Ryan Hoover on Product Hunt’s Acquisition and Lessons Learned About Startup Launches with Dalton Caldwell
Dalton Caldwell is a Partner at YC where he runs admissions.
00:00 – Ryan’s intro
00:25 – Dalton’s intro
1:00 – Forming Product Hunt and applying to YC
4:50 – Product Hunt’s growth rate when they applied to YC
6:00 – Raising money for the right reasons
9:15 – Maker communities
11:00 – Why raise money for Product Hunt?
12:45 – Having buzz during the batch
17:45 – Brex changing their idea during YC
19:50 – Pivoting into something you know well
21:15 – In retrospect, how would Ryan have advised himself around monetization?
28:00 – Trying to build out other verticals
34:00 – Don’t act like you have infinite runway
35:30 – Creating urgency and developing products within AngelList
39:50 – Tips to launch on Product Hunt
44:40 – What Dalton looks for in applications
46:30 – Giving people the opportunity to start
48:20 – What motivated Ryan to leave his job before Product Hunt
Craig Cannon [00:00] – Hey, how’s it going? This is Craig Cannon and you’re listening to Y Combinator’s podcast. Today’s episode is with Ryan Hoover and Dalton Caldwell. Ryan is the founder of Product Hunt, which was in the YC Summer 2014 batch and was acquired by AngelList. He also invests in startups, through his Weekend Fund. Dalton is a partner at YC, where he run admissions. You can find Ryan on Twitter @rrhoover and Dalton @daltonc. All right, here we go. Welcome to the podcast, guys.
Ryan Hoover [00:29] – Hey.
Craig Cannon [00:29] – How’s it going?
Ryan Hoover [00:29] – Doing well.
Dalton Caldwell [00:29] – How are you?
Craig Cannon [00:30] – Good. Alright Ryan, so for those of our listeners who don’t know who you are, what do you work on?
Ryan Hoover [00:36] – I started company five years ago almost, or actually just over five years ago, called Product Hunt, a place to discover new products. You see a lot of makers and companies, launching their new apps, or their new products to the world. Like Reddit or Hacker News. You have people commenting, asking questions and uploading what they think is most cool.
Craig Cannon [00:51] – Dalton?
Dalton Caldwell [00:53] – I’m Dalton. I’m a partner at Y Combinator. I’m also the head of Admissions. That’s the selection process for who we fund, and I actually worked at YC, when Product Hunt was in YC–
Ryan Hoover [01:03] – Yep
Dalton Caldwell [01:03] – and so, I remember it from the inside, what the story was.
Craig Cannon [01:07] – Were you there for the interview?
Dalton Caldwell [01:08] – I was not, I didn’t interview you.
Craig Cannon [01:10] – Do you remember who it was?
Ryan Hoover [01:11] – Yeah, it was Sam, who else was it it? It was such a blur. It was 10 minutes of just rapid fired questions, and I was like, “All right.” Anyway, I can’t remember who else it was.
Craig Cannon [01:23] – Dalton, I think he has a question for you to start it off.
Dalton Caldwell [01:27] – Maybe to start with, because, I remember it so well from being there, walk me through, from the formation of Product Hunt, into applying to YC, and to getting into that interview that is already a blur. You’re already not You’re not sure who was there.
Ryan Hoover [01:47] – Was I there? I don’t even know.
Dalton Caldwell [01:48] – That’s a very common thing, by the way. It’s almost like an out of body experience, you’d be– People, don’t remember them that well. It’s not just you.
Ryan Hoover [01:57] – There’s a lot of anxiety when you go into it, frankly, and you try to, well, someone gave me this advice, actually, during YC, is, before you do anything like that, before you do a pitch, pump your chest physically. It might have been Kevin Hale that said this.
Craig Cannon [02:12] – Really?
Ryan Hoover [02:13] – I could be wrong, so sorry, Kevin, if I’m putting words in your mouth, but there is a step where you can pump your chest physically and that active physical nature of doing something that feels a little bit aggressive, can inspire some confidence and it’s actually, I may have done that a few different times throughout my career, I’m not going to lie.
Dalton Caldwell [02:32] – I’ve never heard that advice before.
Ryan Hoover [02:33] – Try it, try it–
Craig Cannon [02:34] – That was Jordan Peterson’s first rule in his book. It says, “Stand up straight with your shoulders back.”
Ryan Hoover [02:40] – Aha. All right.
Craig Cannon [02:41] – Okay, so, you blacked out during the interview basically. What else was that process like?
Ryan Hoover [02:48] – Where can I start? Product Hunt, I’ll do the beginning really, really quickly. It started off as a side project and it was right between start-ups, so, I was leaving in another one and kind of tinkering and interviewing at other startups. I started Product Hunt. It started off as an email list, got some traction there. That, then, turned into a website and we looked a lot of, lot of inspiration like Reddit, and Hacker News and other communities, and what systems do you want to take inspiration from, how do we want people to engage, and so, we built that. That got some traction and it’s probably four, I want to say four months after the email started, and when the website was operating. It was still a side project, it was not incorporated. It was still a thing I woke up, every morning, super excited about, and found my mind continually, 24/7 focusing on it, but I still didn’t know what we wanted to do turn it into and then, it was around that four-month time period, I just got a DM from Nicholas from Algolia.
Dalton Caldwell [03:43] – Yes.
Ryan Hoover [03:43] – They were in the previous–
Dalton Caldwell [03:44] – Yep.
Ryan Hoover [03:44] – YC batch and–
Dalton Caldwell [03:44] – I interviewed them.
Ryan Hoover [03:48] – That was a good thing, they’re doing well. All right, he DM’d me and said, Hey, Hey Ryan, a lot of people in YC are using Product Hunt. They’re launching their products there. Gary Tan would love to meet you. Have you thought about joining YC? It was the perfect time, because I was sort of at that crossroads, where I’m like, What do we do with this? We could keep doing it as a side project, we could make it a company. If you make it a company, how do you build? Do you raise money, do you not? A lot of questions, so I initially said, Oh, I’d love to meet Gary. We went to The Grove on Mission Street, and my questions for Gary were pretty transparent. I was like, “Hey Gary, this is working, here are the numbers, I love doing this, but I’m not sure I want to take VC funding and if I go into YC, if we do YC, does that mean we’re on that path?” And Gary said something along the lines of like, “Well, when you strike a lightning in a bottle, it doesn’t happen very often,” and I say that not arrogantly. It’s not that Product Hunt is the most amazing, best thing in the world, it’s not, but very few times in your life do you build something that is like, “Wow, there’s something there.”
