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Ask HN: What did your 'Show HN' project turn into?
382 points by chezmo on July 4, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 279 comments
This weekend I waded through a couple of old projects and I thought about all the stuff I built over the years. I posted a couple of "Show HN" projects a couple of years ago and it was funny reading those posts again.

Basically all of the projects went on 'auto-pilot' right away, meaning that I didn't touch them since I posted them. However, my latest 'Show-HN' turned into a real business and three years later we are a three people remote team and we are growing quite fast (the project is called mailparser.io).

I was wondering what your 'Show HN' turned into? Any stories you want to share?




A little over 3 years ago, my brother and I posted a Show HN about Webflow (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5407499), which was just a proof-of-concept / experiment.

At the time, we had been working on Webflow day and night for 6 months with no other income coming in, we had gotten rejected from YC a few months before, I was over $50K in credit (and medical) debt, and the Show HN was our last-ditch effort to get some traction before going back to our jobs.

The post did really well - we had the #1 position for most of the day, got over 500 upvotes, and in the resulting days over 25,000 people signed up for our beta list. This gave us the confidence to keep going and helped us get into YC for the next batch.

Since then, Webflow (https://webflow.com/) has grown into a profitable business with 400K+ users all over the world, billions of website requests served, and 25 employees (also all over the world). I'm not sure any of this would have happened if the Show HN would not have taken off the way it did.

TLDR: A+, would post again ;)


Webflow is.... absolutely amazing. I'd love to hear about how you guys built it - e.g. tech stack? challenges? :) Great work!


Thank you, that truly means a lot!

At first (in late 2012), we tried every single frontend framework available - including Backbone, Angular, Spine, and SproutCore (which ended up becoming Ember) - but they were all too slow for what we were doing. React wasn't yet a thing, and the only library that we found that worked fast enough was Knockout.js, so we went with that in the early days.

Since then, we've refactored 90%+ of the app (which is now approaching a million lines of code) to React/Flux/Immutable.js, with the remaining 10% not far behind.

The rest of the stack is nearly 99.9% JavaScript - including Node/Express/Mongo/Mongoose/Redis/nginx+more on the backend side of things.

We're hoping to post a lot more about our full stack in the future, especially since we're rolling out our dynamic website hosting stack worldwide (there's a lot of interesting S3/Lambda/CloudFront/Fastly goodies in there).

The biggest challenge is probably dealing with the huge array of different sites that people build, which range from small one-page marketing sites to huge 1000+ page dynamic web apps. Since Webflow is not template-based (like Weebly, Wix, Squarespace, etc) but rather allows designers to build up a site from scratch (including defining their own DOM nodes and CSS classes), we have to create JSON-based abstractions that need to work in a backwards-compatible way even as we add new features to Webflow.


Amazing. I can't even imagine what a ride the whole journey must have been. React must seem like a god-send.


I have used webflow to start my own business. Second year into it. I guess in addition to Vlad I also owe thanks to HN!


Wow, that is wonderful to hear! :) Definitely a huge thanks to the HN community, which was so supportive when we first launched (and ever since)!


What sort of advantage/features do you provide over something like wix.com?


Wix is targeted directly at small businesses who create their own web presence by using a template and filling in some details (text, images, etc).

Webflow is a much more professional tool targeted at web designers, freelancers, and agencies who create custom responsive websites, usually from scratch (or from a professional template as a starting point). That is, people who create websites for others. To be successful with Webflow, our users need to think somewhat like a developer (e.g. understand the box model, understand how CSS works in principle, etc), so the learning curve is a bit steeper.

For example, everything you see on https://webflow.com/ is built visually in Webflow and deployed to staging and production by non-engineers. There's a full database there with over 20 tables representing different content types, with a complex schema (e.g. blog posts, case studies, testimonials, job posts, templates, tags, etc), all the pages are custom responsive layouts - and all this was created without writing code.

None of this would be possible with Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, etc - since those are limited to their available templates. Most of the sites created in Webflow (see https://webflow.com/discover/popular for some examples) can only be recreated in Webflow or by writing code by hand, no other visual "WYSIWYG" builder comes even close.

You can think of Webflow as a much more evolved Dreamweaver, or a purely visual next-generation WordPress - minus all the code :)


Awesome work. Do you support https by the way?. It's one of the main things missing from other providers like Wix etc



The ad on the front page is fantastic!


In 2012 I did a show HN for GitLab.com https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4428278 It didn't trend so I started baking pancakes. When I checked my phone I saw that it got on the HN homepage and comments were flooding in. I asked my then girlfriend (now wife) to take over the baking and started responding. I ended up eating the pancakes behind my computer :) Hundreds of people signed up for the beta.

In 2013 the author of GitLab, Dmitriy, tweeted "I want to work on GitLab full time" and I hired him. A year later we incorporated and applied for YC.

In March of 2015 we graduated from YC with 9 people on our team. Now we are 93 people in 28 countries https://about.gitlab.com/team/ with more than 100,000 organizations running GitLab. Over 1200 people contributed to the project http://contributors.gitlab.com/

I owe the greatest adventure in my life to Hacker News and its users, thanks everyone!


I assume you're talking about gitlab.io, which I suspect as part of your incorporation, hiring of Dmitriy, etc. is now gitlab.com.

Nice job!


Indeed, it started as GitLab.io and I later aquired the .com and .org domain names. In the beginning we ran GitLab.org for the open source project and GitLab.com for the company and the SaaS. We later consolidated everything under GitLab.org


Could you expand a bit on why you opted to consolidate the two? We have to make the exact same decision for discourse.org


Of course, I would love to elaborate. We found that there was a lot of duplication between .com and .org. Same news (tweets, blog posts), overlapping email lists, overlapping members, etc. That duplication lead to duplicate effort, confusion, people missing news or comments on news, and bad SEO.

The reason for having two sites in the first place was to separate the open source project from the commercial organization. In practise the same people controlled both sides. It felt like a Potemkin village https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potemkin_village

We realized that it doesn't help to present yourself as an independent project when you are not. What matters is that the commercial organization is a good steward of the open source project. So we detailed how we want to do that https://about.gitlab.com/about/#stewardship and instituted a core team https://about.gitlab.com/core-team/

At times situations will come up that will allow you to show your true colors. For us it was the VLC people asking to open source a feature on HN and our competitor Perforce adopting GitLab. How you handle those situations is far more important than having multiple domain names.

I recommend that you consolidate everything under one website but you open up your company. See https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/ for inspiration.


> It felt like a Potemkin village https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potemkin_village

Haha, you just made me realize that "The City and the City" by China Miéville[1] could be used as a metaphor for such artificially divided organizations like the one you had (and many have - for better or worse reasons).

[1] http://amzn.to/29MWd3v [amazon affiliate link - just an experiment]

https://www.amazon.com/City-China-Mi-ville-ebook/dp/B003E2UQ... [Non-affilate link - to be a little more courteous ;-) ]


We love GitLab :) I wish you guys add private NPM repos :)


We love you too :) Please see https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/19095 for the package server, right now that is still far away.


Almost exactly 5 years ago I posted about a Japanese candy subscription service (https://www.candyjapan.com/), and it is now doing roughly ~$200k in yearly revenue.

Lately I've been toying with the idea of selling the business, as it seems like half a decade is plenty enough to spend on a single project and I'm curious to see what else I might be able to do. But I periodically get into this mood and might soon come to my senses again :-)


wow... 5 years already... i remember this! and so far i haven't done anything with my life hahahaha :sad:


>>wow... 5 years already...

Hah, my thoughts exactly! Time flies...


Happy former customers here. We had to cancel since we live in Phoenix and received melted candy during the summer months (not your fault) and we forgot to sign back up. If we could be subscribed during the rest of the year we would.


I too remember this, though not from HN... and I remember thinking, "wow, what a glorious and probably doomed project!"

Glad to hear it's doing well.


Did you get an email from my friend a while back about the possibility of buying real/high quality soy sauce? I'm not so much curious about the actual exchange, just reminding you that there are other (food) things that are hard to get outside of Japan (partly due to the language barrier, and not all traditional crafts shops being particularly Internet savvy) -- that a lot of people would likely be willing to pay a premium for. It would proabably be a quite different business model - maybe enough of a change for you to keep your interest (and us to get our good stuff). I know he did sign up for the candy either way, and was very happy that I pointed him to your service ;-)

Btw, for others interested in good food, and/or Japanese food, the inspiration for this request came from the excellent documentary:

"Shoyu and the Secrets of Japanese Cuisine" / "Shoyu et les secrets de la cuisine Japonaise"

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3898014/

http://www.pointdujour-international.com/catalogueFiche.php?...


