1/ I was in college during the last recession, and yet I was inspired to do a startup partially because @TechCrunch introduced me to cool products everyday.

Then @ProductHunt swooped in and took over as the place to discover new products. What I think happened, a thread:

1a/ Alt headline: Why @ycombinator startups don't launch on @TechCrunch anymore
2/ Back in 2007 when I started following startups, my peers at @stanford mostly didn't care. The economy was shit. People were getting laid off. Google was the only game in town. Facebook wasn't exciting yet. Only 5% of my class got a CS degree, compared to 17% a decade later.
3/ The blogosphere was like the best of Twitter today. Vibrant and independent voices sharing all kinds of wonderful ideas. Bloggers I read back in the day: @avc @om @bfeld @scobleizer @andrewchen @paulg
4/ For someone excited by tech products that could change the world, the go-to blog was @techcrunch, started by @arrington with writers like @erickschonfeld @jasonkincaid @mg. TC covered startups close to their inception, when few saw the potential.
5/ The articles often came with skepticism and snark, but they weren't cynical. Tech was niche and nerdy, and the writers were geeks at heart. This was before The Social Network movie, before Big Tech, before unicorns and founder worship.
6/ In my YC S2010 batch, @paulg was re-drawing the famous "Trough of Sorrow" graph on the whiteboard. Look closely, the first phase was called the “TechCrunch of Initiation.” At the time, almost every YC startup would launch on TC as their first exposure to the world.
7/ Instead of TC, it felt like a big risk launching my first startup on @Mashable. I asked PG to email Mashable for us, he did, but told me he had a bad feeling because TC was the standard. (Our customers read Mashable so it worked out. Thx @benparr).
8/ Then tech grew up. More companies got valued in the billions, faster, and we started calling them "unicorns." Facebook got flack for its effect on society, Twitter enabled revolutions, Uber flouted regulation. Tech has power and influence in the real world now. FAANG.
9/ TechCrunch transformed from bloggers to journalists, and joined everyone in scrutinizing tech's influence. Power should be checked, but that became the dominant sentiment. Also, casual readers love scandals way more than tiny, insignificant projects.
10/ Around this time, I started @Upbeat_PR to help small startups get media attention without paying gobs of money to PR agents. We (auto-magically) pitched thousands of stories for hundreds of startups, and it was hard to get TechCrunch (or anyone) to cover your launch.
11/ The only place for startups to get that initial boost of attention was @ProductHunt, which @rrhoover started in late 2013 as an email newsletter. He described it as "a community to share, discover, and geek out about products."
12/ The timing was just right. As the media soured on startups and as bloggers became journalists, @rrhoover became a beacon of optimism by bringing makers and product geeks together to dream about cool, unproven products.
13/ This is important because startups are fragile endeavors. Most startups fail. To have a shot, startups need oxygen in the form of user feedback to iterate towards something that matters.
14/ But how do you get feedback when you can't get attention? Who do you "launch" to when you don't know who wants this thing? Your best bet is the generic "product geek." BTW, the best VCs are also product geeks. They know to ask, “what could go right”?
15/ TechCrunch covered startups like they could go right. Now that role is played by the community @ProductHunt. As we enter a recession, we NEED more people to rally around new projects and give the oxygen they need to build our way back. We need more places like @ProductHunt
16/ Annnnd yes this is not just a love letter to product geeks. I just launched the new @flowdotclub Lounge on @ProductHunt today, and I'm asking you to go check it out:

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Great thread. The tone has shifted from optimism and curiosity to cynicism and dismissiveness. It’s not all the “media’s” fault. It’s a broader cultural failure, and perhaps inevitable for anything that has as substantial influence or impact.