FAILED on ProductHunt after 1600+ hours of work

Hello, IndieHackers:)
My name is Stan. I`m a designer and co-founder of MetaSurvey.

We've spent almost a year working on version 2.0 — and 1 day ago we finally launched on ProductHunt. We posted on Saturday, hoping for low competition, and aimed to grab Product #1 of the day, traffic and Pro sales

None of that happened.

I`ll share with you a story of how MetaSurvey was started, why we desided to launch 2.0, about classic startup "wins and fuckups".

For me and co-founder @tereshchenko_kn MetaSurvey is a life-changing product. The idea was born in Fall 2019. I have joined a team of 11 talented IT guys on a hackathon weekend in Saint-Petersburg`s, Russia, held by IndieHackers community leader @alexanderisora. (Thanks, Alex for your hunting and mentoring!)

Alex Isora is the creator of UnicornPlatform.

I was invited as a Ux/Ui-designer to "draw a few screens in Figma" and
never thought, that 48 hours hackathon will turn into a 2-year journey into the Startup world!

So, after 48 hours an idea was born. And with the leadership of Alex, we started to build on MVP to launch on PH.

So in winter 2020, we have launched MetaSurvey 1 and surprisingly got Product #1 of the day. We also made 3 sales in the next week. At that moment - success was so easy and natural for us. MetaSurvey 1 was ultra-MVP and really buggy.

Every single day users of MetaSurvey bugs: UX/UI, bad design or code bug. Anything. Now I understand, how much social networking, knowledge, skills, and time Alex invested to make product so viral and successful ProductHunt.

Inspired by an easy success on PH (and not knowing, what work was really made by our hunter) we were happily prepairing to "fix those bugs and get those sales".

Sadly, two months after the 1.0 launch on ProductHunt, one by one, founders began to leave for their projects. One of the summer days, my co-founder Kirill suddenly called me. He was full of enthusiasm and said: "We need to build the best product on the survey market". I believed. And so we started!)

This was a hardcore basement sititng, no-sleep no-eat 800-hours challenge.

We were working 3-6 hours a day, before or after our remove desk jobs. We had to do a break day regimen and wake up at 7:00, cause after your desk job you are exhausted and non-productive.

We started to track desk job/startup time with Pomodoro tracker (focus booster) to measure the daily work. After 3 months we found, that we are working 8 hours on startup and 3 hours on the desk jobs.

After 8-month we are finally able to launch MetaSurvey 2.0. We fully re-mastered UX, UI, worked a lot on core optimization and Builder 2 UI. We added 90% new features and 6 new (classic) question types - all are super-slick and beautiful. We didn't forget about Tinder-style cards - which is one of MetaSurveys core features!

We tried to create the most user-friendly Online Survey Builder with clean, friendly UX/UI and beautiful, shiny surveys.

🔸Product #5 of the day
🔸Product #4 by upvotes
🔸183 unique site visits (1150%)
🔸63 goals reached (2000%)
🔸12 new users (1100%)
🔸2 new Pro ((

It would mean everything to me if you check it out and provide some feedback, waht we did wrong?. 🙏

Thanks for reading!

Do you plan to launch "YourProduct" v2.0
  1. Yep, definitely
  2. 50/50 - i`m still thinking on it
  3. No, I`ll focus on sales
  1. 5

    Good job! I have totally the same experience. Hackathon -> part-time in my startup with desk job -> and now I'm finally full-time into my project

    1. 1

      Thanks for your msg. I have only warm feelings inside to read that somebody has had a similar experience! Never thought that I`ll be a part of such a talented community.

  2. 4

    This fantastic guys, congratulations on your success thus far. The amount of effort and determination was obvious in this post. Love seeing people succeed through hardwork and will power! 😍♥

    1. 2

      Thx for your comment! It is invigorating to read it. We`ve put a lot of effort into polishing MetaSurvey to the 2.0 version. It was a little upset when we got only #5 on PH(

      We will definitely work more on networking to get better for the 3.0 launch!

      1. 2

        Awesome! Looking forward to seeing where you take it! 😊

  3. 3

    Hi Stan, I have followed Meta Survey and I see you are doing a good job. Love your UI / UX. It was around the same time I built BlockSurvey as well. I wouldn't focus too much on PH and its outcomes. I see you have clearly called out your audience and you should reach out to them. Could go for all Shopify users. Are you there in their store?

