# Contents

When we decided to launch our open-source dev environment management tool, Daytona, on Product Hunt, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. With just a week to prepare, we began an unusual trip that normally requires weeks of strategic planning.

  • Launching on Product Hunt with just a week's notice, we faced challenges and learned valuable lessons about authenticity, engagement, and measuring success beyond vanity metrics. Despite missing the #1 spot, we still reaped significant benefits and discovered the true value of a Product Hunt launch.

Following our project's successful launch on GitHub as open-source under the Apache license, we were riding a wave of success. With stars in our eyes and a week to prepare, we dove headfirst into the world of Product Hunt launches. But here's the twist - we gave ourselves just one week to prepare. Crazy? Maybe. Educational? Definitely.

5k star history of Daytona
5k star history of Daytona

Little did we know that our quest for Product Hunt glory would lead us down a path of epic struggle, valuable lessons, and ultimately, a newfound appreciation for the true value of launching on the platform.

But, reaching 5,000 GitHub stars in just three weeks secured us an engaged community and momentum, which we capitalized on to our advantage.

It's not about the numbers or the vanity metrics – it's about the connections you make, the lessons you learn, and the impact you have on your community.

Ivan Burazin, CEO and founder of Daytona

Debunking the Product Hunt Myths

Let's begin by debunking a few widespread myths regarding Product Hunt.

  1. "You need a month to prepare for a Product Hunt launch." - False. We did it in less than a week, and you can too. It's all about focus, determination, and a healthy dose of caffeine. But do keep in mind that you can schedule your product up to 1 month ahead.

  2. "You need a fancy video and polished graphics." - Nope. While great visuals help, what matters most is showcasing your product's value and engaging with the community. We prepared our materials by repurposing the assets already available in our team's Figma and reusing an existing YouTube video.

  3. "You need to know someone to succeed." - Absolutely not. We didn't have any insider connections, or hunters, just a genuine desire to share our project with the world.

Obstacles of Our Time-Constrained Product Hunt Launch

Our accelerated approach came with its own set of challenges:

  1. Limited Time for Preparation: With only a week to prepare, we had to be laser-focused and prioritize our efforts.

  2. Leveraging Existing Assets: Instead of creating entirely new assets for the launch, we had to be resourceful and repurpose what we already had. This meant adapting our existing content, graphics, and messaging to fit the Product Hunt format and audience.

  3. Building Buzz on Short Notice: Typically, companies spend weeks or even months building anticipation for their Product Hunt launch. We had to compress this process into just a few days, which required a lot of creative thinking.

Daytona on Product Hunt

Show your appreciation by supporting us on Product Hunt and leaving a review.

How We Epically Failed to Reach #1 on Product Hunt

The Epic Failure:

When our highly anticipated product launch on Product Hunt fell flat, it was a humbling and eye-opening experience. Here are three main reasons:

  1. Underestimating the Competition: We thought we had a killer product, a solid strategy, and enough caffeine to power a small nation. But we quickly learned that the competition on Product Hunt is no joke. We were up against some seriously impressive products and teams with deep pockets and even deeper connections. To make matters worse, we found ourselves competing with trendy AI startups popping up left and right, promising to revolutionize every industry.

  2. Overestimating Our Influence: We thought our existing community and open-source success would give us an advantage. Boy, were we wrong. Everything requires more effort than you might anticipate. Remember, communities are made up of individuals who can be forgetful or preoccupied with urgent matters of their own.

  3. Ignoring the Subtle Art of Upvote Hunting: We naively believed that if we built it, they would come (and upvote). Little did we know that there's an entire art form dedicated to the subtle (and not-so-subtle) art of the deal on Product Hunt. We were like a bunch of amateurs trying to play chess against Hans Niemann.

Hunted Space Chart for the Day
Hunted Space Chart for the Day

The Brutal Honesty:

Despite our best efforts, we ended up at #2 on Product Hunt. And you know what? It was one of the best "failures" we've ever experienced. Here's why:

  1. Exposure, Exposure, Exposure: We reached thousands of potential users, investors, and partners that we might never have reached otherwise.

  2. Valuable Connections: Through our launch, we connected with countless developers, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders who shared our passion for making development environments more accessible and efficient.

  3. Lessons Learned: Our "failure" taught us more about marketing, community building, and perseverance. We learned what works, what doesn't, and how to approach our next launch.

PH Newsletter Spot for Daytona
PH Newsletter Spot for Daytona

5 Key Benefits of Launching Your Dev Tool on Product Hunt

The Value of Being #2 (or #3, or #4...): While the allure of being #1 on Product Hunt is undeniable, the true value lies in the exposure, connections, and lessons learned along the way. Here are five reasons why being #2 (or any other spot on the top 10 leaderboard) is still a massive win:

  1. Widespread Exposure: Despite being the second-ranking product, we were highlighted in Product Hunt's daily newsletter (top 10 gets in), which boasts an estimated reach of over 750,000 subscribers.

  2. Social Proof: Being at the top on Product Hunt serves as a powerful social proof, validating your product's value and attracting potential users and investors.

