Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Show HN: Stuff – An Alternative to Facebook Events (stuff.li)
201 points by stuffhq on March 13, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 95 comments

The whole point of Facebook events is that it's already integrated with a social network so it's easy to invite people.

I dislike the whole concept of Facebook but sorry, but I find this idea really counter intuitive? Creating social events online but not through a social network...

*edit, so I can provide some constructive criticism. Maybe integrate this with social networks such as Facebook or Twitter (which I guess kind of defeats your purpose of going against Facebook)?

Facebook events is one of the only things keeping a lot of people I know on facebook.

But, yeah, it's hard to go to something else cause of the friction.

What we really need is something that is as integrated into fb events as fb, but _also_ allows people who aren't on fb to find and keep track of and RVSP to events.

I think facebook API's don't really allow you to have that kind of integration for a third-party thing though. I would assume this is intentional.

(I find out about a lot of events on fb not by searching for events, but by facebook timeline telling me "your fb friend is interested/going to this event. If you can figure out a way to approach that kind of experience with your non-fb thing, it might help).

> Facebook events is one of the only things keeping a lot of people I know on facebook.

Yeah, it's true for me. I barely use messenger anymore (married the person I wrote the most with), and even then I use it via Trillian. I open facebook maybe 2-3 times per week to check events and that's it. But with all their crappy UX, events is still better than alternatives to see what friends are doing and what's going on locally.

And I think it's _really hard_ for a contender like `stuff` to become a better alternative for many people without the 'social network' features of facebook. An easy way to see what events your friends are interested in, as a primary one.

IDK, I think there's room for improvement in this area. I've had an idea rolling around in my head for a couple of years but I've never pursued it:

I lived in NYC for a few years, and every so often I'd find myself wandering around the city on a weekend afternoon, wondering what I should do. Ideally, there'd be an app where I could simply open it up, look at a map, set it to the current time or maybe within an hour or so, and easily see events near me.

That app just does not exist. You can get kinda close with a few apps, but not really. In this context, I don't care what my friends are doing, I just want to find something cool period.

I think that's because NYC is one of the few places that an app just like you describe would make any sense. :)

In many places, the list of "things happening this hour on a weekend afternoon within 10-20 minutes of where I am right now that I might possibly be interested in" approaches zero.

On the other hand, if there is a huge list of events happening close to you soon at any given time, the problem is "that I might possibly be interested in." The "things my friends expressed interest in" is useful not just because my friends might be there (although that can be a plus, or a prompt to text one of em and say hey you wanna go to this), but because if a buncha my friends are interested in it, that makes it more likely it will be something that will appeal to me, because my friends in aggregate are more likely than random to be interested in things I am.

I'll give you another scenario. I was in Mississippi (virtually the opposite of NYC) with my sister and her 2 children. We wanted to find things to do in the area that was kid friendly but also relatively cheap.

This led me to spending something like 30-45 minutes trudging through various websites, the local paper, etc. I eventually found about 3-5 different options.

Simply broaden the definition of "things happening" and the number is definitely not zero.

On iOS there is an app called "Local" developed by Facebook. I only have Facebook for the events part and I only use it through this app.

It kind of sucks that they have a monopoly on events except maybe Resident Advisor which is sometimes better than Facebook for Techno and House parties. But they are missing the invite and seeing what other people are doing that aren't in to my niche music.

Yeah at this point creating any "general" FB events alternative is just foolish and will wither in time.

There are literally only three ways out:

1) Create an events alternative for a niche group. This is what RA is, but it could easily also be for a university (like Highkey is doing for college events) or for a certain local area.

2) One of the other media giants creates an events alternative. Google, Twitter, Snapchat. That could still somehow work out.

3) Find a way to piggyback off FB's users/events. Seems like this would need to be done in some way that is clearly against their TOS, but we have seen startups form in similar means anyway. I already see some spam by sites that scrape events and attendee lists from FB, but they all seem to be in it just for the short run.

> Facebook events is one of the only things keeping a lot of people I know on facebook.

I suspect that events will be one of the last things keeping people on Facebook generally, just like music and artist pages kept MySpace going for years after losing relevance otherwise.

I tried for a while to leverage Facebook, YouTube, Meetup to support two orgs. Pages, events, RSVPs, etc.

