Ideas and Validation September 13, 2020

Introducing: The Hack Stack: Product Hunt for Indie Hackers

Mick @Primer

EDITED TO ADD:
This is getting more heat than I thought it would. If you'd like to follow along you can do so here: https://www.indiehackers.com/product/the-hack-stack

CAVEAT: I'm 3 hours into this build. I wouldn't even call this an MVP yet.

However if anyone would like to have a play with my new thing then be my guest. Feedback more than welcome so long as you bear the above caveat in mind 🤪

https://thehackstack.com

I was inspired to do this by a post I saw the other day that identified bot accounts upvoting on Product Hunt. Now I'm not naive to the fact that any huge platform will have bot accounts, however this was just another thing about product hunt that has been increasingly annoying me recently.

I've been a daily visitor to PH for many many years. I'm not dissing it (much) but I do think they've become distracted and lost focus on their core value proposition.

Hopefully this can become A.N Other place that people can showcase their products and get feedback.

How I'm differentiating

  1. No gatekeepers - every product submitted will appear on the homepage by default and succeed or fail based on it's own merit
  2. Digital products only - nothing wrong with physical products but not here.
  3. Do one thing and do it well - The Hack Stack will be a showcase for new products, that's it.

Coming Soon (tomorrow)

  1. Share buttons
  2. Product pages (click in and leave comments etc)
  3. Some semblance of design.... maybe. Open to offers of help here.
  4. Product Images

Right now products will be stacked weekly. If I ever get to the stage where it makes sense to do so, I'll stack daily.

Once again:
https://thehackstack.com

  1. 10

    @andreea_c @GriffinJohnston @mvrck @anshulsojatia @brunor @andrewclapham @upenv @chr15m @almavi @Visiwig @Wyeem @galaxpal @muchkler @bernardamus @Michael_Andreuzza @joemasilotti @hamzoun

    Hey sorry for the big CC here. I wish there was a way to reply to everyone in your own post... anyway...

    I've done about another 6 hours on this today and we now have

    1. product pages
    2. comments
    3. comment notifications (by email)
    4. edit your product
    5. upload an image to your product
    6. Things you've upvoted are identified
    7. various share options (please share!)
    8. a newsletter subscription thing (if you created an account you're on it already)
    9. comment counts
    10. Stack count (number of products posted this week)

    Coming tomorrow (or maybe later tonight, it's only midnight....)

    1. comment upvotes
    2. comment replies

    Love to know your thoughts on the progress and what I should do next.

    THANK YOU for motivating me to push on with this 🙏

    1. 3

      That’s nice! Hope the following/followers will not ever be added! Let this just be a nice relaxing place to discover good products without being influenced by the influencers or wasting energy trying to become one!

      1. 3

        This is a great point and I agree with it.

        I may allow you to follow someone simply so that you can see what they post but ill never reveal follower counts or anything like that.

    2. 3

      Nice! 💪 Keep that velocity going!

      I just upvoted hack stack on hack stack. The "Check it out" button goes to https://thehackstack.com/?ref=hackstack
      This is peak meta haha 📈

    3. 2

      Looks good. Just updated image for https://siteoly.com

      But the Product description is messed up.

      New lines are totally ignored. You should support markdown.

      1. 3

        Markdown support now added :-)

        1. 1

          Thankyou. Updated https://siteoly.com description at https://thehackstack.com/product/ef1bc409-29fc-4df7-9dd8-0519b77ba271

          But when I add image, its shown out of proportion and messed up the entire page with big image.

          Trying with below image Siteoly Designs

          1. 1

            I'm seeing this

            Is that wrong?

            1. 1

              It was too odd, so I removed image.

              I added image in description - see now - https://thehackstack.com/product/ef1bc409-29fc-4df7-9dd8-0519b77ba271

              1. 1

                Oooft - ok I can fix that.

