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Show HN: Standup tool that works like Snapchat stories for remote teams (standups.io)
266 points by jpincheira 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 104 comments



Hi HN!

I'm JP, founder of Standups.io. Last March, I resigned from my full-time iOS job with the idea of making a web/mobile app for async video standups. I did some traveling (China/Vietnam) while I started to work on the app, but eventually ended up back in Germany, escaping South Asia's rainy season :)

The idea of async video standups started to grow on me since last December when I was in the north of Brazil. I was there for some weeks doing remote work for my employer back in Germany, and I had to get up at 5 AM just to make it for the 10 AM standup back in Hamburg. This didn't feel right. Other team members were going through the same. So that's how it all started. Today I'm finally launching and I'm super excited to get your feedback. I'm solo founder, so it's been quite of a ride itself, but I'm looking forward to what's next :)

iOS and Android apps are coming next — in some more weeks, as I feel it's important to be able to post your standup update from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection.

I'd love to hear your feedback (feature requests, bugs, etc) and personal experiences when it comes to team standups and how you guys are running standups with team members that are not on-site / distributed, or maybe as a full-remote team. I'm eager to implement some more features that might help this kind of team setups better. You can try Standups for free here: https://standups.io/register

Thank you so much!

JP

edit: typos


I love the idea! Where do you store the videos? What's your tech stack?

Maybe read/watch receipts for who has watched the videos right beneath the videos themselves would be an improvement.


Thanks so much. :)

I store the videos/media on S3 and use CloudFront for cache.

Tech stack is Node.js on Heroku, MongoDB, ReactJS with MobX (if you're doing ReactJS these I must say you _have_ to be using MobX, it's just amazing, shoutout to @mweststrate), Netlify (they're really great) and AWS Lambda.

Thanks for mentioning read/watch/"seen", as it is on the roadmap and will come in the next days. It can be toggled off, so final decision will be up to the manager/team :)


What about encoding? Are you doing that on the device or in the cloud? Curious if there were any latency challenges you had to dig into.


Thanks for asking. The encoding is on the device, that's right, as most of the times after the upload, the user can play out the video right away, and also to avoid extra work on the cloud transcoder/remuxer. In order to make sure that videos will be playable on all platforms (Web, Android, iOS) I need to transcode or remux, depending on the case (iOS doesn't decode VP8 sadly). :)


Awesome! Good idea, great execution!

I am also a brazilian (you too, right?) solo founder (https://www.oneonemeeting.com/, for one-on-one meetings); although I am keeping my day job.

We are forming a group of indie hackers around here in São Paulo to keep in touch. It seems you are in Germany now, but if you are interested, let me know! Email in the profile!

Good luck!


Congrats on the app! I saw it a few days ago. Best of luck! :) If anything just contact me to jp at standups.io or let's follow each other on Twitter, my handle is @restrex

I am from Chile, but left almost 10 years ago, but I try to come back as often as I can. If I ever make it to Sao Paulo, I'll let you know. :)


Cool app!


I like the concept but I do struggle with the price point for 1.5 minute videos per day.


I crunched the math earlier and it's something like... 35c a day for a reasonably standard North American tech worker workyear?

Doesn't seem that bad, especially to avoid the hassles of coordinating remote teams' standups (hell, even some colocated teams could benefit from this).


Let's be real here: this is an enthusiast price point. Very few decently sized sized teams will want to fit a 100$ a month into their budget for this little value add.

This is maybe even the point: fewer but enthusiastic customers to gather relevant feedback.

Haven't seen the ability to host the videos locally, so serious developers are out too. Potentially broadcasting valuable info isn't a big selling point.


Hello :) Thank you! The timebox will be toggleable soon, I just left it fixed during the first version waiting to get feedback on it. Storage space is not really an issue, so timebox will be defined by the manager/team.


so what's the price where you will sign up right now?

if I lower it to $3/user/month, will you sign up right now?


No. never lower your prices because of a comment here. There will always be some cheapskate engineer here telling you your thing is too expensive.

That's fine. He is not your customer.

Your customer is businesses with money. Businesses that have seven dollars.

