Eat and Meet

A virtual meal with people around the world

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Eat and Meet is a fun and low pressure way to connect with new people all over the world while sharing a meal !

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Varun Bhartia
Varun BhartiaMaker@varun_bhartia
I've participated in two eat and meets - it was a lot of fun. The most fun was talking to people half way around the world. It was really cool for two reason - one they are half way around the world and outside of SV :), and two, they were just starting their day! They were having breakfast while we ate dinner! Completely different mood I think. I'm looking forward to doing more of these, especially with people that are completely opposite of me: - Outside of the US. - Different political view. - Different age and generation. Part of the motivation for doing this was seeing a Coke Vending machine campaign. Coke enabled "strangers" to understand each other - India and Pakistan through a web cam and screen placed on a coke machine. It would be cool to bring that sort of experience at a larger scale. More details here -
Love to hear how we can take this forward! Grab some noodles :)
Ryan Hoover
Ryan HooverPro@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
This is like a virtual version of Grubwithus, a startup that later pivoted to Goat (the sneaker marketplace that just merged with Flight Club). While this seems quite odd to me and many people, there's a huge market of people watching others broadcasting themselves eating, live. I'm curious what to learn why you made this, @kmurthy11, @varun_bhartia, @cnarain.
Kartik Murthy
Kartik MurthyMaker@kmurthy11 · Product Manager
@rrhoover thanks for the comment :) As you allude to, our actual initial motivation was indeed Mukbang (the Korean fascination with eating on video: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu...). However as we solidified the idea, watching people eat on camera became just a means to our main goal of helping people connect with a diverse set of people from around the world over conversation on web cam. We kept food as part of the experience because we tend to see it as a "social lubricant" ... if you're too shy to talk in the first few minutes of an "Eat and Meet" it's perfectly fine to hide behind your meal. In some cases, food actually becomes a topic starter such as one meal we had where someone was cooking a Blue Apron meal while on the hangout. We know there's a stigma for some behind having others watch them eat so we don't make eating mandatory...you can just grab a drink or even join without food but while honing this experience we've found it makes people more open to interesting conversations. It's also important to note we do two things to try and maintain a fun/non-imposing environment: 1. We never do 1:1 meals as we think 1:1 meeting sites often boil down to dating no matter how hard you try to prevent it. Also this should help minimize bad actors on the system. 2. We try to have a pre-determined topic or question for each dinner. Sometimes these are pretty deep (e.g. "What's your biggest fear?") and other times it's more whimsical ("Where would you like to travel next?") so users know what they're getting into without randomness. @varun_bhartia, @cnarain
Ryan Hoover
Ryan HooverPro@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@varun_bhartia @cnarain @kmurthy11 very thoughtful. I remember watching this documentary on mukbang some years ago:
Varun Bhartia
Varun BhartiaMaker@varun_bhartia
@kmurthy11 @cnarain @rrhoover -Thanks Ryan! I'm curious - why do you find it strange? What particular aspect? The video conference with people you don't know? Meal over web cam? Something else? We've heard it's a strange concept for multiple reasons. Curious what your take is.
Ryan Hoover
Ryan HooverPro@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@kmurthy11 @cnarain @varun_bhartia I'll asterisks my comment with the note that many of the most interesting cultural shifts and opportunities comes from things that at first seem "odd" to others. Personally, I'd find myself self-conscious eating in front of strangers on video.
Varun Bhartia
Varun BhartiaMaker@varun_bhartia
@kmurthy11 @cnarain @rrhoover Ryan - sounds like you're ready to invest in this counter-culture, contrarian concept :) yeah - agreed, it seems really off putting. I remember eating Indian food, with my hands, during the first one and feeling weird. The food concept is really interesting though - it's an instant ice breaker as well. Without that, I think it might be weird... "so.... we're all here... now what? " I remember @PhilStrazzulla talking about his blue apron meal first, then we started talking about blue apron recipe prep times, then other tech products, then international tech, then politics... then trump, with opinions from people in Singapore and Malaysia. This was pre-election. Another twist on this is to remove the food, but start with a topic / discussion. Will try that next. Good thoughts. Thanks!
Julian Lehr
Julian Lehr@lehrjulian · Fitter, happier and more productive.
Love this idea! Are dinners happening at SF time or are you planning to have different slots for different time zones?
Kartik Murthy
Kartik MurthyMaker@kmurthy11 · Product Manager
@lehrjulian We're hoping to have meals at times that are friendly for people all over the world. This could mean a dinner in SF which has people eating Breakfast in Asia or vice versa. Depending on who we get to sign up / participate we set time accordingly but try and accommodate as wide an audience as possible. Sign up and we'll get you on the list for one at a friendly time for you :)
Ben Levy
Ben Levy@benmlevy · Co-Founder of Sweep, PH NYC Co-Organizer
Hey @kmurthy11, @varun_bhartia, and @cnarain I just signed up and I'm really excited to give this a go! Have you thought about building dinners around global communities? I.E. a Dinner series for Product Hunt users. Could be a great way to grow the audience through having the communities promote it and centralize the conversation to people with similar interests (which may or may not be more interesting).
Varun Bhartia
Varun BhartiaMaker@varun_bhartia
@kmurthy11 @cnarain @benmlevy YES! Love this idea!! I really want to do that. I think topic based discussions, or basically having a small connection with the audience (similar interests, groups, etc.) will be a lot more useful and engaging.
Ben Levy
Ben Levy@benmlevy · Co-Founder of Sweep, PH NYC Co-Organizer
@kmurthy11 @cnarain @varun_bhartia I have a global community of sports business/sports marketing professionals I think could be a nice test case for you guys...let me know if you'd be interested in chatting!
Kartik Murthy
Kartik MurthyMaker@kmurthy11 · Product Manager
@varun_bhartia @cnarain @benmlevy Thanks for signing up Ben! Excited to have you join us soon. To just elaborate a bit on what Varun said, the thought about global communities is an interesting one as we've definitely been thinking about how to make sure the people in each meal are at least aligned on interests while trying to ensure we have some diversity of view points. In particular we've tried or were hoping to try the following two ideas: 1) We have had a few meals where we had a pre-determined prompt / topic so we could ensure people who were signing up knew what they were getting into. This actually worked quite well as people were bought into the idea beforehand, had some time to think about it, and led to really amazing conversation. 2) We also wanted to see if we could do meals which were centered around topics but were more Q+A style where one person has expertise and the rest have questions to ask. In particular we were thinking about hosting a meal for aspiring PMs to ask a PM questions. We haven't tried this yet but the direction seemed promising. We'd definitely be interested in chatting more around how to also try different global communities! Feel free to shoot me an email: kmurthy (at) outlook . com Thanks!