                And this is why you ship as soon as you can folks. You don't learn anything until people start using your product lol

                1. 1

                  Thankyou. As you noted the issue, I have removed the image from description to avoid the uneven look of the page. https://thehackstack.com/product/ef1bc409-29fc-4df7-9dd8-0519b77ba271

      2. 1

        Also posted to my Twitter handle https://twitter.com/upen946

        Tweet picks automated description from Hackstack description rather than the product description of the posted product

        1. 1

          Sorry can you elaborate on that? I don't understand what you mean?

          1. 1

            On on product pages, your data should talk about Product Title, Product Description instead it has text about TheHackStack

            For example for https://siteoly.com -> This is the product page https://thehackstack.com/product/ef1bc409-29fc-4df7-9dd8-0519b77ba271

            But the page description all about The Hack Stack. When I share the page on social media, the tilte/description shows about TheHackStack

            <meta charset="utf-8">
            <title>The Hack Stack</title>

            <meta name="description" content="The best showcase of new products from Indie Hackers all over the world.">

            <meta itemprop="name" content="The Hack Stack">
            <meta itemprop="description" content="The best showcase of new products from Indie Hackers all over the world.">

            <meta name="twitter:card" content="summary">
            <meta name="twitter:title" content="The Hack Stack">
            <meta name="twitter:description" content="The best showcase of new products from Indie Hackers all over the world.">

            <meta name="og:title" content="The Hack Stack">
            <meta name="og:description" content="The best showcase of new products from Indie Hackers all over the world.">
            <meta name="og:url" content="https://thehackstack.com">
            <meta name="og:site_name" content="The Hack Stack">
            <meta name="og:locale" content="en_GB">
            <meta name="og:type" content="website">

            1. 1

              this should be fixed now. pulling in description etc dynamically now.

            2. 1

              Got ya. Making it next on the list.

              1. 1

                Are you a machine, How are you building so fast? 😉

                1. 1

                  Haha.... I'll just take the compliment.

                  1. 1

                    Going forward, you should solve this to prove you are actually not a bot

                    Bot Test

                    1. 1

                      LOL

                      I hate the traffic light ones. I mean is it just the lights or is the post included too?

    4. 2

      Just an FYI the forgot your password link is currently broken. Stupid LastPass didn't actually save my login, so I'm locked out now.

      Anyway, awesome to see this get so much attention right away! I think this is what you call "product market fit" in action :)

      1. 2

        lol yeah I feel like I really should have waited before posting this LOL...
        Oh well 🤪

        1. 2

          Who knows! You might not have had the motivation to finish it if you waited till it was more polished.

      2. 1

        Password resets are working :-)

    5. 1

      Did you really do all of that in just 6 hours? 😳Impressive

      1. 1

        Yeah I did but there has been more work done since I posted this though, for example last night I added user profile pages and edit-profile pages.

        All in as for that you're seeing today (Wed 16th Sept) I've done about 16 hours on it.

        1. 1

          Out of curiosity.... do you write automated tests? Because otherwise I have no idea of how you can implement so many features in a so short time.

          1. 1

            Nope, absolutely not. Manually test everything but even then the odd bug slips out. However that is a risk/reward thing and at this stage of a build I put a LOT more weight on speed / agility.

            I'm a pretty good developer and very experienced product manager so I have faith in my abilities to put out stuff that works.... mostly lol

            1. 1

              Gotcha. I would never do anything without proper tests but I see your point on speed and agility.

              1. 1

                Yeah what's the point in all that wasted effort if the product is a dead duck.

                For example today I've realised that some heavy traffic is killing my database so I've just rolled our caching across the site.

                I did it because it was needed. I'd rather do it that way then spend a few hours on it and it's not needed.

                1. 1

                  I have spent too much time upfront instead with performance optimisations and other things... I am realising now that I should have handled priorities differently.

    6. 1

      It's been really exciting to refresh and see what's new! Keep up the awesome work.

  2. 5

    Hah, awesome. See a problem - boom, build your own solution. Love the energy!