Those businesses, by the way, will just as happily spend $20/seat/month because that also rounds to zero for them. You can experiment with charging them that if you like. But whatever you do don't lower your prices. They're too cheap already.


Yes I already know that. I was trying to show brightball his comment about "price too high" is ridiculous

If $7 / month is too high, then any price below $7 is too high.

He should just outright say he wanted it for free, instead of complaining about price


$3/user/month would signal to me to walk away. You can't possibly sustain at that rate if you ask me making investing in use of your tool a risk. Good software costs money, and deserves money, don't lower your prices too much. Consider them carefully.


I love the idea. I am working on something similar. Good luck to you :)


Thank you so much. Means a lot to, and gives me a ton of motivation :)


What stack are you using to record, trancode (?), and store the videos?


Thanks for asking! I was looking into the transcoding for quite some time, but due to my previous experience working at an IPTV company in Toronto (they sold a bunch of their channels to Rogers), I was familiar with ffmpeg / encoders in general. So I decided to skip Amazon Elastic Transcoder and do my own Lambda transcoder, which resulted in a way cheaper solution for it. All videos recorded are in H.264 and VP8 counterparts, for easy playout on iOS (H.264) and Android (VP8/H.264).


Did you roll your own recording front-end as well or is it done by file upload?


Out of curiosity, did you use ManyPixels for the design?


Very cool! Did you build this completely by yourself?


Hola :) Super glad you find it cool, really! Yes, it took me a couple months since March, but I got it running, and so far the whole stack is behaving super well!


[flagged]


I find the fact that you've been aggressively marketing your product throughout this Show HN very disrespectful.

In case you decide to delete your comments, I uploaded them here. https://imgur.com/a/KPpgW8u


I was just about to say the same. This is unethical at best, probably closer to "laughably bad looking".


GP has done a great job of convincing me not to ever look at their product, so at least there’s that.


This is a great idea, good luck with it!

A few small suggestions:

1) Often times, I find myself in a car or in an area with heavily limited internet (i.e., the subway). I think it would be beneficial to allow a "listen to the audio only mode", reducing bandwidth and/or ensuring I keep focusing on the drive (maybe like a "team podcast" :-) )

2) In a similar vein, speech could be converted to text to make it searchable. When I worked in a fully remote team, we had meetings where someone said something that turned out to be important later on. Sadly, looking through months of meeting footage is not something anyone of us wanted to do, speech-to-text could be handy here.


Hello Levente. I'm super glad to see that you like the idea, really. Thanks for checking the app out.

To answer your questions: 1) Audio-only updates are coming soon. And with the iOS/Android apps is a great I idea to "listen" updates as you drive. Really cool, and will implement this soon when the audio-only support is coming (will work too by "listening" to videos as well).

2) Search is coming as well. You're idea is cool (specially for managers to be checking into a project), and I am already thinking on making a JIRA integration that puts all the associated/tagged standups into its related JIRA ticket on the sidebar, but this could also work via the search (advanced) section! Text-to-speech is also something cool, let's see how it all goes, as it's also easily implementable using Google's Cloud Speech-to-Text :)


From a Scrum Master PoV, I feel like this app sort of misses the point of stand-ups. Stand-ups are supposed to be daily interaction/live communication between team members—not a daily report. The point is to further inter-team communication in order to better overcome impediments. A pre-recorded update isn't very useful if other team members has comments or questions. Stand-up is also a great opportunity to ask if the rest of the team has any input on a problem you may be dealing with.

From the website:

> Often times we miss standups.

Sorry to be blunt but then you're doing it wrong, or maybe it could be worth reconsidering the choice of framework if it's not possible to implement the most basic features of Scrum.

> To avoid updates that are rather long, we implemented a timebox of 1.5 minutes [...]

This seems oddly arbitrary. You don't necessarily need to limit each individual's speaking time. In e.g. a team of 4 people it's fine if each person speaks for 3 minutes as long as its relevant for stand-up.

If you're removing the conversational aspect of stand-up along with timeboxing people then it seems to me like doing stand-up over Twitter.