Dalton Caldwell [04:55] – That is true.
Ryan Hoover [04:55] – That advice stuck with me and Gary was not ever, you never pressured me to say, “You should do YC, or you should raise VC funding,” but that advice, or that feedback, was really insightful, because he’s right. Am I ever going to have a time in my life, where I build something that is starting to show some sort of traction, that’s something that people want, ultimately.
Craig Cannon [05:14] – Do you remember what the growth rate was, when you applied to YC?
Ryan Hoover [05:17] – If I’m not mistaken, I think we’re like 50% month-over-month, and that’s not counting, with 100 users in month one, but it was like– over the course of a few months with some users, and so it was– And actually going into the interview, I’m fast forwarding a little bit, but, we found out some things that worked on the growth side and a lot of it was very manual, me, basically emailing makers and founders and tweeting at them, and I found out that when I messaged them, they would join the conversation, they would share and that would drive more traffic to the site, and so there’s a nice flywheel effect, that still exists today, and when when we discovered that it was like, “Well shoot, maybe we should do that more often” and let me do that as fast and as quickly as I can, going into the interview, so that I can say honestly in the interview, “Yeah, we had 50% month-over-month growth in the past three months,” and so anyway, that was– Having those types of metrics gave me–
Ryan Hoover [06:09] – a lot more confidence. I didn’t have to pump, my chest, or maybe I should have, but I didn’t have to pump my chest to feel confident, going into the interview, even though it was anxiety-inducing, Because it is such a quick process.
Dalton Caldwell [06:22] – I’ve had similar conversations with folks, like the one Gary had with you, and sometimes what I do, is, actually discourage someone from doing venture financing, if they have a side project working, especially if they’re making money and they can support themselves on it– and they can basically have the job forever, and you have this cool freedom, that so many– people dream of.
Dalton Caldwell [06:45] – I’m sometimes, like, “Hey, keep doing that. You’re living the dream. The grass is not greener on the other side. And if you do want to decide to raise money, just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, that you’re really excited about it, not that someone told you to or you’re seeking approval from authority figure.” You know what I’m trying to say?
Ryan Hoover [07:08] – Right.
Dalton Caldwell [07:08] – Right. You wanted to come and so, it sounds like, what was good in your case is, you were very onboard, versus, again, sometimes you see people being pushed down this path, or they have something working, and then, they regret it in the future.
Ryan Hoover [07:20] – Because they want to avoid it. It’s a one-way door.
Dalton Caldwell [07:23] – Right A good job, right– or a good lifestyle.
Craig Cannon [07:24] – It’s this weird thing where you think, startup equals software, right. Because I’m making profitable software, therefore it is a startup, but it can equally be a small business. More likely, yes.
Dalton Caldwell [07:36] – Semantically, you can call it a startup too, maybe it’s like the VC– line in the sand. It’s not for everybody and especially, I really respect, there’s so many great indie software developers, building Mac software– And they make a good living and–
Dalton Caldwell [07:50] – They got it. I think they have a lot figured out, that other people don’t. And so those people are like, “Yeah, I don’t know if this is, I think you– Keep doing, what you’re doing.”
Ryan Hoover [07:59] – That’s the the thought process that went through my head. There was a scenario, and I was trying to imagine, well let’s see. First off, I didn’t have much in savings, and I’m not an engineer and so, that was one of the things, as well. I need people to help me to build this thing and build out this road map that I have in my brain, and so, one way to do that, is, you get money to pay them. Well, how do you get money? You could do it through VC, or, you can make money in the product itself. There’s other other means to get money, but I was certainly evaluating, well what if we never raise VC money? What if I could pocket 20 thousand dollars, in my pocket per month–
Dalton Caldwell [08:34] – Wouldn’t it be great.
Ryan Hoover [08:35] – Owning a 100% of the business? That’d be amazing, and–
Dalton Caldwell [08:38] – Isn’t that what Wirecutter did? Do you know the Wirecutter folks?
Ryan Hoover [08:41] – Yes.
Dalton Caldwell [08:42] – Didn’t they bootstrap it off the affiliate links, and– never raised a di– Is that right?
Ryan Hoover [08:45] – It’s possible, I don’t know if Brian and team raised– Maybe they did, their friends and family– I’m not certain, but they never raised a real VC full round. and–
Craig Cannon [08:54] – That was a 30 million? In New York Times, yeah– Something like that–
Dalton Caldwell [08:56] – He did very well.
Craig Cannon [09:00] – There you go.
Ryan Hoover [08:59] – Even look at what Gabe’s done with Techeme which has been around forever. It’s basically a force in a thing that everyone in technology knows about.
Dalton Caldwell [09:11] – I use it every day. Constantly.
Ryan Hoover [09:12] – He hasn’t raised money, and if he did raise money, the product were changed dramatically. They’d have to figure out a lot of things to change it from what it was like–
Dalton Caldwell [09:21] – Probably have to throw conferences, that’d be my guess. I’ve actually talked him about this. I don’t think I’ll be his first choice, but–
Ryan Hoover [09:26] – Yeah, I don’t think he– …doesn’t seem like the conference kind of guy–
Dalton Caldwell [09:29] – He does not–
Craig Cannon [09:29] – No. There’s a little bit of a tangent, but what did you think of, when Indie Hackers started to come up, because that was a little bit after Product Hunt, and it’s very similar and it’s within this exact niche.
Ryan Hoover [09:41] – I’ve been thinking more and more about– In my head I describe it as maker communities and I would put Product Hunt in that category, Indie Hackers, Elpha is certainly one of those, and a bunch of others and they are the sort of communities, that are designed and some of them are verticalized around a specific function. Wether it’s Dribbble for designers, Stack Overflow for engineers, or its demographic-based, like Elpha for women, and there’s this whole ecosystem and maker communities in the Internet, and I find it really fascinating, because it’s largely built into the thesis of Product Hunt, which was always, well, I love discovering products. There’s this cultural relevance and interests, within products and technology and more and more people are building products. In fact, the next five years are going to see a ridiculous number of products being built. Partly because, it’s more accessible, it’s easier, you don’t actually need any money to build anything. Anyone with the motivation and internet access can build something. I’m going off on a tangent a little bit now, but I see Indie Hackers is certainly filling this niche in this focus around bootstrapped entrepreneurs, and that’s their focus, within this kind of maker community ecosystem, for me. What Cortland’s done, is great. I participate in the community, I’ve been on his podcast. I’m seeing him, tonight, actually, which is funny. Okay, I love what they’re doing.
