About this project
My name is Eric Willis. I'm an entrepreneur and depending on how you calculate it, the #1 ranked hunter on Product Hunt. I'm here on Kickstarter to fund my book project: The Product Hunt Effect. I'll provide a broad synopsis of the book in some of the sections below. First, I want to tell you a bit about myself and how this project has become a reality.
I've been building tech products for nearly 16 years and my projects have been featured in Mashable, The Next Web, Techcrunch, Pando Daily, and several other publications. I've also traveled to 30+ countries during those adventures learned about a plethora of startup scenes and subsequently worked with founders on building new web/mobile applications.
For the past several months, I've spent a majority of my time working with "makers". I test and provide extensive feedback on their products, connect them with other makers who can help them, assist with post-Product Hunt media distribution, work with them on marketing tactics, etc. Assisting people in the Product Hunt community was something that I was doing on various Slack communities, other online communities, Twitter, via email, LinkedIn, etc. Lately, my work has revolved around organizing information/community.
A couple of months ago, I decided to launch a community called Maker Hunt, that has become the communication hub for Product Hunt Makers. I wrote a blog post about that here. I also host AMAs with entrepreneurs. You can see some of these here. In 2014, I launched Maker Success to provide a repository of Product Hunt launch success stories and other things for makers. I've helped Product Hunt launch Product Hunt Meetups and also the Product Hunt Book Club. I'm also a moderator on Product Hunt.
Product Hunt is commonly seen as a community for tech enthusiasts to discover the best products, daily. However, it's much more than that. Not only is it transforming the way new products are discovered, it's fundamentally changing the way products are built, launched, and distributed.
The Product Hunt effect is the transformational impact that being featured on Product Hunt can have on a startup. It's the ideological change that's shifted the way "makers" decide what to build because they can get powerful validation from influential users in a way that was previously available only to a small percentage of already-established entrepreneurs.
Startup founders have gone from relative obscurity to raising millions of dollars in venture capital after having been featured on the site. Makers have launched small side projects that have gone to do six figures in revenue in month one. Authors have released books on Product Hunt that have produced 100s of thousands in revenue. One author/maker literally said: "Product Hunt changed my life". Founders have found their co-founders and have built out their teams after having been featured on Product Hunt. Bloggers are using Product Hunt as a source for stories. Investors browse around hoping to find the next hot thing. If the startup world can be represented as a body, Product Hunt is the heart.
I've studied 1000s of hunts and interviewed 100s of makers. I want to share what I've learned. Many people in the various communities that I manage or participate in have asked for me to share my findings as well. I've determined the best way to share this material would be in a book, and that's why I need your help!
The Product Hunt Effect will be a 215-page book.
After having spent 1000+ hours talking to makers, I began to notice a pattern in the type of information that makers were seeking to help them become better entrepreneurs. I began sharing this information individually, but that just didn't scale. So I began talking to people in these communities about a better delivery method and the overwhelming response was "Please put this in a book!".
It's important for people to know about these success stories: How Flatbook launched on Product Hunt and added 125k to their funnel, how Book in a Box converted Product Hunt visitors into 75k in revenue in one month, how Treeling had nearly 10,000 developers sign up for their service in 48 hours, or how some makers are turning side projects into startups just because of being featured on Product Hunt. More crucially, it's important to know how the techniques and methodology used to harness the community on Product Hunt and in other places so that you can have an awesome launch and grow your startup.
I'll give you the behind the scene details and framework so that you can replicate some of this success. Makers have complained about the lack of in-depth case studies that will actually teach them key techniques, ideology, tools, and other tips. The Product Hunt Effect will fill that void. Finally, the community we'll build together is equally important as you'll hopefully be connected to 1000+ other makers, entrepreneurs, developers, marketers and other tech professionals so that you can learn together and support each other. This is a movement.
It's aimed at entrepreneurs, makers, product managers, or anyone who cares about products.
It will be packed with 100s of stories detailing how makers have tailored their development and marketing efforts specifically for Product Hunt.
You'll learn how founders have created frameworks to get the most of their Product Hunt launch to fully harness The Product Hunt Effect. You'll get real-world examples and actionable details of how startups have leveraged Product Hunt and other online communities to quickly gain traction, produce revenue on day 1, raise capital, and a host of other valuable information. You'll learn how these "makers" tackled the hard problems before and after their launch.
A book about how Product Hunt is changing the way products are built, launched, and distributed - and what you can do about it.
You'll get real actionable steps/frameworks that will help you launch better products, more effectively and engage your first users.
- What is the Product Hunt Effect? We'll provide in-depth analysis of the types of results makers have had by being featured on the site.
- You'll learn how exceptional makers and startups build extensive launch campaigns that have produced remarkable growth and revenue.
- You'll learn how makers have changed the way they build products specifically because of sites like Product Hunt.
- You'll learn how the dynamics of a go-to-market strategy have dramatically changed because of Product Hunt and other large community-driven sites and how you need to adjust to accommodate this.
