July 25, 2018

A new space for Makers

We’re pulling back the curtains our latest project, a place for makers to share and help each other achieve their goals. Join here.

Product Hunt started nearly 5 years ago (wow!). Every day since then I wake up early in the morning to explore the homepage, inspired and entertained by what I find. Makers are an ambitious, creative bunch. Over the years. I’ve observed a common theme:

We all have goals, but we keep them to ourselves. There’s no dedicated place on the internet to share goals and ask for help, even though people generally want to support one another.

With this in mind, we started an experiment earlier in the year to answer the questions: Will makers be willing to share their goals publicly? Will others support one another to achieve their goals?

The weekend MVP

Over a weekend, I tweeted:

Over 100 people completed the survey. Next step: build the MVP. We wanted to test the initial hypotheses before investing weeks or months on the project. So, similar to how Product Hunt itself started, we tried to get creative with the tools available and decided to use Dropbox Paper — a collaborative word processing doc — for the MVP. We created a new doc with instructions:

Afterward, I emailed ~50 people that completed the survey introducing them to the experiment. Then I waited…

It didn’t take long before people started opening the doc and adding their goals…

◻️ Finish YouTube content editing and schedule for next 60 days — Mike

◻️ Finalize contract with first (paying!) client for my side hustle — Sara

◻️ Create shortlist of possible tech co-founders — Greg

◻️ Finish and the final blog article about my trip to Japan — Elena

◻️ Leave my job at [redacted] to work on my startup — [name redacted]

These early contributions were encouraging, but we still had another important question to answer: Will fellow makers proactively help each other?

As more people started adding their goals, others started to add comments to support, like this one from Sachin:

Many others followed Sachin, offering their help. Awesome. People seemed to be using the MVP, despite is obvious limitations.

Next steps

With increased confidence from our Dropbox Paper MVP, the team and I worked together to brainstorm how this might work. We created a roadmap and Julie, one of our awesome designers based in Paris, started translating these ideas into visuals and a cohesive experience.

We borrowed familiar design patterns found in other task management apps, reducing the scope to a minimal but useful set of features before we felt comfortable sharing with others. This included the ability to add/edit/delete a goal, comments, a feed of all of the goals created, and simple notifications. Fortunately, we already had many of these components on Product Hunt.

Here’s one of my completed goals. They don’t all have to be work-related.

A few weeks later, we invited our initial beta users. What we shared was raw and very incomplete from the vision we had in our mind. But we knew early feedback would be critical to shaping the rest of the roadmap and identifying opportunities. Thankfully, the Product Hunt community was vocal with their ideas.

We added a leaderboard recognizing the most helpful makers each week, an onboarding flow to welcome new makers, a feed of completed goals to acknowledge each other’s accomplishments, and a weekly email highlighting the week’s activity.

But one of the most important features we built was inspired entirely by the early beta community. People expressed an eagerness to share their goals with a specific group of people in a less public nature. This led us to build Maker Spaces, a way for people to create their own place to share goals with a group of people that share similar interests or backgrounds. We have a Space for Women in Tech, Writers/Bloggers, Book Club, Teens in Tech, and Podcast Creators. We’re taking suggestions from the community as we roll out additional Spaces. Add your ideas here.

You’re welcome to join

Today we’re opening the doors to more makers. If you have goals and an eagerness to help others, join our humble community. We’ll be adding new people every day to ensure we can scale effectively, so get on the list by signing up here.

As always, your feedback and ideas are appreciated. Shoot me a private message on Product Hunt or tweet. 😊

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