Craig Cannon [11:04] – Okay, but not all companies that go through YC, ultimately raise money afterward, right, Zappier is a good example–
Dalton Caldwell [11:09] – That is correct.
Craig Cannon [11:11] – Yeah, right, and so they predated Product Hunt. What Dalton was alluding to, so, you had this point, where you could’ve raised money, you could’ve not raised money and so, Demo Day, why did you decide to follow that path?
Ryan Hoover [11:26] – The story with with us, going through YC. We raised around the same time we got into YC, and part of the strategy was, one, we’re building something for the tech community, and strategically, it was important or rather beneficial for us, to get a lot of notable tech people involved. We raised money from GV, Greylock, SV Angel… the first check in… Bunch of other Street Geeks, and having them involved, were just helpful to have the support community, and granted, we probably gave up more equity than we needed to. We raised a million, before going into YC, before Demo Day, when we were targeting 400k, but we got great people around us and– And then, fast forward through Demo Day, Marc Andreessen reached out, kind of in the middle, and he’d been following it and was interested, and we met up in and that happened, and then, three or four weeks later, he contact again, and this is pre-Demo Day, and it was sort of, “How are things going?,” and I knew what that meant, they were interested and– Long story short, they ended up, doing a Series A, preemptively. They were pretty early, especially for Andreessen Horowitz to do that
Ryan Hoover [12:33] – that type of round, but the metrics are great, the vision, or rather, the opportunity, massive, and I felt that it was better to work with a great firm and raise more capital now, than risk, in six months, raising with maybe not as good of a firm, with maybe not as strong of numbers, and that money then would allow us to continue for several years, building the company and hiring and building out what I want to build.
Dalton Caldwell [13:02] – My perspective working, with YC, is, your experience was 100% a side-effect of the lightning-in-a-bottle effect you had, and is not at all representative with 98% of the people in YC. That is just not how it happens and the reason is, people don’t have buzz or excitement. Now you, because you’re a community, they will participate in the community, and so, it was very hard in that era. Everyone was using your site and so, you see these things, sometimes, when there’s social products, that take off. Everyone is on them, all the time, I’m not going to– I can think of were, there was like the big things that were hot–
Dalton Caldwell [13:37] – And then everyone got excited about them, but it’s fascinating, hearing you say that, because, seriously, that is no one’s experience. One percent of the batch has that experience, and the other thing that I would say, is those aren’t are always correlated with the companies that do really well in the long term. I’m trying to say it in a nice way, but, When you see these, and it’s usually, because someone has a hit–
Dalton Caldwell [14:02] – on their hands, and so, all the investors circle around it and do all this extra work to do it, but if you look at– A great example I like to talk about, is Coinbase. He couldn’t raise from anyone. I think he got half a million bucks.
Ryan Hoover [14:15] – Is that 2013?
Dalton Caldwell [14:19] – Summer 12, Summer 12–
Ryan Hoover [14:20] – Oh wow, so, cool, yeah–
Dalton Caldwell [14:20] – And so, there’s companies like Coinbase, were, they couldn’t get people to return their phone calls– And couldn’t, I think, couldn’t put together that much money. As a long term investment, when you love to be an investor in that, I think the price is pretty good, and so we– What we see from our side of the table, in YC, is excitement around the core product, or feeling like other investors are excited about it, and things like that, definitely give a founder, like yourself, tons of leverage, but that I actually have learned to not take that too seriously, as an investor, is a signal for how the company will do. It’s more just like, “Oh, you know, people like Scooters.” There’s other examples of these hype cycles happening.
Dalton Caldwell [15:04] – And to try to remember, that it’s the long term things that really matter, like retention and growth and revenue, and those are super predictive at Demo Day. I remember that too, when you were, everyone was so excited about Product Hunt, and everyone wanted to work with you and they put tons of work into it, and yeah, other founders probably were like, “Why can’t I be that?”
Ryan Hoover [15:31] – Part of the challenge is, some of the best investments are somewhat contrarian. Coinbase being a great example. In 2012, Crypto, and that whole world was a totally different era. And, the best investments, oftentimes–
Dalton Caldwell [15:46] – And he was a single founder at the time, right?
Ryan Hoover [15:47] – Oh, was he?
Dalton Caldwell [15:47] – Yeah. He was a single founder–
Ryan Hoover [15:49] – Oh, really, was he at Demo Day?
Dalton Caldwell [15:51] – It’s Brian Armstrong, just Brian.
Craig Cannon [15:54] – Bitcoin guy,
Dalton Caldwell [15:57] – I’m the Bitcoin guy and I’m– It’s just me, so– He had a lot of, it was not a slam dunk at Demo Day– for Coinbase–
Ryan Hoover [16:03] – It takes some conviction for the future, the people that did invest, saw a future of crypto and what it could become, and so they they placed a bet on him and that’s where, I think, maybe, it gets challenging is, if it’s already super hot, then, there’s probably also a lot of other companies, competing for that seem real estate and I think, maybe Product Hunt probably’s not the best example, because, it’s not a Lyft and Uber situation. It’s not like we have a zero-sum game, when it comes to competition with other companies, but, yeah, I think that’s true, and I’ve seen, there’s some, I’m trying to think, back in the batch in who’s who–
Dalton Caldwell [16:35] – Cool. Where were you Summer ’14?
Ryan Hoover [16:37] – Summer ’14, yeah.
Dalton Caldwell [16:38] – So, I think, Ginkgo is extreme. They probably– have hundreds of employees there. They’re are a biotech company, yeah, and I think they raised fine, but there was not this hot buzz, Oh, Ginkgo Bioworks, they’re from Boston, they’re– You know, they’re doing synthetic biology, yeah, I don’t think Marc Andreessen was cold emailing them.
Dalton Caldwell [16:56] – Who else was in Summer ’14? There were the nuclear companies, remember, the Octo, the fusion and the fission company were in Summer ’14. So, there was– Yeah. stuff like that, but it would be easy to forget, and this is also why, what’s fascinating working here, man, is people think that YC funds consumer companies and this is what– our bread and butter is.
Dalton Caldwell [17:18] – And yeah, I think it’s 5% consumer.
Ryan Hoover [17:18] – Yeah. It’s funny. People think that most of Product Hunt is actually consumer as well– It’s probably, I don’t know, 50% at most, is consumer. There’s a lot of B2B stuff on there
Craig Cannon [17:33] – Well, I mean, they’re just the loudest, right?