Definitely, you should start accepting BitCoin. I have some of $ it in my mobile wallet and probably I would order some ;-D while I've got an impulse to try a japan's candy ;-)


From memory there was problems with fraud for regular credit card transactions for Candy Japan, so I wonder if Bitcoin would be even worse in this regard.


The candy Japan fraud was due to fraudsters using the service to test a stolen credit card to see if it worked. Bitcoin doesn't have that problem.

The story https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11431881


I cannot believe it's been 5 years. I remember reading about this like it was yesterday. Congratulations on the success!


Man, has it been 5years already! I remember reading it when it was ShowHNed. And the book you wrote about it. Hope you had some success with the book as well.


Just added $25/mo more :) awesome, awesome idea!


Me too :) Can't wait for the first package!


great service, +1 customer!


A bit over five years ago I posted an 'Ask HN' (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1883123) for my side project PCPartPicker (http://pcpartpicker.com). I received great advice and many feature requests that would later get implemented.

A few years after that post I left my job to work on PCPartPicker full-time. Then a year later I hired my first employee. Now we're a larger team working toward expansion.

The feedback I got from the original post was extremely helpful.


Absolutely LOVE PCPartPicker. Honestly don't know what I'd have done without it. I think I was one of the first users and watching it grow to what it is now was amazing. Thank you!


Used it last month to build a new gaming pc -- amazing site. I was really impressed with the amount of useful data you guys have managed to collect, and the thoughtful UX. I've recommended it to several friends since then. Thanks!


Thanks! Glad you liked it!


Out of curiosity, how does PCPP make enough money to hire two full-time devs? Is the ad revenue really enough?


Our revenue is primarily through affiliate deals with retailers that we partner with. (We don't run any ads.)


So when I check the "Use amazon smile" option, you guys don't get any money?


Amazon smile actually still generates affiliate revenue. (Amazon doesn't take the charity cut out of the affiliate side.)


PCPP is basically “Referral Links: The Website” so I think they probably make some decent money from vendors. I doubt the ad revenue is much since the target audience probably uses ad blockers.


We don't run any ads.


I'm guessing ad revenue + Amazon/other vendor referral income.


I had a similar idea a while ago to try and pair this with gaming benchmarks so you could say "I want to play games X, Y, Z" and it would give you hardware recommendations (affiliate linked to Amazon).

Looks like you've got a decent market sewn up, well done!


I just used your very cool site to configure machines that we used for an in-house cluster. Would have been extremely difficult without it. Thanks a lot for building and making it available for free! (Recruit me for any feedback/usability studies).


Keep it up, great work!


In 2013 we show HN'd Kraken.io Image Optimizer: https://kraken.io while still working at our day jobs. Three years on and gazillions of iterations later, we're in profit, have received significant funding, and are serving thousands of paying customers and tens of thousands more free customers. We have since comfortably left our day jobs, and have built a technology stack we can be proud of. I expect we will still be hacking at this for years to come.


That's quite cool. Would you mind explaining something to me? Where do you find customers?

I've always wondered how apps like yours (single isolated feature done well, available many other places for free) get customers. I've only built things which are niche-based so it's easier to find customers, but with your type of project it feels to me like gaining traction would be quite difficult. I always want to learn from people who have taken something so simple (not downplaying your efforts, just the 'concept'), and made it stick.


That's a good question, and as I'm replying from my phone, I'll try to be concise and to the point.

1) It started out as just an image optimization API (so it was a little bit of a niche product back in 2013).

2) Our API covered all major image formats, and supported both lossy and lossless optimization modes, which again, was pretty rare at the time.

3) Listen to customers, fix things, and add sensible features such as image resizing. Always listen to customers and try to understand what they want even if they don't know how to explain it themselves.

4) With enough people using our platform to essentially replace the development work, R&D and infrastructural requirements needed for a decent imaging workflow, the app will essentially market itself.

5) Develop a stack which can be rapidly scaled up and simultaneously allows for costs to be kept as low as possible. Pass on the value to customers at every available opportunity.

6) I'll edit this post and add more detail once I get to a real computer.


I think in this particular case a significant portion of customers are actually being converted through the free WordPress plugin that they provide. People know what quality looks and feels like, and are more than willing to pay for it. I suppose that's one slice of the cake. Needless to say, bloggers have promoted Kraken willingly because they want to provide content like "best image optimizers" etc,.


Beautiful website. Really love it.


I designed a new name generation software called namebird: http://shobia.com/namebird

It allows you to make words that are fairly awesome and are great startup brand names. It even let's you make words via regular expressions - r.* im .* a creates words like retima and rimbra. (no spaces)

It didn't get a great HN response and in the 2 years since launch, I have spent a large amount on hosting and gotten no return whatsoever. I keep it up because it is incredibly powerful software and I hope it is helping at least some people.


That's cool, thanks for providing this - will surely use it for future projects. Sidenote: it doesn't look like the sort of app which would be heavy on hosting - why large amount spent?


The hosting isn't too bad, but I'm paying for a somewhat powerful server as I am a bit of a perfectionist and only want to run the software at maximum capacity, so to speak. It's not much, but over the years, it adds up.


I needed something like this literally last night, glad to find it now.

If you want it to be more widely used, maybe it could use some SEO or marketing love? You don't seem to be on page 1 for company name generator, business name generator, name generator, etc., and you deserve to be. Get an h1 tag, get a few blogs to list you on their "top 5 web 2.0 name generators" articles.


Thanks, the kind words mean a lot. To be honest, I am not sure why the website has done so poorly in terms of search, but that is a good idea to reach out and try/get it on some top lists of web 2.0 name generators.


Hey, that's a great app indeed!!!

For SEO/Traffic etc., here are some more ideas:

1. This is 2016 and I don't know what are you doing without ANY social media presence (at least, none that is visible on the site)? With the kind of service that you have there, LinkedIn and Twitter should work well. Insomuch as social signals is one of the SEO factors today, this would help SEO to some extent as well

2. Consider creating a blog section on the site and publishing relevant posts periodically

3. How about creating a widget/plug-in type functionality using which other sites can copy-paste some code to display a box saying something like: Generate a Great Company/Product/Domain Name, with the basic input features of your app and a Generate button and then, when users hit the button, they reach your site where the results/name suggestions are shown? With something like this, I am reasonably sure you should be able to interest at least some domain registrars and hosting companies to bite!!

HTH. I'll be happy to volunteer further/hands-on promotion/SEO/SMO work in case you're interested - let me know, and all the best.


Pretty cool. How do you bulk query .com availability?


Thanks. Verisign is kind enough to let you sign up (for free, iirc) to get their list of taken .com domain names.


I've bookmarked your website for future use. I have lost count of the number of hours I've spent in coming up with unique names for my web projects, and your software would surely help me in the name brainstorming process.


You did better than my domain finder(http://DomainKush.com) side project :) Btw, multiple names suggested by namebird could also be drug names(pharmas pay a lot of money in settling on the right name.)


Thank you. Actually, in testing, the Namebird has been able to generate multiple names that are actual medication names. So there is something there, maybe I could modify it and make a version for use by pharmaceutical companies.


Oh my god, it's so amazing! The web app is very simple but the names quality is awesome.

I used several similar name generators recently and they all sucked each on its own way, but this one rocks.


Thank you! Now that's the reaction I was hoping to get, hehe. Glad it helps and hope you find the perfect names for your projects!


I used it only the other day, and it was very useful, so thank you.


Oh, cool! Glad it helped.


This is really awesome! The generated names are amazing. How do you do it!? Please don't kill this project!


This is too good. I'd use it all the time.


AdDetector (http://www.ianww.com/ad-detector/) - Browser extension that flags news articles with corporate sponsors. My best Show HN with 200+ upvotes. About 16,000 installs. Asked by my company to discontinue it a few days later, so I stopped working on it.

Crowdsourced asteroid discovery (http://www.asterank.com/discover) - only 5 upvotes on HN, but nearly half a million survey images reviewed, with 17,000 potential asteroids marked. Not really working on it anymore.

Free outgoing SMS API (http://textbelt.com/) - not much interest on HN, but about 3M texts sent over the past few years, almost 1000 stars on Github. Requires an hour or two a month for maintenance, responding to issues, etc.

Call Congress (1-884-USA-0234) - single phone number that dials all your representatives one after another. 8 upvotes on HN, but did very well on Reddit and sent over 300 hours of phone calls to Congress in a few days after the Orlando shooting.

Conspiracy theory generator (http://www.verifiedfacts.org/) - Did well on HN with 181 points. About 1M conspiracies generated. On autopilot but still gets organic traffic for ridiculous queries like "snooki illuminati".

