I'm Ben Lang, Head of Community at Notion. AMA πŸ‘‡
Ben Lang
80 replies
Back in 2018, I launched Notion Pages on Product Hunt, it was the #2 product of the week. Shortly after, I joined Notion to support the community. Our community has written books about Notion, created mascots, hosted hundreds of events, started full-time businesses around Notion, and much more. Many of the highest-ranking products on Product Hunt in the past two years have been Notion templates. Going back in time, Notion launched on Product Hunt in 2016 as one of the most upvoted products of all time. More than 20 million people use Notion today. I was user #1880 on Product Hunt and I've hunted more than 360 products. AMA!
Replies
Hi Ben! I am curious, how did you manage to explain what Notion was in its early days? I mean, I use Notion, but at it was difficult for me at the beginning to understand what was it (and to be honest, I am still missing 95% of its potential!) What I mean, how did you start communicating its value proposition?
Share
@ivan_fanego This is something we think about a lot. Candidly, early on, the best way to describe our value was to talk about how Notion combined the functionality of many other tools together - this is a common way just to anchor a product in people's minds. As collaboration tools have become more critical for all teams, this messaging has evolved and become more sophisticated. Today, we call Notion collaboration software, and when it comes to value props, we underscore the benefits of speed and alignment that get unlocked when people have the ability to tailor their own tools to fit their needs. Still, though, the most helpful description tends to be the one that just says outright that it combines docs, wikis, and project management in a single, customizable space.
Share
@benln Thanks a lot. The value of the analogy (docs, wikis, and project management) is underrated hehe.
Share
Co-Founder & CCO @yodel.io
Hi Ben! Wat I'm curious about is - why do you think Notion has such an impact on the Product Hunt community? What are the common similarities within the community that Notion received such wide positive responses? Cheers!
Share
@ninayodel Hi Nina! I think there are a few reasons Notion has resonated strongly with the Product Hunt community - You can build powerful tools/products - It's quick and easy to build - There's a growing ecosystem of early adopters using Notion The team and I have been amazed to see so many talented makers here launching template packs, individual templates, and apps built on Notion ✨
Share
Open to hunting. SEO. Love to engage.
@ninayodel @benln Wow. Great explanation, Ben.
Share
CEO, FrontWork
Hi Ben! Love what you’re doing at Notion. What tip would give you founders starting a community today?
Share
@eliezer_steinbock1 Hi Eliezer πŸ‘‹ First, try to understand what exactly your core users want. - Where could you provide value - What could they learn from each other - What could they learn from you - What do they love about your product Set up as many calls with your early fans and users to build this framework together.
Share
Open to hunting. SEO. Love to engage.
Notion is really amazing. Hope so I will create something valuable of it. Let's see.
Share
I help SaaS founders get to revenue
@atulghorpade I really like that this product enabled loads of solo makers test ideas quicker.
Share
Open to hunting. SEO. Love to engage.
Hi Ben πŸ‘‹ Can you pick a project you've been involved in that you're especially proud of?
Share
@roiziko Hey Roi! I'm quite proud of International Hummus Day http://hummusday.com. It's been a lot of fun seeing so many people celebrate hummus over the years.
Share
Hi Ben I love notion and would like to get some tips as I started my community management career in Premast. How could you keep the flow of the community and how to increase members number .. Thanks in advance and your help is appreciated
Share
@donia_ahmed I'd highly recommend checking out communities and resources for community managers, there are some great ones - https://www.community.club/ - https://www.community.club/c-school - https://cmxhub.com/
Share
@benln thank you so much
Share
Product Marketing Director at Weaveworks
Ben please do ask how your Product Marketing colleagues manage their remit with Notion and, hey, if they want to open their templates that would help any product marketer big time! πŸ˜‰
@jordimonpmm Hey Jordi! I don't quite know what you mean by remit?
