For the longest time (a year now!) you've been able to follow people and product pages on Indie Hackers, but it's had absolutely no effect. As of today, however, that's changed. I've released an MVP of what I'm calling the "social feed" or the "following feed," which you can access by clicking here or by clicking the "Following" link at the top of the homepage.
Currently the feed is populated primarily with forum threads and comments from the people you follow. That's not the best, because those items aren't particularly easy to parse when taken out of context and shoved into the feed. However, as the feed itself becomes more popular, you'll see people making more "native" posts that were intended solely for the feed.
I'm going to be working primarily on this feature for the rest of the year. With a little bit of love, it has the potential to foster more and better conversations than those happening on the forum at the moment, so I'm very optimistic.
Now that meetups are up-and-running, I've finally been able to redirect my attention back to these product pages. Today I finished adding some sorely-missed social features — specifically, the ability to "like" and comment on product posts. You can try it on this post itself!
This is just step #1 of a bigger process of changing the way we share and converse with each other on IH. The forum has some inherent limitations that get worse as it grows. For example, only a small percentage of posts make it to the top every day, and many of the rest get ignored. While that's fine for, say, link-sharing communities like Hacker News, it's not ideal for a community built around as many people as possible giving and receiving help with their businesses.
What's the most useful and impactful community of entrepreneurs online? There aren't any forums that stand out. Personally, I think the answer is Twitter. There are better conversations going on there than anywhere else, and part of that is due to the social feed format. It's superior to a forum in encouraging lots of people to do a lot of talking, and in making it easy to skim through and read lots of posts from the people you care about.
But Twitter has some glaring issues around holding substantive discussions. For example, you can only respond to tweets with tweets, rather than threaded comments. And there is no real niche, so many discussions devolve into arguments and politics.
I hope to turn IH into something better over time, and these product post changes are just the start!
Our logo isn't bad, but I think we can do better. I want something that represents the soul and the personality and the core of what it means to be an indie hacker… but I'm not sure what that is, so I asked the community.
Now that meetups are are up and running, we thought it'd be great to get people involved in organizing meetups in a more official capacity, and do what we can to support them.
If you're interested in organizing meetups in your city, you can apply here: https://airtable.com/shrH3FggzE27LVgLL
It's become clear over the past 6 months or so that many hundreds of indie hackers have been meeting up in real life in cities across the world. I think this is great, and I've wanted to do something to help encourage more of these meetups, as well as promote them so more people will attend.
Today we launched a very simple MVP of our meetups feature. 🎉
I had elaborate plans for it at first, and all the myriad problems it could solve, but it would've taken months to build, so I pared it down to the most basic functionality possible: post a link to an event that you created elsewhere (Meetup.com, Facebook, Eventbrite, Google Calendar, etc.), and we'll show it in a list and send it out in our newsletter.
Excited to see where things go in the next few months, and hoping that the number of meetups really takes off. It'd be really great to see lots of small events in small cities, too, not just formal meetups in big cities.
I finally launched the product directory today! We were getting a ton of traffic from @mtlynch's post about why he quit Google, so I rushed through some final development tasks to deploy the directory to production so all of these new visitors could see it.
Right now we're focusing heavily on improving our conversion rates. About 2.5% of visitors to Indie Hackers sign up to become members, but I'd like to get that up above 8% by the end of the year. 😬 The product directory is our first test to see what happens to conversion rates if we build something valuable, then limit the full functionality to members only!
I've been doing some thinking about how I can make an Indie Hackers membership more valuable. One way would be to provide free and discounted products. This is something that probably won't pan out until later in year, though.
I've had product pages on Indie Hackers for a couple months now, but only recently began working on a directory to make these pages more discoverable. Today I asked the IH community for some feedback on it:
The age of the indie founder has arrived! Today anyone can create something, reach thousands of people, and build a profitable business.
We created Indie Hackers to help founders like you.