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Show HN: Kismet – get an e-mail introduction to a fellow HN member every day (findkismet.com)
199 points by remyp 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 88 comments

Frankly, this is already a better social experience than Facebook. Text as a medium may be less "expressive" so to speak, but it communicates with such sincerity in letter-form applications.

The idea of listing "Help Needed" and "Can Help" is a good idea to facilitate conversations. Helps lubricate the otherwise awkward encounter with strangers.

I think the issue onwards will be similar to those of any community-based websites.

1) maintaining the quality of the community members. The usage of HN is a better source of demarcation compared to the low-barrier registration requirement of just signing up in typical social networks. So long as HN keeps attracting engagement from good people and weeds out undesirable usage, Kismet is likely to continue benefiting from HN's demographics.

2) retention of active users. People can get tired of using social apps once the novelty wears off. It would be prudent to encourage each interaction to be interesting and inspired so that users are happy to open messages from Kismet, especially since the app will reside in the email inbox that is typically inundated with other messages.

3) recruiting new users. Looks like Kismet had just come into existence, when users who provide the interaction amongst each other are lacking. It would be worthwhile considering how Kismet will make itself known among HNers without relying on posting a "Show HN" periodically. Promotions can aim for wider awareness but should be aware of 1) and still keep a reasonable barrier of entry to maintain userbase quality. Perhaps referrals for organic growth, but how?

Boy, I wish there were more ways to meet smart strangers.

Congrats and thanks for the launch.

P.S. Feature request: Location info (e.g. City) to find/match with users in proximity feasible for a coffee meetup

Bug: Can't seem to update user info after initial registration

> Boy, I wish there were more ways to meet smart strangers

This, 100%. Eventually every social media platform becomes overrun with people whom I have nothing in common with, causing me to eventually disengage.

Can any one suggest any online communities that are at the same cerebral level as HN?

Right now though, I'm signing up to this Kismet thing.


It leans left, and the userbase can be quite critical of information technology especially bro culture.

Last I checked, Metafilter has active meetups in different cities even outside the US.

The userbase comes from diverse backgrounds skewing toward the highly literate.

It costs US 5$ to create an account. Best 5$ I’ve ever spent.

EDIT: Fix typo.

Love the idea. But daily seems like quite a lot? I would sign up for a weekly version.

Agreed. The best solution would be a configurable scale. Something like daily / twice a week / weekly / twice a month / monthly. So I could set it to daily when I’m out looking for a job, and turn it way down when I’m not available (holidays etc).

Would love to have a version that goes “full tinder” even (no pics, just the same sort of simple bio as this, but with tinder’s “swiping” approach for quick elaboration).

This is in the works. In the meantime, there is a 5 day “snooze” feature to make it easy to keep the volume down. The link is in your welcome email.

I agree, weekly I can handle, daily I'll end up unsubscribing or ignoring eventually.

Agreed - I won't want to sign up to daily. It would be a great weekly event I could look forward to but daily sounds like an overwhelming chore - a distraction to avoid.

The driving values for something like this should be quality above quantity, depths not shallows, long-term not short-term etc.

+1 to this.

Weekly would be better

The landing page is great, you immediately know what's going on and what it's about but I agree with the comment saying that the name is not that great. I also though about the wifi scanner first.

The loading animation needs to be thrown in the garbage where such anti-patterns belong. The landing page isn't that complex - how much is it slowed down by having to load and execute the code to do the needless loading animation?

Agreed -- it's going away on the next update. The only reason it's there in the first place is that it's built in to the template.

Aside from the animation, I really liked the design.

What template/service did you use

I think you put a lot of effort in developing a quick and easy registration process. I loved how it was unveiling fields as you were progressing on the process. However, the email registration template contains stuff that is not mentioned on the homepage, such as a trial period. Here's what I got:

----8<---- For reference, here's your login information:

Login Page: Username:

You've started a day trial. You can upgrade to a paying account or cancel any time.

Trial Start Date: Trial End Date:

If you have any questions, feel free to email our customer success team ( hello@findkismet.com ). (We're lightning quick at replying.) We also offer live chat ( ) during business hours.

Thanks, Kismet and the Kismet Team

P.S. Need immediate help getting started? Check out our help documentation ( ). Or, just reply to this email, the Kismet support team is always ready to help!

