Quick intro about Ajinkya and StartOS
Start OS is a complete notion bundle to manage your startup. It consists of 8 modules – ConnectOS, ContentOS, CompeteOS, LaunchOS, FinanceOS, SalesOS, ProjectOS, and TeamOS.
Ajinkya, the founder of StartOS, launched each of the above modules as separate products every week to understand Product Hunt and to grow his audience before launching his main product Start OS.
Finally he launched StartOS on 2nd October 2023, and here is how his launch performed
- Upvotes: 748
- Comments: 248
- Rank of the Day: 1
- Rank of the Week: 8
Hey Ajinkya, can you share how you started building products?
I have quite an interesting backstory! I am Founder and CEO of a hardware startup called Seamless XR, out of Singapore. As a startup ourselves, we faced the challenge of managing our workflow efficiently while keeping costs under control.
The inspiration behind StartOS came from the realization that using multiple SaaS tools was not only costly but also led to fragmented knowledge and resources across different applications. So we ended up building this in notion, putting together everything we needed as a company. And so we are here!
You’ve launched multiple products before StartOS on Product Hunt – What was the goal behind the launches?
If you look at the big picture,StartOS was the only real goal. The launches along the way were designed to do:
- Create a reputation- as I had a small following on PH before that
- Build momentum: I linked the launches together like a story, referencing the last one in each subsequent one
- To get my core set of believers and friends. They made the StartOS launch work in the end.
Long game, over 9 weeks. But totally worth it. Now I am in temporary retirement, recovering- it was exhausting!
You launched 10 products in 3 months. How do you build audience for every launch?
Definitely no accident. It was all meticulously planned. Smart Repository, my first product was a “tester” as I had no PH audience at that time. Then I planned to do: 9 Launches in 9 Weeks
I committed to launching a new product on Product Hunt every week from the start on Twitter. This consistent approach helped me gain momentum and maintain the interest of the Product Hunt community.
Each launch was carefully tied into the next, creating a compelling story. I tested the distribution channels for each launch, rather than building an audience for each. The idea was to grow a big enough audience for the finale (StartOS launch).
Your initial launch “connectos” got 130 upvotes, while the latest launch “startos” got 700+ upvotes. What are the things you learnt in the way and what are the things you improved over these 3 months?
I experimented a lot with distribution channels and timing of distribution over eight launches. A couple of things I realized were:
- Your Ranking at the 4-hour mark is crucial- It’s very hard to fight if you don’t have a good rank there.
- Organic traffic from Product Hunt comes in around the 6-8 hour mark. Top products will start to gain momentum then.
So for StartOS I heavily focused on the first 4 hours. By this time (StartOS launch) I knew what to rely on for consistent support, so I prioritized these channels, and it worked 🙂
Any reason why all your products are notion-based? Do notion-based products perform better on Product Hunt?
I actually think Notion products on PH have a bad reputation now because there are so many sub-par micro templates.
One of the reasons for the 9 launches was to build my Notion brand showing insanely valuable systems and bringing it together at the end! That’s also one of the reasons I launched StartOS on Monday. I had to overcome this stigma- and the only way to do that was to beat the big boys on a weekday.
I think the template was so loved in terms of reviews, votes and sales, because it was refreshingly different. I also did not market it like a Notion template. At one point my hub did not even have the Notion tag!
You launched StartOs on Monday, how did you choose your launch day?
I considered the following factors, which are tied to my previous launch experience.
- Competitiveness: Weekdays (Monday-Thursday) tend to be more competitive on Product Hunt. However, they also provide more traffic. Weekends (Saturday and Sunday) are less competitive but offer lower traffic. I looked on hunted space and saw Monday Product of the Day required the least upvotes among Mon-Thu.
- Product Hunt Newsletter: Top 10 products on weekdays get featured in the daily Product Hunt Newsletter, resulting in higher traffic to the website. If you launch on weekends, the top 10 from Friday to Sunday are combined into one newsletter.
I used this to balance between visibility and competition. I wanted StartOS to make a bang – I did not want to hide on the weekends. But as a solo maker, I did not feel I could match the distribution of big teams on Tue-Thu.
I chose Monday for StartOS to balance this out & to get enough traffic on my landing page, while avoiding the competition on Tuesday- Thu. In hindsight, it was the best decision!
#1 Product of the Day got me a lot of traffic, followed by the newsletter, and then the weekly newsletter by Product Hunt as I held #8 for the week!
How long did it take you to plan for the launch? Can you share all the tasks you did to prepare for your launch? (step-by-step)
Before launching my products on Product Hunt, I dedicated two months to pre-launch preparation. This involved designing logos, brand graphics, and splitting StartOS into standalone systems.
I also conducted thorough market research during this time, identifying the pain points and needs of my target audience. I talked to my early users. This allowed me to create a product that would resonate with them and stand out on Product Hunt.
Most importantly, this helped me craft my landing page copy and PH copy which led to better launches and conversions. I launched one module of StartOS each week on Product Hunt to gain momentum and build a brand.
For the finale (The complete StartOS launch) I had a large CRM with 600 manually scraped contacts from my 8 launches. On launch day, it was just about executing the distribution.
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How did you grow your following on the coming soon page?
I got the coming soon page for StartOS 9 weeks prior to launch. And I reached out to supporters of my previous launches to subscribe to the coming page soon. With this, I had 286 subscribers for the launch, a decent amount for a solo maker! That definitely set me up well, as I got into a leading spot in the first 4 hours. That 100% made the launch.
How did you pick the people to reach out for support for your launch?
Five plays here:
- Previous upvoters: I found them on PH, and reached out to them on Linkedin.
- Relevant people on PH who upvoted Notion or Notion-related products. Better if they reviewed or commented!
- People who were founders with Notion in their stack on Product Hunt.
- People from communities I was a part of
- People who asked for my support in the past and whose products I had tried!
I built ConnectOS’ AI feature to help me manage and sort these contacts based on tags and generate personalized messages for them! I made over 200 friends that I knew I’d get support from, especially my Notion community on X and some friends from the Invincible community.
What are the things you did in the first 4 hours of the launch day? And what are the tasks you did after that to continue the momentum?
On the day of the launch, I had pre-crafted social posts ready to share. I started distributing them 30 minutes before the official launch time. With the help of my Notion CRM (ConnectOS!), I was able to send messages across multiple channels within a span of 3-4 hours.
I strategically chose the channels (LinkedIn/Twitter) that had the highest engagement from my previous launch experience, ensuring that my launch reached the right people at the right time. Most of these were friends that I could count on! With a big gap (40-50 votes) at the 6-hour mark, the organic traffic took over as expected.
Towards the end hours, I faced intense competition from a four-person team product. I continued distributing to individuals who interacted on Product Hunt that day but were not part of my CRM. It was a sniper approach, & every vote counted.
What are the communities you shared your launch on the launch day?
The Invincibles, LinkedIn and Facebook PH groups, Reddit, my Notion community on X and official community on Circle where I got votes from the Notion Team (s/o to Sam and Emma- they’re amazing!) I was heavily focused on individual relationships for the bulk of my support.
Don’t have social media followers to support your launch?
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Could you share some numbers from the launch?
First 10 days since the launch
Page visits: 10k
Unique visitors: 6k
What are 3 advice you will give to a maker who is launching on Product Hunt?
- Prepare early. 90% of launch success is before the launch
- First four hours matter: This is the other 10%. Then it’s more about keeping pace!
- User and people who your product is most relevant to are most likely to support- so reach out to them first!