Share
Product Marketing Director at Weaveworks
@benln Me neither, to be fair. I'm on holidays and probably switched all systems off. I just want to know how Product Marketing at Notion uses Notion templates and workspaces internally. That's all.
Share
@jordimonpmm Ah good question! Have you seen this post? https://www.notion.so/blog/how-n... We share how we use Notion at Notion.
Share
Product Marketing Director at Weaveworks
@benln Thanks! I did. It's not specific enough. I'm thinking of message houses, positioning frameworks and stuff like that that typically product marketers manage and update.
@jordimonpmm Got it! Will share with our blog team, that would be fantastic material for a future post.
Share
Popwork co-founder
Hi Ben, when did you feel that Notion had the right product market feel? What was the key difference vs what you had before?
Share
@johann_molinari That's a great question! I joined Notion after we had product market fit, so I missed that part of the company growth. I will investigate and see what I can find out πŸ•΅οΈ
Share
Popwork co-founder
@benln thanks for the AMA and any info you can get on this! Super useful and interesting
@johann_molinari Thanks Johann! Appreciate it.
Co-founder @ Wonderpath
Hi Ben πŸ‘‹ I’m a big fan of Notion and the engagement of the community is really impressive! How do the very early days of community building look like and what are key points founders/ community builders should keep in mind as they’re growing them? This is particularly interesting from the angle of product+community (eg Notion community) vs. community as a product company (eg Product Hunt). Many thanks!
Share
@dafnihnd Hi Dafni, I'd say having as many conversations as possible would be tremendously valuable early on. Talk to power users, anyone who's really excited about what you're building and try to understand: - What do they love about your product - What kind of value are you unlocking for them - How could they learn more from you and other users As you understand and learn more, you could start to build a framework to grow your community.
Share
Co-founder @ Wonderpath
@benln thanks, Ben! We recently starting onboarding our users via short 1-1 calls and collect so much valuable feedback. These are some great questions to bring into these conversations.
Share
Ben, hi Thank you so much for doing this, congrats on the incredible work. For early-stage startups that want to build communities, what are the: - top 3 do, - top 3 donΒ΄t - 3 main differences between B2B & B2C communities - what stack would you use today to build a community Thank you! _SMB
Share
Director of Marketing @ RAEK
@sofia_de_mello_barreto Commenting because I definitely want to see this answer.
Share
@sofia_de_mello_barreto @dawn_veltri1 Hi Sofia! Good question! Do - Talk to your power users, get to know them - Listen to what your users want, empower them - Test and iterate all the time Don't - Force adoption of a certain tool without getting feedback - Try to do everything yourself, outsource/delegate where possible - Move too slowly Differences - Platforms, where users hang out - Purpose of connection with others Tools I love - Notion πŸ™ƒ - Swagup - Zapier - Slack - Commsor - Luma
Share
Working on creating a profitable SaaS
Hey Ben. Notion's got diamond hands! Was curious how Notion got its first 100 users? And what was the main value proposition at that time?
Share
@gouthamj That's a great question! I wasn't working at Notion at that time, so I'd be curious to find out as well. Will investigate πŸ•΅οΈ
Share
Digital Marketer at Sembly AI πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’»
Hi Ben! Two short questions :) 1) What is your longest "day streak" on PH? 2) When Notion team accidentally release promo code for startups (1500$) on public, what was your strategy to communicate with a community?
Share
@kpyto 1) Good question, I don't know! Is there a way to check? If I had to guess, 50+ days 2) Our Customer Experience team did a fantastic job communicating with our users when that happened. It was definitely a learning experience for everyone involved!
Share
Engineer, Product, athlete, indie hacker
Hi Ben. Can you give us any solid time lines for offline mode and faster search? Nearly every week I entertain looking for a Notion alternative. I can't use Notion on the plane. I can't use it in a grocery store with bad cell coverage and no Wifi. I can't use it in a train with no Wifi. And search is honestly one of the worst search experiences out of all the products I use. Each search takes 3-5 seconds, Notion ignores standard search notation like "exact match" and -don't include. Please I am looking for an olive branch. :) Thanks!