Dalton Caldwell [17:35] – But that’s what I’m saying. Everyone remmebrs Product Hunt, that makes sense–
Craig Cannon [17:37] – Right, Reddit–
Dalton Caldwell [17:37] – like Reddit, like Dropbox Airbnb–
Dalton Caldwell [17:40] – But man, if you actually look at the data, which is my job to do, a huge percentage is good old fashioned B2B enterprise. There are a lot of hard tech, these days, and people just don’t think about them, and it’s not because they’re not good businesses. It’s just, they’re less fun to talk about than–
Ryan Hoover [17:57] – And they just don’t, maybe, like, I don’t understand biotech. It’s less exciting for me simply for that reason, because they just don’t understand it–
Craig Cannon [18:05] – And you don’t know where the market’s going, right? When you think about Airbnb, like, “Oh, I could see myself doing that.”
Ryan Hoover [18:09] – and then you’d start doing it.
Craig Cannon [18:11] – I’m curious, Dalton, about application surprises on your end, because I think both of you guys have been done investments, as well, you can understand the market gets really frothy and maybe I don’t want to do that deal and I have to be principled, or maybe, you do, do the deal and that’s how it goes. What were the companies that we’re like, I don’t know about this, and then they went on to be quite successful?
Dalton Caldwell [18:34] – Well there’s lot of famous cases of people, that we fund and then they end up pivoting into something wildly different, and that ends up being pretty good. My example, that I had a front row seat for, was Brex. I funded them to do a VR headset-thing and I was–
Ryan Hoover [18:50] – The credit card company?
Dalton Caldwell [18:51] – Well, now you know that– and I interviewed them, I was their group partner, I was their main contact through the whole thing, and they didn’t know a lot about VR headsets.
Craig Cannon [19:09] – That’s fine.
Dalton Caldwell [19:10] – It sort of came out during the batch, and during office hours that, perhaps they might want to consider something they knew more about, and they had, prior, built something, sort of like Stripe for Brazil, when they were younger, and so, the idea was, “Hey, maybe you should work on some fintech stuff that you know more about.” And it was, “Well, what should the product be?” I’m like, “Well, what can you sell to people in your batch.” You should talk to people, what they want… And so, the credit card thing just came out organically, and that was six weeks before Demo Day.
Ryan Hoover [19:40] – Wow.
Dalton Caldwell [19:41] – There’s no way you could have known that the folks working on the VR headset idea, that didn’t know much about hardware, were going to end up being a pretty good company. Right place, right time and luck, you know–
Craig Cannon [19:58] – That’s true–
Dalton Caldwell [19:58] – There’s lots of people, that are super-high caliber, but that was one where, certainly, there was not a lot of hype about their VR headset idea– and they could have just gone all the way, through it and I think it would have been a struggle–
Craig Cannon [20:10] – Do you remember what that conversation was like, because I think, it’s a super common question we get for the podcast. People who change their ideas. What were those conversations like with them? What was the progress looking like? Did they even have a product?
Dalton Caldwell [20:22] – They did not.
Craig Cannon [20:22] – Right.
Dalton Caldwell [20:23] – I think they ran into some pretty fundamental issues, that they didn’t know how to fix, and they didn’t know how to get around them. They hit a roadblock and I definitely did encourage them to maybe, in a very nice way, to maybe– Why always encourage people, if they’re thinking about maybe pivoting, to go more towards something they’re deep experts in– that they know more about– not less about, right. And so you knew all about community. You were in the right place for you,
Dalton Caldwell [20:46] – and you still are. Right, so you want to find a good cohesion of a founder, doing something that plays to their strengths. Sometimes, people pivot into stuff, that they know nothing about, and I’m pretty sure that is not correlated with success.
Ryan Hoover [21:00] – It’s like, if you try to pivot into biotech.
Dalton Caldwell [21:02] – You’d be, “Oh, biotech seems cool.”
Ryan Hoover [21:04] – Don’t fund me– Yeah, Product Hunt is me, in many ways– In other words. It’s what I love, I love products and to me
Ryan Hoover [21:13] – my friends were doing it. It was just fun, and actually, I tend to, when I talk to founders, who are people who want to start a company, it’s nice that people overthink it, like, I need to start a business and I need to think about markets and everything, and I’m just, change your frame of mind, think about it as an experiment or a side project. When you put your frame of mind on a side project, first you settle. Most people start to settle in, well, what would they want to build, or, what would a what could I use. And it’s just a lot better way to start, I think, personally
Dalton Caldwell [21:41] – Do you think there’s a way to play it over again, where, you could have, should have, would have, monetized or expanded faster, because, again, this is– especially we’re talking– about non-venture funded things. It’s not a choice, if you’re bootstrapping about, whether or not, you charge for your product, right. Where would you advise yourself. Say, you have a time machine, and you could advise your younger self.
Dalton Caldwell [22:05] – What would you have told yourself around monetization. Would it be, you know what, wouldn’t change anything? Like– That’s a valid option.
Ryan Hoover [22:12] – It’s one of those things, because there’s a lot of mistakes I made of course, and so, when I think about the mistakes, I think well I should have done it differently, and then, there’s another part of me, though, that thinks, Well, with the information I had at the time, I probably still would have made the same decision. The reality is, I don’t think things would have changed and it’s also hard to know, if I did that, would that have actually been worse than what happened and–
Dalton Caldwell [22:32] – Totally fair.
Ryan Hoover [22:33] – the things that I think we made a mistake on, that I take responsibility for, are few different things. One of them is, we should have dedicated a little bit of time and focus on revenue, and in the beginning, before we were funded, I was paying the Heroku bill out of my own credit card, and, it wasn’t expensive, a couple thousand dollars a month, maybe, at one point, and I was like, “Well, I don’t want to pay this, so, let’s do job ads.” We did job ads, like four thousand dollars a month, so not much, but there’s clearly very easy money. With our community, it wouldn’t have taken much work to make a little bit of money, to increase our runway, ultimately. The challenge is always, especially with consumer-focused startup, is, as soon as you start making money, then VC’s will start judging you, based on that revenue today, and so, strategically, there’s some challenges there, which is an unfortunate byproduct, and I think, how a lot of investors think.
Dalton Caldwell [23:23] – Yeah, for what it’s worth, I would always tell someone to make that money. I wouldn’t judge Yeah– someone for having small amounts of revenue. Yeah, if this was in someone’s application, they’re like, “Yeah, we’re making this money from job ads,” that would be cool. Very smart.
Dalton Caldwell [23:40] – That would, in no way, cause me to be less psyched about the company, if I read that in an application or something.
Craig Cannon [23:46] – Yeah, I’m trying to think of a scenario, where that would be hurting our company. Maybe it was affecting growth negatively, somehow.
