Product Hunt Retro

My guide to an epic 🤘 Product Hunt launch. What worked and what I should have done differently.

Six months ago, I set out to build something to help indie hackers validate their startup ideas BEFORE they build by understanding the market and their competitors from day zero.

Since then, I've learned SO MUCH from everyone in the #indiehacker and #buildinpublic and have been incredibly moved by how supportive this community is. Six weeks ago, I even resigned from Megatech and flew to Bali to do this full-time.

Last week I finally went through the Product Hunt right of passage. Validate My Saas spent the full 24hrs dancing between 10th and 11th place before finally ending tied for 8/9th place.

Here's how I did it:

  • Have an amazing community
  • Have a pretty good product
  • git sick --hard for days before the launch and miss critical prep time
  • Have Product Hunt block your launch from the homepage for the first 7 hours
  • Contact support to be finally added to the homepage
  • Pass out for a few hours
  • Break into the top 10. Hurray!
  • But now back to 11, oh no! Keep hustling for every vote until the day is won, and you end up tied for 8/9th place!!
  • Victory Dance ┏(・o・)┛ ♪ ┗ (・o・) ┓

Lesson 1:

This is my most important takeaway: Tweets and retweets don't go as far as you think, DMs are your friend.

I thought I did a great job promoting the launch on Twitter. Despite my meager 1,200 followers, I was blessed with a lot of support and had my main tweet spread by several larger accounts with a combined reach of ~30k, and currently have 10k views on the tweet.

However, that did NOT lead to many Product Hunt upvotes.

After so many retweets, and posting multiple times about the launch throughout the 24 hrs, I honestly felt like everyone in the community must be sick of hearing about it.

But guess what: there were STILL people who had no idea, but were happy to support me when I DM'd them. I should have been DMing more folk much earlier than I did.

Lesson 2:

Check that your product is featured right away!

Around 6 hours into the launch, people started messaging me that ValidateMySaas wasn't on the Product Hunt homepage!

I didn't even realize that was a thing that could happen, but sure enough. This whole time, for the most critical hours at the beginning of the launch, we weren't receiving ANY organic traffic from Product Hunt. (unless someone navigated to "all", but who does that?)

After reaching out to PH support and waiting a few more hours, we were finally added to the homepage. If I had thought to double-check this immediately we might could have been featured much earlier in the day, which has compounding effects.

What Worked:

2 weeks up to the launch, my pinned post on X linked to the trailer and invited people to "like this post and I'll dm you a reminder day of".

This built my initial list of 40 people to DM about the launch. Having people opt-in to these prevented any feeling of unease sending the DMs, and once I hit the end of the list I was comfortable enough with the process to continue DM-ing people that hadn't asked. (though, as mentioned, I should have done even more of that)

What Went ¯\_(¬_¬)_/¯

I spent a LOT of time the day before the launch creating reports (ie custom samples of my product) for indiehackers with ~10k-20k followers.

I thought giving these when I DM'd them would make it easier for them to upvote and share. In the end a few of them were kind enough to upvote the Launch, but none of them went on to share with their audiences. Probably they were just being nice and would have upvoted without the sample. Either way, for the time I spent on them I could have sent out 10x DMs to less busy people and had better results.

For a week+ before the launch I was fairly active on Product Hunt. Upvoting projects, commenting, and even sharing the launches on Twitter. Maybe this is just table-stakes, but I didn't notice a high ROI from these activities.


The Product Hunt went well for us. Through the launch and the promotion around it, 25 people used Validate My Saas to validate their startup ideas.

Thank you so much to the #indiehacker and #buildinpublic community 🙏.

What really worked for me was this: Spend 6+ months active in a community of your target audience, giving value without worrying about what comes back. Then build a product that the type of people who like Product Hunt will also like. And of course a great way to do that is by looking for successful competitors 😅.

If you'd like any other support or advice, don't hesitate to reach out.