Product Hunt is about to borrow a page from Reddit’s playbook as the influential product recommendation site is set to launch its own take on the “Ask Me Anything” Q&A format long embraced by Reddit and its various high-profile guests.
Product Hunt Live, the site’s new Q&A series, goes live today with an impressive roster of notable names already lined up to be grilled by members of the Product Hunt community. Tristan Walker, Dave McClure, Nas, and Ashton Kutcher are just a few of the people already slated on the Product Hunt Live schedule. And given the reach and influence of the still-young site, we fully expect to see other big names announced before long.
“Product Hunt Live is really an extension of what’s been happening and a key part of what brings people back to the site each day to hear the backstory directly from people building the products that we use or appreciate,” says Product Hunt cofounder and CEO Ryan Hoover.
Rather than enlisting movie stars and politicians to answer questions, Product Hunt Live is going to skew heavily toward the types of creators whose work is featured on the site every day. Although people like celebrity life coach Tony Robbins and The Office star B.J. Novak will be fielding questions in the weeks to come, the Q&A sessions will also feature everyday startup founders, developers, and other people responsible for bringing new products into the world.
In essence, Product Hunt Live is taking something that already happens organically on Product Hunt–real-time discussions of the apps, tools, and other products featured there–and brings it under a more formal banner, throwing in some recognizable names to help draw a crowd.
If borrowing the live Q&A format long employed by other sites seems unoriginal, consider that there’s little to Product Hunt’s functionality–post submission, up-voting, real-time user comments–that purports to be original. What makes the site a must-visit for so many people aren’t the buttons on its interface, but the real live human beings behind each of the avatars there. Hoover and his team have managed to build out an unusually civil, thoughtful, and influential community that surfaces quality, usable recommendations without becoming a breeding ground for spam or trolls. The daily conversations on the site routinely feature prominent figures in the startup world. For the startups themselves, rising to the top of Product Hunt has become a coveted part of a successful launch strategy, often accompanied by a surge in users, a flood of valuable feedback, and even the occasional investor or developer.
In recent months, Product Hunt has expanded into new, more specific verticals like gaming and books. While Hoover says they plan on continuing with this expansion strategy, evidently the need to more formally cultivate the site’s ongoing Q&A activity became a bigger priority than moving into another category, be it music recommendations or fitness app rankings.