Product Hunt maker, now CEO

Published on
September 18th, 2023
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Rajiv Ayyangar, Product Hunt’s new CEO, talks about PH’s history of impact on makers, and the immense possibilities it holds.
Product Hunt changed my life.
I remember the moment I discovered it—commuting on the Yahoo shuttle in 2014 with my friend, Bernat. Excited, he turned his laptop to show me an email.
"Check this out! It's called Product Hunt - a list of the best new products each day. It's f**ing brilliant!"
That email, with the ridiculous cat-wearing Google Glasses, was a key catalyst that led us to brainstorm and daydream about building together.
2014 - My first Product Hunt email:
A few months later, I left Yahoo to join a startup, where I launched a social wine app on Product Hunt. Over the next few years, Bernat and I, with our friend Tim (also from Yahoo), would meet and jam on startup ideas together. In 2017, we launched a crypto portfolio tracker, and it immediately resonated. We found an early audience, and they loved what we were building. That launch gave us the confidence to take the plunge and start a company together.
Screenshots from Dec 20, 2017:
Over the next year, as happens often in startups, we pivoted several times. Our portfolio tracker and subsequent crypto exchange had reached a dead end. Meanwhile, the birth of each of my co-founders' children led us to work remotely. None of the tools we tested could replicate the flow of working in person, so we started building Tandem, a virtual office.
Screenshot from June 10, 2019
PH caused a rush of signups.
When we launched Tandem, it resonated in a way nothing we'd built ever had. We hit #1 for the day, and there was a rush of signups – a super-curious and interested set of people who asked us tons of questions and gave us critical feedback. The larger tech world took notice as well. We were able to work with incredible teammates and investors, and we launched several ambitious new updates and products over the next few years.
Things weren’t always up and to the right. We rode the early wave as the Pandemic accelerated remote work, then felt serious headwinds as the world tired of video calls, and eventually started returning to the office. Despite our relatively small team, we carved out a niche, competing with giants like Zoom, to build a collaboration tool used for millions of hours by remote teams around the world. (I wrote about the journey and the many lessons here.)
On July 24, I received a DM from Ryan Hoover, the founder of Product Hunt:
"I have a crazy idea: Any interest in taking over Product Hunt as CEO?"
He, Ashley Higgins (current CEO), and Josh Buckley (Chairman) had just started to look for a successor.
My first reaction was one of immense gratitude toward the community and the support they provided for all of the projects I've worked on over the last 8 years. For a builder, those early Product Hunt users are essential. They are both supportive and, at times, demanding, but the feedback they give is like oxygen.
My second reaction was the sense of immense possibility.
From the start, Ryan strongly believed that it would get easier for makers to build. He was more than right. Product Hunt helped create and shape that trend, fueled by paradigm shifts like no-code, web3, and more. Now, we're seeing an acceleration of that trend. Makers have more scaffolding and tools than ever before, and AI is opening up every category to re-examination, as well as every layer in the builder stack.
But with the explosion of makers and launches, it's also harder than ever to break through the noise and find your first users. This is where Product Hunt shines. There's never been a greater need for a home, a community, a place for innovation, optimism, early feedback, and judgment-free experimentation. Product Hunt is that, both for makers and serious startups.
And there’s so much more to do! Product Hunt is the best place to discover your next favorite product before they cross the chasm into the mainstream. Brex, Mercury, Retool, Scale AI, Figma, Airtable, Notion, Front, Loom, and so many others launched on Product Hunt years before they became household names. But we admittedly haven't done a great job of helping people find the best product for their needs, despite the wealth of contributions we've collected from our community. There's a lot more we can do to support makers well beyond their initial launch and a new wave of technology for us to leverage (cough AI). :) One example: with Pro Tips, product pages are starting to become a community-powered wiki for your favorite products.
And, of course, Product Hunt is a launch platform at its core. That won't change. We're investing heavily in moderation tooling and potentially new leaderboards (more on that later) to get even better at spotlighting what’s new and promising in tech.
Product Hunt has always been a place where the most talented builders - from indie makers to venture-funded startups - can rise to the top and find their audience. I'm thrilled to be able to shape the next chapter of Product Hunt - a company that's changed my life and countless others.
—Rajiv Ayyangar
Comments (24)
Ryan Hoover
Founder of Product Hunt & Weekend Fund
"My second reaction was the sense of immense possibility" 😻
Founder & CEO, Hustle Crew
This is such an exciting new chapter in Product Hunt's history! Can't wait to see what happens during your leadership, Rajiv. 👏🏽
Chris Messina
🏆 #1 Hunter!
Wow, exciting stuff. Eager to hear more about what's next!
Mike Mahlkow
Co-Founder @ Fastgen (YC W23)
Rajiv is an absolute legend! Great move for both sides
I'm incredibly excited to see that "immense possibility" unfold.