from total bust to #1 on Hacker News in under 24 hours

In inspiration, motivation, upside by Jay Clouse

This past week, Eric and I released the second issue of our digital publication, the update. The update is a quarterly publication of editorials, trends, and stories happening outside of Silicon Valley — following in the same vein as our podcast, upside.

It takes quite a bit of work to produce. We source and edit editorials from guest contributors, write our own editorials, do a cover story about a companies that has been on the show, and curate a lot of articles specific to the region.

So when it’s time to launch, we have high expectations.

We received a lot of encouragement and buzz when we released the first issue in March, and we expected this one to be even bigger.

So when launch day came, we took to Twitter, and asked some of our supporters to share the word. Here’s how that went, comparatively…

…not great.

Why would things be so quiet? Why weren’t our known supporters being, well, supportive?

We chatted about it in Slack that night, and Eric addressed the elephant in the room.


The next morning, I was off recording interviews with one of our interns when I noticed my phone blowing up. I was literally talking to the co-founder and CTO of Root Insurance about long-term thinking and how important it was to creating content when I saw this email:


Eric had shared Kevin McArdle’s editorial about remote work on Hacker News, and on just his second day having an account, it went to #1.

It stayed in the top 5 for several hours and on the front page just about all day, currently sitting with over 450 comments.

What does that look like on our side?

It’s crazy what a platform and distribution can do in a short amount of time.

So why do I tell you all this? It’s not to brag, but to show you just how thin the margin between success and failure can be.

Eric and I could have very easily chalked it up as a failure and walked away from issue two with our tail between our legs or even dropped the initiative entirely.

Instead, we kept at it and kept putting ourselves out there. Was the content bad, or was it just not hitting at the right time? In a world of information, it’s hard to break through the noise.

I’ll be the first to say that we got lucky. First and foremost, credit goes to Kevin for writing a great piece. Eric did a lot of research on good timing for making a post and how to structure the headline, but his account had zero karma.

We got a little lucky.

But you only get lucky when you’re putting yourself out there. If you’re not going to go out and tell the world about the thing you made, no one else will do it for you.

So get out there and bark.


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