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Launch HN: CocuSocial (YC S17) – Marketplace for cooking classes at restaurants
50 points by ys1715 on Aug 9, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 25 comments
Hi HN,

I am Billy Guan, co-founder of CocuSocial (https://www.cocusocial.com/) participating in YC S17 batch. CocuSocial is a marketplace for cooking classes that are hosted at restaurants and hotels.

Traditional cooking classes are expensive and intensive, but we want to make them affordable, easy to access and fun. We offer a relaxed way of learning, whether it is an interesting background about a cuisine, a useful cooking technique or a delicious recipe.

To lower down the cost of cooking class and make it accessible to everyone, we partner with local restaurants and hotels who host cooking classes during their slow nights or weekends.

We encourage everyone who love food or cooking to try us (only in New York so far) especially if you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or any other special occasions. We also help planning private events like corporate team building activities, bachelorette parties, bridal showers, fundraising events, etc.

Looking forward to hearing your feedback and thoughts. Thanks!

I was browsing through the available classes and while I thought there were a ton of duplicates it turns out it's the same class on a different date.

It would make more sense for users to pick a class first and then see when it's available. So when browsing through classes you would see a list of the types of classes available (ravioli, sushi, etc), and once a user selects a class they can finalize their decision on the date.

Otherwise, browsing through classes is a bit annoying having to manually de-duplicate things you've seen before and checking them for minor details like, is this hand-rolling sushi class the same one or it with a different instructor? different restaurant?

Another suggestion, highlight the name of the restaurant. The restaurant hosting the event is bound to have more recognition than the instructor.

Make separate profile pages for all instructors, and have them linked straight from the cards that display classes on /products/

Where are the stars coming from? Every single instructor has 5 stars but there are no reviews and it makes everything come off a bit disingenuous. Get rid of those until you have real reviews.

Thanks. That is an excellent suggestion, we are planning to implement it in our next version, also you can see a list of all the classes without duplicate times on our homepage.

Hi, Billy..

There's that piece of "folk wisdom" about making sure company names don't mean unexpected things in other languages..

"Cocu", in French, a popular language, means "cuckold", as others have pointed out. As a French speaking person, when I read "CocuSocial", the first thing that popped into my mind was "social platform for swingers". I was a bit perplexed and went "Hmm, YC incubated a Bodily Fluids Exchange as a Service startup, that's interesting".

What are your thoughts on that? Is this deliberate to cause a certain break point of thoughts and titillate the inquisitive mind?

Are you aware of the meaning and the potential joke in French language?

Do you need a former chef, current JavaScript / Node / PHP developer on your team?

Sure. Happy to connect at hello@cocusocial.com

I know you mentioned in your description that this is only in New York so far, but that is not at all clear when visiting the site.

I found the same issue. I kept looking for a way to set my city.

Looks great. I'm in New York myself and could see trying your service with the wife.

Working in the restaurant "niche" myself, and think this is a fun idea you got here.

My one comment is that possibly your site should mention the actual restaurant on the front page, before drilling down, sort of how goldbely does. It makes it more enticing, plus the logistics of your startup means that there's little chance people will go off-platform to deal with the restaurant 1-1 (and vice-versa).

Also, I think using hotel kitchens is a smart idea. They are way more roomy than most restaurant kitchens, so you can accommodate more folks (obviously...).

That's a great idea! We will mention the actual restaurants in our next version. And we are hosting many cooking events in Marriott and Hilton. Thank you.

Sam Altman once said that YC only accepts applicants if they have the potential to become billion dollar companies.

What is CocuSocial's growth path to 9 zero's?

This is Gustaf from YC.

It might be good to think of the Airbnb story here. When Airbnb launched they were called Airbed & Breakfast and where offering airbeds in private rooms and their largest market was New York city. Few understood how big of an opportunity it was at the time.

Most of the very best marketplaces start with a small niche area that works very well and then expand out of that. Cocusocial is currently the largest cooking class provider in New York - the largest city in US.

Just a comment: don't present yourself as a marketplace, you're not the kayak of food classes.

Your added value is that you're offering high quality cooking classes yet affordable (and that cannot be found elsewhere!)

Also, you should stabilize that video on your landing page.

Thanks for your suggestion. We will work on the video in our next version:)

Cool idea. In terms of adoption, I found there was too much information to know what to do right away (like, instinctively.)

As a suggestion, cut down on the UI components for choosing to book a class. As a comparative, take a look at the approach by AirBnB.

Good luck!

Some quick initial feedback. The bounciness of the videos on the front page was a bit jarring to me initially. Good luck with your venture!

This is such a cool idea! Looking forward to visit a class somewhere in Europe. Good luck with your venture!

This seems like a great idea! Do you have any short-term plans to expand beyond New York?

Thank you for liking us. We are planning on this.

"Cocu" in French slang translates to "cuckold" (and with "social" being the same word, CocuSocial sounds extremely humorous). Just thought I'd mention it in case you ever are thinking about expanding internationally.

On the one hand: It isn't aimed at a French audience.

On the other: I, also, am hearing dirty words in my English-default brain and wondering where they got the name and what they were thinking or intending it to mean.

This might be addressable by having a pronunciation key (preferably including an audio file, not just text) and a blurb or blog post about the name origin.

Here in Barcelona, there is a restaurant called "Menage a Trois"...

In America, a lot of Vietnamese restaurants have Pho in the name because it is a dish they serve, then the rest of the name makes it sound like some English word. One variation: Pho King. I have seen it said that Pho is pronounced Fuh, so Fucking is what that sounds like (according to some sources).

I also recall a wood stripping product called EZ Stripper demoed in the commercial by a busty blonde with those words emblazoned across her bosom. I also strongly suspect that pizza places who advertise their product as "hot and ready" are well aware that has sexual connotations and consider that to be a feature, not a bug.

Sex sells. Plenty of people use that fact intentionally.

Thank you for this kind reminder. We will work on it.

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