Thursday, March 31, 2016

March Observations - Hunting for Printers on Product Hunt

March 2016 Observations
Hunting for Printers on Product Hunt


As an early adopter, at least across many product categories, I enjoy keeping my eyes and ears open to find out what's new in the world. This includes the printing and imaging industry, the focus of my professional interests for the majority of my career, and also encompasses the broader tech world. And just about every day, that means a perusal of Product Hunt is part of my routine. Both fun-loving (see their Glass-wearing mascot above) and comprehensive, it is an increasingly popular website for many, it has grown into being one of my favorites too. Product Hunt offers a daily refresh of a wide-ranging selection of tech innovations, with links to the products/solutions as well as offering readers the opportunity to “upvote” and comment, oftentimes in the form of dialog with the developers.

Scanning Product Hunt

Turtle Mail is a recent Product Hunt find that took me back to similar solutions

 From the site’s FAQ page, the site is described:

“Product Hunt surfaces the best new stuff, everyday. It’s a place for people to share and geek out about their next favorite thing.” 

But unlike the spring blooms of late March and early April, this is not to say printing and printers are busting out all over Product Hunt! The site has evolved quickly since I’ve been a regular, and just last week, "Topics" were introduced, where typical Product Hunt entries (see example above) are grouped under 300 different subject areas. The sample screen shot for Turtle Mail, a “WiFi-connected printer for parents to send messages to kids”, shows it is included under four topics (lower right of the screen shot), “iPhone”, “Email”, “Hardware” and “Wi-Fi”, all included among the 300. The fact that nothing like “Printers” was designated as a topic gives an idea that printing is not necessarily top-of-mind (that’s with the exception of “3D printing”, which is an included topic, as are “Fonts” and “Typography”, in the close-but-no-cigar category.)

The aforementioned Turtle Mail is one example of a recent discovery, found via my daily scan, and it proved stimulating. (A Product Hunt Chrome Extension I have installed means every time I open a new tab in my browser, the day’s Product Hunt entries come up, meaning it’s pretty hard to avoid!) Having been reminded again in the last few years of seeing the world through the eyes of small children (grand-parenthood will do that), I couldn’t help but be intrigued. It also takes me back to Observations and a multi-part series I started in October 2008 (see “Observations: Sharp-Eyed Hard-Copy Marketers Help the Aging”) highlighting two products where hard copy served as the communications medium with the oldest, rather than the youngest family members. Turtle Mail could be worthy of a future dedicated post, as well.

Searching Product Hunt
A search on "printer" brought up a Top Three I can relate to, all in different ways
 A little search effort to go along with daily scanning can still yield interesting quarry, too! A recent search of the Product Hunt database, using keyword “Printer”, comes up with a list, and the first three entries (see screen shot above) all made a connection for me. Printer Pro by Readdle, described as a “printer client” but what I would call an app, is from a suite of products by a company who I have followed and written about for some time now. Surprisingly, they never seem to have made it into these “Observations” pages, but I covered their printing and scanning apps during my days writing for Lyra Research and Photizo Group.

The next one down the list is Printerest. This solution for Pinterest Printing made it to my blog just this week, as the most recent in a long series of “(blank) Printing” posts that go back to “iPhone Printing” in 2007. It’s an interesting Chrome Extension that includes an even more interesting development story, recounted by the developer in a Mediumstory. Definitely discussion fodder for my students next time I teach “Product Design and Development.”

The third brings along a bit of a sad story, and points to a somewhat universal social media issue of handling the presence of the recently passed, both people and products. That number three on the list is Little Printer, chronicled here on many occasions (starting with “February 2012 Observations, Lessons from theLittle Printer That Went Viral”),but pulled from the market in September, 2014. It continues to be listed on Product Hunt, though in its comments section, the shut-down of Little Printer is noted.

Looking ahead

It’s not just the small companies and start-ups who get space in Product Hunt, I should add. Coverage of offerings from industry mainstays is included as well, but on a sporadic basis. As the ideas to be included come in from readers, I feel a responsibility to submit nominations for inclusion, as I see industry innovations pop up. And I will keep doing my Product Hunting, and enjoying it! Just the collection of my thoughts for this post has me thinking ahead to some future profiles. So watch this space!

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