    1. 2

      Thanks for the warm words, Wilson! I have commented on your latest article about BlockSurvey but you did not reply! I see that you have made great progress and it was not a quick one. BlockSurvey is inspiring and firing up!

      The UX/UI and seamless user experience was the main USPs for us when developing MetaSurvey 2.0. I am truly happy that you like it!

    2. 1

      Thanks Wilson!
      It's a good idea. We are reaching ecomm owners:)
      How is a BlockSurvey? Did you find your product market fit?

      1. 1

        Yes, Stan. It is primarily among mental health researchers so far.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the applauds. Although we have failed on PH, we still spent 1600+ hours to make a pretty polished 2.0 with lots of features. 🤖

  4. 3

    Aren't there literally myriad of other survey tools out there? What does this do that's different? Read the who story, read the PH description, spent about 30 mins on this page, and it's still not clear to me. Something to think about?

    1. 1

      First of all - thanks for constructive criticism!

      Yes, there are myriad other survey tools - the Online survey builders market is very competitive!

      But our USP include the most simpl and fun UX on the market. We also have hand-picked mobile-adapted forms UI. Surveys are really FUN and QUICK to take. That's why the response rate tends to be between 80-90% avg. (based on 10K responses).

      There are tons of survey tools but do they have:

      ~ 80-90% response rate
      ~ fun, gamified UI
      ~ tinder-swipe reply questions
      ~ seperately drawn mobile / desktop UI
      ~ super-easy dashboard and builder UX - minutes to learn
      ~ super-light and clear statistics UI

    2. 1

      Right, the market has different competitors. In my experience people hate forms. We analyzed 45 competitors in detail and only 7% of them had a user-friendly interface.

      • Our segments are startups and e-commerce the most.
      • We focused on simple and "human-friendly" ui.
      • Picked the most attractive and conversion question types.
      • Creation panel was made clear to let our customers create surveys in minutes.
      • Surveys was especially adapted for all devices.

      What is the last survey builder did you use?

      1. 2

        I used Typeform, VideoAsk and Google Surveys. The first two seemed okay to me tbh.

        Please don't take this as negative feedback, I was just trying to say that the USP wasn't clear. and give my honest feedback.

        It might be good to mention the value prop upfront? Like what makes MetaSurvery really really really awesome? I didn't find that.

        All the best!

        1. 1

          Will try to improve our pitch in hero. Thanks:)

  5. 3

    Привет, Ребята.

    First if all, it's great to see more indie hackers out of Russia. Despite the constant negative news and stereotypes about Russia in the west, there's a lot of talented and ambitious folks there.

    The first thing that stuck out to me were some English language mistakes in your copy. I recommend to run all English copy by a native speaker first. Language nuances are difficult; I'm studying Russian myself.

    The second thing is launching on a Saturday when many people are relaxing and off of work is not the best time. Also, consider multiple channels for distribution - not just product hunt.

    Good luck!

    1. 2

      Thx, that's for this great advice! We will definitely improve our copy and message on Landing and on startup platforms.

      Besides "bears drinking vodka" there are also some startup founders here in Russia)

      1. 1

        There's also some crazy Americans living in Russia. If you ever visit Anapa, let's meet up for a round of local craft beer.

        PS. This indie hacker is based out Russia and successful: https://help.raindrop.io/about

    2. 2

      Hey! We don't get any negative from the west:)

      Yeap, the saturday is not popular day on PH, so we wanted to use it to our advantage and get #1 product of the day😅

      I will be great if you can share any other distribution channels.

  6. 3

    Persistance for the win! Big congrats, that’s a great milestone and achievement you’ve all accomplished.

    As for product - I like how you’ve gamified the survey experience. Did you test out including open ended questions like you would a UX research piece, or keeping it squarely as a survey product was the better option?
    Also, on your site, perhaps introducing a visual early on of how the product looks to demonstrate how it works could be good.
    The seems to be a placeholder of iPhone & laptop but no image insert so just a block colour. Maybe a bug?

    1. 1

      We will surely add open questions to our short-term feature list.

