I love new products. By extension, I love Product Hunt.
In my world, it’s crack. I get my fix each morning before I start writing and in one quick visit I get access to some of the best new products in the tech world and beyond. It’s a goldmine of possibilities for a tech lover.
Since my addiction to new products has reached Tyrone Biggums-like proportions, and I was tasked with writing a “best of” list, it was only natural to think in the context of the cool new apps, services and products I found in 2015.
Luckily, I’m a digital pack rat. I bookmark most everything that I think is cool, or that I might come back to at some point. I checked my Evernote bookmarks, well, what’s left of them anyway, to see what I had saved. Here are some of my personal favorites.
Serendipity – Web
Serendipity instantly struck me as a cool idea.
Each month, the service randomly matches you with another professional. It’s not a dating service — although I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about relationships that started from their chance encounter on the site. It is a great way to connect with others in your industry, or completely outside of it, from the comfort of your own home.
The magic is in the mystery. You never know if your monthly match’s email is going to head to the to trash bin, or into your life as a permanent new fixture.
Polymail – OS X (Beta)
Ever since Mailbox became the walking dead, I’ve been frantically searching for a replacement. On iOS I started using Spark, and instantly fell in love. On the desktop, the search was more difficult. I tried several before stumbling onto Polymail on Product Hunt earlier this month. After some quick Twittering, I got a beta invite and was off to the races.
It’s superb. It’s not perfect, but the attention to detail and the dev team’s willingness to listen and quickly implement new features should serve as a manual for all other companies to follow.
If you can get an invite, get one.
Minimums – Web
Minimums bills itself as “the most interesting possessions of the world’s most interesting people.” On premise alone, my curiosity was piqued.
Once on the website itself, I wasn’t disappointed. The site features professionals from all industries and their most favorite things. The lists are beautifully curated and delve into the personal lives of some of your favorite — or soon to be favorite — people. Oh, and you can buy the stuff while you’re at it.
Overcast 2.0 – iOS
The built-in podcast player in iOS is horrendously bad. If you’re a podcast enthusiast, like me, then I don’t need to tell you that the built-in player just doesn’t cut it.
Overcast does all the things you’d expect it to and features a clean interface that’s intuitive and user-friendly. That’s great, but it’s hard to go on and on about an app doing what it’s supposed to do, so instead I’ll point you to two features that may just change your life: smart speed and voice boost.
Smart speed removes dead air periods where the podcasters are thinking, looking something up or there’s just a lull in the action. This decreases listening time and leads to a better listening experience. The second feature, voice boost, provides additional clarity and volume to voices, which is something that you’d probably never realized you needed… but you do.
Overcast is free, but you have the option to support future development for all of $1 a month. Do it.
Magic – SMS
Magic uses text messages to act as a digital concierge. If you want someone to pick up your dry cleaning, call you a taxi, or book airfare and hotel accommodations for your next trip to Vegas, Magic can do it.
Once you sign up for the service, you’ll text a number when you need something. The representative at the other end will do some quick research or pricing and then get back to you with a dollar figure, or additional questions. Once you agree on a dollar amount, they’ll ask you to confirm and the deal is done. This all takes place through text messages and it’s a life-changer when you’re pressed for time, or just unwilling to deal with the little headaches.
What were some of PH’s own favorites?
Since this journey started with Product Hunt, it’s only appropriate to check in with its founder, Ryan Hoover for some of his favorites as well as a general overview of what the most popular “hunts” of 2015 were.
When asked to name a couple of favorites that didn’t make the Product Hunt top 10 for the year, Hoover said:
The one drawback to Product Hunt is in its lack of archival options outside of the popular “collections” feature. You can’t sort by month or most popular, and instead are forced to scroll for a carpal tunnel-inducing amount of time before you make it back to January 2015.
Still, Hoover was able to provide us with a list sorted by most popular, in terms of upvotes, for the year. They are:
- Startup Stash
- Pexels 2.0
- Tesla Powerwall
- Startup Launch List
- Rocket Club
- Product Hunt 2.0
- Tesla Model X
If I were making a list without the help of Product Hunt, many of these would have been easy inclusions into my own top list of 2015. Periscope, Lily and the Tesla Powerwall, for example, are game-changers in their own right, and some of the coolest things I’ve seen in the past 12 months.
As the year comes to a close I’m amazed at the products we’ve seen in 2015 and eager to discover what 2016 brings. It’s hard to imagine what products will top these in the new year, but I can’t wait to find out.