While I get where you are coming from to some extent and partially agree, as someone who’s also a certified scrum master, if there are a lot of discussion going on in your stand ups, you are doing it wrong too. The point of standups is to be quick update, with follow up discussions if something needs more depth.

The best practice is for each person to answer the following three questions:

1) What did you accomplish since the last meeting?

2) What are you working on until the next meeting?

3) What is getting in your way or keeping you from doing your job?

Further, if your team is having discussions that aren’t relevant to everyone at the standup, then by definition you are doing standups wrong.


Yeah, I agree, except "relevant to everyone" is not accurate enough, I think. It should be "relevant to reaching the sprint goal", because it can be relevant to everyone on the team but completely irrelevant in relation to the sprint goal.

Our stand-ups are strictly about stuff relating to the sprint goal and hence the success of the team in the sprint. So the 3 points are all suffixed with "... to help the team meet the sprint goal". Sometimes we'll spend 3 minutes on our individual updates and 10 minutes on discussing an issue brought up in point 3 because it affects the whole team and threatens the sprint. Sometimes stand-up is over in just 3 minutes because there's nothing new and no issues.

The real-time feedback at stand-ups is super important, IMO. When doing point 2 from your list, there may be other team mates with valuable input. E.g. if someone is planning on working on X and someone else have worked on something related to that, then they may know of some gotchas and other stuff to be aware of, where they can simply interject that they should maybe talk a little about that after stand-up. We do that in my team all the time and it's saved us countless hours because we managed to catch problems long before they became actual problems and a a topic for point 3.


These days, with powerful tools like jira/github/gitlab you can do the update and ask for help in a much more convenient text format, easily searchable and referencable. And you can do that all day every day, if your team is good you’ll get an answer much sooner than “once per day”.

With that in mind, the standup’s role is sort of weird - everyone agrees that “it’s important”, but for everything you actually do in it there are better ways to do it.

Maybe it’s the actual talking with other human beings thats the important part, where you can see that your team mates have their own struggles and problems, to read their body language and feel a bit more part of the tribe.

And if _that’s_ the case, maybe we’ve missed the whole point of the standup? We could make the standup a small slack post, and have a “talkie time” set up each day just to feel human?


Standups are awesome when done right... but unfortunately, given that my team works fairly independently, standups end up getting stretched because some member of the team prolongs his/her update to get a team opinion on either a design issue or a technical problem (or a product issue).

The simple way we time-box our stand ups is by planking [1] while giving standup updates. This ensures each person speaks for <1 min. All other issues are discussed at the end of the standup. Better core strength is an unintended benefit of the same! :-P

[1] https://www.livestrong.com/article/538593-what-is-the-planki...


Planking? SV culture is parodying itself at this point. That is truly ridiculous.


I love how you've automatically assumed we're based in Silicon Valley. Trademark HN armchair critiquing at it's finest!


To be fair, "SV culture" != "SV location".


That's were the Scrum master/Team lead/Manager interjects and regulates. When someone diverts from status update, I stop them and tell them to table it for discussion afterwards. There are no hard rules, once in a while, someone will have something that is very important and I'll let them drop it. Plank? Monkey business!


That's a creative solution (so long as you have no disabled/older/etc employees on your team)! You could probably solve the same problem, though, by just having one person who aggressively shuts down long updates. Phrases like "Let's chat about that offline" or "Want to grab a whiteboard for 15 after standup to figure that out?" are handy. Do this for a month or so and people will start self-policing effectively.

You'd probably want team buy-in before doing that, of course. If most people agree that standups are too long, you could get pre-emptive permission by asking the team if they're cool with you becoming the standup police like that. In my experience, most people are willing to admit that long standups are a problem, but only in retrospect - never when they're the one actively talking. :)


If there are questions on the stand-up organize for them another meeting or make a note and get back onto it later. The original stand up should only be a place where you can flag that you cannot meet your deadlines or you have problems. If it has to be discussed another meeting has to be organized only with those people who are related to that problems. Others should go back to their tasks after the stand-up. I know also it is not easy to do this but when this works you start to love to go to standups.


Does the person with the conch plank, or everybody else? Both seem effective....