  3. Social Media Boost: Due to our massive social media presence on the launch day, we saw a 50% increase in Twitter impressions and a 10% increase in followers.

  4. Multiplication Opportunities: Top products on Product Hunt often catch the attention of other creators, journalists, and influencers, leading to potential additional coverage.

  5. Community Engagement: Topping the charts on Product Hunt can spark conversations and engagement within the tech community, providing valuable feedback and insights.

And one bonus point: Bragging Rights - Let's be honest – being able to say your product was ranked top on Product Hunt is a pretty cool feat.

The Product Hunt Launch Day Frenzy

The energy was palpable on the day of the launch, like a scene straight out of a heist movie. Our team, was ready to jump on any opportunity to engage with the Product Hunt community. I, fueled by a steady drip of caffeine, was answering questions and comments with the speed of a speeding bullet. We even had a secret weapon: a stash of memes, ready to be deployed at a moment's notice, adding an element of playfulness to our interactions.

The wee hours memes
The wee hours memes

Throughout the day, I dedicated 20 hours to responding to messages, comments, and publishing updates across our social media channels. Although exhausting, this experience taught me the invaluable lesson of being present and responsive during a product launch.

Worthy mention — One of the great tools that helped us track our launch progress throughout the day was Hunted Space. It gave us a clearer understanding of how to understand the leaderboard mechanics and the fluctuations in upvotes.

Embrace new features such as PH Shoutouts
Embrace new features such as PH Shoutouts

As the day drew to a close, we were left in the #3 spot, which left us perplexed for a few hours. Unbeknownst to us, one of the other products had gained an astounding number of upvotes in the final minutes, propelling them to the coveted #1 position. This sudden shift caught the attention of the watchful team at Product Hunt, who promptly investigated and corrected the anomaly in the upvote count.

After the final tally, we were delighted to discover that we had safely landed in the second-place spot, earning the silver medal. This outcome was a testament to the hard work and dedication our team had poured into the launch, as well as the recognition from the Product Hunt community.

Step-by-Step Launch Preparation Guide

To those considering launching on Product Hunt, we encourage you to define success holistically, focus on authenticity, engage with the community, leverage your existing audience, and learn from the experience.

  1. Set your launch date and commit to it, even if it is in two days. No backing out now!

  2. Gather your assets. Screenshots, GIFs, and a concise description of your product are essential.

  3. Craft your pitch. Tell your story, highlight your product's unique value, and don't be afraid to show some personality.

  4. Rally your troops. Notify your existing community about the upcoming launch and ask for their support.

  5. Get some rest. Trust us, you'll need it.

  6. Launch day: Buckle up and enjoy the ride! Block off some time in the team's calendar to ensure everyone participates in engaging with your social media posts, giving them an initial boost.

Also, remember that you can earn various badges in addition to the product of the day badge, such as product of the week, product of the month, and best in category. To maximize your chances of earning these badges, it's wise to allow your product some time to gather as many upvotes as possible.

Daytona Product Hunt Badges
Daytona Product Hunt Badges

We were thrilled because, despite launching in the middle of the last week of the month, we managed to secure the #1 product of the week in Developer Tools and the #5 product of the month in the same category. But, the results might have been even more impressive if we had launched earlier.

One End Game Tip for Winning Product Hunt

If you pushed me into a corner and forced me to share just one genuine tip, it would be this:
Cross-promote like crazy: Share your Product Hunt link on every relevant platform, from social media to industry forums. You never know where your next upvote will come from.

Mention your notable supporters
Mention your notable supporters

Our Product Hunt Launch Adventure with Daytona Ends (for now)

Launching on Product Hunt in just one week was a wild ride, but we wouldn't have it any other way. We learned valuable lessons that success isn't just about vanity metrics, but about the connections we make, the lessons we learn, and the impact we have on our community.

So, if you're considering a Product Hunt launch, don't let the myths hold you back. Embrace the unconventional, stay true to yourself, and most importantly, have fun!

Visit Daytona on GitHub

Explore, clone, or fork Daytona, start contributing today, and don't forget to follow and star us to stay updated with our latest developments!

Ready to Try Daytona? If you're a developer looking to streamline your development environment setup, head over to our GitHub repository and give Daytona a try. We're excited to continue building this open-source tool alongside our growing community.

Where to Look for More Inspiration and Tips

For more insights and inspiration on launching your product on Product Hunt, be sure to check out some of the fantastic resources we've read through while prepping our launch.

We highly recommend the comprehensive guide by Product Hunt themselves, which covers everything from crafting your launch strategy to engaging with the community.

For a fresh perspective, don't miss the recent post by Steven Tey, detailing how his startup Dub.co achieved #1 Product of the Day and #1 Product of the Week. Steven shares his step-by-step playbook, emphasizing the importance of building a strong community, creating stellar launch assets, and staying engaged throughout the launch process.

Also, for another firsthand account of achieving 'Product of the Day' with a dev tool, check out Daniel Bass's insights on growth tips and community engagement during Permit.io's launch.

Other noteworthy articles include Plausible's honest account of their successful launch, Softr's tips for reaching the top, and the insightful behind-the-scenes look at Klever Suite's Product Hunt journey.

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