Dalton Caldwell [23:53] – Right, yeah,
Craig Cannon [23:53] – Giant banner ads for jobs–
Dalton Caldwell [23:55] – I feel, in a lot of media companies, what people end up starting with, is affiliates. Certainly, that’s how Wirecutter works. If you click on a thing, you buy it on Amazon, and they get three percent and it is very hard to build a huge, huge, huge company, doing that, but it certainly helps, when people are doing communities or things around discovery.
Ryan Hoover [24:15] – Right.
Dalton Caldwell [24:15] – That’s a pretty tried and true way to pay the bills.
Ryan Hoover [24:20] – There’s a difference between a good job board, but then, if if VC’s, if investors perceive it as, well, that’s the business model and that’s the mechanics, of how you’re going to make money, and if it’s not impressive, then they’ll be potential, less excited. It’s this weird game that you have to play. One thing would be, make money, extend runway, and start proving out some ideas, early, because making money takes a while. We focused on that last year, and now we’re profitable. That was our number one goal. It’s just, let’s cover our cost, and it just took a while. Took a lot of exploration–
Ryan Hoover [24:56] – to get there.
Dalton Caldwell [24:57] – And a push on this again, I’m just picturing back in the batch. You could have gone deeper on products, really deep on, just tech products and done a partnership. There’s ways you could go deep on that. I remember there was ideas to expand, to discovering other kinds of things and you can discover– a game. I don’t remember the current status of that feature–
Ryan Hoover [25:18] – Games is one of the first ones–
Dalton Caldwell [25:19] – You were trying that diversification about the kind of stuff you discover. That’s one way to do it. The other thing you’ve done, is, use the traffic you have and bootstrap things, like a job board, or there’s a scenario, where, you literally could have become AngelList, right. You could have gone really deep on that, and so, I can– It’s your company, but I could pitch five different scenarios, where, you could have zeroed in on what you were most excited about, as a founder, and by going deep on those, it would become more evident, if– Those are all wildly different companies I just pitched, but from that lightning-in-a-bottle that you had, you could have gone deep on one of those– It seems like,
Dalton Caldwell [25:55] – your decision was to stick with the core tech product-thing, and you wanted to be really thoughtful about your community, and, I remember there’s some redesigns, I don’t know. Walk me through how you, when you had all these options on the table, strategically, how you decided what was exciting to you and what was like, “Yeah, I don’t want to do a job, or, that’s not horrible.” I think I would agree with you on that statement, but–
Dalton Caldwell [26:20] – You could have.
Ryan Hoover [26:23] – We could’ve made, very easy, 30K, or something, at some point. A month, without– disrupting the user experience for that. I do remember the slide, that I presented at Demo Day, actually, with the lo– I think it might have been the last slide, which was like the future vision, which was, “Okay, we’re starting with tech.” That’s like our core. Longer term, we want to expand to gaming. I’m actually from the gaming world, before all this, and so, I’ve seen the challenges of game discovery for consumers, but also for–
Ryan Hoover [26:46] – Yeah. People, making games and–
Dalton Caldwell [26:49] – Think about steam– Indie games–
Ryan Hoover [26:52] – A platform, agnostic steam, kind of community actually, it’s like– That alone is a huge business on its own. Fashion and we even, I’m I love music. I love discovering music, that’s even an area. We’re thinking, initially, at one point, let’s build that really amazing community, initially, and then, let’s expand and replicate this model across multiple verticals and that, actually, still to me, is super exciting.
Dalton Caldwell [27:14] – I remember the slide, I was like, “Wow.” I was convinced, right. This is definitely– Because you had this initial kernel, it’s so hard for founders, that start, where they can never get traction on the first product. Then you can’t be creative, but, you had this excitement in kernel and capital. And so, I was super excited. I remember the Demo Day, I was like, man! I remember talking to you in the Green Room.
Ryan Hoover [27:35] – I remember–
Dalton Caldwell [27:36] – I’m super-psyched. I just remember being really excited for you and being like, this is, yeah. I figure, what I exactly said, was, Wow.
Ryan Hoover [27:48] – I remember, too, but– I remember seeing you in the Green Room. Yeah, and everyone, has, you can imagine, Venn diagrams. Everyone is interested in multiple things, like, I love music and I love games. I love tech. That’s my Venn diagram. Someone else might love fashion and beauty and tech. And so, the idea was, let’s take all these circles and slowly expand every kind of product category and the learning, though– I was a little bit naive, I think, in thinking that we could quickly replicate in communities in these different verticals and the nature of even just game discovery, is quite different than product and tech discovery, and so, in hindsight, we tried to expand too quickly, in the beginning.
Ryan Hoover [28:28] – We didn’t properly build a core solid gaming community. That was the first vertical we moved into. We did gaming, then we had books, and then we did podcasts. because, podcasts also suffer from a discovery problem and–
Dalton Caldwell [28:40] – Most definitely– That is a very common YC application idea.
Ryan Hoover [28:44] – Really?
Dalton Caldwell [28:44] – Oh yes. Podcast everything, but definitely podcast discoveries, and that–
Ryan Hoover [28:48] – People saying it to me, every batch, What do you think of this idea?
Dalton Caldwell [28:52] – I mean, dozens– of companies– It’s–
Ryan Hoover [28:53] – very common startup, very hard. What happened is, we ended up, having almost the entire community was still focused on tech and their frame of mind for using Product Hunt, it was tech and tech products and what resulted in just very little engagement in these other side communities, and we were unsuccessful in getting them spun-up to be their own standalone community, where people could find the best games, or really visit on a daily basis for that type of content.
Craig Cannon [29:22] – Do you think you have a template now, of how you may have done that in the past, the right people to hire, maybe even create a new name, let’s not call it Product Hunt anymore?
Ryan Hoover [29:31] – Ee internally talked about a game hunt and expand it even buying hunt dot com and expanding out that way and making it more general purpose, and I think, this is one of the questions, where, it’s, in hindsight, I would love to see how this would play out but I don’t know if it work. One scenario is, we would build our separate domain entirely, and what that would afford us to do, is create an entirely different experience, designed for gaming, which would be more visual, more videos, more imagery. It might, well it would require people to have better ability to focus in the platform that they use whether it’s mobile or Xbox or PlayStation or whatnot. That’s a very different experience than browsing–
Dalton Caldwell [30:08] – I feel like you’re so good, a community, I can just picture– You could have used really cool video reviews, or you would have had the equivalent of The Maker, I can see it, right. I guess, it’s part of my job, just you describe me, and I’m, “Yeah, that would be very different, than all the other video discovery things and that sounds really useful.” Right? There’s nothing like that, right now.