      Thanks for picture bug report on Landing. You`re the third person who reports that issue. I think the problem is only in Safari in iOs. We will investigate.

      1. 2

        Nice one! Thanks for sharing the journey

    2. 1

      Thanks, Luke:)

      Initially, we thought let respondents choose suggested options and at the finish leave their feedback to make the survey handier.
      But we got some requests on open answer question already and consider to include this in future updates.

      We have a gif in the hero header that demonstrates the survey in action and the dashboard screenshot. It is placed in the placeholder of iPhone and laptop resp.
      Thanks for your report. Please share on which device and which browser did you test?

      1. 2

        No worries.

        I feel like it would be a good option to have. Even a few basic preset questions to select from in setup - why; what do you think about; what do you like/dislike about, or some generic why/how laddering questions and a short text box to try to pick up some deeper insights towards the end.

        Just checked on desktop and looks great! Exactly what I felt it was missing hahah. Yesterday, and just checked again, I was on iPhone 7 running iOS 13.4.1 using chrome - due for an update I know lol.
        Still no gif inside the placeholder or in the header on iPhone though.

        Well done again!

        1. 1

          We will add "Open questions" types and "Other" as an option in Multiple answers. Thanks for the great remarks!

        2. 1

          Yup! Good point!

          Safari don't support webp before ios 14. I missed it:(

  7. 3

    Guys you did a good push, I hope all the best to your product. Unfortunately to be successful on PH the product should already be popular. Basicly top PH products are those which don't need PH as a channel.

    Anyway next time I highly suggest to prepare a video.

    I think eventually you will find an audience for your product. The hardest competitor is Google Forms. Last time I needed a form all I wanted is customizing visibility of fields depend on other fields and customizable fields validation (I probably should develop such form myself).

    6 months ago (when I organized a hackathon) I couldn't find a product which allowed me to collect answers and evaluate those answers in a nice view, basicly to make a form in which data would be from already filled out form... Not sure if its something you are going to develop.

    1. 1

      Thanks for your remarks! We had a welcome video on PH, but most people said they didn`t understand what the product is about)

      We are thinking about adding Conditional logic and Advanced logic to MetaSurvey We have had some requests on that feature. It`s pretty much work to do, but it seems that it is worth it.

    2. 1

      Thanks, Vlad! I mostly agree, also it depends on networking:)
      We used local channels only so found out this is not enough. We had to compile as large a list of channels as possible and prepare the audience for our launch day so don't look spammy.

      We had a video, but some users said they don't understand what the product about. We tried to move it to the end of screenshots, but we couldn't so we decided to left only illustrations. You can check our intro video here https://youtu.be/g_E4qJo6tFE

      Google form is suitable for any form filling types, but our target segments are ecomm and product feedback. We focused on light and friendly surveys like a game.

  8. 3

    I never get tired of congratulating makers for reaching important milestones. You all are living the founder dream, and I couldn’t be more excited for you!! It’s only forward from here🙌🏼

    1. 2

      Thanks for the congratz! It is really a milestone for us. We hope we will prepare better for 3.0 launch to get the #1 product of the day!

  9. 3

    Congratulations on the launch team! It is an awesome result, guys. Most makers are dreaming to get first paying customers and you are already generating revenue. It is a HUGE step forward on your path as makers.

    I'm 100% sure that you will find the energy to keep digging and finding your audience. Building a SaaS is a long long way and the only thing that really matters is persistence. And you guys definitely have it.

    Thanks for the inspiration! I will closely look into your further success stories ✌️

    1. 2

      "We are beaten so getting stronger"😅
      Sometimes we are very self-critical of ourselves. Maybe it's because we measure our success on a short distance. Anyway we believe in what we do:)

      Thanks for warming words Alex!

    2. 1

      Thanks, Alex for your support words of encouragement. After 800 hours / per founder invested we`ve made a pretty well-built 2.0 version - killing all the main bugs and making a polished UI.

      I think we really should dive into finding audience and market fit now.

      Thanks for your support and mentoring!

  10. 2

    UPD! Thanks for support IndieHackers.

    We have reached 180 upvotes on producthunt and number! 🚀🚀
    We got 1400% traffic and 950% sign-ups
    We are #4 by the upvotes
    We got product #5 of the day

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