    1. 2

      Thank you so much. The support of this community is unparalleled.

  3. 3

    Some people complain about problems. Mick just starts solving them.

    1. 3

      Haha I love this. Thanks so much!!

  4. 3

    Like it!

    I find when something like PH has been around and has found great success for some time, they leave voids in their tracks that are waiting to be filled by a more focused and less bloated new product.

    1. 2

      Thanks a lot. This encouragement means a lot and I agree with the sentiment entirely.

  5. 2

    Interested, following

  6. 2

    Superb effort. Tried to add EvenCart.co but just like others, a 500 error.

    1. 1

      Seems to be sorted now... would you mind trying again?

      I've turned on debugging mode so if you get an error could you let me know what it says?

      1. 1

        Done it buddy :D. Best luck with the development.

    2. 1

      Will be resolved shortly. Thank you for your support!

    3. 1

      This comment was deleted 3 months ago.

    1. 1

      Im going man.... I’m going!!

      🤩

  7. 2

    Not able to submit. 500 server error.
    Trying to submit https://siteoly.com

    1. 1

      Thank you for letting me know!! And thank you for taking the time to upload something. As I said it’s very early days but I’m so appreciative of your input.

      🙏

  8. 2

    Tried adding my product, first time a 500 error. Then registered and submitted... two entries displayed... whoops.

    1. 1

      Haha I did say I was 3 hours in 🤓

      Thank you so much for letting me know. I’m sitting down with this again in an hour or so.

  9. 2

    Running code speaks louder than words. Kudos and best of luck.

    1. 1

      Seconded. Go go Mick!

    2. 1

      Thank you so much!

  10. 2

    I like the idea.
    2 votes already!

    Pd. Don't forget to highlight when a product has already being voted!

    1. 1

      Thanks. And yup - hoping to tidy up those loose ends today.

  11. 1

    Cool idea! Will definitely be following your progress.

  12. 1

    Just some notes after checking out the website:

    1. I am not fond of the design, mainly the use of shadows and the font size in some places (such as the sidebar).

    2. I am getting a 419 error while trying to submit a website

    3. Adding oauth for twitter, google and more would be nice instead of having to manually create an account.

    I think the idea behind the project is great, but I can also see why PH chooses products to feature on their front page. Communities like these can be easily manipulated. Without any kind of moderation, the homepage could quickly become full of undesirable "products" such as quickly spun up affiliate websites, gambling and other spammy content.

    Voting can also easily be manipulated, as it stands, someone could quickly generate thousands of accounts and make them upvote their products to #1.

    How would you protect against this type of thing?

    1. 1

      Love the comments, thank you! I'll take them one at a time

      1. As I said in my original post, I'm only a few hours in at the moment and I'm super aware the design needs love. We'll get there :-)

      2. The 419 error would have been because I'm deploying frequently tonight. Apologies

      3. I don't disagree with moderation. I will remove products that are as you described. My issue with PH is that they hide everything by default and selectively promote. As I said in the other thread: "Moderators should be removing things that are objectively bad rather than promoting things that are subjectively worthy"

      4. Regards the site blowing up with people creating fake accounts etc, that's honestly something I'll worry about if it ever happens. Right now I'm trying to get replies on comments working 🤣

      1. 2

        Totally agree with point 3.

  13. 1

    so how are you tackling the core problem you have identified? which is bot votes and bot accounts.

    1. 1

      Hey thanks for the comment. I didn't actually say the bots were the core problem I identified:

      Now I'm not naive to the fact that any huge platform will have bot accounts, however this was just another thing about product hunt that has been increasingly annoying me recently.

      The bots were just another thing.

      1. 1

        I think you are making a classic mistake every IH makes, which is not identifying the problem and just focusing on building. PH has algorithms, different rankings and other factors because upvotes can be manipulated easily. They pull in huge traffic numbers and hence why they need to do that.