Dream logs (http://keepdream.me) - posted 4 years ago but it's a niche tool. 62 subscribers, 2.5k dreams recorded, on autopilot.

Asterank (http://www.asterank.com/) - I submitted parts of this site to Show HN as I added new features. Sold it to Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining company for a small amount.

Meteor showers visualization (http://www.ianww.com/meteor-showers/) - did well on HN, finalist in some Popular Science viz contest.

Dinosaur Pictures database (http://dinosaurpictures.org/) - a few upvotes on HN, about 8k uniques/mo a year later mostly from SEO. This is one of my favorite projects to spend time on.


Curious about the first one -- was there some kind of conflict of interest? As far as I can tell all you were doing was taking public information already available on the page and disclosing it with a much more visible banner. Was your employer heavily involved in Native Advertising campaigns or something?


OP is an engineer at Google: http://www.ianww.com/


Talk about biting the hand that feeds ;-)


Imo it'd actually help google if anything. As far as I know, they're not in the sponsored content game. If hypothetically, OPs thingo blew up and sponsored content articles became useless, that's more advertising budget freed up to go in to Googles pocket.


That could cut both ways -

The sponsors whose content articles get blown up might get pissed with Google and take their ad spend elsewhere...


I consider advertising evil, as the primary goal is to replace useful thoughts with thoughts of buying and consuming things.


In case it wasn't clear, I meant the OP is biting the hand that feeds.


Thank you for textbelt! Not long after your Show HN post, I used it to set up cron scripts that send me a text message if server load climbs above a certain number. It was a simple free way to monitor and deal with some performance issues at the time. To this day those scripts are running, although they haven't been triggered for a long time.


Would you mind sharing how you manage to operate Textbelt for free?


Many carriers allow you to send emails to {phone_number}@carrier.com which become text messages for free.

See here: https://github.com/typpo/textbelt/blob/master/lib/carriers.j...


OK. But I am curious how it maps a phone number to a carrier. My understanding is that carriers do not publish the list of their customer phone numbers.

It seems like textbelt does not know this information (or at least when you sign up or send a text message). Does it try in sequence to send the text to all carriers one by one until one succeeds? If so, I'd imagine textbelt would get blacklisted pretty quickly.

It would be interesting to see how the mapping is done.


That's an interesting question, but I think that Textbelt is intended to be used in a scenario where you ask the user to select their carrier in addition to their phone number.


Thanks for posting this. I asked the question when I was on my phone but it made more sense when I got back to my desk :) I wrongly assumed Textbelt was using a GSM modem to deliver messages as opposed to the email-SMS gateway approach.


3 years ago I did a Show HN [1] for http://asoftmurmur.com - it got 3 points, 0 comments

2.5 years ago I posted it again with some more features [2], got 190 points and 80 comments, and some positive feedback. Was encouraged to keep up development.

Since then:

* > 5 million sessions

* A native Android version written in Java with > 100k installs

* Native iOS version in the works

* I now work full time as a software developer

It's a small, simple application - almost a toy - and there are now lots of similar services, but it has genuinely changed my life.

  [1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6205451

  [2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6975538


This is awesome!! I'd resorted simplynoise in two tabs to combine brown noise with rain/thunder. Any chance of adding brown noise down the road? I find white noise a bit harsh to listen to for long periods, but the constant noise component is a must for masking people talking nearby. I love your other sounds! Rain & thunder works, but I've had too much and want some variety, this is great!


That's great to hear :) But just FYI, as a keyboard-only, screen reader user, I couldn't manage to get any sounds going in Firefox which is unfortunate. Not sure about the accessibility of your Android app as I don't have a device on hand to test with.


This looks great!


Nearly a year ago I've posted "whoishiring.it" [0] as a visualisation for HN's "Who is hiring" thread with all the positions on the map. And it was received pretty damn well. Way better than I've expected.

Originally the idea was just to add better search mechanism for "Who is hiring" thread, but i've decided to go beyond that. I've added every big job board that I could find. Right now it aggregates 15956 jobs for IT from 12 different sources [1]. The website didn't make a dollar yet. Although I received few investment propositions to make something bigger out of it.

The current domain is whoishiring.io (google didn't like .it much)

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9838955

[1] https://whoishiring.io/stats/


Last year I posted www.hnjobs.io, which is convenient tool to browse "who is hiring post", not nearly as sleek as yours, I only have a few hundred visitors a month, but it's my first project from learning angular/bootstrap/javascript/expressjs, so I'm happy about it:)


Did Google dislike the .it domain because it wasn't obviously connected to Italy, or was there something else?

Nice project by the way, I saw it for the first time on the last "Who's Hiring" thread.


Most ccTLDs are heavily weighted by Google in favour of their locale, in practice this means if you use a ccTLD you can expect to suffer from a ranking penalty outside of the ccTLDs locale. If you use a .it domain you can expect to rank well in Italy but to rank poorly in the United States.

The exception to this rule are "generic" ccTLDs, Google has a number of generic ccTLDs, these are ccTLDs that they will treat as if they're not ccTLDs. This includes .io, .me and .tv[1].

I used to run a site from httpstatus.es, last year I switched the site from .es (Spain) to generic (.com) and have seen a significant increase in search engine traffic. Here is a 3 year traffic chart, red box is the switch from .es to .com: http://i.imgur.com/60RXFjP.png

I am confident from my own experience that there is a big penalty associated with using a non-generic ccTLD and businesses should be very careful when choosing a ccTLD if search engine traffic is meaningful to their business.

[1] https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/62399?hl=en (scroll down to "More about domain determination")


Dot me and dot TV are actually local domains, not ccTLD. The first one is from Montenegro and the second one is from the Island of Tuvalu. Although common sense has made a lot to make them look global, they're fairly local because they're not too much used for their intended purpose.


I have been thinking about this a lot. How were you able to measure the fact you were ranking poorly before making the switch?

We use a .st domain, and whilst it is not explicitly mentioned on Googles generic list there are very few localized .st sites so I am hoping Google is counting it as a generic domain.

Note most of our users are in the US!


This is great information -- thank you. Do you have any general advice for switching over from one domain & TLD to another -- i.e., setting up redirects, etc... for those that have linked to the previous domain, as well as for Google indexing (e.g., Google webmaster tools)?


I'm far from being confident on any SEO matter. But, it looks like it. IT was treating domain as a local, like .pl or .de. I was trying to change that in google search console. But the option was inactive.

Thanks.


I posted Open Exchange Rates[0] as a Show HN 1,534 days ago. It had just moved away from publishing free currency data into a GitHub repository, to its own website. In fact, they had just asked me politely to take it down due to the high traffic.

Open Exchange Rates was initially a portfolio piece (a labour of love that I hoped would land me a job at Stripe!) I launched it as an adjunct to money.js[1], a minimal JavaScript currency conversion library. The latter is still popular, but Open Exchange Rates has since organically grown on its own merits into a community of over 50,000 developers, with hundreds of tutorials and open source integrations. It's my full-time job, and there are seven of us on board.

We've since grown to be the industry-leader in our niche, loved and relied upon by Booking.com, SkyScanner, Etsy, KickStarter, WordPress.com, BrainTree, Coursera, Fab.com, Wego, Lonely Planet, Stripe, SoundHound, Vice.com - and thousands more of the world's most trafficked websites and brands.

This week, over four years later, I've just returned to Hong Kong - the project's birthplace - to work with our team here. We're about to switch on a platform that will open up true real-time data for our clients in high-risk financial environments, and allow us to scale to the next 500,000 clients and beyond.

I never liked where the industry is heading - towards competitive, closed, stingy business - so we've chosen to move further towards transparency, sharing and collaboration. The next steps in our journey are where we open more and more to our community and marketplace, meanwhile tailoring our higher-ticket service to those who need it.

(Thanks for posting this Ask HN!)

[0] https://openexchangerates.org

[1] https://github.com/openexchangerates/money.js


This is very inspiring. Thanks a lot for sharing. Purely out of curiosity, how much time did it take you to build the first version?


Thanks! If I remember correctly, the initial version of the API took about a week, fitting around my job at the time.


This is great ! From where you are polling the data ? Mind share how to plan to scale ? which stack are you using ?


514 days ago we launched JustWatch - https://www.justwatch.com

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9005641

By now, we're the largest streaming search engine in the world, having surpassed both canistream.it and instantwatcher.com - and the hybrid app is nearing one million Android downloads now while still being featured on the Cordova and Ionic showcases. All this with zero marketing dollars invested and no venture capital on board. Fun ride so far :)


Making decent money on Amazon referrals and the like?