If you’re having trouble with the button above, copy and paste the URL below into your web browser. ----8<----

Ack, I forgot to update the plaintext version of the welcome email template -- there is no trial and Kismet is completely free. Thank you for pointing this out!

No problem, I supposed that would be the issue. Glad i could be of help!

Kismet is also the name of a popular wifi scanner. 232,000 hits on google.

Consider a rename?

It also means "fate" or "destiny" in a couple of teeny-tiny languages.

Hindi, one of the teeniest languages.

That was my first thought as well, it will not be so great for SEO.

This does not need SEO. It needs to make members of HN happy. If it does that, they will promote it via word of mouth.

I am a woman. I have been here a long time, about 8.5 years. My hope that HN would provide online networking has not panned out satisfactorily. If this works for me, it will get recommended in my profile and possibly on my blog.

Sexism is definitely an issue in the world. Most of the time, I am much more interested in finding solutions than in pointing fingers.

How/why is sexism related to this whole discussion?

My hope is that this service serves as a tool for me to effectively network in spite of my gender.

As I said elsewhere in this discussion, HN has largely failed as a networking tool for me and I can occasionally email about three people from here. I appear to be the only woman who has ever made it to the leaderboard (under a different handle). Meanwhile, in a different discussion in the last few hours, a man on the leaderboard casually commented that he has met quite a few members of HN IRL.

My understanding is he is a self made millionaire. In contrast, I am quite poor.

My inability to effectively network appears to be at least partly due to my gender and the tendency of men to interpret overtures from me as an opportunity for romance. Men who view me in such terms never become business contacts. It is an absolute dead end for me.

Then when I complain that sexism on HN is partly responsible for my intractable poverty, I am treated like a lunatic. I don't know how much more painfully obvious it could possibly be. I was homeless when I became the highest karma openly female member here and hit the leaderboard about a month after I got off the street. Yet I continue to get treated like I am just hallucinating some connection between my gender, my inability to effectively make professional connections and my lack of adequate income.

And never mind how many articles like this hit the front page: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16389666 No, I must just be nuts or something.

Im very sorry to hear this. I sincerely doubt that any online plattform can change the outcome of a IRL meeting. Networking by definition is not anonymous, so if one gets to know people, the same scenario will reapear again and again. I will try to think about a solution for this.

I must apology for im usually one, vehemently defending freedom of speach. The reason for this is that i love the internet, before the whole world decided to crash the party. It was a great place- insofar, as people who usually would be shunned by society could meet one another and create works- overcoming social isolation.

Let me expand on this- they guy who lifes over the street from my aunt. He is nuts, never goes outside, except at night to smoke - where he runs screaming in panic, should anyone on the street come even close to his door. In some poorer country he would be homeless- and for society useless. Now turns out that- even with shizophrenia - he has a state that cares for him- he has a sister that cares for him, and he has the internet, to work and communicate. And thus he can contribute to academia. Now, such a social mess- will never fullfill the needs for a social silod suburbia, in fact he cant. So if i promise to try to solve your networking and integrating problem- will you stop trying to harass the social misfits and otucasts who are incapable of fitting in?


This doesn't help, and crosses into personal attack. Please don't post like that here.

That's untrue. I comment and post about a great many things. It is also essentially a gender based dismissal and personal attack.

Sad to see that even making the leaderboard as a woman fails to get community support when I need it in the face of ugliness of this sort. It's both ironic and maddening that your comment has gotten zero push back from the community though it is essentially evidence of the very thing I am criticizing.

It's also a love agency in a law and order criminal intent episode - I have to admit, it's written "Kizmate" in the episode

Also the name of a component of the old Unreal Engine some years ago. Not relevant today.

Please do not change the name, it's great! Last week, I ran across kismet and declared it as my new favorite word. So, it must be, kismet.

Really nice. I hate the network growth hack games that social media companies play, so I never signed up for Facebook, LinkedIn and their ilk. This seems like a concept with the right amount of personal control.

I hope Kismet won't eventually start spamming me with "fun", "personalized" mass messages that have emojis in the subject line and advertisements from partners in the message body, like so many others these days.

No plans to do stuff like that. I built Kismet for fun, not trying to force it in to being the next billionty dollar startup or whatever.

I like it! Including the name! Should wait until I fill out my Kismet profile before sending first intro though.

Clipboard copy link did not work on iOS/Chrome, had to go back and copy manually. Profile edit fields were hard to edit in iOS/Chrome, they don't scroll horizontally.