Haha this is awesome


The best SCRUM master I ever worked with had strong opinions about standups. Standups, he said, were an attempt to address the principle of constant communication. He said most places held to standups too literally and the updates weren't useful to most of the people in the room, which negated the whole purpose.


Yeah I concur wirh this. Apologies if I've for the intent of this wrong but stand ups are intended to be a team sync point where questions are asked, mutual understanding reached and I doing a 1way update seems counter to the intent of a stand up.

It definitely has its place to provide opportunity where you can't all meet together but it you'd to rely promote questions and discussions following this by all team members to avoid it being a box tick


Almost all of scrum process are intended to enforce agile delivery. Generally speaking, the more mature and disciplined the team, the less you need to enforce formalities like standup etiquette. If you can achieve agility without scrum, you absolutely should. Scrum is like guideposts. A means to an end.


Interesting! So how did he run the standups?


Hi JP!

I´m a founder of a 20pp fully remote company, and I think your product could have a great impact! However seeing such a high (in my opinion) price per month per user is an issue for me. This product, while super useful, cover only a small portion of the remote dynamics we face each day, and that price per month per user in our case at least doesn´t justify it.

Loved the idea thought, so all the best!


First off, thank so much for your feedback. I'm truly happy that you think it can make a great impact! :) On the other hand, pricing is something that I will definitely be taking a look into soon: for now, I just wanted to launch, so I made it per seat with 1 plan, no fencing of features at all. Entreprise/business (lots of seats) is on the roadmap, let's talk so we can workout a discount for now. Please send me an email at jp at standups.io Thanks :)


Will do! And great about just wanting to launch! Better err and correct than keep waiting till have a perfect plan (which will never come anyway :p)


[flagged]


Hi Dstik, being 100% candid, I don´t really understand from your landing what the product does =/


Hey bdagnino, we definitely need to work on that :)

Tape is a video-based communication tool for remote teams using the story-format for consumption. Starting a tape is as easy as sending a snap (with a subject line), replies are threaded inline (think email meets stories) which results in clearer communication and better team chemistry as you get more "face-time" with your remote colleagues.

Currently, organizations with remote teams use Tape for elements of agile (stand up, retrospective, sprint planning) as well as meeting replacement (time shifting meetings to asynchronous video instead of struggling to coordinate live calls across time-zones) and for overall communication. It is deeply integrated into Slack which fits into most workflows.

I'd love to chat more about how we can help your team! (dave [at] trytape.com)


You crossed into spamming a long time ago in this thread. It's fine to link to your own work if it's relevant and part of an interesting conversation. It's not fine to hijack conversations for promotion. Please don't do that.


I really like the idea. I work in a partially remote team and organising the standup in the morning can be tricky. There're a lot of low tech solutions to this problem but what I like about this service is that it takes the simple "story" approach from Instagram and uses that to solve the standup problem. Nice. Good luck!


[flagged]


Dude seriously, stop hijacking the guys post... so cringey.


Created an account - UX is a little clunky:

have a + button to create a team.

Please have the ability to do a test/add a bot/test user.

Can I store the meeting? Get attendance reports? Notes?

If I create the meeting, but I dont attend/go on vacation what happens?

I can't see how to use it without having an actual other person to test it out with...

I should be able to take/store personal video-notes, then share those out with a team/create a meeting based on them perhaps?

For add member - please provide me a link I can just send to people to have them click and add themselves as a member.

What happens when the teams get quite large?

I love async/remote standup as an idea - but have yet to find the right tool for it. I'd love to help provide feedback...

---

Sadly, I hope that you can sell - as I know that when it comes to /month pricing, this will be harder to sell in lots of companies (Gsuite is only $5/month per user for full email - which will have a higher-perceived value than standup subscription)


Nice idea which will solve the connection issues during standup, enforce time bound update and save the team time trying to align a standup. The only issue I see is devs might not be bothered to watch it or follow up but it could be quite useful for leads and managers.


Hello :) First off, glad you like the idea! You nailed it! One of the pains in my previous agile teams was exactly this, dropping audio / choppy videos, interrupting standups. Everybody still standing, waiting for our manager to make a new call. Opening a new app for the video call, etc. This would be happening way too often, and we'd be like "oh, man".