Let's say they pay our office space :)

Seriously, the main reason we're outgrowing our competitors so fast is that audience marketing is a much more lucrative business than affiliate marketing.

That way the site stays clean, the content relevant and our users only occasionally see trailers on Youtube and Facebook from movies they'd actually want to see in cinema!

Win, win.


What's audience marketing?


The 50,000ft overview: Because you're surfing on the site, we can infer your movie taste. Now we're distilling that down anonymized on a user level and with the help of modern ad technology (the one where the shoe you already bought follows you mercilessly through the internet for weeks), we'll show you trailers before your Youtube videos or in your Facebook timeline - of upcoming movies you'd actually want to see (instead of the shoe you don't). That way, movie studios can get people interested in new releases far cheaper and measurably more effective than before.

If you're asking if you can do that to monetize your website: Probably not (but you're welcome to try, it's fun). We've got a team of 15 people just dedicated to that part.


Does that mean you're running your own ad network that movie studios bid on, and when someone watches a YouTube/Facebook video they are playing your ad?


Word. I have had the same stubbornness about keeping my side project clean and ad-free for a long time. It ended up paying for itself in other ways, who knew!


Congrats from a fellow German. And if it's still the case: awesome example of an Ionic app.


It hasn't been very long, but I've making solid progress since I posted Flask-Ask a month ago:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11871554

I've created and put up 6 tutorials at

https://alexatutorial.com

Worked with Amazon on a guest blog post:

https://developer.amazon.com/public/community/post/Tx14R0IYY...

Flask-Ask and AlexaTutorial have been featured on

https://www.reddit.com/r/learnpython/comments/4qdy73/learn_t...

and

https://www.producthunt.com/tech/alexatutorial-com

280 github stars

https://github.com/johnwheeler/flask-ask

Having a blast!


Actually used it this past weekend to create a long island railroad time table app. Submitted to Amazon for review just now. Wanted to drop a line and say thank you.


That's fantastic. What are your thoughts on it? Is there anything you didn't like?


I posted https://cloudcraft.co (a service to visualize your cloud architecture) to Show HN around 7 months ago [1] (it feels like only yesterday!)

Since then many of the great suggestions that I received from here have been completed, including AWS inventory import, teams, unlimited canvas etc. I've added paid Pro subscriptions that are working out very well, but also kept and expanded on the free usage tier.

HN got me my first users and was very motivating, but after that initial spike I've kept steadily growing and have added many tens of thousands of new users organically with essentially zero marketing so far. About 50% of my traffic comes from other sites and blogs directly linking, including AWS itself [2] these days, the other 50% is people Googling for AWS diagrams/architectures.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10722942 [2] https://aws.amazon.com/architecture/icons/


I did a ShowHN for http://bulkresizephotos.com about a year ago. Arguably, a bit too early. It's a web-based image resizer that doesn't involve transmitting your images to a server. Since it runs locally, it also ends up being surprisingly fast. It may not look pretty, but it does what it says, so most people who need it seem to love it.

I think the Product Hunt attention helped more than HN, but I've learnt that it's the longer term sources you don't expect that help the most. For example, it got into in an ArchDaily.com article that they re-publish every so often. That's easily been the most valuable source.

It's been growing pretty consistently for quite a while. About 5% every week.


This looks great. I have my own workflows on my PC set-up for bulk resizing, but I love that there's a web-app to easily do this, and that it runs client-side (nice for Chromebooks/etc. too)

To me the site looks fine, not ugly by any means. It's spartan/simple and utilitarian, as it probably should be. Will definitely be trying this out the next time I need a bulk-resize.

Is there any particular method you plan to use to turn a profit from this? Premium plans/etc.?


Really glad that you like it!

I feel that it's a difficult site to monetize. Part of the appeal is that it can be more convenient than having a resizing application on your computer. I think adding sign in (a dependency for premium plans) would undermine that a bit.

At the moment, it's still growing quickly, doesn't take up much of my time and costs barely anything to run. Given those circumstances, I don't feel I need to rush into monetizing. I'd rather wait and see.

Probably the best thing that could happen in the meantime is widespread adoption of a very low friction micropayments platform. I think PayPal or bitcoin are best positioned for that, but I haven't seen any signs of that ideal scenario coming to fruition any time soon.


You may also consider using this tool to drive traffic to another product/service. It's advertising but you would benefit more than slapping on some Adwords. I think micropayment is a bad strategy, adding any payment/signup friction to a service like this and users are going to bounce


I pretty much agree on all counts. Let me elaborate a bit, though.

Drive traffic to something else: That's my current thinking.

Adwords: I think Adwords would make the site seem slower and ruin it a bit. I'd consider a single, short text snippet Amazon link, though. Eg. "Check out the latest Nikon DSLR on Amazon"

Micropayments I would only consider if a service emerged that was as simple as embedding a one-click button and took sufficient market share that it wouldn't be a barrier. I can see that the likelihood of this in the near future is small, though.


This seems like maybe the best strategy, if one ends up being needed.


That's true, since it's all client-side (except hosting the site itself), the costs to run it would be almost nothing, maybe it's better off staying as a free service :)


1679[1] days ago I launched Class Central[2] via a comment on HN. It was something that I built over the Thanksgiving weekend and received over 300 visits from that comment.

Two years later I got into Imagine K12. Now we are doing around $100k ARR, ~250+k monthly uniques, and have been used by almost 5 million people.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3289393 [2] https://www.class-central.com/


About 2 years ago, I posted my side project HelloBox (http://hellobox.co).

Back then, I started as a tool that lets you create your own HackerNews clone. I did this, because every now and then, I was seeing Show HN posts that went like "HackerNews for XYZ". So I thought, I'll create a tool that lets you build your own HN quickly!.

Two years later, I'm still going and it's now grown into a community tool. Still not at the level that I want, but slowly getting there and hopefully monetize it soon.


Looks pretty cool! Did you launch with the feature set you have right now or did it grow as you gained users?


Oh no. The launched version was... very basic. Originally it was "create your own HN" tool, then I realised I was essentially building a community building tool - surprise, surprise - and that's when various ideas for the features came about. Still long way to go! But we are eating our own dog food by using HelloBox ourselves! This is our Q&A page, built on HelloBox itself - http://self.hellobox.co


I posted a simple Dynamic DNS service, http://dhcp.io, based upon Amazon Route53. I received about 5,000 users in the first month, most of whom were using their dynamic hostnames in SPAM mail.

I gradually started killing more and more accounts. The admin overhead was a pain, so I polled a few users and said "Hey this is crippling, would you pay?" Many said yes. I knocked up stripe integration and received zero paying clients.

Closed registrations to new users, and setup a git-based DNS host instead, https://dns-api.com . Users pay for that from the first week, and it slowly ticks over. I've been using the service myself for all my new domain registrations and I'm constantly impressed at how smooth it is.


The original "Show HN" turned out OK https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8863

(that was nearly 10 years ago!)


Just goes to show that with Show HN posts you may very well be witnessing history in the making. 111 points on that original post...valuation is now something like $100M per point :) .


Did a Show HN on https://clara.io ~1000 days ago:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6025427

We didn't get the biggest reception on HN, but we now have 200,000+ users, 500,000+ scenes, profitable and have strong growth. Still self-funding the project.


Awesome piece of work. Your front page seems very movie-focused. Do you get a significant percentage of users in games?


Over 3 years ago I posted https://shutdownscanner.com. Ironically, I'm considering shutting it down. Perhaps to relaunch as an open source project, maybe rewritten in ASP.NET Core. Anyone have advice in opening up a project when decommissioning? I think it may still be useful to people so don't just want to turn the servers off.

I also posted https://unop.uk/tube (I built the original over 5 years ago) and I still use it pretty regularly, as the TfL site is so bloated for mobile use.


I showed you the Copify WordPress plugin [0] a couple of years back. It allows companies to outsource monthly blog content to Copify's team of freelance writers. The blog posts are peer reviewed, then automatically published with a Creative Commons image to your WordPress site. The link is then (optionally) auto-shared via Twitter.

$60k RR last month.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7988299


$60k? On 100+ active installs?


That makes it $50 per article, seems about right to me.


Almost 6 years ago I posted my HTML5 Game "Biolab Disaster"[1] and my JavaScript Game Engine "Impact"[2] here.

I have sold about 6000 licenses of the Game Engine since.

Impact was my bachelor thesis and I wanted to release it as open source initially. However, after I finished university I poured a whole lot of time into polishing and documenting it, so I thought "what the hell, I'm going to try to sell it". Surprisingly it worked. Impact pretty much financed all the other projects I've been working on since.

