spear: Product Hunt Command Line Interface by Karan Goel

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Nervous and Excited

I'm not going to lie. This makes me nervous.

I worry people will abuse the site or create something that "steals" engagement. If their primary interaction with Product Hunt is through a 3rd party, read-only service, they might not upvote or comment on the site. We also lose the ability to measure how people are using Product Hunt. This is critical for making data-driven decisions to improve the product and measure reach.

These concerns are natural[3], but, in reality, this is awesome. We should encourage this. After all, Product Hunt is all about inspiring creation and entrepreneurship.

So instead of discouraging this behavior, we're enabling it by building an API[4]. Since announcing it a few weeks ago, over 200 people signed up for early access, sharing ideas of what they want to build. As anticipated, several suggested an iOS/Android/Windows Phone app or browser extension. However, many fun and unexpected ideas also surfaced from the question, "What would you build with the Product Hunt API?" Here are a few[5]:

Mapping producthunt "upvotes" with locations on earth using PH API + Twitter API. Open Source of course ;)

- Shubham Naik

Get a twitter-tinder for people posting and commenting on product I upvote. So, I can choose to follow them or not on twitter and build a tool to automatically save the product I upvoted in my Trello.

- Solène Maitre

I have a few Arduinos around, so it would be neat to make a ticker with a dot-matrix display and one of those.

- Noah Buscher

Hunt - The Game : A game about products in PH that asks player to guess the product name from description. I will make it a game for iOS with Game Center integration and leaderboard. Users can discover new products while playing the game.

- Ahmed Yalçınkaya

I'd like to track the growth of companies published on Product Hunt in terms of their fund raising if/when applicable.

- Chris Balt

Not sure yet, but something for the recruiting industry, a way to connect cool products with cool companies open jobs

- Assaf Eisenstein

Perhaps a widget for my website that shows which products I've recently upvoted.

- Krys

Embed a 'hunt' button on HackerBracket hacks

- Henry Boldizsar

Some sort of visualizer / curator that aggregates products upvoted by certain members or groups of members

- Alvin Hsia

Many ideas. First one: A Dashboard to alert me on potential competitors and collaborators in my startup's space (digital media)

- Kartik Parija

Investigate a Buffer application to add Product Hunt items to my queue :)

- Brian Lovin

Let's Hack on Product Hunt

If you'd like early access to the Product Hunt API, sign up here and if you have ideas of what you'd build, share with me at @rrhoover.

We're also super excited about our plan for a Product Hunt hackathon, so stay tuned for an announcement in the coming weeks. Until then, happy hunting.


[1] We're creating a page on Product Hunt to highlight community-created products. Here's a preview.

[2] Andreas joined the team soon after creating the Producthunter Chrome extension (and we're super fortunate to have him). If you're looking for your next adventure, consider building something like Andreas did to get on people's radar and prove your value.

[3] Last week I had office hours with Sam Altman to discuss our API, among other things. His advice:

offering an API early in the life of a service is almost alway a good decision, even though it feels scary

— Sam Altman (@sama) July 23, 2014

[4] We built the API initially to support the upcoming iOS app. Sign up for beta access.

[5] I received permission from respondents before sharing their Product Hunt hack ideas publicly.