It was just another Monday, or so it seemed. I was in Barcelona at 4YFN to do the opening keynote about the future of media companies and their new business models.
Meanwhile, the TNW team was getting ready for a pre-launch of our new tool Index. Index has been in closed beta for the past two months. We’d had the time to test it and improve it with a very small group of engaged users (thanks for all the feedback!).
The service was getting good enough to allow more people in and, as Ryan Hoover from Product Hunt reached out to us after reading this post at the beginning of January to do a ProductHunt pre-launch for their community, we decided to go for it.
To give you insight on how this went down, I pasted our email conversation below.
On Sat, Jan 3, 2015 at 2:40 AM, Ryan Hoover wrote:
Yo, Patrick! Hope all is well. :)
I just came across https://thenextweb.com/index. Would love to have it on PH once you’re live, but it would be super awesome if you guys wanted to get give the PH community early access if/when you’re ready.
Let me know if you’re interested or if there’s someone we should chat with on your team about it! :)
On Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 5:12 AM, Patrick de Laive wrote:
Hi Ryan and Erik,
Sure would be cool. We need to implement a couple more things before it makes sense.
We are in closed beta and will continue to stay in closed beta for a while, but we could def give 300-500 invites with guaranteed access to the PH community.
What would you need from me / us to make this happen?
On 05 Jan 2015, at 5:37 AM, Ryan Hoover wrote:
That sounds great. Is there any way you could provide an unlimited number of invites, maybe for ~48 hours if you’d prefer to limit it in some way? I worry that we’d use all of those invites too quickly.
On Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 8:36 AM, Patrick de Laive wrote:
Yes 48 hours is def possible, let me discuss if we can make a special PH landing page that we could design in a neat co-branded way.
On Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 10:27 AM, Ryan Hoover wrote:
That would be awesome. :) Keep us posted!
On Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 11:06 AM, Patrick de Laive wrote:
How far ahead do you need to know?
On 05 Jan 2015, at 12:32 PM, Ryan Hoover wrote:
Just the day before is enough time :)
On 05 Jan 2015, at 12:40 PM, Patrick de Laive wrote:
Ok, so that was settled, but we were far from ready to get a couple of thousand users on the platform. We made a short roadmap, with the features we wanted to have in the app before opening up to the Product Hunt community and started coding, fixing bugs, implementing analytic tools, getting the messaging right.
Last week we were at a point that we were happy to let new people in. Only just a few stress tests to go and we’d be good, so I reached out to Ryan and Erik again. Read along and please read carefully.
On Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 4:58 PM, Patrick de Laive wrote:
Hi Ryan and Erik,
It’s that time. We’re getting ready for a special Product Hunt launch with Index.
We’re making a special page for Product Hunters to get early access and we can leave that page open for at least 48 hours. Afterwards we go back to closed beta status.
The page will be up on: https://thenextweb.com/index/?quick=producthunt
As we have to make sure everything works well, test the servers, tweak and check the onboarding etc. and I want to prepare creatives for social sharing and a post on TNW when Index is featured, we’ll need some time to get this all in place.
Looking at it, the best day for us would be next Tuesday March 3rd. That said, Launch conference is also going on, so you might have plans for that day already. Which day next week would you advice?
Looking forward to it!
On Sat, Feb 28, 2015 at 1:46 AM, Erik Torenberg wrote:
Patrick! just saw your tweet. :)
Let’s do this one as a starred launch on Monday – midnight is probably the best time as it starts the day. I’ll ask ryan if he wants to hunt and the other things, but i think we’ll do it as a standard feature launch – i think it’ll do great.
On Sat, Feb 28, 2015 at 12:01 PM, Patrick de Laive wrote:
That would be awesome. We’ll make sure we’re ready for it. Monday midnight (12:01am) is perfect timing.
On 02 Mar 2015, at 02:58, Ryan Hoover wrote:
I can queue this up right after midnight; however, the way our scheduler works right now, it won’t send an email notification when I post it, like it normally would if I do it manually (and I have to be awake then). Alternatively, I can post ~6am PST Monday. Let me know what you’d prefer, Patrick!
On Sun, Mar 1, 2015 at 11:29 PM, Patrick de Laive wrote:
Let’s hope you’re still awake then at 0:01am tomorrow :)
As the team is on CET, midnight your time would be ideal to follow everything, but the email notifications are important, so if you’re not awake at midnight let’s do 6am.
Thanks, we’re looking forward to it.
So we got that settled, we would launch on Monday midnight PST on Product Hunt, the day after my opening keynote at 4YFN. In the keynote I briefly mentioned that we were working on a business intelligence tool for startups, thinking it would be nice to be able to say the next day that people could get access.
In the meantime we were fixing the last bugs, re-testing the onboarding process when TNW CEO Boris chimed in via Slack while coming back from a ski vacation. As he was away, he wasn’t able to test the latest version properly and was hesitant to put it live.
“I haven’t tested the product properly and I would suggest to postpone this for another week or two,” Boris pinged me. I asked him to go through everything again during his train ride and if we would find major bugs I would postpone it. “Alright, I leave it up to you. If it were me I’d postpone it. I’ll test it and give feedback” Boris sent me at 2:04pm.
Plenty of time, to fix last-minute problems before the launch on Tuesday.
Then, I received an email from Ryan:
On 02 Mar 2015, at 6:46 AM, Ryan Hoover wrote: <note, this is 4:46 PM CET>
It’s up! http://www.producthunt.com/posts/tnw-index-2 go ahead and jump into the thread, Patrick :)
On Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 6:50 AM, Patrick de Laive wrote:
I meant Monday night a.k.a. Tuesday!!
