Founded in 2015 as an events company, The Hustle has since evolved to become largely known for its carefully curated content and distinct voice. Now they’re launching a new premium subscription-based product with a Netflix-style approach that allows them to provide high-quality content at an affordable price, alongside events and membership perks. Trends — powered by Piano — was introduced to The Hustle's one million plus readers on June 4 and made its content debut on June 11.
To discuss what went into the launch of Trends, Piano spoke to John Dunkel, lead product manager at The Hustle. While Part 1 looked at their plan and Part 2 at their product, Part 3 explores why Piano was the right platform for their newest endeavor.
John Dunkel: We're using Composer and VX and building out our flows, especially a lot of the user flows. It's been helpful when thinking through the product and how our community will interact with Trends, especially in planning out what our offering is and what access we give them to the site. Ultimately, we want to provide the most value to everyone. We want people to see what they're getting first — that's been part of the value proposition and something that's been really useful. We can actually show some of the content before they subscribe.
Dunkel: Given that this portal is brand new, we've had a chance to look at every single component, do a lot of research, and study it from the ground up to ask what would be most suited to our needs? That includes the site itself and the community features, but was especially true when it came to looking at subscription management and a paywall provider. We wanted flexibility. We wanted an end-to-end solution that could handle everything we were looking to do with the flexibility to be able to give people free articles to read, even if they're not subscribing. Piano did that.
Dunkel: I would credit the Piano project team. I think they were very responsive and knowledgeable of the product, and supported us quite a bit, especially for our customized needs. Even when we were thinking through early decisions of how to map out different flows, they would help us provide other case studies or aggregated data that we could use to base decisions on, to make database-informed decisions rather than relying on gut instinct or guesses. They were helpful in leading us to the right decisions.
Dunkel: We get some sleep! In reality, though, it's not “launch this and be done” — it's iterations. We're launching what we think is the most robust set of features that someone would want to pay for, but over time we want to keep listening to our community and building up the features they find most useful. We think from all the testing we've done over the past several months that we have a pretty good idea of what that is — but things change over time. Even audience demographics change. We really want to be responsive to that and make sure we're providing the best experience for our subscribers and our readers — so this will be an evolution.