I'm fine with auth-by-email, but should be time limited, I feel a little odd about permanent-link-for-auth.

Auth-by-profile-edit should include an "X-Kismet" tag or something, to prevent another service using similar auth style but actually grabbing a Kismet token and serving that to the user without their knowledge that it's a Kismet token, see what I mean? Or maybe I'm just being overly paranoid. Which is an achievement, since I'm usually pretty cowboy about these things. :-)

Thanks so much for pointing out the clipboard copy bug -- I should've caught that.

I have similar feelings about the link for auth. It'll almost certainly change on the next version!

Hi everyone, thanks for trying out Kismet. Happy to answer any questions, and I would love any feedback you might have!

Signed up! This is really well executed. I would like to offer a contrary opinion to those suggesting to change the name. Outside of a very niche audience, Kismet isn't confusing and is a great name for the product.

Hey, I really like the idea of this, but I don't have time to network everyday, have you considered allowing custom intervals? I.E. 1/week?

Yes! It's next on my list of updates to make.

It is really cool, got a great match right out of the gate! I'd consider embedding people's HN profile right in the emails instead of just a link, it would make the emails more interesting/click-worthy especially if the person's profile is pretty bare. Also second the other requests that 'my' first email shouldn't go out until I have the chance to fill in some parts of the profile, maybe just wait an hour or two? Again this is very cool!

Maybe a stupid question, but shall we enter Twitter/LinkedIn/GitHub handles or full URIs?

Great idea! The landing page is nice and clear.

I would encourage people during signup to keep kismet in their profile so as to spread the word about it. The kismet word + auth code may be enough to make me curious and look it up. Alternatively, a replacement string may be suggested once auth was done, like “I’m on Kismet, come join to meet random HNers like me.”

I’ not sure the [just reply to this email] is a good idea when the unsubscribe link works with a single click.

Is the introduction mutual? That is, if I get user X, does user X also get an email with the same intro for me?

I wouldn't want to feel obliged to contact every "match" if they don't seem interesting to me (and vice versa) but there might be such an obligation if they knew I'd got them.

Yes, it is! As you mentioned, that's by design, though if you're asking the question that means I'm not communicating it well enough :)

My feeling: You aren't obligated. If either of you sees something of potential value, they can send an email. If neither does, then no reply is required.

Great concept. I was just wondering Having an email address in profile is pretty common for HNers, so kismet can also send a verification email to any email it finds in profile for verification too. This might reduce the friction and encourage more people to signup.

Great idea. Signed up. Intro'd to someone interesting.

For checking the profile, please use shorter codes or increase the size of the <input> that displays the code. I ran into a bug by accidentally selecting part of the code, not realizing that it scrolled on..

I like it so far. The instant first email match is great, but it happens while I'm setting my info, so it leaves introductions to be a little.. barren?

Neat idea!

Sadly, it doesn't seem to handle non-ASCII characters. I entered my name, Cristi Burcă, and it got saved as Cristi Burc?.

Immediately after I signed up for Kismet, while I was updating my profile, I was matched with another HN member. So basically, since nothing had been updated, they won't know anything about me from the intro. Not really a major problem, but I just wish it had waited for me to update my profile.

Pretty sure I know the answer to this, but: can I remove the code from my profile after it's been verified?


It would be helpful to have this mentioned.

Dumb question, is it a 'risk' to leave the code in your profile? As in someone could crawl profiles looking for Kismet codes and then altering random people's profiles. If so, maybe it would be worth it to add text suggesting that people remove the code from their profile after verification is complete? Cheers

The verification code and the auth code for your profile are different and are generated in a different way, so it's pretty low risk to leave it.

Wow what a brilliant idea! Thank you so much for making this project, signed up already =)

Is there a specific bent to this? Business networking? Recruiting? Dating?

I am a woman. I have signed up. Anyone who uses this as an excuse to try to ask me for a date (or otherwise chat me up romantically) will not be well received.

I get too much of that as is. I am hoping this service is the solution to my problem that when I say to a guy "Let's talk!" or "You can email me", about 99% of the time that is interpreted as an opportunity to hit on me. No, me saying I would be willing to discuss X specific issue further is absolutely not code for "I am looking for romance and I especially enjoy being treated like an airhead and sex object." (There was a recent incident and I am still pretty wrapped around the axle about it.)

