Houseparty

If FaceTime was built as a social network 🏠🎉

#1 Product of the WeekSeptember 28, 2016
+1

🎉  Just launched

Houseparty 1.5

Live video chat with friends, now with groups and texting 🎉

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Ben Rubin
Maker
Hiring
@benrbn · Co-founder, Life On Air Inc
Hello everyone! It’s been a while :).. 18 months ago, we introduced Meerkat. Six months later, we made the decision to change direction and focus on making live video a daily habit. We weren't seeing the engagement that we hoped to get over time and thought that maybe the format of broadcast (one-to-many) is too far away from the everyday user. Today we’re happy to introduce our latest experiment. Houseparty is a synchronous social network and it just finished going through a successful beta period of six months. On the surface it’s like a super fast and simple “group facetime”, while also becoming the foundation for an elaborate virtual space where people can hang with friends when they are physically apart. Face-to-face conversations over the internet are way too formal right now. We wanted lightweight way for us to see our friends everyday, no setup required. In a funny way, this is always the experience we wanted to give our users on Meerkat. I’ll be around to answer questions, ask me anything! In an effort to give some insight into our process and our development, I wanted to include some of the guiding principles we’ve used to develop Houseparty. Houseparty Manifesto: * Rule #1: it’s a party * Open up the app, and you’re with your friends — immediately * You may have expectations of who you’ll see at the party — you may also be surprised * The more people you know at the party, the more fun it is! * No randos * A house party is comfortable and casual * You can show up — or leave — at any time Product decisions: * Users are always live (screen is live on open) * Permissive; Friends can join friends-of-friends conversations * Users know when friends are in the app * We clear/update notification to always reflect who is currently in the house
Sydney Liu@sydney_liu_sl · Co-Founder of Commaful
@benrbn Congrats Ben!!! The app looks really really sweet. I can totally see this working well within a number of circles and groups that I see. i remember the days of oovoo. i think this has a lot more potential
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · Words @ProductHunt & @AngelList
@benrbn I had to listen to your vision for Meerkat very closely and quite often back in the day... (because I needed to know how to communicate it on the blog) When explaining Meerkat you described the benefits of "Tweeting live video", but when explaining the vision, you mentioned things like: • "Always live" • "Spontaneous togetherness" • "Everyone has a story to tell" (everyone should go live) • Drop what you're doing when you get a notification When you were toying with the idea for HouseParty, it was quite clear from the beginning that it reflected the original vision better than "Tweet live video" has. :)
Ben Rubin
Maker
Hiring
@benrbn · Co-founder, Life On Air Inc
@sydney_liu_sl thanks you Sydney!
Ben Rubin
Maker
Hiring
@benrbn · Co-founder, Life On Air Inc
@nivo0o0 🍑❤️❤️
RhaiHiring@rhaivimies · Pulling the future forward @Sounds_app 🚀
@benrbn congrats 🙌
Evelynn Mimi Jae@im_mimijae · Freelance sales and marketing consultant
@benrbn Welcome back, Meerkat 😃 I always liked you over Periscope 😉 This is a really cool concept, and I'm excited to try it. I love "no randos," but how do you guarantee that?
Paul Kemp@paul_s_kemp · The App Guy Podcast
@benrbn Congratulations on the launch of the app Houseparty. It seems like a wildly fun app. You're welcome to talk about your journey on my podcast anytime. DM me on Twitter to grab a 20 min slot. As it happens, my last guest had 1/2 million beta testers (from word of mouth), so you've beat him by 1/2 million (ha!). Any plans to open this out to more than just friends? For example, being able to jump into a themed open Houseparty. Say a Product Hunt Houseparty?
David Feng@davidsfeng · Co-Founder at Reamaze
@benrbn @jsneedles I absolutely love the simplicity and subtleties of the landing page! Congrats!
Björn Bakker@bjrnbkkr · Founder & CEO @Blindfeed.com
@benrbn so incredible simple, yet so incredible powerful. I would love to connect this to a platform we're working on.
Melissa Monte@melissamonteee · Director of Media & Startup Growth
@paul_s_kemp Hey Paul, how would we go about getting an app on your podcast? I can give you more info, but we are currently a part of the Plug and Play FinTech Accelerator for our app Lenny.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Something new
