April 11, 2019

Office Hours with Hacker Noon's David Smooke

David Smooke @Smooke

Hey that's me. ⬆️ ⬆️ ⬆️ ⬆️ ⬆️ Would be good to meet you. I'll be holding #office-hours via a Zoom call on Friday at 10am PST April 19th.

So I'm 30/M/Colorado... Founder/CEO of Hacker Noon, an independent tech media site. We want to become the best place for tech professionals to publish. We bootstrapped our business to 8M+ monthly pageviews and a couple full time jobs. We built with an up and down software, and realized that to grow, we need to more heavily invest in our own tech. We used equity crowdfunding to raise ≈$1M from ≈1,200 people, and make a small kickass tech team. We're currently building our own publishing platform - check out the progress in our community product forum.

Happy to discuss tech media, digital publishing, startup bs, product development, site adoption, or NBA playoffs. And Much Thanks to Indie Hackers for making this great site.

Back to Internet!
David Smooke

  1. 2

    I love reading Hacker Noon.

    As someone who has just started bootstrapping my own site, it would be incredible to know what you did to go from 0 to 8M/pv ‘s a month.

    Unfortunately there’s no way I could do a zoom call.

    But maybe these questions will spark others to think of better ones:

    • How long were you writing to a ghost town?
    • Did you focus purely on organic growth through SEO, or did you use social to boost early days before organic traffic?
    • Was Medium a major part of the growth? As in, did they feature you often to boost audience?
    • How did you source ideas for your articles?
    • How often do you publish? Is it a very strict schedule? How long does it take to write, edit, and then publish your articles?
    • Did you write everything at first or did you use outside authors?
    • If you did use outside authors, did you pay? Or did you convince them to write for free?
    • if free, how did you convince them to do it, and then how did you get a super high-quality article from them (on time)?
    • How long did it take to get to 8M pv‘s/mo?
  2. 1

    Hi David,

    I’m the growth lead at Crowdbotics.com

    Our medium publication has been a solid acquisition channel so far. Medium.com/Crowdbotics

    I’d be interested to pick your brain on effectively managing editors and contributors, as well as your overall workflow for publishing week-to-week. We’re at a point where we need to make some process changes to scale efficiently.

    I’d also be interested to get your take on pros/cons of using Medium as a content marketing channel into the future.

    Thanks. :-D

  3. 1

    Hi, I'm Andrew and I'm building two things right now 🤷🏻‍♂️: 1) is a micropayments platform that is nearly done (paypip.com) I'd be interested to hear if you'd trial it on a few articles? 2) is a podcasting app with some very interesting ideas and a non terrible UI! I'm still working in a real job to pay the bills unfortunately but hope to move to the US early next year to either make my fortune or you know, the other thing... At least I will have tried fully!

  4. 1

    You are lucky to have a efficient and trusted team

  5. 1

    Hi David, I publish CoFounder Weekly, a newsletter covering the zeitgeist of startups (http://cofounder.substack.com) . Would be great to speak with you on Zoom about the role of tech media properties in an age where every individual is a media property.

  6. 1

    I'm in the beginning of my product journey and I'm curious to know how you and your team went about testing if a hacker-esque blog would be valuable to a community. Or did you just jump in with a grand vision? Or maybe when you got to crowdfunding you started highly targeting niche communities that you thought would benefit from the media company you built? Anyway this is the line of questions I have. Cheers!

  7. 1

    We are building a cloud based tools for small businesses in Africa that is customem built for the African market with integrated payment options.

    I'd be interested in talking about equity crowd funding and how this is working out for HN.

  8. 1

    Hello David,

    I would love to get in on Office Hours with you as I'm building a new YouTube channel around teaching coding in a fun, creative way and could use content strategy insights from your successful journey.


    1. 2

      Oh cool, I'm still pretty new to Youtube. Tech videos with good text recaps and/or event transcriptions can be good posts to publish on many sites (like Hacker Noon). Video search engine indexing is wild, I am unsure if anyone truly understands it.

  9. 1

    We build kickcity--a platform which helps event organizers to promote events cheaper than Fb ads--with word-of-mouth

    1. 2

      word of mouth to get paid to buy other ppl's social media ads --- the world is something these days

  10. 1

    Hi David, I'm the founder of https://www.makerspartlist.com A site for creators to post the tools and materials they used in their online tutorials and content.

    I'd like to talk to you about strategies you used for getting those first few creators/publishers on board. As the site is going no where if users aren't joining and publishing content.


  11. 1

    😯 so it's you who have the power of changing the green color of hacker noon?? 😅 JK (or am I)

    Great site btw

  12. 1

    Hi David, I'm Harsh, founder of InterviewCamp.io

    I also make content for Software Engineers. Specifically, for technical interviews. I'd love to get your advice on scaling a tech content blog.


  13. 1

    Hey David! Awesome to see your business build since we were both living in the same apartment building on Vallejo St in SF. I have been working on a insurance policy platform with a technical co-founder and would love to talk with you about how to scale. The business is called Easy Underwriting (www.easyunderwriting.com)

    Hope all is well in CO!