July has been a good month in Hitlist land: our new user registrations and click through to partners both up close to 50% over June numbers, and we passed 200k registered users (approaching 300k total). Moreover, Craig of Craigslist named us two (?) out of the four women-led startups disrupting travel. We love Craig.
Last month’s focus was product. We shipped v3.0, the culmination of four months’ worth of learnings, hopes, and insomnia, last week. It will go live any day now.
Focus for August: USER GROWTH. Requests for assistance (RFAs):
- Does anyone know anyone at Fortune, on either the business or editorial side? I have a quick question.
- I’ve been working on a news piece called ‘Everything you’ve ever heard about the right time to buy airfare is wrong.’ I think it might make a good TV spot on a news/business/lifestyle show like the TODAY show. Advice on who to pitch and any contacts?
– We won the 33entrepreneurs pitch competition in Boston, giving us a shot at competing at PhoCusWright’s Travel Innovation Summit, the American Idol of travel startup competitions, this November (avoiding the usual $15k entry fee). Thanks Florian Mesny and co for the opportunity.
– Wandertab continues to grow like gangbusters (~1.4m views this month, up 40% over last month) and we’ve begun to feature original work by artists like Tanveer Badal, one of our favorite rising star travel photographers (see his work in Conde Nast Traveler and the Instagram). Wandertab was also featured in Wired’s July print edition in Germany as the best entrypoint to the travel journey (thanks Katrin Buckenmaier for sending us the copy!)
– We graduated from the inaugural class of Grand Central Tech (which just admitted a star-studded second batch) and moved upstairs in the same building, 335 Madison. If you find yourself passing through midtown NYC and want to come visit, drop me a line.
– A friend once outlined to me the stages of validation for a consumer brand: customers, critics, creepers. First you need customers/users (check). Then you need legitimate critics – usually writers at mainstream publishers/blogs that weigh in on what you’re doing (check). Then, the ultimate stage of validation: when creepy weirdos start using your product, usually to post porn or troll people. Creepers prove that you’ve broken out of the nerdy early adopter tech set and gone mainstream. By this measure, we should probably be excited to be seeing some of the bizarre feedback emails that have come through since we started beta testing 3.0.
– I wrote a piece on the lessons we’ve learned building Hitlist called ‘Don’t Listen to your Users.’
– Finally, favorite non-Hitlist thing that happened last week: our friend Jourdan ofOcho had the guts to ask LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman if the site’s bad design is a deliberate choice or an oversight. If only politicians responded to criticism as well as Hoffman. link
Why we’re doing this: Because travel makes the world a better place, explained well here.