Product Sharpening: Feedback for ProdHunt

ProdHunt, not to be confused with Product Hunt (the product showcase site), is Anil’s product idea. He produced a data set of the products posted on Product Hunt, with a bunch of metadata made easier to get to. No scraping needed on your part, the data’s all there.

The top of prodhunt.com shows a sample of the data set you can buy

I Like This Page

The landing page is smartly laid out. After a preview of the data set, you get a visual on the breadth of what the data set contains…

Just below that, there's a summary of the extent of the dataset, the fields you get and how many non-null records for each field

You then get a list of ideas of what you can do with that data set. “Use cases”. Smart.

  1. Train an AI model that generates the best copy
  2. Convert to content: Build a newsletter
  3. Analyze it: See what makes a launch succeed
  4. Get Inspired: Instead of thinking “Twitter for X”
  5. Be creative: Collect dropped domains (an approach he used for another of his own products).

And then, some example ideas on how you can use the data set for your own product ideas

Then the page ends with pricing ($69 for one-time, $35/month for recurring updates, etc) and an FAQ.

So far so good.

The Real Cost of the Product

I replied to Anil’s post on IndieHackers, who wanted feedback on his page. My reply was focused more on the product than on the page:

Smart bundle Anil.

I think the design is fine. I like the Use cases you listed.

I also believe the real “price” of your product is the “will I actually build the product I’m going to use this data to build?”. I think that’s interesting, and I’m not sure how I’d alleviate the anxieties associated with that. You know what I mean? “Buy the data and we’ll bundle in a guide on creating a newsletter with it and get your first XX audience members.” It’s part of the appeal. People “hire” this list you’re selling to speed up a product idea they have. So if speeding up is the thing they’re buying, what else could you offer to help with that “job”?

All products compete with some surprising alternatives – not with what you’d normally expect.

In the case of Anil’s product, I believe it competes with:

  • ⚬← I’ll just build some other product.
  • ⚬← I’ll just research products by hand.
  • ⚬← I’ll just continue delaying building a product.

These are telling, especially that last one. How can you compete with that?

It hints at the biggest objection to buying this product. The largest anxiety in buying ProdHunt isn’t its price (it rarely is), it’s:

  • ←⚬ I probably won’t have what it takes to actually build something with this information.

Or maybe:

  • ←⚬ Someone else will beat me to the punch and build something before I do.

The real “cost” of buying ProdHunt’s data set is “the time I’ll have to put in to turn this data into a winner product”.

How can Anil reduce that anxiety, lower that cost? Maybe there isn’t enough of a struggle to begin with.

Is There Enough of a Struggle?

No hard struggle, no product. You might get by with a commodity product when you have tons of traffic, but if you’re starting out, better help a person looking to move away from a struggle.

So what kind of struggle would a person be in for which ProdHunt would be a welcome solution?

  • ⚬→ Struggle When I’ve been failing at selling software and I see people sell small no-code or informational products…
  • ⚬→ Struggle When I’ve started making an inventory of top-rated product landing pages and I find the process too time-consuming…

The first struggle seems pretty common in the maker community, but there are a lot of competing alternatives for the same “job” of “help me build a small product I can ship quickly” (or maybe not!)

The second struggle seems less frequent and much more niche, but the struggle is clear. “Speed up getting a bunch of example products/product landing pages” is the promise this product offers. Anil could change the landing page to address that specific struggle, but the word isn’t going to travel very far.

There must be a way to address the first struggle, while reducing the “will I ship anything with this data set” anxiety.

To Consider: Bundling the Data Set with Something Else

  1. We’re looking for a way to equip the product maker to make a product with this data set.
  2. We’re looking for ways to increase word of mouth too, not make someone feel like they have to go in “stealth mode” and keep ProdHunt’s data set a secret.

Let’s say Anil bundles a small guide on how to quickly build and sell a product from the data set. Maybe help users evaluate their idea, help guide a few no-code tools to consider, all to help the buyer eliminate any reason to believe they can’t make a product on their own.

Let’s run that through the Forces of Progress (we already looked at the Struggle, and hinted at the Anxieties and the “I’ll just alternatives”, but there’s also the “Attraction force”).

  • ⚬→ Struggle When I’ve been failing at selling software and I see people sell small no-code or informational products…
  • →⚬ Attraction I’ll be able to have a dataset I’ll be able to use for my product plus a guide on how to build my product idea.
  • →⚬ Attraction I’ll be able to use the dataset itself to spot good product landing pages to replicate for my own product (bonus!)
  • →⚬ Attraction I might find some influencers on Product Hunt that might help review my product (bonus.)
  • ←⚬ Anxieties But will I go through with my idea?
  • ←⚬ Anxieties Someone will likely beat me to the punch with my idea.
  • ⚬← Habits I’ll just build some other product.
  • ⚬← Habits I’ll just research products by hand.
  • ⚬← Habits I’ll just continue delaying building a product.

It’s a close call, and we still haven’t solved the word-of-mouth problem.

It could be that ProdHunt won’t be able to beat the “I’ll just” alternatives, reduce the anxieties enough and find a way to make ProdHunt someone will tell other people about.

But maybe this feedback will help Anil think of something new. (Anil, let us know if you do.)

Stay sharp!



@pascallaliberte

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