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Tales from the other side of the Hacker News front page

Β· 7 min read
crul team

First off, we're so grateful to all of you who took the time to read our Hacker News post and try out crul. It's our 1.0.x, and we had no idea what to expect, seeing so many of you jump in has really fueled our spirit.

We know we have a lot to improve, but we hope you found it useful and intriguing. We could really use your help in understanding more about your use cases, and what interested you about crul.

Alright, let's go back in time and behind the scenes. 🎞️

Tuesday February 21st 10AM:

We call off our planned launch and decide to push it a week. Why? Nic becomes convinced we shouldn't let potential Windows and Linux users out to dry. Carl agrees. Native binaries could be tough, but a docker image? - possible. Let's give it a shot. After all, you only launch (for the first time) once - YOL(FTFT)O?

Our new launch date? One week from now - February 28th, 8AM. ⏰

Wednesday February 22nd, 3PM:

First successful build of our docker image! 🐳 Lots of tweaks and CICD still needed, but we are now feeling good about our planned release date. Carl adds in some nice enhancements to our query bar command suggest section and clears up a few long standing bugs with the query bar.

Friday February the 24th, 6PM:

Both our docker and Mac OS 1.0.3 builds are done, we upload and start to tie up loose ends on the homepage and enhancing documentation. 🏁

Saturday February the 25th, 9AM:

Our account page looks pretty ... rough. Before you all saw it, it was just 4 big ugly purple buttons, it gets the job done, but we can make it look better. Carl calls for a refresh. 🧼

By the end of the day it's looking much more polished. Nice work!

Meanwhile we are tweaking our post for Hacker News, we want it to sound like it’s coming from us, two engineers who love what they are building, but figuring things out as we go. πŸ—ΊοΈ

Sunday February 26th, 9AM:

Today we'll run end to end tests, proofread things (far from done - we're still catching things!), keep adding documentation, examples, etc. Get a little rest as well, we hope to have a big week ahead. πŸ›οΈ

Monday February 27th, 10AM:

There's something up with upgrades, it's inconsistent but does fail sometimes. Ouch! 😱 Nic spends most of the day diagnosing, no luck. We decide to move forward, we'll fix it in time for the next upgrade.

Tuesday February 28th, 7AM:

We're up early, at least for Nic, Carl likes to get the worm. πŸͺ± Just getting everything in place ahead of submitting.

Tuesday February 28th, 8AM:

Submit! Post a message to our Slack, "Hey check this out - we're on Hacker News!"

Major OOPS, stay tuned. β­•

Tuesday February 28th, 9:30AM:

Hm, we're still in shownew, it's been an hour and a half, we haven't moved to the show section of HN, which is just a click off the home page and should get us a little more traffic. We've got (~7) upvotes and a comment? What's going on? 😬

We draft an email for dang/Hacker News.

Tuesday February 28th, 10:10AM:

We get a response from HN, we screwed up badly by posting to our slack channel, just a couple quick upvotes from our slack friends and we are flagged. We really screwed up here, but fortunately, it's not egregious, and we get a second chance. 🀭🀭🀭

I can't iterate enough, do NOT post the link to your HN post after submission! It's clearly outlined not to solicit upvotes or comments, but we took this too literally. We convinced ourselves that a simple "Hey check this out - we're on Hacker News!" did not explicitly solicit interaction, but, of course, it goes against the spirit of the submission rules - we were dumb and lucky, don't make the same mistake!

Tuesday February 28th, 10:15AM:

We hit the show section, traffic starts coming in, upvotes start coming in, comments start coming in.


Tuesday February 28th, 10:30AM:

We're getting good steady traffic for the first time - ever? So exciting, we're glued to the post and our traffic metrics! We also get on the front page!!! 🀩

Tuesday February 28th, 2:00PM:

Still in the 15-25 rank range on the home page, lots of discussion, sign ups and inbound, it's exciting but nerve-wracking. 😹

Tuesday February 28th, 8:00PM:

Still (!) in the 15-25 rank range on the home page, still (!) steady traffic and downloads, we are so thrilled. We're adding tickets to our backlog like crazy based off of what we are hearing back. 😊

Wednesday February 29th, 8:00AM:

Can't fully remember if we were still on the front page 24 hours later, but we're pretty sure - it's a bit of a blur and I doubt either of us slept well from the excitement. The post is still doing well, we are still getting traffic and plenty of sign ups. 🚘

Wednesday February 29th, 10:00AM:

Responding to tickets and questions and trying to wrap our heads around how to figure out what people found cool about crul, and whether it lived up to their expectations. πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

|| timestamp (Present day)

The last week has been a whirlwind πŸŒ€, and it is still ongoing now as our sign ups keep ticking up. We hope you enjoyed a little taste of the behind the scenes. 🎬

What's next?​

We've bootstrapped crul and are excited to continue developing it into our larger vision, but we truly need your help. We built what we wanted to build, what we thought was cool and interesting and powerful, but now we could really use your perspective. πŸ‘€

What did/do you want to do with crul? Were you able to? What made sense, what was confusing? Would you be willing to share your thoughts here?

We would also love to chat with you, and if you've got 15 minutes to tell us your thoughts and maybe hear some epic stories from Carl, you'll be first in line for a commemorative "i used crul before it was cool" mug! β˜•

Lastly, if you have an enterprise use case, we would love to collaborate with you as a design partner. We're a lot of fun to work with, dedicated, and care deeply about solving your problems. Hell, we'll probably make it free if you ask nicely! πŸ˜‰

TLDR; Launched on Hacker News, did well, was exciting, now what? Help us out?

Stumbling along as we go,

Nic and Carl (Founders of Crul, Inc.)