I've seen this circling around for the last 5 months or so... I think it hit top of the app store in social networks at some point? So why the launch now :) This space seems to be more and more competitive with people doing slight variations on 'live video with friends' - as you can see in the related products. I wonder why this space is so competitive and why no one app has yet dominated this space? Also, what is the strategy to get users on the app... If I open it up, and none of my friends on it then I just leave? It obviously becomes more valuable as more users join and use the app. I do like the party-feel to it that when you turn up you dont know who else is there! Quite an interesting twist :) Adding this on to my comment: I dont know that group live chats work beyond 3 people. Blab did it with 4 and I feel like there is always at least one person sat in silence. With multiple friends in a live feed, you can't easily get a word in or have a proper conversation. It works on text groups because the text doesnt need to be consumed in that second...its still there if others add to the convo after you send it. Voice is much more difficult and very in the moment.
Ben Rubin
Maker
Hiring
@benrbn · Co-founder, Life On Air Inc
@bentossell hey ben! Was actually #2 overall yes 😄 we had some scaling issues we had to deal with before... this product justreached over million users in beta. All word of mouth... Competitive spaces with no dominant player are actually good indication of a market need that people haven't figured out yet. However let me add that we do think differently about "group video chat" - where other products are utilities, this product "sneaks" as a utility, but built ground up to behave as synchronous social network. Example: Flickr/Picassa are places you could upload a photo and share it with friends, does it make them the same as Instagram? We believe the the format of calling is outdated, and there's a lot to innovate around conversation over the internet- think about it, the user story of hangouts/skype/group calling didn't change in a long long time.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Something new
@benrbn getting to #2 by word of mouth in a space that has no dominant player is a VERY promising start, for sure!! I don't doubt that some innovations will be welcomed to group chatting...my block (in my mind) is that after 3 or more people are in a group voice chat it gets hard for people to speak and for the conversation to actually flow. I wonder if you see this as a problem to be solved or perhaps our behaviour may change? I still think people will resort to shouting over each other haha. Who know...maybe something wacky like speaking in turn will be introduced in some group chat apps... if I'm talking then the other X people cant at the same time. Something interesting could be if each thing someone said was recorded and left floating in the app for 5-10seconds, let the user listen to it if they feel they missed what someone said. This format is like what we do in a Whatsapp group, if a rapid-fire convo is happening I can always scroll to see if I missed what Dave said about the topic. Also, I'd know if Andrew just laughed or didnt really put a point across so I'll let that comment pass.
Craig Stanford@craigstanford · Co-Founder & VP of BizDev @ StageHound
@bentossell I think your observation is on the mark. The problems that have yet to be solved for live group video chat are ones of control, organization, structure...and monetization. It's akin to watching a classroom of kindergarteners before the teacher has taught them to raise their hands.
B Dowding Young@bradleyisyoung · Head of mobile OMG - Hunting HK apps
@craigstanford @bentossell Interesting points based around chat. But does video have to revolve around speech only? It's called Houseparty after all...
Jeff Needles
Maker
Hiring
@jsneedles · Data @ Houseparty & Maker of Things
What a party this has been. It's definitely been hard keeping my mouth shut for the past year... But it's awesome. Everything @benrbn said times 💯! This time has been some of the most rewarding, educational and stressful I expect to see for a while. Trust me when I say our analytics are pretttttttty sweet 😎🤓
Jonathon Triest@jtriest · Ludlow Ventures
Whoa. Cool. Is this a relaunch of https://www.producthunt.com/tech... ?
Brandon Giesing@bgiesing39 · Owner, Pravox Networks
@jtriest Hmmm... So Meerkat pivots into a new app called Houseparty that's the exact same as a old unrelated (I think) app named Teleparty which was formerly called Houseparty. Seems kinda suspicious... @jsneedles @benrbn Any comments from you two about it?
Nikita Bier@nikitabier
@benrbn Love the serendipity of the product. Who did you target for the beta community? What was their feedback? I've seen many high schoolers use facetime before & after class.
Ben Rubin
Maker
Hiring
@benrbn · Co-founder, Life On Air Inc
@nikitabier thank u Nikita! We do have many colleges and high schoolers in our community. One thing that surprised us all is how they actually use the product less when there's no-school and how the usages surges as the school year starts again.
David Feng@davidsfeng · Co-Founder at Reamaze
@benrbn @nikitabier That's interesting insight. It makes sense too in a way because social platforms like Houseparty actually thrives when other traditional social interactions are taking place. There's no better place for that than at school. The piggyback effect is tremendous. Positive feedback loop.