@joshdance Hi Joshua, I'm so sorry to hear that and I feel your pain. The same things happen to me, so I totally get it. I wish I could give you a solid timeline, but unfortunately I don't have one to share. Our engineering team is working hard to make Notion a better experience for everyone, hope you can stick with us 🀞
πŸš€ Built zcal to make scheduling personal
What platforms did you use initially to build a community? Any recommendations for starters (esp. in B2C space)?
@saurabhc We took a different approach and saw our users launching their own communities early on, you can find the list here https://www.notion.so/community They exist on Facebook, Slack, Telegram, Reddit, Discord, all over!
Share
YouTuber, Notion Nerd
Hey Ben! I'd love to know the story behind how Notion decided on a productivity approach in the beginning with respect to marketing, since the tool can be a lot more flexible than that!
Share
@tomfrankly Hey Thomas, great to see you here! Your content and everything you do in the Notion community is a big part of what I love so much about working at Notion :) That's a good question, I don't actually think we focused primarily on marketing to productivity oriented users, I think it just happened to resonate very strongly with productivity folks and in related communities. If you look at our website, the Solutions pages are Design, Engineering, Product, Managers, Startups, Students, Remote. Would be very curious to hear why you think Notion has resonated so much for productivity focused people.
Thank you for making Nitro #4 on PH! πŸš€
Hi Ben! When one works on something for several years, it often happens that one gets kind of bored with it. Could you share what keeps you excited after working with Notion for several years? And also, what makes you excited about hunting products here on PH? I am one of those people who failed to get you as a hunter (sorry if I mentioned that several times today πŸ˜‡), but I am really interested, why it keeps being interesting to be a hunter. The platform goes through changes, the person (hunter) changes... Would be cool to hear about your motivation ✌
@margarita_s88 Hi Margarita! That's a great question, I think with Notion it comes to down to the product and community. I love using Notion, I think it's a revolutionary product and it keeps getting better. And I love the community, I'm so inspired by everyone involved in the Notion ecosystem, it really blows my mind each day when I wake up. As for Product Hunt, I generally hunt things I'm excited about using myself. I often miss things, but I try my best! So sorry for not hunting your product.
Share
Thank you for making Nitro #4 on PH! πŸš€
@benln thank you for your reply, Ben. That's awesome that the product keeps you excited. In fact, I encountered many Notion plans for a Product Hunt launch and I thought to myself - hey, this Notion looks great, I can probably use it too! Just need to give me some time about what it can do :) Interesting product and inspiring community - what a great mix! Appreciate your comment on why you launch certain products :) I know you receive lots of messages about PH launches daily - so I wasn't surprised I didn't get a reply. But we did end up getting to #4 Product of the day on Monday - even without a hunter, so I am happy anyway πŸ˜€
Share
@margarita_s88 Very happy to hear you ended up as #4, that's wonderful!
Share
I help SaaS founders get to revenue
Which things ruin community when it has between 50 and 1000 people?
@denis_shatalin I think growing it too fast could be pretty damaging. It really does depend on what kind of community it is and what the goals are.
Product Manager of Appsedia
Hey Ben, I wondered what kind of tools you are using on your day-to-day basis to stay up to date and connected to your community?
@exnerfelix A few of my favorites - Notion πŸ™ƒ (example - https://www.notion.so/community) - Swagup - Zapier - Slack - Commsor - Luma
Building Pensil
Managing & Growing a community is a skill, Please can share some of the key points to remember while starting a community.
Launching πŸš€ No-Code DataOps Product!
Nice to meet you @benln ! Most of my questions are already asked by others, I would just say hi and tell you that you guys have build a wonderful product and amazing community!
@kapilgadhire Thank you so much Kapil! It's great to meet you here :)