What happens when your startup hits the top of HackerNews?

For the 60 or so bootstrapping startups here at Oslo’s StartupLab, to hold the No.1 spot on top of hackernews is the holy grail of marketing, especially when you’re in the middle of an equity crowdfunding round like we are right now. 1000s of businesses around the world make the attempt every week and very few make it.

But what happens when you reach the top and hold it for a day? The short answer is “A LOT” :).

You can have a look at the post here.

Here’s what happened…

Metrics

  • Posted: 09.23 CEST 08.23 GMT+1 03.23 EDT, 00:23 PDT
  • 151 points
  • 80 comments
  • a total of 40,000+ page views for someone.io (not unique visitors)
  • 750+ new company sign ups
  • Users from 30 new countries (now 90 total)
  • Contact from several potential investors :)

How did we do it?

image

With plenty of luck, of course, but we did have a plan. Our tagline was the shortest possible pitch, confidently pushing our main selling point, “easy”, and creating enough curiosity for click through. Because Someone.io is aimed at business customers, we posted at 09:23 CEST, just as the UK arrives at work and mainland Europe sits down to its desks. New York and the East Coast were still fast asleep, being 6 hours behind.

Number of unique visits to Someone.io

Just seconds after we posted, we started to see a lot of new visitors to the website. Here’s the flow of unique visitors to the website.

image

The previous two small spikes were a post in digi.no about our crowdfunding campaign and a mail out to several thousand users. HN news had a slightly larger impact…

(A big thanks to Heroku for helping us monitor the stress levels on our servers yesterday, we reached out to them early on in the day and they were first class.)

New Company sign ups

image

Because Someone.io is a B2B task manager for teams, our key metric is how many companies we have signed up, rather than how many users. As you can see, yesterday was a terrific day7


Where did the new sign ups come from?

image

These are the people who came to have a look and then signed up. Most are from Europe, followed by North America and Asia. (This image comes from intercom.io which was a great help yesterday and comes highly recommended:))

Twitter

We hit 100 tweets mentioning the Hacker News post in the first two hours, at first they were mostly from Tech news twitter bots:

image

We set to work writing a few tweets of our own and saw way more interaction than usual:

image
image

As the comment section on the post blew up and we started seeing traction on our own tweets, things got more interesting

image
image
image

By the end of the day we had over 250 unique tweets talking about us, a 40% increase in followers including some big silicon valley folks and investors, plus plenty of praise from all over.

The Comments

This image comes from data we collected during the day to see the flow of points and comments on the HN post.

image

The comment section was really fascinating and the HN community debated a lot of sides of our product and various strategies that startups in our position could use. It certainly wasn’t all sweetness and light but as we were replying we saw other users defending our position for us, which was heartening for us and I think a credit to the HN community. Especially the minimum of snark and a general attitude of supportiveness.

Praise: 

  • jaysonelliot: “This looks awesome”
  • mbateman: “I love the simplicity and user interface of this system…very glad to see new promising new development in this area.”
  • sangaya: “I appreciate the simple slick design and feature set. It focuses on the core need without feature bloat.”
  • arsalanb: “Tried it out! is awesome”
  • crystalc: “simple, clean and intuitive”
  • nceruchalu: “This looks awesome.”
  • robotnoises: “This is a killer UI. Congrats.” 

Challenges: 

  • Tens of new feature requests. 
  • Challenges on our security policy, 
  • many questions on how are we better than our competitors, 
  • demands for demos and templates, 

This is not to mention the customer service mails that were rolling in, potential investors contacting us and a stream of friendly faces here at StartupLab asking how we did it ;)

The two main questions we had were about our payment plan and what makes us different from Trello specifically. HN users themselves were jumping in to answer those which was great but I thought I’d take the opportunity to post our responses here:

  • Payment Plan: You’re right! Our plan to release the payment model this summer was made back in spring and that plan has changed… We started a partnership with http://www.sintef.no/en/ (Scandinavia’s largest independent research organisation) in March which made us change some things about the direction we are taking the product in.We have been working with SINTEF and 6 pilot partner companies to fine tune the product to meet user needs as they define them and also to make sure we have a premium, paid version that is going to work. It will be rolled out by the end of this month and, while I don’t want to give too much away, there will be a free option and a premium version with extra features where companies pay per user/per month. We will be sure to let you guys know when we have more details. Thanks again!
  • Trello: I’ll admit that there are some similarities, but our focus is very different. What you see today is perhaps closer to Trello than what the experience of Someone.io will be a few months from now.We have heard from many users who tell us that it is our design and attention to detail that they prefer over Trello. We know that won’t be the case for everyone, but there is plenty of demand for products that serve a similar purpose to Trello, but do things a little differently.With that said, I think there are 3 main differences between us and Trello. 1. We are team focused. Someone.io is specifically focused on delivering value to teams in a work environment, where Trello has much broader aims. Our focus on teams allows us to better meet their needs. 2. We have simple but beautiful design. We want to be the easiest and most engaging task management tool on the market. Our research tells us that some users find Trello to be “dull" and “uninspiring" and we’ve found particular traction with creative teams who enjoy our approach. 3. We are in the process of becoming the first “Social Task Management” tool. Together with our research partners, we have developed some features designed to make users feel more interconnected with their team and more engaged with their work which we’ll start deploying soon.Thanks for your question, have a great day!

All in all, a terrific day for our company. I hope this can give you some insight and some help for your own campaigns. This experience was a little nerve wracking but we were really encouraged by the response we had to the product and things are looking up for Someone.io.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch at dan@someone.io

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to come and sign up at www.someone.io

image

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s