For the part of devs not bothered to watch it: soon audio will be coming, and maybe —depending on feedback— audio to text could come too. Also, "seen" flags are coming too, so the team manager and the submitter will be able to see who's watched the updates.


The 'hero' graphic/screenshot says 'Thrusday', heads up: https://standups.io/static/media/app.130e8c9b.jpg


Hehe thanks a lot for spotting that. Just updated it! :)


Add a slack integration that reminds team members to post their standup story and you've got gold for remote teams


Thank you for your comment. I've been seriously thinking about this, but I want to do it in a way that doesn't convert it into a chat/text-based bot :-) But like you say, as a reminder/notification via Slack it sounds nice, I dig it and will try to do this soon!


Looks great! Not sure if you're aware of it but Helpful (https://www.helpful.com/) seems to be doing something similar.


I haven't tried to use it, but in case it's helpful, these would be the features I would want: jot down notes before record, allow preview and then re-record, allow saving text notes with the video, allow tagging people if you need them to see a stand-up (ex. to ask for help), be able to see who has viewed your stand-up, and a minimum stand-up time. Slack integration would be great too, as each recorded message could pop into a slack channel when ready (I don't know how notifications work right now)


Hello Peter. Most of these features are there, a few coming (in the roadmap) like the seen flag.

Try it out with your team https://standups.io/register and let me know how it worked for you :)


For enterprises you could consider adding an enterprise pricing option with on-prem hosting. Standups discuss IP and a lot of companies never let IP out of premise/DMZ. Especially not in stored format.

You needn't even have it yet, you can use the pricing option to see if you can catch a big fish who wants to pay for your development of it. (of course you bring that different but it works the same).


Thanks for mentioning this. I understand what you mean. I used to work for a 1000+ company that currently uses GitHub, JIRA, Confluence and Slack, all of them self-hosted. So yeah, and it's a German company, so they're extra worried about protecting their data. Self-hosted support is definitely on the roadmap. And will update the pricing page to explain this a little bit better. Thanks again for bringing it up!


I like it, but how does this solve the thing that I thought was the reason standups exist: to find out who needs help and to verify that the priorities are still right?

I see how this can be used for status reporting, but who really cares about that?

Note, I'm not trying to HN-diss this tool. I really want this tool - assuming it helps us actually use the standup for setting priorities and helping each other out.


Hi JP, I love the website. Great job.

I'd start collecting email addresses at the bottom of blog articles to reengage with the visitors in the future. You can do it unobtrusively and actually it also helps users. For example, I would like to get an email update when you publish a new content but couldn't find any way for it.

Good luck!


Hello Sung. Thank you so much for the kuddos and the tips! I will be doing this soon, just added it to my backlog! :)


What about closed captions for the hearing impaired ? I have a friend who works in tech in SF and he has trouble doing video interviews because of this. He is really good at lip reading but sometimes it's really hard to follow.

The closed captions generation doesn't have to work in real time.


You are truly right and this is definitely something I personally would like to implement as soon as possible. Thank you so much for bringing it up.

I think that the solution would have to be just using Google Cloud Speech-to-Text to get a text transcript and be able to overlay it on the video.

Please contact me via jp at standups.io as I'd love to hear more details on how it'd a good way for your friend to easily use this feature.


Ok, so I don't think I've ever worked in a company that fully implemented Agile effectively but in a previous job one team decided to just use an irc channel and at a set time everyone would post a short one line statement about what they're currently working on. Outside of our "standup" we used the irc channel as a general shout for help when we had problems and we didn't know who could help on. We didn't get a chance to run it for too long since the guy who set it up got laid off after a few months but I thought it was pretty straightforward idea.


Pro tip: try Marco Polo. It's free. That's not to say yours isn't a good idea, and probably worth money if more specifically implemented for remote teams.

Disclosure: I work on this app, but the standup use case is an "off-label" use that we ourselves employ internally. The app itself is for friends/family to basically video text/walkie-talkie but it serves a use as asynchronous video communication for other purposes.


