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Lessons From our HackerNews Launch

We got on the front page of HN! We learned a lot and want to share what worked, didn't work and our learnings looking back

Hamza Hamza September 5, 2023

We were very excited when we got on the front page of Hacker News last month! We learned a lot from that experience and wanted to share some of those lessons with you.

We were hesitant to add details about the business model, thinking it might be irrelevant for the tech-focused HN crowd. To our surprise, the most in-depth discussions occurred around our business model and how we pay the developers on the platform.

The next thing that surprised us was people taking our defense, given we mostly expected criticism, and also current clients jumping in to explain how GitStart helps them.

One last surprise was the diversity of discussions. We had questions about the onboarding process, pricing, and security, and also got product suggestions and bug reports. It’s good we had asked the whole team to be available to answer questions so we could answer everything and fix bug reports on the fly.

Tips and insights from the discussion looking back

If you’re near a launch on HackerNews, allow me to share a few ideas:

  1. Embrace imperfections. There’s no perfect time to be on the spotlight. We had people point out a couple of bugs during the launch, but we promptly fixed them. Others also pointed out mistakes we’ve made in the past, which we’ve since learned from and improved upon. It’s all part of the process. Waiting for the “perfect” moment can delay much-needed progress, so be ready to accept them gracefully and go for it.

  2. It helps to know HackerNews as a reader, if not a commentator. Knowing what’s coming makes a big change in how you see the event. If you’re here, you’ve likely (hopefully) been on the site before. But what’s more important is that it can also change your team’s perception. Interestingly, we asked our team and found that people who’d been on HackerNews for years were much more positive about the comments than those less familiar.

  3. Prioritize authentic conversations over hype. The event is like a 24-hour press conference, except you shouldn’t be too smooth or rehearsed here. Being real matters more, especially for the many silent observers. Be ready for all sorts of comments, questions, and objections, and engage transparently and genuinely in as many as possible. Think of it as a dialog with many intelligent, curious, and often skeptical people. Ask things back! You’ll be amazed.

What next?

This was our first major townhall style spotlight on GitStart and, hopefully, the first of many.

Now, we’re working on many of the great suggestions we got on the day and will have more news to share - don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, where we share more news and feature announcements.

Let me know if you and your team found any of these ideas helpful by tweeting at @GitStart or email me at