Ryan Hoover [30:27] – And it’s still, somebody should build it. What we’re now focusing on, is actually demo. Tthat was one horizontal approach. Go really wide, build a network of properties, potentially. Instead, what we focused on, is, let’s go deep, because, actually, as big as this is, this is also really big. Focusing entirely, just on technology, brcause, who doesn’t have an iPhone, first offer, or an android phone? There are some people in the world, but, more and more people are adopting, just a smartphone in their pocket. That alone, every person that has a smartphone in their pocket, could be a user of Product Hunt. It doesn’t mean, that we’ve designed an experience for everyone today, but the market opportunity and the influence of technology is increasingly growing. We’ve honed in, three years ago, honed in
Ryan Hoover [31:09] – on that direction and said, let’s go deeper into technology, and focus on that vertical and focus on our bread and butter instead of trying to spread so thin.
Dalton Caldwell [31:18] – Going deep there, sometimes people go upmarket, where they’re like, “Okay, we’ll also use this thing for enterprises,” and, you could’ve helped people discover enterprise software, and, man, that sounds super lucrative. Again, so– I can’t help but, brainstorming this stuff, So, I’m just thinking through, back in the day, when you had everything lined up and ready.
Dalton Caldwell [31:36] – Were there things that you could have been excited about, that were not selling out your vision of what it could be? But, that would have allowed you to go super deep on this, because, again, You have resources now, but it’s a different setup, than if you were trying to build a company, that, could employ a thousand people, or become,
Ryan Hoover [31:56] – Right,
Dalton Caldwell [31:57] – future of everything.
Ryan Hoover [31:57] – One thing that was suggested, early, early on, by a few of our investors, because they lend as an investor, and investors were using Product Hunt to find and establishing what’s cool, and a few different investors and people suggested, Hey, you should start a Product Hunt fund. You should build a fund, on top of Product Hunt, invest in, use the data in the community and everything, to source and find really early stage opportunities, and, I was pretty adamant. As tempting as it is to explore that, because I’ve always been interested in investing pre-Product Hunt, I don’t think it was the right direction, and this is where,
Ryan Hoover [32:27] – I personally, just don’t think that would’ve been the right outcome. It would have actually changed Product Hunt dramatically into a much– different type of business and be more like the AngelList, potentially, then
Dalton Caldwell [32:37] – Again, this is what I say, is, there’s a way–
Ryan Hoover [32:38] – Yeah. you could have, from your starting point, could have, actually, been AngelList, if you went down that path.
Dalton Caldwell [32:43] – And so, again, I’m not even saying, it’s the right one. There’s also Kickstarter. you could have been like, oh, let’s hope people imagine that you could– Remember those experiments people did, where, if enough people took an action, it would unlock something in launching, do you remember that? There was a Hype Machine to the– a bunch of sites, ten years ago, did this stuff. But, you would create collective action around people’s launches, and either help them actually sell products, or monetize that products, or get their initial user base. I know you do beginner testers, right? That’s pretty cool. Are you already–
Ryan Hoover [33:15] – Yeah, we’ve experimented with some things, And then, we built a tool for people to collect beta users, like, emails, and that kind of thing–
Dalton Caldwell [33:21] – Because, here’s ways that, instead of taking equity in companies, you still could have provided pretty deep services, deeper than just, click on my website and maybe you sign up, and– Yeah. I think people would’ve happily paid for it for sure. So anyway, it’s– It doesn’t matter now, but I’m just super fascinated, on thinking through, just what a great thing you had and all the ways. I’ve been in Silicon Valley a long time, and it’s just like these little micro decisions, that is the difference between Facebook, being Facebook, and
Craig Cannon [33:52] – MySpace,
Dalton Caldwell [33:53] – or sites we haven’t even thought of, I don’t know, Tagged, remember that, and Highfive, and, There were all these– Yeah. I’ve know the founders of all these companies.
Dalton Caldwell [34:02] – They were there. But, little micro decisions, have really huge effects over time. I’m fascinated by that.
Ryan Hoover [34:10] – And I think, part of it, this is a challenging money thing, too. When you when you do raise a lot of money, and you feel like you have infinite runway, you should treat it like you don’t, and truthfully, there’s some things that I prioritized on the team, because I wanted it, myself, some redesign work that we did, which, redesigns there’s oftentimes a trap. There’s times when you want to do redesign work, but, oftentimes, it’s, realistically, not going to change your numbers all that much, and especially with something like, what we built, where we have a community of people. People really don’t care if the up-vote button looks a little bit shinier. They’re going to use it, or not, because of the content, the conversation of the people there–
Dalton Caldwell [34:47] – Remember all the Digg redesigns?
Ryan Hoover [34:51] – Although, Digg– I don’t blame them for the 4.0, I think, release was the one, that really had a problem. I think that direction was directional intuitive. It was when Twitter was taking off, and, how do you build something that’s even more accessible and builds more retention loops, through following, and that type of thing. I think, there’s some good ideas there, but, it’s hard. Communities are really hard, too, ’cause– We’ve made changes that the community has just been upset about, and, some pieces we’ve averted, some cases, we let them get used to it, yeah.
Craig Cannon [35:25] – I think this is a very real problem. A lot of venture-backed companies don’t have that same sense of urgency, that, Indie Hacker-type companies have. They’re like, “Hey, listen, I could work on a redesign for the next month, or I could optimize my sales funnel and make one hundred thousand more dollars.” Now that you guys are within AngelList, you could be a little more slack, maybe. How are you creating that urgency? What are you focusing on right now?
Ryan Hoover [35:50] – We have three KPI’s, actually, that we measure. Revenue’s one of them. That was our number one priority, last year, not because we were running out of money, it’s because we just want to build a model, that can scale and cover expenses. We hit profitability last year. Second metric, was just user growth. How do we get more people using Product Hunt, and the third is community contributions, and that’s measured by the number of people up-voting, commenting, contributing. That’s important, because it’s basically the measurement of health. If we have nobody up-voting, then we have nothing. We got to make sure that that’s good. This year, we’re switching it around. Revenue is not the number one priority. We’re switching towards user growth and we’re focusing on a couple different themes. One of them I can’t share, too many specifics on, but it’s a lot about focusing on, how do we help people find the best products, or the products they should be using. Product Hunt has always been about the new products Come here, open up the website, you discover things that you never would have searched for, because they didn’t exist yesterday, and it’s a place to get a firehose, and new cool stuff. But, a lot of people, in fact, probably more people in the world, have a greater desire to find the best products for specific things, and it could be something, like I switched from Android to iPhone, what apps should I be downloading and using and exploring? Some of it might be, I’m starting new company, what’s the best analytics tool
Ryan Hoover [37:08] – for this budget for these needs? Really focusing on this and building out a true product graph is what we’re moving towards. That’s one theme, let’s solve for that use case and by the way, when we build products, we have a pretty good process down, where, we’ll have usually one engineer, to start with, on it, and they drive the project forward, alongside, like Julia or Dan on the design side. We’re able to do a lot of products at once, which some people may say, is a bad thing, but for us, it works really well, the way we’re set up. That’s one thing we have going on. Then we have, going back to maker communities, want to focus more on the social networking side of Product Hunt and technology and making itself. We’ve experimented and dabbled with some of this, but, we’re starting to hone in on something that, I think, is going to work. We’ll see if it does, around virtual co-working, and I don’t think I’ve used–
Dalton Caldwell [37:59] – Cool.