This is a perfect use case for async video. Nice work!

What’s the follow up look like? Can I comment on videos to ask questions or do you imagine that being done through existing channels?


Thank you for your interest! Yes replies/follow-ups are on the roadmap and will come soon by eing able to reply video/audio/text (with tags).


I'll be honest, I will never watch a standup video.


You might once your manager sees that you haven't watched the last 4 weeks worth of standups....


At a previous job I didn't listen to voicemails from my boss for 6 years. I'd hit delete immediately. Stand-ups are a waste of time, those videos would be equally so just like those voicemails were.


Great idea. From the screenshot the UI looks very sterile.

Would be great if the actual video content would get more screen estate to focus on the team and not on the UI controls.

Also, why is your app not advertised on the website? I think the app should be the main entry point to your tool and not a web dashboard.


FWIW I think the screenshots look great.

If someone’s going to use this tool every day, you want to emphasize the videos and faces that change every day—not the buttons and links.


You are totally right... I like that idea. Thank you! I'll be updating this soon and actually make a video to show the changing days with different videos. :-)


Looking forward to it!

Just to be clear though - I think your current design already does a good job at this :)


Hi Beni! Thank you for your feedback! I'll put it into consideration for the next iteration! I'm gonna be making a few UI tweaks based of the use in the next days now that it is out for people to try it.

The app is not yet there, that's why I didn't show it, also, I didn't want to post a mockup of it to not make it misleading, as right now it only the web app. :-)


Really like the idea. What about android and iOS version? It would make everything even more easier.


Hello :) The apps are coming in the next few weeks. iOS is almost done at the moment, but still tweaking a few things.


This looks very well done from the product side of things, but how is it better than having a slack channel for the team to post async standup updates in? Seems a lot simpler than using another service, and more flexible since you can add links or tag other people.


I really didn't want to make another async chat/text-based bot. I wanted to bring a bit of the on-site feeling / face-time human contact to teams that are remote, specially those that are very distant, with a big timezone difference. Working remotely is amazing, but it also has some problems, and I just wanted to help solving the issue of loss of real human touch, (people's expressions/smiles, etc), so that teams get daily face-time regardless of location.


And aligning video thumbnails next to each other helps reduce the loss of human touch you think?


I like the idea, and it looks nice, but this is definitely one of those products that would benefit immensely from a video intro instead of static screenshots that don’t convey nearly enough.

Also your free trial buttons are broken (visually, wrap and break) on small mobile screens.


Hello there :) You are absolutely right. Thank you for your suggestion, I will be updating the landing page soon with a video showing how it will be changing day by day with the normal usage for a team.


Footer CTAs are now fixed :) Thank you for letting me know.


Not just footer CTAs - they’re still broken! These are the ‘start your free trial’ red buttons. I’m on an iPhone SE


Thanks for reporting back again about it. Now all CTAs are fixed, just tested on the iPhone SE simulator :) Have a great weekend!


Hmm, it doesn't seem to work. Is it live/ready or still in development? I tried it just now and tried to send/record my message but it is not working. Just got a spinner.


That seems odd, let me take a look into it. Could you please open the Live Chat (when logged in, go to the Help sidebar and on the dropdown menu click Live Chat Support, so I can help you more on this. Thank you :)


Tip: add a twitter card in your html head ;)


Thank you Alex! Will try this out! :)


There must be an audio only version too. I'm pretty sure no one in my team wants to see my face.


Thanks for mentioning that because I've had audio on my mind since the beginning, and it's definitely gonna come soon! Please follow https://twitter.com/@standupsHQ for updates on this, and feel free to try it out :) I'll be happy to hear your feedback :)


Really dig this idea. Love the time box aspect. Is that an editable feature (duration)?

Wish I was in a remote team to try this out.

GL!


I'm happy to hear you like it! Glad that I finally could launch.

Sure, timebox for now is fixed, but I will soon be pushing a change to make it toggleable and editable :)


Love the idea. Faced this several times myself while traveling.


Great to hear that you also went through this and that Standups.io will hopefully help you on this.


But you don't need standups:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17671464




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