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The series of events that led to Highlyreco being featured on product hunt

With this post, I will try and give you a description of the set of events that happened that got us featured on Product Hunt.

First- what is Highlyreco?

Highlyreco in its current form

At Highlyreco, we are making it possible for you to find the most relevant book to read that will teach you something. We do this by aggregating book recommendations from awesome people in Tech and Entrepreneurship. The reason for doing that — Firstly we think, books are the best ways to learn something. Peter Thiel is not going to sit with you explaining his understanding of startup dynamics. Your best bet is to read Zero to One. Books are the easiest way for someone willing to teach, to scale his learning to a lot of people. Also there are times when you read a book and you just don’t get it. Later with some life experience when you read the same book, you might be like — “Holy ****, this is intense”. That’s what I felt when I was reading Ben Horowitz’s Hard things about hard things when I was closing down my previous startup.

Thats why we think there is a right time to read a book. What we figured is that, you can figure out what is the most relevant book for you by looking at the book recommendation of the people that you really really think is awesome today.

The other revelation that we had was that, all the people that we thought were ridiculously awesome, are extremely well read. That can’t be a coincidence. Highlyreco was build by us to solve our own problem – How do I find the most relevant book to read today with which I can learn something?

A quick showcase:

Warning: Highlyreco is not ready for mobile yet. If you like to try it out, you need to try it out on a browser. It’s pretty messed up on the phone. You have been warned.

The product is fairly straight forward. Once you are at https://www.highlyreco.com, here is what you will see… 

You will go straight to the filter page. You will find books in the left column, its corresponding reviews in the middle column and the filter by people on the right. If you login, it will filter by influencers in our list that you follow on twitter. This way you can focus on a set of people relevant to you.  Additionally you can also filter by topic.

Back to the main story:

We started by creating a list of people that we wanted to learn from — it turned out to Marc Andreessen, Sam Altman, and 13 others etc..

Dug up on the internet and found the top book recommendations from each of these people. We thought that was valuable. But, what we found to be more valuable was to get all the book recommendations from the person that you most wanted to learn from. Basically dig deeper. So we picked Marc Andreessen and pulled up all the books that he had recommended on twitter. That turned out to be 80+ recommendations. Personally for us that turned out to be super valuable. We also figured we had something that no one else had- We had 80 books recommended by Marc Andreessen. You can find them here — https://www.highlyreco.com/usr/pmarca

We were like, okay, this is cool. Wonder how many people will find this valuable. So I tweeted tagging pmarca on it. This is that tweet

pmarca retweeted. And hence that tweet got a ton of visibility. Ben Tossell community lead at Product Hunt noticed us, and we got featured on product hunt.

On the same day I also posted the same on hackernews. Here is a link to that.

Me trying to post on hackernews

As you would notice, nothing happened there.

Important lesson learned — who introduces your product to a platform makes a ton of difference. Thanks Ben.

We were the top product in tech on product hunt for a whole day.

From being featured on product hunt, we realized that there is something of value here. It’s worth people’s attention. For us highlyreco is something worth exploring further.

Probably we will do a post on consequences of being featured on Product Hunt and how useful it is soon.

Can you tell us something?

It would be amazing if you can tell us 2 things:

  • What is the most irritating thing on the website right now?
  • Who is that one awesome person not on the platform that you really want recommendations from? 

@alexjv89 / @highlyreco

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13 Comments

  1. hey alex, 

    i really like what you are doing. i think this is a very very interesting “problem” you are solving!!

    the name is easy to remember!

    really liked the lesson you learnt via ben 🙂

    good luck!! looking fwd to you sharing more insights – i still share your crowdfunding tips – they rock!!

  2. Thanks.. :thumbsup:

  3. alex, i think i know one thing that is missing from your homepage – YOUR BRANDING!!

    pls pls add it. even if you don’t have a logo right now – add it typographically!!

    also your about us page, social media links etc etc 🙂

  4. Love it ! A recommendation as a user – In the context of starting up, it would be awesome if there were a way to check which books are most relevant depending on the stage a startup is at. For example, zero to one is a great book about helping you birth a product. But probably not the best book to refer to when you’re trying to figure out launch, marketing etc. Just my Rs. 0.25.

    Love the product other than that. Have been looking for something like this for a while. 

    Wish you & highlyreco the best. 

  5. Hi Amit, 

    Thanks for the feedback. We will see if we can figure something out. 

    Alex

  6. coming soon 🙂

  7. Hi Alex,

    The site looks quite good and easy to navigate. Two suggestions:

    1) When I click on a book, I am directed to the Amazon page. If possible, could you detect the country from where I am accessing and direct me to that appropriate page. For instance a link to amazon.in would be nice. When I land on Amazon.com, the site shows a popup ‘Go to Amazon.in’. But when I click it, most of the times the same product/book listing is not pulled up automatically. Users are lazy 🙂 so better to reduce the friction in user experience.

    2) For some influencers, a single blog post has multiple book references but no hyperlinks. It would be nice to just click. Again users are lazy 🙂

    Also I guess you guys can sign up for the Amazon affiliate program to monetise the site.

  8. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

    I’m HOOKED (read 10 books + a weekend) via Blinkist. How would that feature compliment your service?! (Give you an example – Business Adventures has been Bill Gates fav book AFTER he received it from Warren Buffett!. I bought the book when I read about it but never read it beyond the first chapter).

    Imagine discovering fav Books of Steve Jobs AND getting their summarised versions (obviously very very watered down and poor in comparison to the real thing). It could be an ‘option’?!!

    You could even partner with Blinkist!

    Anyway, congrats..

  9. Hi Sridhar, 

    Thank you for the feedback. I will consider it for future releases. 

    Regarding the 2nd feedback, can you point me to an example where the reference links are missing? Reference links are not supposed to be missing. It looks like it is a bug. Also I am not really sure if I understood that. 

    Alex

  10. Hi Alok, 

    >Brilliant. Just brilliant.

    Honestly it means a lot when you say that. Thanks. 

    >You could even partner with Blinkist!

    Happy to hear that come from you. We had similar thoughts. Their content is behind a paywall. So the question would be why would they share their content with us? Couple of options that we can have – 1) we could license the content and put that behind a paywall again. 2) we could give our data to blinklist and then them use the data on their app(results in marketing for us). 

    I have a Blinkist subscription too. Not sure how you use it but here is my usecase : 

    Deciding to read a business book is a substantial investment of time. I use blinklist to decide whether it is worth my time to spend more time reading the full book. Also use it to read summaries when I want to recollect something from a book that I already read.

    One place we see value in integrating with blinklist is that “on blinklist” if book reviews from people you follow were there, it would help you decide it is worth reading the book summary on blinklist. 

    What do you think? Are we missing something obvious? 

    > I’m HOOKED

    Good to hear :). One question I wonder is – why did you not signup? What can we do to convince you to signup?

    Alex

  11. The site seems to be down for the past two days. Not able to access it.

  12. Thanks for pointing this out. 
    Thats weird. We are able to access the website. Can you check if you used this url to access the website – https://www.highlyreco.com

    We dont have naked domain redirection yet. This means https://highlyreco.com will not work while https://www.highlyreco.com will work. 

    Let me know if you are still not able to access the website. 

    Alex

  13. hey alex,
    james altucher just shared this list on fb – after i read it i thought of you 🙂
    https://www.facebook.com/james.altucher/posts/10153857120305636

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