First Show HN Experience

· 3 min read

Two nights ago, I was winding down my evening writing the parser for a Markdown extension and it hit me — “what am I doing? I need to get eyes on Acrobox!”

I’m not ready — I’ll never feel ready — but it’s time to Show HN. I read through the rules and tips for a successful launch then went to bed.

When I woke up yesterday, I spent a good three hours drafting my post title and introductory comment. I bumped my droplet specs “just in case” and got the post out at 09:21 PDT.

I didn’t feel much that morning — just another day doing what feels right — until I clicked submit. Suddenly, my heart was racing. I took a breath and returned to baseline state before patiently watching for comments or upvotes. I didn’t know what to expect so I just watched it unfold.

Traffic was coming in. Not much, but it was something. 40 minutes passed, it was 10:00 PDT. It’s still early. It’s a niche product. Give it time.

Another silent hour went by. I decided to get back to my day and check in later. Later that evening, still nothing.

It was recommended for Show HNs to be easy to try out, ideally without a sign-up barrier. Not only do I have a sign-up barrier, but also a financial barrier.

I thought about that I was building out the subscriptions and pricing for Acrobox. Not with regards to Show HN but I recognized this as a risk.

Typically when I envision products, I prefer the idea of providing a limited way to try the product completely anonymously. Direct experience is powerful.

But what do I do in this situation? There’s probably several hundred dollars worth of value in the abx init command alone — very likely only to be run once by any given person. The command is a gateway to further value, growing as I continue to build out my vision, but I could just as well have stopped there and tried to market that alone.

Maybe I will market it alone. Maybe these are two separate products. Or maybe they should be priced with one up-front cost for provisioning and continued service together. Isn’t that the same problem but with a higher cost of entry?

Or flip the problem entirely. I guess that’s kind of what Tailwind did. They deliver immense value entirely for free. The bulk of the value is there, so much that many potential customers stop there, but they offer UI packages for a relatively high one-time fee and they’ve been a remarkable success.

It is possible that pricing isn’t even the issue — these are just some raw thoughts on reflection of an experience I had.

There were no sales, comments, or even an upvote but I still consider this experience valuable. It’s clearly given me a lot to think about.

For now, I’m going to focus my efforts on promoting directly to my target audience. I would also like to hear some alternative perspectives towards my thoughts on pricing.

It seems I have my next steps.