Product News: Introducing the Hubba Discovery Network

The first time I met Ben Zifkin, I didn’t believe him.

Ben spends a lot of time listening. He listens to brands, retailers, distributors, marketers, and entrepreneurs about the difficulties they have getting things done, and when he described their world to me over lunch, I felt ill. “These people are not dinosaurs,” he told me: they are smart, driven, creative, scrappy folks trying to find new ways to make their customers happy, but the tools they’re using are antiques because no one has built anything better. An astonishing amount of global commerce happens through emailed spreadsheets, and folders full of files with names like: Final-Main-DSC_1049-mktgFINAL.jpg.

It’s no wonder retailers find it impossible to discover new suppliers (much less get good information out of them) while, at the same time, newcomer brands exhaust themselves and their budgets trying to get noticed in the wrong places. Some of you may be skeptical, but if you work with this stuff, you know exactly what Ben’s talking about. Ben described more of this over our next few meetings, and by the time he was done laying out his vision for how Hubba could make things better for everyone involved, I was hooked. A few weeks later I joined Hubba as Chief Product Officer.

Today I’m really excited to announce the launch of the Hubba Discovery Network, the newest piece of the Hubba platform. Hubba already makes it easy for brands to connect and share information with their existing networks, and with today’s launch we have introduced a powerful new tool to make these brands more visible to retail buyers and industry influencers. It also answers the calls we’ve heard from our retailer community for help finding incredible new products for their customers by putting them directly in touch with the companies behind them.

Our goal for the Hubba Discovery Network is to be the first place buyers and influencers start every journey to learn about interesting and new brands and products. We are product people, too, and we built a site for product people like you.

Our team had three main objectives while building out this latest piece. We used them as a filter for every feature that we put into the product:

1. Build a level playing field

We’re living in a Golden Age for brands. Manufacturing, prototyping, shipping, marketing have all been made much more accessible and we all benefit when companies with great ideas can bring them to market faster and cheaper. But to get onto store shelves, brands still need to get in front of buyers and that process is complex and slow moving. Our goal with the Hubba Discovery Network is to let new and unknown brands into the same arena as the established ones, to let the products speak for themselves. We’ve got 10,000 of the world’s most interesting brands already, and it’s a great feeling to be able to champion each of them.

2. Build a better trade show

The idea that buyers only get to discover new products or make new connections a few times a year at trade shows is silly. Business doesn’t work that way anymore. Not only are trade shows full of gatekeepers and brutally expensive, they also offer no guarantees of success, or even really any way to measure the impact of your investment. And the coffee is… lamentable.

Think of Hubba as a real time online tradeshow that is always updated and always accessible. You can connect with the folks in the big booths on the main floor but also (and maybe more importantly) the upstarts exhibiting in the basement. The base cost of entry is $0. And your own coffee is much better.

3. Build community

Business is made of people. You are not just a retail buyer, or a brand manager, or a founder-and-ceo-head-of-sales-marketing-and-janitorial, you are a person. We get it, and we built Hubba for you. You have a point of view, and we hope you’ll express it on Hubba. That can be as simple as finding great products to like, or it can mean compiling whole lists of products to share with your colleagues and friends. It can mean adding products you care about and, of course, if you have products of your own, we invite you to add those, too.

Most importantly, it means following and making connections with the amazing people and brands already on our platform. And if you do discover a company on Hubba you’d like to do business with, sending them a message to start a conversation is easy and direct. We’re sort of nerds about this stuff.

On behalf of the whole team here at Hubba, I invite you to join our community. We have worked very hard to build a place for you to enjoy; and we’re gonna keep working. Thanks for trusting us. We hope you like it, and let us know when you discover something incredible.

One last important thing

I’ve been at Hubba 6 months now, and these days I mostly believe Ben. But when he and I discussed the launch timelines for the Hubba Discovery Network, I suspect I made a face. The work of the Hubba team in designing, engineering, marketing, and customer successing is not something I think most teams our size could equal. I’m humbled to call these folks colleagues. If that sounds like the kind of team you’d like to work for, we’re hiring.

Johnathan Nightingale

Johnathan Nightingale

Johnathan Nightingale is the Chief Product Officer at Hubba, and was formerly the head of Firefox for Mozilla. He is an avid photographer, a Wikipedian, author of the ubiquitous Linux command line tool, “beep”, and a proud parent in a house full of Minecraft. Follow on Twitter @johnath
Johnathan Nightingale