The Best Update Ever from Hitlist (#18)

Commuting to midtown during the month of August felt a little like the opening scene of 28 Days Later. We’re glad you’re back, non-startup people, and we’re glad there wasn’t a zombie apocalypse.

Last month’s focus: GROWTH. In August we passed 100k referrals/month to our partners for the first time. That’s 5x what we saw in June and 157x the same time last year.

This month’s focus: PARTNERSHIPS. Requests for assistance (RFAs):

  1. We’re looking for a partner for a PR opportunity: someone willing to offer/sponsor a unique experience in exchange for brand exposure to our user base and a high-quality startup-focused publication.
  2. Does anyone have connections to destination management organizations (DMOs)? Organizations like Visit Britain, Incredible India, etc.

[Quick aside: a huge thank you to everyone who has answered our RFAs in the past. You’ve delivered on 100% of the requests so far. But this is a two way street: if there’s anything you need help with, please ask]


  • We’re thrilled to announce that Sam Graham has joined us on the engineering side. Sam worked with Luka at DeviantArt; before that he was building data management tools at IMDb. He has seven fewer cats and one more mustache than Luka. We’re unsure of the implications. But we’re excited to be able to do more faster with him on board.

  • We launched a social channel for Hitlist in Arabic. We’ve long had a healthy user base in the Arab world and we’re looking forward to connecting more with that demographic.

  • Groupon launched a clone of Wandertab, our popular Chrome extension. We’re flattered. May it be the first of many times we inspire publicly listed companies to copy us.

  • Apple requested a ‘high quality trailer’ for our app with 24 hour turnaround and we’re insanely happy with the clip that Kate Phillips conceived, shot, and edited within that time frame (huge thanks to Lizzie Rose + the 17 other people who responded to my RFA on Facebook). If you’re looking for something similar (ideally with more lead time), lmk and I can put you in touch.

  • We pulled our Android app. For the moment, it makes more sense to invest our resources in really nailing it on iOS. I’m truly sorry, Droiders, and we’ll be back as soon as possible.

  • Good month for PR (we still haven’t paid for any of this): tweets from Apple, Ivanka Trump, and coverage in the LA Times, US News & World Report, Yahoo, and the Turkish Airlines inflight magazine (the closest I came to an airplane for most of this summer)

  • I wrote ‘Don’t listen to your users’ on how we learned to listen to metrics, not anecdotal feedback, to improve our app.

  • LinkedIn was kind enough to name me one of their ‘Next Wave’ top professionals 35 & under.

  • Thanks to our interns Mia Deng, Paul Nylund, and Dan Stern for a really stellar job this summer.

Why we’re doing this: Rafat Ali of Skift wrote a great piece on how airlines ‘hate sell’ to their customers. “They [the big travel vendors] “discovered” a way of selling online back in the early days of Web 1.0, and most of them have stuck to it, just added layers of conversion tactics which in the end may end up alienating customers, leaving them with little choice but to be comparison-shopaholics. Or better still, pining for disruptors.” Yes, we agree, and we’re working on being one of them.

GIF of the month: Tom Selleck never needs an explanation.

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