I believe I was at the right place at the right time. Apple just announced that they won't support Flash on iOS and Impact was one of the very few solutions to make (substantial) games in HTML5.

Impact has only received minor updates since its launch. I tried to start with a fresh new version a number of times, but always stopped short - I felt like I couldn't deliver anything worthy of the high expectations people had. Sales have died down slowly over the last two years, partly because Impact is somewhat outdated now and makes some things more complicated than neccessary and partly because there are now very strong Open and Closed Source alternatives in this space.

At the beginning of this year, I finally found some new perspective on what a "Impact 2.0" should deliver and most importantly, the motivation to implement it. It's currently my favorite project to work on. It's a complete rewrite. Simplifying everything with the insights I gathered over the past few years is humbling, but I love it.

My plan is to have 2.0 ready at the end of the year. I'll probably publish Impact 1.0 under GPL then.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1686572

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1779632


Thanks for sharing. I always wanted to ask you: do you also work a normal job or is Impact your main source of income?

Also, I'm excited for Impact 2.0


I'm self employed. Some of my projects (mostly Ejecta[1] and jsmpeg[2]) spawned a lot of contract and consulting work lately. I'm also selling licenses for my games[3] so other gaming sites can host them and the AdSense banner on ZType[4] provided an impressively stable ~$500/mo for the past few years.

[1] https://github.com/phoboslab/Ejecta

[2] https://github.com/phoboslab/jsmpeg

[3] http://phoboslab.org/#games

[4] http://zty.pe/


Xibalba was fun, just beat it at 3 am.


This isn't really a traditional 'Show HN' but perhaps someone will find it interesting. Around 5 months ago I posted about Nim in Action[1], the book that I have been writing for nearly a year now. It's been an interesting experience, but certainly not an easy one. Right now the book is very close to completion and I cannot wait until it's finalised so that I can get back to working on some fun little programming projects :)

1 - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10987975


I launched https://www.pexels.com/ two year ago - a website to find free high-quality photos. It started as a side project. Now we have hundred thousands of visitors each month and three people are working on it.


Great site!!

Here is something you might want to look into:

I searched for 'money' and got the following by clicking one of the results (small photos):

https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-girl-eyes-young-41526/

Now, this photo is tagged with the keyword money and it is completely relevant too, but if you scroll down on that page to Similar Photos, they are all woman/girl/eyes type, so it looks like your code is showing similar photos based on random/un-ordered matches with the tags of the current photo. Instead, if you show similar photos with tags matching the original search term the user has typed in, that would be a lot more relevant and useful. HTH and best wishes.


Interesting! Is this a full-time job for 3 people? Does your business run solely on donations or is there another source of income? (It wasn't obvious from what I saw on the site.)


Two people work half-time and one guy works full-time on the project. In addition we have 2-3 freelancers who add photos. We make money through donations, ads and referral links to Shutterstock.


just checked it out. Looks awesome. I suppose it must be pretty difficult growing a site like this esp as this space is a bit crowded. How did you get the word out? That must be an interesting story.


I made an emulation platform called Start9 (http://start9.io), but it didn't got a lot of traction, my "cofounder" lost motivation, and I haven't yet found how to actually make money with it (I only have a handful of daily users).

That being said, I'm still extremely proud of it, at least from a technical standpoint, and will probably keep it running for a long time.


Seems nice, did try it out now.. But had trouble finding all the controls ( arrows, enter and ?)


A & B are mapped on respectively A/Q and W/Z/B, space and backspace are Select, and enter is Start.


[Show HN: Nightchamber, a slow-web social site: nightchamber.com]

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8881622

It's still running today, though the user-base has stabilised around a dedicated core of users, and not seeing much/any growth.

EDIT: holy shit, I just checked the stats, 7k unique users over the last two months. It's doing better than I remember.


Love it that you give each user a unique URL for access - I wish more services did that. Having to create a username and password each time I want to use a new service is so annoying that most of the time I just give up on it.


I love Nightchamber!


Thanks! :D

Feel free to point more people towards the site! We could do with some new blood.


In january I've launched Project Log (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10963097 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=mpscholten.tim...), a simple material-designed timesheet app for android.

Quickly after launch, I discovered that many people could not install the app because they were running an older android version. Since then I've improved support for older android devices, added several smaller features and did some smaller UI improvements. I've also built a small website (http://timesheetapp.xyz/), so you can find the app when looking for "timesheet app" at google.

The app is currently downloaded at ~100 devices, but not really growing. However the existing users are all very happy with the app. I'm very happy with it aswell as it's solving the problem I have very well (built it primary to solve my own problem of time tracking).

If you have any idea on how to better promote the app, let me know :)


I shared Cachet [0] 551 days ago, it's an open source alternative to the likes of StatusPage.io and Status.io. It's now used around the world by hundreds if not thousands of companies and I'm always seeing comments on others such as "I wish you could do X like Cachet." which is really cool.

I've made money only by selling an installation service, which is about £1k. I have further plans, but nothing more to add.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8819701


Hey - I use Cachet for one of my web apps. Great product, and I love it. Thanks for building!


Thank you :)


Few years ago I posted HN for my site project and now turn into ramen profitable side project[0].

I stop working on the project for 1+ years and now I plan to put more time to improve it (i.e. HTTPS) in the next few months.

Traffic to the side is dropping and I plan to post some contents to generate traffic as well.

[0]: http://www.gtheme.io/


We launched Cronitor.io 745 days ago. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7917587

We launched after about 6 weekends of work. It took a month or so until we saw our first paying subscriber. The ramp up was slow at first but by January 2015 growth had accelerated and today we draw a healthy and growing income from the business. As we've built out the product we've raised prices slowly and have had he joy of seeing companies we admire use the product.


I used to love cronitor.io but now I prefer the free and open source healthchecks.io (also from a Show HN).


We like healthchecks. The guy who runs it actually uses Cronitor to monitor it.


I posted my project[0] to try and help people find jobs where they would be happier writing software, just a few days ago and didn't get much traffic or any comments. I guess that means it wasn't a great idea or I'm really bad at marketing.

[0] - https://www.devjuncture.com -


1059 days ago, my buddy posted our project (Show HN: An open-source media hosting service that's anonymous and fast https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6189397). It's been dead over a year now, we got to the point where we had to pay for server upgrades and realized that donations hadn't improved, ad revenue was shit, and we couldn't justify paying more out of our own pockets to maintain it.

322 days ago, I posted my tiling window manager for wayland: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11224608. It's still going very well, I have thousands of users and just today was providing support in the IRC channel and talking with some contributors about features they want to implement.


Man, I'm a huge fan of your work.

I'm using sr.ht a lot ; used Knight OS and saw your TrueCraft repo somewhere a while ago.

What a great job man. Thanks for your code. :)


Thanks!


Which ad networks did you use/consider?


Project Wonderful.


Knowing what you know now, do you think using a different one would have made a difference?


Maybe. Part of the problem is that we were strict about user privacy and most ad networks felt too invasive.


These are side projects of mine. All had well-received Show HN threads (thank you), but none have really gone anywhere:

https://www.takeitapart.com TakeItApart is coasting, and not really supporting itself. We had high hopes that our easy guide creation wizard would lead to new content, but sadly it has not.

http://artfulmac.com Artful pays for itself and a little more (an extra meal or two a month), but it is in need of an update to better support El Capitan. Sadly the shift to Swift 2 broke much of the code and with my day job I haven't yet had an opportunity to dig in and fix it.

MadBlocker, my ad blocker for iOS 8 based on a hack of the VPN subsystem, worked well as a proof of concept but was completely superseded by much better as blockers made possible by iOS 9.


Since posting a month or so ago, https://trainspottr.fm has been in the daily Product Hunt top 10, is running smooth and provides a good service for a bunch of people who use it regularly.

It's not making me any money, got no funding or anything like that, but as my first full stack personal side project that I actually finished and shipped, I'm really happy that it's worked out and has real users that find it useful.


I actually first found HN in my weblogs nine years ago, when this guy called "pg" posted a link to a post-mortem I wrote up of Twiddla's accidental launch:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14389

I actually spent today working on a new document viewer for Twiddla. It has been relatively successful, with tons of happy users, but still isn't bringing in the same sort of revenue as my other bill-paying product.

Edit: Here's the "last week" link that somebody mentioned on that thread. That must have actually been the one I found in my logs (since I responded to it):

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10872


When this guy called "pg". When I first joined HN, I always wondered, who is this "pg". Then I read hackers and painters. O_O when I made the connection.


We show HN'd Baqqer https://baqqer.com/ - Community sharing, making, and crowdfunding. We're generating revenue, just have partnered with some great companies to provide more resources for inventors/makers/developers, and we're surely becoming the destination for smart makers to share their future-forward work.