Ryan Hoover [37:59] – those words publicly at all, but, there’s this– The people who are most engaged on Product Hunt, are working on side projects. They’re freelancers, they’re remote workers, and they’re just really curious and eager, and they have desire to, one, meet other people like them, get help from other people that maybe have a different skill set, whether its design or engineering, and also there’s an aspect of loneliness too. If you’re working, on a product by yourself, and especially if you’re not in Silicon Valley, like, a tech hub, where do you go? We want to build out, ways for people to do all those things on Product Hunt and really support this like a future maker, kind of ecosystem going forward.
Dalton Caldwell [38:37] – I see YC applications along those lines, of basically remote work as a big trend, and people are trying to think about tools, and– There’s a bunch of ways to attack the problem, but for sure, I’m very familiar with excitement around making it easier, better, faster, for folks that are working remotely all over the world, to work together and collaborate.
Ryan Hoover [38:57] – Yeah, th tooling.. We got Slack, but tooling-wise, there’s not a lot–
Craig Cannon [39:02] – Not much, I mean–
Dalton Caldwell [39:02] – There’s not much.
Craig Cannon [39:03] – Ryan and I both talked about this. We’re both in long distance relationships, and he was tweeting about it, like, what are the solutions, people are using.
Dalton Caldwell [39:10] – It’s super-hacky–
Craig Cannon [39:11] – WhatsApp, FaceTime- kind of stuff, but that’s it
Ryan Hoover [39:15] – The other realization is, I think, some people forget is, most people also don’t have a large following, online, whether it’s Twitter or Facebook or whatever, and when you’re building something and you want feedback, at best, you ask your friends and your friends give you really terrible positive advice, because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. There’s a greater need among this giant audience of people, to have some sort of support network, while they’re building and exploring.
Craig Cannon [39:41] – Yes, I was curious about this. There are a bunch of questions, basically, people asking for advice on what makes a successful product on Product Hunt, and did you guys ever consider, going in that direction, more educational content for the users?
Ryan Hoover [39:56] – We have FAQs and How To’s and things like that, but we’ve never, never really gone deep into the educational side. This kind of goes back to we’re saying, there’s many different things, that we could build for Product Hunt and, as much as I’d love to help educate people, it’s not, I think, a core focus for us, but, yeah, I think the general advice, really, when it comes to people asking me all the time, what’s the best way to launch a product, and sometimes it’s just simple advice, like, make sure the imagery is really clear. The tagline is really clear, bounce it off a few people that don’t know you or don’t know about your product, and speak like a human, not like a marketer.
Dalton Caldwell [40:30] – You know, what I’d love to hear about, is, an example of your favorite company that it’s ever launched on Product Hunt, that you’re most proud of, almost like, that you helped enable their success and maybe the reverse, but I realize you can’t. But just like, what’s an example of no one specific, but just, how someone can get to number one on Product Hunt and have a good launch, and then actually, they didn’t make something the people want, and they churned everybody, and what you’ve learned and internalized, about someone with a great launch, and it sticks and they really go off into the stratosphere, versus, oh, people checked out my silly thing, and then there’s nothing there, like I’d love to hear about that.
Ryan Hoover [41:09] – There’s a couple, there’s two different things that come to mind, and one more recent actually, and this isn’t a startup, actually it’s not a company, but there’s a number of self-described indie makers, or people who are just eager to build things, not necessarily to make money, sometimes they do. It’s just to build things and show it off and be creative and explore, and we do this thing called Golden Kitty awards, every year, which nominates different products and different categories, and we have one category for Maker of the Year and we take a look at all the efforts, and some data from the past year, to determine who that is, and I apologize, I might be forgetting his name, but it’s Andre if I’m not mistaken, in Europe. He won Maker of the Year and this is a younger guy who learned to code a few years ago, launched his first product a couple of years ago, on Product Hunt, after learning about 30 or 60 days, and since then, he’s just he’s almost like he’s got the bug. He’s got the bug to build and I like to think that at least Product Hunt helped in some way giving him feedback, because otherwise, when you build something, you spend all this time and no one uses it, no one sees it. it doesn’t mean that they have to use it forever, but getting some sort of feedback loops, is so important, when you’re building something. He now, has since, built and launched tons and tons of different products and I was happy to see, he won Maker Of The Year, and he even recorded a video, put it on Twitter, and was like, “Thanks everybody, so happy.”
Dalton Caldwell [42:30] – It’s great.
Ryan Hoover [42:31] – There’s like these heartwarming, it’s great to have a tiny, tiny piece in supporting these future, these makers, or maybe future founders of companies, but then, going to a company example, one that really sticks to mind is Meerkat. Do you remember Meerkat? I’ve got to know Ben, and actually saw him last weekend, the CEO of Meerkat, now Houseparty, and Meerkat was such an awesome– It ticks so many boxes, that were perfect, in terms of the messaging was really clear. I think the tagline was something along the lines of broadcast live video to your Twitter followers. It’s very specific actually, and the product design was built for leveraging the Twitter graph, which I think today, still, is under utilized, actually and quickly, it rose to prominence, blew up. Everyone was using it for a little while, and the problem was, the product, itself, was not retentive, and, most people are really bad, including myself at live video. It’s just really hard to create good content and to watch live video. You have to watch it when it’s live too. There’s like all these challenges with the product, when it comes to retention and being something that works, but what they did realize within that, is, some people are hacking it
Ryan Hoover [43:42] – and using Meerkat to hang out with friends, and that’s what ultimately inspired Houseparty, which is an app, you open it up, and you and your friends are immediately there in a video chat and you can just hang out and chat. It’s solving this underlying desire of connection, and and being together with people, remote, and your friends back home, or your girlfriend, or whoever, and that was an interesting example, because it blew up immediately and yet, at the same time, it required Ben and the team to be thoughtful and honest with themselves. They could have run out of money, and run the company into the ground, if they were persistent in thinking that this would work, that Meerkat would work as it is today. Instead, they had to change–
Dalton Caldwell [44:23] – That’s really smart, and that’s a great example of retirement earlier, knowing where that decision point is and they didn’t, it wasn’t like a heartbreak, they did something radically different, but clearly, yeah.
