Community first. Product second.

Published on
March 9th, 2021
Maker Grant recipient Sharath Kuruganty is a community builder in the fullest sense. He told us why he believes community is so important.
Anyone who proclaims the importance of community has a breadcrumb trail to prove it. Sharath Kuruganty, one of our latest Maker Grant recipients, does. He has been an active part of the Product Hunt community and the maker community at large — hunting great products, tweeting words of encouragement, and uplifting other makers. He’s launched eight products on Product Hunt to date and Shoutout is his latest.

Shoutout makes it incredibly easy to tap into your existing social proof and turn it into a beautiful "Wall of Love." Here’s what Sharath had to share about it and what he’s learned so far.

What was your inspiration behind Shoutout?

Most of my projects start with a question: "What if this platform exists?" and Shoutout started the same way! I'm an active Twitter user who gets a lot of shoutouts from the community, so I had this thought: what if I curate all my shoutouts under one place. I immediately shared the idea with my friend KP who instantly said it was great, and that gave me a solid boost to take the idea from zero to one!

What was the first step you took in building Shoutout?

Being a no-code maker, I quickly shipped a landing page within 24hrs after getting the idea and launched it on Twitter. The LP consists of a hook, why people should care, how it works, what's there for them. I got 120+ signups in a few hours after launch, and the community validated the idea quickly by sharing their love and support on Twitter.

What has been your biggest challenge as a Maker?

I'm not a copywriter, so to me, writing copy for my projects [and] marketing campaigns has always been a challenge. The only way I'm dealing with it is by taking actions that make me 1% better every day. I honestly believe incremental actions deliver exponential results.

What has been your biggest reward?

I get to work on something I love, share it with the world, and in that process, interact with an amazing community. There is so much joy in doing that, and that drive keeps me going.

What are your next steps for Shoutout?

Curtis and I are heads-down working on some amazing features that will help creators [and] startups leverage the social proof they get on Twitter. We are also focusing on growth that includes user acquisition and activation. Currently, we are sitting on $600 MRR, and our customers include startups like Village Global, On Deck, Knowable, and creators like Lenny Rachitsky and Julian Shapiro. So stay tuned for some exciting updates.

Words of wisdom that can you share for Makers looking to get started?

I leave two pieces of advice I preach and live:

Build community first and then products. I realized this a little late, but it is so important to have a community around you. Start a newsletter, curate content, share your lessons, and more importantly, create value for others. Make sure you bring the community along with you in your journey.

Build many small products before building a startup. Naval Ravikant tweeted about it, and I lived it by shipping 10+ projects as a maker. Start building these products by looking within, find problems you have, and solve them. The last step to close that loop is launching on Product Hunt. You will learn so many lessons like talking to customers, iterating, validating, gathering feedback, and everything else that requires you to start a startup.

Lastly, have fun doing all the above. You’ve got a long life, so don't worry about results and enjoy the journey!
Published on
March 9th, 2021
Comments (6)
Co-founder at Qinaps.com
I was 16 weeks preggo when i started off in my start-up journey :) Now I have 2 babies (a 0/1 & a one that actually cries), Thanks Sharath for sharing your learnings about building a community first.
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Hey, I help leaders build awesome teams!
@nilova_pande wow, that's great!!
Making Your Brand Shine!
1st gen entrepreneur, interested in tech
Can you shed more light on how one can create a community and on which platform?
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Hey, I help leaders build awesome teams!
@cybertechie Yes, great question.
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Hey, I help leaders build awesome teams!
So inspiring. Thanks for sharing. And "incremental actions deliver exponential results" ✌️
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