This is really a great platform. I'm adding my projects now. Keep building guys!


An empty wasteland of spam. Idea was amazing, had over 10,000 user-submitted items. But years later I have no interest in maintaining it. Oops :/


What was it?


535 days ago I posted "Show HN: Go-micro" https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8895794.

Go-Micro turned into Micro - a microservice ecosystem https://micro.mu. It's primarily open source software for microservices geared at simplifying the process of building distributed systems. I'm working on it full time, have a sponsor and will be speaking at the Golang UK conference next month. Still a long road ahead but things seem to be going well so far.


I wrote a filesystem in userspace (FUSE) with authenticated authentication for self use (https://github.com/netheril96/securefs).

It got a modest number of stars now, but few from HN (mostly from Reddit, judging by how upvoted the post is).


About 2 years ago I created https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.teamtol.li... and shared it to HN and Reddit. 2 years and 300k+ downloads later it is continuously growing and just had it's largest month yet. It doesn't make enough money to quit my day job or anything but it is a fun project to work on and is something I use on a daily basis anyway. Pretty cool for my first ever Android app.


Based on screenshots, this is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks.


6 years ago I posted here that I was leaving my full-time job to work on my startup full-time. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1347464

A few pivots (and a lot of lessons learned) later and we're still kickin! We've grown to a good sized team of full-time employees now.

http://iactionable.com now focuses on real-time 'employee engagement' by leveraging gamification concepts.


Recently I launched my side project[0] via HN. However seem like not much interest on the project.

Merely 2-3 people sign up and no activity after sign up. I dont know what to do with it and now I am not motivated to improve it. :(

[0]: https://www.docsapp.io/


It might be an idea to add that there's a free tier to the Plans & Pricing section, rather than just in the FAQ. That might give an indication of what to expect from the free trial as that isn't clear.

I think you could make better use of the demo too by scrapping the placeholder text and instead using it as a 'how to' guide for the platform itself - not only would this be useful in itself for your customers, but it'd help show off what it can do. I tend to prefer demos that show the product in a real-life situation as it helps me more in understanding how I might be able to get value from it.

Also I actually find the "No Credit Card Required" a bit scary (although that could just be me) - perhaps something more like "Get Started For Free"?


Just some small feedback but since it's for developers, you might want to add authentication via Github accounts.


We launched Routific's first beta landing page 2.5 years ago: https://routific.com

It gave us a boost of initial interest and feedback, which was awesome – the effects of which I summarized here [1]

Two years after Show HN we went through Techstars. Now we are a 10-person team. Thanks HN!

[1] https://medium.com/routific/what-61-points-on-hn-did-for-my-...


~4 months ago announced http://pdf-highlighter.com/

It's a server side solution for highlighting search terms in PDF documents. Can show highlights in a web based PDF viewer (customization of PDF.js) or burn them to PDF. Supports navigation between hits. So far, most customers used it with search solutions based on Solr and dtSearch but it could be easily integrated with any search engine.

Didn't get any comments on HN but it's a profitable project otherwise.


What was the motivation to create this?


End users love it when they can open found PDF document on a page where search terms occur and when they can easily jump between matches. Very useful feature when documents have thousands of pages although some clients use it even with single page document archives.

Earlier versions of Acrobat Reader had support for term highlighting using “PDF Highlight File Format” which is XML-like file specifying word offsets in page. There are search solutions that relied on this feature but Adobe deprecated it with Acrobat Reader X.

Anyway, my solution re-enables search term highlighting in PDF and does not require any special viewer – web based viewer [1] works on both desktop and mobile web browsers. It's easy to integrate with existing search solutions and can use either Adobe's PDF highlights file as input or highlight for a search query.

[1] http://pdf-highlighter.com/docs/Highlighting_PDF_Viewer.html


I did a "Show HN" for my open source project SocketCluster http://socketcluster.io/ almost 2 and a half years ago and it got front page - Since then, I (and some cofounders) created a realtime service on top of SocketCluster https://baasil.io/. The plan is now to turn it into a scalable deployment service for realtime single-page apps.

SocketCluster itself gets between 6K and 10K downloads per month - Almost all of these are direct downloads. Some big soccer/football leagues websites use SC to broadcast results of matches in realtime, also, some education startups and some bitcoin/trading startups are using it too.

A lot has changed but I've stuck to the core mission and the project just keeps evolving to adapt to changing technologies. In terms of monetization, finding a market fit has been a slow process; ironically because underlying technologies have been moving so quickly that I didn't want to commit to the wrong tech. Recently, we have been really excited about Docker, Kubernetes and other container/orchestration software and are doing cool stuff with them.

For a while I was worried that technology would evolve in ways which would make SC irrelevant (and it looked like this for a while) but over the past couple of months it seems that the opposite is starting to happen and it looks like all the pieces are actually starting to fit together.


I eventually got what amounts to essentially a "sponsorship" to continue building my project as I see fit. It didn't come out of Show HN (I don't think I've ever gotten anything directly out of an HN contact), but it was certainly encouraging enough to get me to drive forward on the project and eventually make it what gets me the local attention I receive for it today.

My mode has changed, though. I've learned a lot in that time, and I no longer think of advertising and distribution online as a viable method for most projects. I've had far more success getting real engaged eyes on my projects by engaging people in person.

There is an adage in sales, "go to your customers." It is meant literally. Go physically to where people will not only be interested in your project, but they're also in the mood to "buy" (whatever that might mean for your project. Installing and incorporating into my daily routine a free app on a smartphone is a cost I frequently choose to avoid).

For my wife, that means the vast majority of her sci-fi novel sales have been through three book fairs in the last two years, not the 24/7 Amazon. It's mostly just a hobby for her, and it would take a lot of work to replace her current income, so we haven't done more, but there is definitely s direct correlation between effort in, sales out, which is noticeably absent online. It makes it a lot easier to continue making that effort.

For me, that means presenting at JavaScript and designer meetups.


A few years ago I posted a link to my collaborative whiteboard web app (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2886353) and got encouraging feedback.

Some five year laters, it's still very active, with some 100k monthly (free) users, and paying customers, with the (modest) revenue being poured back into development.

I had a few (5 or 6) more Show HNs over time, but those projects failed to gather outside (or keep my) interest.


About 2 years ago I posted an Open Source Firebase alternative, GUN https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9076558 . It stayed on the homepage for about 5 hours.

Since then we raised a seed round from billionaire investors like Tim Draper and Marc Benioff of Salesforce after having gone through the bitcoin/virtual-reality accelerator BoostVC (their applications are open now, message me about your startup and if it is awesome I'll try and refer it in)!

Now we're about to release a performance focused version (30M ops/sec, see https://github.com/amark/gun/wiki/100000-ops-sec-in-IE6-on-2... with a podcast by readthesource.io on how) and onboarding enterprise customers.

It has been a real honor and huge blessing. Very thankful to be able to work on Open Source full time, check it out at https://github.com/amark/gun and http://gun.js.org/ .


Just wanted to thank everyone for posting their stories. I had no idea that Show HN could have that strong of a impact on people's side projects.

I'm working on something right now, but was fully expecting it to not get any attention and just be something fun for me to work on. Now I'm thinking it could probably use a bit more polish, because maybe there is a way for it to gain visibility.


I posted about Purple Services (On-demand Gas Delivery) about a year ago.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9535989

Users + revenue has been growing quite well month over month since we launched. Our biggest hurdle now is optimizing for profit.

http://purpleapp.com


I did a Show HN for Resumonk back in 2012: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3934370

I was in college then and found making a well formatted resume a huge pain when I was applying for internships. I met my Co-Founder also via that particular post, and went full time on it after passing out of college.

We are bootstrapped, pay ourselves well and work remotely. It has helped us learn how to go about building a profitable business. Also, we have come a long way from that first iteration of the product. I was a rookie at that point and didn't have much of a clue about the software development best practices and how to write maintainable code. The learning that I got by sticking to one project has been immense.

More importantly, it is comments like these that make us super happy - https://www.resumonk.com/testimonials

Thank you HN, you helped us build a profitable business!


Quitting my day job.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2886337

I originally built Radio Silence as a Cocoa practice project. This spring, I rewrote it from scratch with all the lessons learned along the way. Now it generates enough income that I was able to quit my day job a month ago. Cool beans.


I posted the following side projects, but didn't get enough attention:

- Turkish Poncho (The first Turkish messenger bot for weather forecasts) story: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11913204 link: http://havadurumu.herokuapp.com/ comment: I wasn't expecting any new users anyway. This is only for Turkish facebook users.