On 02 Mar 2015, at 6:51 AM, Ryan Hoover wrote:
OOOH! I thought you meant today. Want me to hide it for now?
I opened Slack to message the team:
Patrick [4:02 PM CET]
@channel No way back, full speed ahead.
And I switched back to email
On Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 7:03 AM, Patrick de Laive wrote:
Never a dull moment :)
Not ideal, but let’s keep it live and make the best of it.
Pablo, our lead developer, switched gears and Slacked:
Pablo [4:10 PM CET]
@patrick: I’ve put the new welcome email live.
Pablo [4:10 PM CET]
I’m fixing an issue in the /companies page, @raoul is checking the server load and @otto is taking care of the linkedin background jobs and the traffic page
Pablo [4:12 PM CET]
I’m confident it’s going to work out well
Pablo[4:12 PM CET]
@raoul: can you also keep an eye on the server logs?
On Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 7:42 AM, Erik Torenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
We can hide no problem and put it up tomorrow if you’d like, just let us know ASAP
On 02 Mar 2015, at 7:48 AM, Ryan Hoover wrote:
We should roll with it. It’s getting good pickup :)
On Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 7:50 AM, Patrick de Laive wrote:
We’re rolling and continue to roll.
All hands on deck. Firing up some more instances before we tweet it on TNW.
As you can see we were not really prepared, and if you read the emails well you also see that I basically fucked up by thinking we would launch on Tuesday.
Here is a nice cultural difference I learned from this. In the Netherlands, when we say Monday midnight, at one minute past 12, we mean Tuesday morning, where in the US this means Monday morning. Well, timezones have never been my favourite topic.
So how did we do on Product Hunt? By the time we got submitted by Ryan there were around 15-20 other products submitted that day and the number one spot had over 200 upvotes already. We were late to the game.
Pro tip: ProductHunt days start at midnight PST, which is perfect timing for European traffic as this is 9am CET. So if you want to get most out of your listing on PH, make sure you submit it in the early hours of the day.
Index got picked up pretty fast and got an average of one upvote per minute in the first three hours. At Product Hunt, not all votes are equal. So it is possible to have a higher ranking with a lower number of votes, this depends on who upvotes, how often this person upvotes, where the upvotes come from etc. (let’s dub that algorithm the “HuntRank”).
Meanwhile traffic started to come in quite steadily. On the #index channel in Slack
Otto [4:33 PM CET]
The Linkedin queue listener is not keeping up.. Fire another instance? @raoul
Raoul [4:33 PM CET]
Otto [4:33 PM CET]
okay I’m on it
Nice to know is that Otto and Raoul are sitting next to each other at the office, but by sharing it the rest of the team could read along and knew what was going on.
Navarra [4:34 PM CET]
Will fire tweet in in 2mins on @thenextweb > http://cl.ly/image/30090L43311f
Patrick [4:35 PM CET]
@navarra: please wait
Navarra [4:35 PM CET]
Patrick [4:35 PM CET]
Let’s see if we can fix the Linkedin problem first
Matt Navarra [4:35 PM CET]
Navarra [4:52 PM CET]
@channel Let me know if/when you want a tweet from @thenextweb (edited)
Patrick [4:54 PM CET]
@raoul @otto what’s the status on the Linkedin queue? Can we get more peeps in?
Raoul [4:57 PM CET]
Patrick de Laive[4:58 PM]
@raoul: I take that as a yes..
Raoul [4:59 PM]
Yes, there are some issues but the load is down
Pablo [5:05 PM]
250 signups in one hour!
Martijn [5:09 PM]
@patrick: check the comments on producthutn.
Otto [5:11 PM]
how is our mail queue doing? My company request (and some user’s) is not showing up..
Otto [5:12 PM]
oh it’s there!
Patrick [5:14 PM]
@martijn thanks, answered
Patrick [5:14 PM]
@navarra: I feel like NOW is the time to post that tweet to @thenextweb
Patrick [5:19 PM]
@pablo: I’m expecting to get to 2000 signups if we manage to get to the nr 1 spot
Navarra [5:33 PM CET]
Our secret project is on @ProductHunt. :punch::thumbsup: @rrhoover!
Get exclusive access to @tnwindex now :point_right:http://producthunt.com/posts/tnw-index-2https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B_GyHmNUoAIg3HP.png
Boris [5:59 PM CET]
@patrick: maybe reply to Hugh Jones on PH
Patrick [6:09 PM CET]
@boris thanks for the nudge. Done
Patrick [6:16 PM]
@team I have to go to the party TNW is co-hosting here at the conference. I’ll be back online tonight
Slack Bot [6:16 PM]
Turn down for what?
Cecil [7:03 PM]
Will pick up more support stuff when I arrive in Rotterdam
Navarra [7:32 PM]
No.2 on PH now!
Navarra [8:27 PM]
@channel: WE’RE NUMBER 1 on PRODUCT HUNT! :simple_smile:
Glez [8:52 PM]
As you can see we were having fun, and it went on and on for many more hours but I’ll spare you the details.
Of course you want to know how many signups we got through ProductHunt, while we’re at it let’s share those stats with you:
I can’t share personal details but I can tell you that the Product Hunt community is full of influencers, investors, founders and journalists.
To finish off this behind the scenes post, here is an awesome animation of the traffic on TNW Index during the day (made by -king- Otto)
If you aren’t on Index yet, you can still sign up via ProductHunt and get direct access.