At the beginning of this year, our team started building our soon-to-be-launched Astra app for iOS. We got to work on refining the mockups and developing the codebase, but we also knew we needed to engage potential users for feedback and build a community around our product before it went live. Product Hunt is the go-to platform for this kind of activity, so we signed up for Ship and were off to the races — now it was time to share Astra with the community, get early user feedback, and iterate on the product. Things were progressing, and then about ten weeks ago I was lucky enough to join the beta for a feature on Product Hunt called “Maker Goals.” Here are three of the most valuable and unexpected results achieved since I started using the feature:
Being a maker or a founder can be a lonely gig, especially as remote work is becoming increasingly commonplace. Connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs and makers is so important — but it can be a fool’s errand at meetups or conferences. Through Product Hunt, however, you have access to a global network of Makers who understand “the struggle” and are in it. They understand in a way most don’t, and they are eager to encourage you. Receiving a message that someone I’ve never met decided to click a button to cheer my goal was a pure delight. These little bursts of encouragement make all the difference in the world. And it encouraged me to extend support for other entrepreneurs in return. “The struggle,” we have your number. 💪
Building a community around our product and gathering feedback were our key goals when we started with Ship. We learned from previous product releases that the individuals who would offer the most valuable critiques would be strangers. (I love you Mom, but I know you’re biased.) We published our upcoming page and, as expected, subscribers started trickling in as Product Hunt users discovered Astra. As I started using Maker Goals and the new chat feature, I realized it was frequently other makers who subscribed and caused the biggest jumps in overall subscriber numbers. They also provided the most useful and detailed feedback on Astra during this phase of our startup. We received suggestions on how to adjust the copy on our upcoming page, learned how to leverage Collections related to our product, and even received tips on how to improve the content on our new website. 🙏
Before using the goals feature, I thought user feedback, whether from our subscribers or other makers, would simply give us more data points that we could use to make some product decisions and get back to coding. I assumed it would mostly surround the user experience or how clear our value proposition was, but not direct, tactical advice. We weren’t expecting to receive such detailed and varied feedback, but we’re thrilled to have it — ultimately it made Astra and our product better for it. Here’s just one example: As we were sprinting towards launch, I posted the following goal: “🤝 Update Zendesk Help Center.” It resulted in a conversation with another community member that led us to consolidate our support channels on Intercom instead. This decision has ultimately saved my team time and simplified our user support efforts. 🚀
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started using “Maker Goals” feature. But, my team and I have been pleasantly surprised by the high-quality feedback we’ve received, new users we’ve earned, and beneficial connections we’ve formed with like-minded makers. I can’t wait to see how this product evolves over time, and how many entrepreneurs it supports in the future. Whether you’re building a side project or an early-stage company, I couldn’t recommend sharing your goals on Product Hunt enough!
Want to learn more about Astra? Join our mailing list.
Originally published on Medium.