- Pour – Simple and secure Azure diagnostics for C# and Node.js story: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11021606 link: http://www.trypour.com/ comment: Similar to previous project, this has a limited audience as well (Azure) I think.

I guess I need to think for bigger audiences.


In June we showed Volleyy (https://volleyy.com), a tool for responsive newsletters. Got us to the front page of product hunt, and a sizeable boost in our active user base. We are still working on growing :-)


I've posted Alephbet[0] - an open-source A/B testing framework for developers, about a year ago. A few months later, I added Gimel[1] - a redis/AWS Lambda backend for Alephbet.

I'm using it regularly to power lots of A/B tests so it's fulfilling its role, and saves us a few thousands $'s a month, so can't complain.

I would love to find collaborators and improve it, so it's a viable (open) alternative to Optimizely and VWO. But no plans other than as a side project.

[0] https://github.com/Alephbet/alephbet

[1] https://github.com/Alephbet/gimel


A year ago I posted my side project for cheap email marketing, EmailOctopus (https://emailoctopus.com)

Thousands of customers later and I'll going full time on it. Good times ahead!


In 2014, I posted a chrome extension called UX Check (http://uxcheck.co) as a Show HN. It didn't get any traction, but a month later, somebody reposted it and it hit the front page. I received an amazing amount of encouragement and support, with tons of great feedback. I rolled a lot of that feedback into an update a month or two later, and within 6 months, I had decided to leave my job to work full time on building a related product. Still working on that product and not ready to share it yet, but thank you to everyone!


In 2011 I did a Show HN for a project called StorageRoom (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2616041) and got some interesting feedback.

Five years, a name change and a complete rewrite later Contentful (https://www.contentful.com) has raised a Series B, got 70+ employees and customers ranging from Jack in the Box, Nike to Urban Outfitters.

It's been a wild ride, and it doesn't look like it's going to be over anytime soon :)


Server Check.in was posted about 4 years ago (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4901350) and is still running a profit (about 1 hour of my time per month maybe, and it gets around $2k ARR, $1k profit), though it never took off in a major way.

I'm working on a detailed 4-year summary post, which I'll post on HN soon. One of the offshoots of my work on the project, Ansible for DevOps, did (and continues to do) much better, revenue-wise!


It's used by a couple of thousand NGO workers, travellers and journalists to manage their physical and digital security ont he move (and it's free, open source).

Umbrella's lessons give you simple, practical advice on what to do and what tools to do it with – covering everything from sending a secure email to dealing with a kidnapping or conducting physical counter-surveillance. Users can mark, customise and share simple checklists for quick reminders. It also has a series of security information feeds from places like the UN and Centers for Disease Control to keep you updated on the move.

You can download Umbrella here -Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.secfirst.u... -or Amazon App Store: https://www.amazon.com/Security-First-Umbrella-made-easy/dp/... -or F-Droid Repo: https://secfirst.org/fdroid/repo (Fingerprint: 39EB57052F8D684514176819D1645F6A0A7BD943DBC31AB101949006AC0BC228) -Our code: https://github.com/securityfirst/Umbrella_android -Our code audit: https://secfirst.org/blog.html


Doesn't seem like it gained much traction on Show HN, unless I'm not finding the right submission?: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10295319


I posted a link to Deciso (https://deciso.audio/) here 10 days ago. Didn't receive many comments, but saw a spike in visitor count on that day. HN visitors were interested in clicking the link, but it would have been nice to receive more feedback (good and bad).

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11969466


I'm not epileptic or anything, but the background graphic was making me nauseous, not figuratively nauseous, but actually, physically nauseous. I couldn't make it past the nausea!

(I've never had a response like this before! Out of curiosity, I opened it up again after writing the first paragraph, and yep - waves of nausea with some not so subtle vertigo thrown in the mix!)


Nice idea. I'm surprised there aren't more services that offer this.


napster used to do this


I built a developer tool to help users validate Universal Link configuration on iOS [1]. At the time, Apple didn't have a tool to do so, so it was difficult to figure out why it wasn't working if it wasn't. They've since created one, so that's great for the community [2].

I still get consistent traffic of a few thousand hits per week, and my work has been forked by my former employer, Branch, to create their own version of the tool for iOS [3] and Android [4]. My goal wasn't really to take it anywhere, it was just something I wanted to build for the community since I spent a lot of time struggling with the set up, and saw a lot of similar struggle in the beta forums. I'm satisfied with how it turned out, and how many people used it (for instance, the several of the Cocoapods team members linked it, it's all over the forums, etc).

So, no story about how much money it made or anything, but personal satisfaction at least :)

[1] https://limitless-sierra-4673.herokuapp.com [2] https://search.developer.apple.com/appsearch-validation-tool [3] https://branch.io/resources/universal-links/ [4] https://branch.io/resources/app-indexing/


I posted http://www.scoragora.com 2 years ago (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7873348), a platform free and ad-free you can use to organize prediction contests for major sporting events (rugby and football). We launched it for the football worldcup in 2014, and we also covered the rugby worldcup last year and EURO2016 and a few smaller events (champions league, champions cup... ).

I work on it as a side project with a remote friend. We have added a lot of things (automation, architecture redesign to an API-centric mode, introduction of angular, lots of devops...). We use the project as a lab to experiment new trends and it's really rewarding for that (approx 10k users for big events, with surges of 1200+ simultaneous users which is quite challenging).

We managed to charge some companies who use it for internal constests, and it provides the money needed to cover the expenses but not much more. Still we are happy with it, lots of kind feedback from our users, and lots of learning, which is why we made it in the first place.


Shitty Listings helped us find a lot of great repeat investor buyers. We actually (probably because of the gimmicky name) got more traffic from Shitty Listings than the launch of Open Listings proper and ended up tying it into our main product -- you can now get a Shitty Feed (tm;) on openlistings.com to see only fixers.

http://www.shittylistings.com/


About 6 months ago posted a Show HN for WhenToExchange http://whentoexchange.com it shows currency exchange rates and keeps track of large price moves that make it favourable to exchange one currency for another.

Didn't receive much feedback, but still use it personally when shopping online and booking travel.


Just found this and I love it. Going to be using it a lot from now on.


A few years ago I showcased my little messaging library (http://msngrjs.com/). Since then I've used it in almost all of my projects, reworked the API multiple times, significantly increased performance and added many APIs (net functions that can do restful calls in node and browser, a merge cache and various validation helpers). It's up to 700 downloads a month on npm.

So it's gained traction and I constantly improve it since I wrote it for me a long time ago. I'm working on version 5 as we speak which is another API change but one that's going to make it far more approachable. Once version 5 is out it will become the LTS version and still stick around for a very long time.

I never get much feedback on it except for the folks at Immuta who used it quite a bit. I wish I got really any feedback but since it's written by me and for me it ultimately doesn't matter much (though I would love to improve it for others).


I posted about our small medical app about 6 years ago. So far we've been,

1. Started a company around the medical apps (http://www.medicaljoyworks.com)

2. Managed to create a revenue stream and released more than 12 apps in the medical education field (Some completely new apps and some sub specialty apps of the original app idea)

3. Employed several full time people through out the years - in four different countries.

4. Our apps have been downloaded more than ~4 million times and been in the top ten medical apps around the world continuously.

5. Have been featured in many prominent blogs and medical college study guides (Also few research papers on medical education using gamification and pilot programs from universities)

6. Released more than 600 case studies in English and Spanish. (We are on the process of translating everything into French, Italian and Portuguese).

7. Doing quite good on revenue/profit and about ~200 content creators are working for us on contract basis right now.


About 3 years ago I posted regarding a new style of text editor better suited for motion sensors/multi-touch (called 'Tiled Text').

Unfortunately, I posted it before I really wanted to because I got Type I diabetes and had increased medical expenses and couldn't afford to get by working at a grocery store anymore. So, the posting served as a pretty effective way of getting a sort of resume out. It ended up on the front page for a good while, and was generally well received, and has landed me a couple of good jobs—but I do regret that I haven't returned to it since (though I do now have another project of a similar nature).

Project page (with video): http://westoncb.com/projects/tiledtext

HN posting: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5306155


I hit the front page with "Where is who is hiring hiring?" [0]

I got my current job through it and from time to time I still get "thank you" emails from random people telling me it helped them get a job too - a really good feeling (:

[0] http://whereis-whoishiring-hiring.me


Almost exactly a year ago, I posted my side-project Faqt (https://www.faqt.co) and I’m happy to say that it’s still going strong to this day. In fact, we not only have users, but we are doing our biggest ever release in a few weeks.