- You'll learn how to effectively use communities to help validate product ideas, get initial feedback, get beta testers, and collect feedback/feature requests.
- You'll get case studies that will extensively cover various aspects of product creation cycle such as problem identification, MVP development, launch, product iteration and how communities have been leveraged to produce exceptional results.
- You'll learn directly from top community managers how they've built communities and kept members engaged over the long haul.
- You'll learn how to develop a community-building plan so that your entire organization can participate in building community.
The above is just a slice of what you'll learn. We'll thoroughly dig into some of the most frequently asked questions about Product Hunt and the importance of leveraging community to launch and grow awesome products. Though much of this will be discussed through the lens of Product Hunt, we'll also incorporate concepts extracted from Kickstarter, Reddit, Hacker News, Twitch, Meerkat and others, and we'll go deeply into tools like Slack that are allowing companies to get even closer to their users.
If you're new to Product Hunt or even an experienced maker/hunter, or if you want to learn more about how to leverage online communities to build the next killer app, this project may be perfect for you.
As part of this campaign, I will develop a backer-only community where you'll get access to other materials that won't be published and you'll also get a chance to interact with some of the makers that will be featured in the book.
This online discussion community will be 100% private to backers (and makers) of the campaign. Our team will share early drafts and ask for feedback, participate in discussions, and ask for advice about which tools and material have been useful and which haven't. We'll ask backers about their own stories and experiences and even work some of those into The Product Hunt Effect.
These two books will offer more insights into the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the Product Hunt effect. The Maker Way will contain over 100 stories direct from the makers where you'll learn things such as: why they decided to build their product, how they built it, what they think about product development and product management, the tools they used, and how they've leveraged online communities. Hunt Sense is for the chart/graph lovers. I've manually categorized/organized over 15,000 hunts (and counting) and it's allowed me to extract some wonderful insights about Product Hunt and the products featured there. I want to share those insights with you. The Maker Way will be approximately 180 pages and Hunt Sense approximately 100 pages.
The money raised on Kickstarter will go into things such as research, design, printing, and shipping of the book. If I surpass the funding goal, I'll invest more into creating an even more beautiful and well-made book. Below is a breakdown of where the funds will go:
Publishing project manager
Website, ebook, video production
International shipping additional cost
The Product Hunt Effect still requires a lot of work. Although I've done over 100 interviews, I still have nearly 200 more interviews lined up and adding more daily. I've written a good percentage of the book, but I'm still organizing a significant amount of material I've compiled over the last few months. With the support from contributors on Kickstarter, I'm hoping to deliver a beautiful and expansive book about the impact of online communities on building, launching, and distributing products.
When you back this project, it's not just to get a copy of my book. You'll become part of a worthy movement that will reshape the way products are developed and launched. It's all about you: the makers and entrepreneurs and I need your help to make The Product Hunt Effect a success. The more money we raise, the more time we can dedicate to researching and writing the book and thus the better the book and supporting community will be.
If you are able to, please pledge to see that this project can become a reality. If you’re unable to pledge or in addition to your financial contribution, you can help spread the word!
Here are ways you can help let others know about this project:
Email your friends asking them to check out this Kickstarter page. Share this Kickstarter page on your Facebook wall or Twitter: You can also share/repost the promotional videos. Any additional questions or comments, feel free to contact me at: etwillis at gmail.com
Follow me on Twitter @erictwillis
Thank you so much for your support!
Risks and challenges
Here are some of the risks. I'm confident I won't have any issues as I've prepared thoroughly for this project, but these need to be addressed.
1. Printing delays — I've never printed a book on my own. I'll be working with a professional company; however, one can never be 100% certain of things running fluidly.
2. Shipping delays — I'll be using a professional fulfillment company to deliver the printed books. My hope is that we'll not experience any delays thought I can't be certain that there won't be.
3. Technical delays — I'll be publishing these books in a digital format and also putting up a website. Sometimes you'll have unforeseen technical details that can impact the schedule. I've been dealing with this for nearly 10 years so it shouldn't be much of a problem.
Overall, this is not a complicated project so I think we'll be fine.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We'll be working to make the ebook viewable on all major platforms. So, the initial answer is yes. We'll likely work with a third-party provider to ensure this is done well.
Yes. The hardcover book packages all include the digital version of the book.
It depends on the package. However, all packages with a hardcover book also come with the ebook version. We also have other packages that include digital versions of The Maker Way and Hunt Sense.
If this project is funded, I will send the book to the printer in September (2015), and I'm hoping it'll be printed by late-October 2015, and then shipped to all of you in November. The digital editions (Kindle, iPad/epub, PDF, web) will be ready in August, and if you ordered the print edition you'll get the digital editions too.
Shipping estimates from the US to any place elsewhere in the world ranged from $10-15. If anyone has found any cheaper alternatives, please let me know. That's just the standard ($10+).
We’re not making a profit on shipping and for some book it may end up higher than the project cost
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