I have been here 8.5 years. There are about three people I can email occasionally. No, that distinctly does not include certain folks on the leaderboard magnanimously inviting anyone on HN to contact them, they would love to talk to you. And I am getting pretty fed up with being patient and wondering what I, personally, can do differently. That isn't getting sufficient results.

I strongly suspect most female members of HN will have similar feelings on the matter, which is the only reason I am mentioning it. So treating it as a dating service probably won't go well.

Not really, but I expect given the HN demographics people will use it for business networking.

That's a great idea!

Do two "matched users" both get an email pointing to each other, or does the other not know that they were matched to you?

Matches are 1 to 1, so the person you see in your inbox gets an email just like it with your info.

So, forgive the cynic in me, but if this is completely free, who pays for it?

We know the model web social networks use.

I do. Server bills for something like this are incredibly low -- I might throw in a 'donate' button or charge a small amount for premium features in the future but in the meantime I'm happy just to have people using it.

nice! is the matching random or is it based on mutual interests that users indicate in their profiles?

At the moment it's simply random, but intelligent matching is on the roadmap.

Cool, I tried it and it worked.

I do think a week would probably be a better default setting.

Can I take the hash out of my profile?

Yep! I need to add that feedback to the form :)

Match interval settings are in the works; in the meantime there is a ‘snooze’ feature that will pause matches for 5 days. The link is in every message.

I don't think the snooze worked: Pretty sure I triggered it yesterday, but I got a match just now.

Sorry about that! Just squashed a bug related to this -- could you please send an email to hello@findkismet.com if it happens again or you see anything else strange happening?

May I recommend making the links in the emails clickable? (i.e., HN Profile in the intro emails)

A decade after social networks got popular people still do not understand how relationships are formed.

They think you can get a buddy, find friends, be not lonely anymore with a single click. FB, Instagram, Tinder and today's Show HN seem to be simple fixes to break out of loneliness.

They are all like sweets—they are tempting, tasty and shortly after consumed you are hungry again. Hungry for social encounters. So you consume them again and the vicious cycles starts.

Building real-life relationships is not easy. There are many ways to get there. A pure online play is not the answer.

> Building real-life relationships is not easy. There are many ways to get there. A pure online play is not the answer.

I disagree. Personally I've found that real life friendships are much more fickle, many disintegrate because of distance, or time, or some other reason. On the contrary, the people whom I have made friends with through the internet, through for example, IRC or Slack. Have become much more long lasting, and quite lengthy. Even if one of us does not respond or get a response from the other for a couple of months, it does not matter. One of us eventually reconnects or bumps the conversation and we resume practically where we left off. Most of my real life friends have difficulty even responding online.

Sure, this is not a cure-all for loneliness, but such a thing does not exist in this world. At some point we shall all be lonely for some time, even the most devoted partner gets busy or has things to do. It is not the cure-all, but these 'pocket friends', like all friends, help.

> Even if one of us does not respond or get a response from the other for a couple of months

This kind of interaction does not fit my description for a friendship.

>Most of my real life friends have difficulty even responding online

Is taking one month to reply on IRC not to "have difficulty even responding online?"

> This kind of interaction does not fit my description for a friendship.

It depends on your age. A huge chunk of my friends are in University right now, so they have very little time to dedicate to social interactions, and when they do, there is pressure for it to be physical interaction.

In addition, many of my friends are suffering with various forms of illnesses and depression, and a lot of them are makers, that delve into projects headfirst. All of which can sometimes create long gaps in contact.

Real relationships can’t be purely online: Disagree.

An app that introduces two people and says “Be friends you two!” can’t be the answer: Agree.

An apt name ! There is a bollywood movie by the name “Kismet Konnection”

Really cool idea, I look forward to my first intro ;)

Wow, I love this! Great creativity and execution!!!

Nice, will try it out.




destiny; fate.

"what chance did I stand against kismet?"

added the google search definition:

Although, it obviously doesn't.

I personally have always felt it had a romantic undertone to it.

I think the service may be far more interesting if it was a hackernews dating service.

38/M/Santa Monica, email in profile ;-)

I enjoy long sessions of removing bad code.

Presumably it's a reference to the robot at MIT media labs, rather than a direct reference to the Turkish term.


This is dope.

I second a name change. How about http://hn.chat?

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