Exchange Anything with the people around you

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@alexisohanian is giving away free office hours this Friday using Shout
@EAWharton Yeah, these are posted throughout the week, with more coming soon :D! We're working hard to foster these kinds of awesome interactions between peers who can help each other out by giving them a cool way to reach out and ask or offer. Let us know what you think!
@gentlemanbasil Cool, will check the app every hour ;)
@SoleneMa email I'll send you a link when we Alexis posts next :D
Shout was first hunted in January as a very different product. The tagline submitted was "A marketplace to sell spots (in line, etc.)." @gentlemanbasil @ZReitano - what inspired the change and what are the strongest/most interesting use cases you're seeing with Shout today?
@rrhoover @gentlemanbasil @rrhoover @gentlemanbasil. Great question. We have always had the goal of connecting people and allowing them to exchange in a trusted environment but we needed to learn about what mattered most to people when making interacting with complete strangers. So we chose a specific and very narrow use case—spots. Spots are time-sensitive, fluctuate in value, and require a great deal of trust to exchange. Through this process we were able to learn a great deal and have since removed a cash option, added identity checks, process payments and hold funds in escrow, and have user-ratings for both sides of an exchange. We are continuing to learn what matters most to our community but they started to explore beyond the product and so we needed to accommodate their creativity. The most prominent use-cases are the sections for which we have categories but just this week have seen Shouters meet up to have a catch, deliver flowers to a loved one, give up a dinner reservation under the cancellation policy for free, get Beyonce tickets, and help someone in their building move! Also, as Eddie mentioned, Alexis is going to be having office hours and is offering them up on Shout for free (we love free Shouts). We are striving to build a community with a pay it forward mentality that facilitates unfettered and spontaneous exchanges.
@ZReitano To complete that, people have been using Shout most often to make last minute plans with friends (finding restaurant reservations, tickets, access to events, etc.). We're working hard to promote the platform as a way to reach out and share something tangible with the people around you. Someone's playing catch with a stranger on Shout today... No joke!
@rrhoover It may also be useful to note the app works in NYC at the moment. This is again our need for focus on the platform so the community can take shape :D
@ZReitano It's very interesting and I'm wondering if one use case will be more valuable, and work better to build the community... When you look at Zaarly, it was first "Buy and Sell everything from people nearby" and now, they focus on Home Service. I think It is how they grew up a very loyal community. We have currently the same question in mind building Enquire where you can "ask anything". Hope to see you on Thursday!
@SoleneMa Sorry for the rant but it is something we have thought a tremendous amount about. Shout's and Zaarly's (V1) vision are very similar but I think we are approaching it differently. Here is the lens through we which we look at Zaarly and their evolution. I would love your thoughts. 1. Use When you first opened up the first version of Zaarly, it asked "What do you want?" This had a paralyzing effect on users. You could just as easily answer a happy life and two kids as a cronut delivered. Users need to know exactly when to open an app (e.g. a cab, a hotel room). There are simply too many things competing for their attention for a company to say "Request Anything." (And this may be one of TaskRabbit's own problems). We think a user needs a subconscious trigger. In our case, for better or worse, it has been—"What am I doing tonight?" Once in the app, we want to keep them here for many different reasons. A tremendous amount of eBay's growth was due to people going to the site for high-demand/limited-supply goods and then staying for common second-hand items. 2. Distribution Density is the name of the game. If we want to have the types of exchanges that both we and Zaarly dream of: a bike pump in the park, a translator in a foreign city, a better seat mid-baseball game, help from a neighbor—then starting in a specific city to work out the essentials of inter-personal synchronous transactions is crucial. Doing this at the right pace is very important. We often wonder if Zaarly simply expanded too quickly. They had great success at SXSW. We think it was because they tested it in a pre-defined trusted community, where people were predisposed to interacting and exchanging. These individuals had very complementary resources and needs. What if they solely went after those to start? 3. Nature of Post We have seen first hand the benefits and drawbacks of requests. They are awesome because when they come true it is the equivalent of making a wish with your phone, it's magical for the user. They are a true representation of need/desire and, they help educate the rest of the community (sellers) in a big way. We have seen users Shout for a few items and, although they may not get satisfied, these items are on the sale side the following week—sellers adapt and respond to market-need! The downside is that they go unfulfilled very frequently, and we risk disappointing users. On Shout thus far, requests are half as likely to be successful and the requesters that have their first Shout fail are less likely to Shout again. Unfortunately, without a high success rate, it can disappoint many users. But it's so key for users to express themselves (for us to learn about our users) and something people (and us) love about the Shout community. 4. Timing Improvements in technology, proliferation of mobile devices, and the growth of the sharing economy both logistically and socially.
Go team Shout! (they are General Assembly alumnus)
@nbashaw You tha man Nathan! ProductHunt meetup this Thursday?
Very cool concept. What caused you guys to come up with the idea?
@myusuf3 something we'd been thinking about for a while. It's crazy there's no easy way to leverage a digital community at large in your physical life. Epitomized for me when Zach and I got stranded at the airport when our flight was overbooked and everyone refused (obviously) to take miles to let us on the plane. Not a good use case, but we were so frustrated we had to go through Delta to reach out to other passengers that the idea of exchanging with people in close proximity, in real-time, to help one another out came back yet again!
@gentlemanbasil Nice, I hope it picks up in my city.
@myusuf3 Thanks Mahdi. What city is that?
@ZReitano Ottawa, Canada. :)
@myusuf3 On our way! In the meantime, if you're ever in NYC, email