Originally, I posted Faqt as a personal knowledge base and it spent most of the day on the front page and led us to currently having a couple thousand users and a few well-known startups beta testing our team accounts. In a few weeks, we are re-launching Faqt as a team knowledge base. If anyone wants to get notified when we do our big release, feel free to email me at hello@faqt.co and we’ll make sure to get you guys in. We’re really excited for what’s coming next and a lot of that is due to the Hacker News community and the fantastic feedback we've been getting throughout the last year. Thanks guys - you’ve been awesome!


I submitted my book http://devmarketing.xyz 237 days ago. ;)

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10538970

I just checked the stats: it's sold 2,442 copies, and earned over $60,000 in revenue.


I launched https://neocities.org about three years ago on HN. It's still going strong. I strongly believe the site would not have taken off without going viral on HN. That initial boost put things in the right trajectory for orbit.

Seriously, thank you. It was really helpful.


So glad the project is still going strong! Still waiting eagerly for more transparency reports like: http://blog.neocities.org/open-company-progress-report-2014....

(Apart from keeping the free and open html+css web of old alive, I think this part is the most interesting thing about the whole project. A large reason for why I've donated in the past - and I'd be surprised if that doesn't go for some other donors as well).

Keep up the good work!


I had a NULL result :)

400+ upvotes, 50k+ traffic and lots of comments. Tool posted: http://gradient.quasi.ink/

Zero freelancing request, few twitter followers and many adrenalin rushes :) At least I can cross out the 'get to front page of HN' from my bucket list.


I posted my webapp ( http://nask.co ) twice: https://news.ycombinator.com/from?site=nask.co , received only 1 comment. I also posted it to reddit, but didn't have many comments.

While people find it interesting, I don't have any users, only bots visit it, until I post something here or there. Guess the webapp is not useful, the UX/UI is not good, the voices are not good, the domain name is terrible... I don't really know. I lost interest/motivation and just left it running.

Finally, I open sourced the Go library used by my project: https://github.com/pqyptixa/tts2media . AFAIK, no one uses it.


Do use it yourself? :) I tried it and it worked but I didn't know what I should use it for.


Well, I made the project for fun and to learn, so yeah, I do use it.

I've thought of some uses:

- to share voice messages, as a sort of "anonymous vocaroo"

- since you can add voices to videos or images, could be used to add a description to an image, or even make "voice memes", for example

and a few other uses that I can't remember right now.


Sorry, voices are a bit too terrible


I guess. I'm using espeak and picotts, and yeah, the default voices are terrible.

I'd have to pay for better voices, but I have no money.


1345 days ago I posted about a C JSON library I wrote [0]. Since then I've added lots of features (serialization), fixed even more bugs (often found by someone else) and learned to say no to pull requests. It became surprisingly popular and I'm still maintaining it, adding features and fixing bugs from time to time. It feels great to know that people are using a tool you wrote and I've learned a lot about writing robust code and designing APIs thanks to it. It also helped me get my current job, so I've also benefited financially from it.

Here's a direct link to github: https://github.com/kgabis/parson

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4709169


I have posted both Standard Resume [0] and Amplitude [1]. Neither received much feedback or traffic from Hacker News, but Standard Resume was added to Product Hunt [2] by someone else and got substantial traffic and signups.

Standard Resume now has over 15k users and is still growing with only minor updates and fixes based on feedback. It doesn't make any money.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9513076 [1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11846574 [2] https://www.producthunt.com/tech/standard-resume


I somewhat launched https://logvoo.com from a post on HN a while back and it's growth has been pretty steady so far. My other projects are still bootstrapping it at this stage but so far am seeing about 40% growth per week.


I showed ngxtop [0] about 2 years ago as a top inspired tool to quickly check the status of my nginx servers, something I created for my need. I expected some people would find it useful and shared, turned out a lot of people need something to monitor their nginx servers and it got 3k stars in a day or two. So I built a much better tool to help monitor nginx and sell it as a product, Luameter [1]. It didn't take off like the other but now making a couple hundreds a month and being used by some high-profile users, i.e. well-known companies.

[0] https://github.com/lebinh/ngxtop [1] https://luameter.com/


Scrolling on luameter.com is broken in mobile Safari. Just FYI.


My Show HN project: https://pingli.st/

So far saw only minor interest. I have been slowly improving it since I posted it on HN.

But it is not profitable yet so I am focusing on my full time job and only spending evenings now and then on Pinglist.


22 days ago, got just 6 points for a high performance java dataframe. Today had 30 unique visitors on github: https://github.com/lwhite1/tablesaw. Good thing i have a day job :)


Looks cool, do you have an online demo/sandbox?


Not yet. There is some documentation at jtablesaw.wordpress.com. I plan to publish a Beaker Notebook with an extended example pretty soon. If you're not familiar with Beaker it's like an Jupyter data-science notebook, but supports Java. https://pub.beakernotebook.com/publications


https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hacker-news-client/id9394542... - iOS HN Client, currently #1 in the US App Store


I used your app in the past. I love the design; my only gripe (and what ultimately caused me to uninstall) was being unable to sign into my HN account. Other than that, great job with it.


FWIW I think Boreal is the greatest ios app for HN. It has great features like filters and comment collapsing. Also allows commenting, voting and publishing.

http://getboreal.com/?ckattempt=1


The official API doesn't support logging in sadly yet. When it does I'll add that functionality immediately.


About a year ago I have launched http://rationalfiction.io (a platfirm for publishing hard sci-fi). I'm still working on it, it's growing gradually, slow but steady. 900+ users by now.

A few months ago I have launched http://lumiverse.io (a website where you can publish and discover educational videos). Since the launch I had other priorities, so the traffic slowly trickled down, now it's consistently at around 100 visitors per day. I'm planning to get back to it soon with new ideas and improvements, hopefully it will take off.


A couple years ago I posted https://github.com/kyleterry/tenyks and it gained about 150 stars. It's a service oriented IRC bot that was backed by redis pubsub (now zeromq pubsub). You can write commands and services to handle messages in any language.

I wish I've had more time to spend on it, but work and has been draining. I really want to build a saas around it with docker to see how people respond to it and use it. I should dedicate some time to this.

Sorry about the above text, I'm on my phone and it keeps autocorrecting >_<.


May I ask why you switched from Redis PubSub to ZeroMQ?


https://github.com/saucelabs/isign posted about 5 months ago. It's a reimplementation of Apple's app signing, that works on non-Apple platforms.

For a while it felt like nobody cared, but the minute I went on vacation we started getting some good contributions, mostly from the sideloading community. Although I'm not very familiar with that world. Lately facing some challenges with iOS 10. We know roughly what the changes are, but I'm at the point where I guess I have to provide things like a roadmap.


Also have one project on autopilot.

It's a set of Automator workflows for text manipulation in OS X apps https://github.com/vmdanilov/TextFlow. It had a warm welcome on HN https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9585115. Since that time it collected 486 stars on Github.

Happy to know that people still find it useful.

BTW, donations don't work for projects this small. But that was rather an experiment to prove what I've heard.


Got an HN reader as a side project ( https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8809477 ) and I got some users daily, which pushed me to rewrite the whole thing after a year and keep updating it since then.

It's an excellent way for me, to experiment with things and learn on something that other people see/use ( to keep you responsible in some way ).

Most weird thing is that, although I now have at least 100 unique visits every day, no one gives any feedback, positive or negative. Don't know how to interpret that...


PeerGym is still going on strong, increasing traffic every month, now with reviews and gym edits!

I'm still able to run a hobby instance on heroku because it's all on Phoenix Elixir. Very happy with it as a fun pet project.

www.peergym.com


I got hired to do some VC you have heard about websites and http://angularattack.com/ contest and others after showing http://umbrellajs.com/ (and after http://picnicss.com/ ) on the front page. It was really awesome, since it was almost the only email I got from the Show HN, but also a great opportunity.


I've used Picnic CSS in a project I've been working on. I sent you an email about a bug I've found and have another bug to share if you're interested!


Yes! But please send it/them to http://github.com/picnicss/picnic , in my email it might slip away


This is not software but 2+ years ago I have redesigned the Microsoft employee badges: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7254786

Today 120,000+ Microsoft employees and vendors are wearing the employee badges I designed: http://www.geekwire.com/2015/the-new-microsoft-even-the-blue... :)


I love the new badges. They are very well designed and sleek. Good job.


554 days ago, I posted about Commodore Clicker: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8806169

It didn't get any traction, and I haven't had time to work on it since, but I still run into people from time to time who say they've enjoyed a quick game. It still stands as a high-point in my technical achievement, as a full emulation of the interface between the Commodore 64 and its disk drive, all in JavaScript.

Didn't find a way to monetize, though.


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