        Before you sink a 100 hours into this or more, really think about how you are different and why users would choose to come to the site.

        There are lots of sites like beta list and others similar to PH. I suppose this could be another place to list products but if you wish to dethrone PH - there needs to be something substantial to sway public opinion

        1. 1

          Sorry. I don't mean to be rude but I've no idea what you read from my original post. First you incorrectly deduced that I said the core problem I identified was bots - which I clearly didn't say as per the quote above.

          Now you have incorrectly stated that I wish to dethrone PH. I actually said

          Hopefully this can become A.N Other place that people can showcase their products and get feedback.

          So yes, my only intention, as clearly stated in my post was to build just another place for people to list their products. Zero ambitions to "dethrone" product hunt. That would be a ludicrous goal.

          1. 3

            Ah i see. My mistake. Since you were saying they lost their core values and become distracted - I thought you were trying to make a replacement.

            Then it make more sense now. Best of luck with the project!

  14. 1

    This is awesome! I tried registering but got error: 419 page expired :(

    1. 2

      Sorry I'm deploying like every 5 mins just now. Could you try again?

      I'll hold off on pushing changes for a while

      1. 1

        Just registered successfully! :D

  15. 1

    nice! I like the idea, keep going man!

    1. 1

      Thank you very much!

  16. 1

    Would love to help with the design for free if you haven't found anyone yet :) I'm away atm but will be back by the beginning of next month

  17. 1

    Error here too .... "Trying to get property 'id' of non-object"

    1. 1

      Ahhhhjj shit.

      I haven’t locked down adding products to registered users. Oh my god lol. I bet that’s what’s causing the errors for some.

    2. 1

      Any idea what you were trying to do at the time?

      1. 1

        Exactly what you said above.. I was trying to add a product and the app wasn't asking me to Sign Up my username

        1. 1

          Ok well I've resolved that now. Thanks for the feedback it is MUCH appreciated 🤘

          1. 1

            It's a pleasure... anyhow I registered and I could successfully upload my 2 products... vote them! 🤪
            Your page reminds me a bit https://yourstack.com/

            Anyhow, tell us more about the PH filters to actually show up in the rank !

  18. 1

    Wow, I hate those bots too...

    Some semblance of design.... maybe. Open to offers of help here.

    I would be glad to help @Primer

  19. 1

    I'm excited to watch where this goes! I love the idea.

    I added my product after creating an account. (Doing so before results in a 500.)

    It probably makes sense to link to the products, too. 😀

    Keep up the awesome work!

    1. 2

      Kinda blown away by the love this project is getting. I am doubling down on it.

      Thank you so much!

      1. 1

        That's awesome! Good luck with the project.

        1. 2

          Hey I was testing the links on Hack Stack there and went through to your social mugshot app.

          SOOOO handy. I will be using this for every future project I do.

          1. 1

            That's awesome, I'm glad to hear it! Did you do any customizations? I'm working on a few new ones this week.

            1. 1

              Not yet but I will. I always find making images for meta tags really annoying. This solves a real problem.

              1. 1

                Thank you thank you! Let me know what you end up building and if you'd like to add a testimonial :)

                1. 2

                  I will, and I will.

  20. 1

    Building an alternative to PH is the best thing that can happen to any maker. I will support you on this journey, but you've to know that it's hard because you need to chase two types of users (makers and visitors).

    PH is bad in terms of UX and algorithm. Also, it seems that you need other things rather than upvotes and comments to get a higher ranking.

    Good luck Mick.

    1. 2

      PH UX is almost early 00s...

    2. 1

      What I want to do here is keep it simple and straight forward. For me, and for now anyway.... its ordered by upvotes. Plain and simple.

    3. 1

      Shhhh don't tell @csallen lol

      Actually - I'm really blown away by the support I'm getting on this project. I really didn't expect anything from this thread other than a few people telling me it was broken lol

      Thank you!

      1. 1

        Shhhh don't tell @csallen lol

        Removed that part lol

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