Craig Cannon [44:34] – I’m really curious, Dalton, you’ve probably read 10 thousand applications–
Dalton Caldwell [44:38] – Read a lot of applications–
Craig Cannon [44:39] – An infinite amount, all of the applications– I’m connecting the dots now, both of you guys, basically, review products all year round, and I’m curious, how much time do you actually spend on Product Hunt, in your YC application-reading mind? Are you filtering through it, in the same way, or are you just curious about, “Oh, this is a cool side-project, I’ll check it out?”
Dalton Caldwell [45:03] – The most important thing, that I look at, is how serious the founders are, and if they really made something and showed it to people, and so, it’s almost like, it doesn’t matter if the product is good. So many people that apply, aspirational maybe, want to build something, someday, possibly. But, for the people that are serious enough to really make something and be brave enough to show it to other people and be willing to take all of the– It’s really scary to do that, you know. And so, when you see someone, that’s actually made something, and they’re willing to share it with the world, and they show that commitment that they’re serious about it. I very much am paying attention to you, and I care less about the scale of the revenue. Like I was saying earlier, I care less about, if the design is really good. Those things are nice, but, man, if– The difference between someone that’s serious, and not serious, is all the difference in the world.
Ryan Hoover [45:56] – How do you evaluate that in applications? How do you know if they’re serious?
Dalton Caldwell [45:59] – Well, you can see if they’ve done something. Do you have a prototype? Do you have a first user? Have you made a dollar of revenue? Again it’s very– It depends on the type of company it is, but, you can see the difference between, “Hey, I want to raise money, before I work on this.” That’s a certain sort of thing and that’s not really, necessarily our bread and butter.
Dalton Caldwell [46:23] – And then the people, that you can tell, that they’re going to work on their dream, no matter what, with or without you, and that you can hopefully help them in some way. And again, I would put you You did it. No one told you, “Hey, you should go make Product Hunt. You should make this email list.” You weren’t trying to please investors, you’re just trying to do something, you thought was cool. That was the kernel of goodness that you had, right. You figure that on your own, without authority figures, telling you to do it. That’s really special and that’s a huge signal.
Ryan Hoover [46:53] – One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about, is I was fortunate, in that I’d been working in a previous company for three years. After three years, it was like, I got to do something different. I gave notice, that turned into a part time role, actually. Cut my salary in half, work 20 hours a week. That gave me plenty of time for Product Hunt, so, I was lucky, in that I could financially support myself, as I was tinkering and building and a lot of people just don’t, especially in San Francisco, and I’ve been thinking more about this challenge, and maybe, I’d be curious of why he’s thinking about this, but how do you give people that opportunity to quit their job and give them, six months or twelve months, whatever the time is, to do that, because you can do a lot of nights and weekends, and I think people underestimate that, but there’s also, some people just have challenges and having
Dalton Caldwell [47:36] – Totally.
Ryan Hoover [47:36] – enough time to truly see something through, without quitting their job.
Dalton Caldwell [47:39] – In Startup School, which is the online, course-thing that we have, anyone could participate, you definitely don’t need to be full time. There’s even, for a small percentage of people that are really serious, we give them grants. I think this is all on our blog.
Ryan Hoover [47:55] – How much do you give?
Dalton Caldwell [47:56] – 10 thousand.
Craig Cannon [47:56] – 10 grand.
Ryan Hoover [47:57] – To everyone, or just–
Dalton Caldwell [47:59] – Just certain–
Craig Cannon [47:59] – We did a hundred companies.
Dalton Caldwell [48:02] – Again, we can’t be for everyone, but those were people, they were really serious. They were really– working hard and we– that could be really helpful to them.
Dalton Caldwell [48:12] – And again, the whole point of Startup School was, even for people that haven’t quit their job, it gives you a chance to be serious and structured in your thinking– Put on your calendar and make progress. There’s so many people that want to start a startup and whether or not, they quit their jobs, they never begin.
Craig Cannon [48:27] – That’s what you were alluding to. A lot of people would never even think about, I should go part time, I should go 20 hours a week. A lot of people never get the confidence and never feel like they’re good enough to do the thing. Startup School is awesome, there– But for you, what motivated you to be, “Eh, you know what, I can do part time, I can make this work.”
Ryan Hoover [48:50] – It was it was more, that I just knew, I just knew deep in my heart that I needed to do something different, because I felt like I wasn’t learning and I loved the company, loved the team, but you know, there are certain moments, I think, in everyone’s career, people who have worked with me, that have transitioned out. It’s been a good transition, because I saw, I get it, I know why you’re leaving, and I know why it’s maybe not a good place for you, anymore. For me, I forced myself and I, initially, was going to leave entirely, and not do part time, and I was like, I have a little bit of money saved, I’ll figure it out and maybe I was a little bit naive in that sense, but it didn’t work out. And there’s a reason why I actually named the fund, I started, Weekend Fund, though too, because, I think, a lot of amazing companies and amazing things can be built on a weekend, if you can afford the time, and I think a lot of people tend to– Now, I don’t want to– Some people have families, some people have– Financial burdens, there’s things that certainly are debilitating, but for a lot of people, there are no excuses, not to be working on the weekend and trying and making some progress.
Dalton Caldwell [49:52] – Well, if you want to do a startup, and not everyone, it’s not for everybody– If you’re if you’re curious, you have to start. And, man, does that screen out a lot of people if they don’t start.
Ryan Hoover [50:05] – And the progress, too, there’s something about, as I speak with companies and look at, from an investor side, a little bit progress is everything and just, even if it’s, it doesn’t have to be 50% month-over-month growth, but I’ve invested in companies, after following them for even just two or three weeks, are giving me more confidence, based on, what they’re shipping and how they’re interacting with their users and those types of small micro, day-to-day interactions, really matter a lot.
Craig Cannon [50:32] – That’s a great place to wrap it up. Thanks for coming in guys. Thanks for having me.
Ryan Hoover [50:37] – Cool.
Craig Cannon [50:39] – All right, thanks for listening. As always, you can find the transcript and video at blog.ycombinator.com. If you have a second, it would be awesome to give us a rating and review, wherever you find your podcasts. See you next time.