I'd like to see some case studies of success, because it was a lot of effort with very little show for it, and I'm fresh out of ideas (and goodwill).

> I think facebook API's don't really allow you to have that kind of integration for a third-party thing though. I would assume this is intentional.

It's definitely intentional, because older versions of the Facebook APIs had this functionality, but it was later removed...

> I find out about a lot of events on fb not by searching for events, but by facebook timeline telling me "your fb friend is interested/going to this event.

Funny enough, this is the main reason I don't use the Going/Interested buttons on Facebook anymore. I'm not a fan of having my activity broadcast to everyone on my friends list.

The alternatives of such integrated platform is chat app, which ironically, the most popular chat app is Whatsapp owned by Facebook. So if someone built a event management software based on Whatsapp's new API and start gaining traction, facebook would steal the idea and launch their own.

The smartest move Facebook ever made was gobbling up the options most likely to be alternatives to FB once people got sick of it.

I agree, there's so much friction trying to get a group of people to signup for and use another platform.

A personal anecdote: people were willing to fly thousands of miles to come to my wedding, but (almost) nobody wanted to use the site/app we chose to avoid using Facebook to plan the event.

I think the only option is to make it seamless for Facebook users--let them log in with FB, use FB Messenger to send them updates, etc.

We are really trying to limit friction. Creating events requires a profile. RSVPs does not. Also, Stuff invitations can still be distributed on any other platforms with a simple "one-to-many" link. Hope this makes sense. Simon, Stuff.

Links that can be distributed via any channel and are platform agnostic is great IMHO. You’re then a service on top of any social network (WhatsApp, Slack, SMS, email, whatever).

voice, sign language, semaphore, etc.

If you can't communicate your service to others, how do you expect others to use it? The best you can do is make it generic and easy to share however people want.

Supporting SMS and/or email means you can share this service in the most basic means available, and as long as Social Network X supports link sharing, Stuff will support Social Network X.

Hey Simon. re: friction, I built a little service about a month ago that creates events via email — www.thad.cc

You just need to cc the address in an email and it sends invites to all of the people in the email list. I used it for an event of about ~30 and most people added their RSVP. It has chat too, but that wasn't as successful. Email is obviously not the 'coolest', but this approach at least reduces friction. I spent about a month thinking about / building this and would be happy to chat.

Edit: kinda funny we both chose pink :)

Everything will turn pink ;-) Awesome that we are having same thoughts on invites and friction. Would love to chat. Feel free to drop me an email on simon@stuff.li.

The main point of this is that it’s not glued to Facebook. So feedback that it can only succeed if it’s glued to a social network is arguably valid but pointless.

This seems like a cool project and I’ll give it a try for my next poker night. As someone not on Facebook, but who hosts social events, I’m probably the target audience here. Evite kind of sucks (feels stuck in the year 2003). AnyVite was better but then they shut down—and now I just checked and it looks like they’re actually still around (?) This space could really use an innovator with a quality product that’s not reliant on or exclusive to FB.

You are absolutely the target audience for Stuff :-) Great to hear that you will give it a spin for your next event. If you need a reminder to create the event. Just drop me an email on simon@stuff.li and let me know when you need the reminder. Simon, Stuff.

Most of my social network (urban, educated, US) has abandoned FB, so the value for me is in the events themselves, which aren't published elsewhere.

Thanks for your feedback - and constructive critism :-) Invitations to social events can fortunately be distributed through a lot of other channels than on Facebook - email, messenger platforms, text etc etc. Adding to that we have more and more friends missing events on Facebook. Hence seeing that there is room for us.... Simon, Stuff.

What about the people you want to invite who aren't on FB? Luckliy (or not) I still get Evites to thing that matter.

Right...so there's already Evites right? :)

This is just a transparent attempt to rationalize / dig in to your original point right? :)

+1 it seems like to combat FB events here, you don't need a service in the first instance. You need a standard that's accepted and used by significant parties. Likely someone like Fastmail could push this forward, but you'd want Gmail to be a first adopter to make this work.

Have we got to the point where we don’t know where our friends live, their phone numbers, their email addresses and Facebook is the only way to contact them? Social networks didn’t exist not too long ago. People met up.

FB is a black hole sucking data in and that's the only reason they allow you to integrate with them. Don't put them in the same bag as Twitter who still support pseudoanonimity.

I realized 3 years ago Events is one of the strongest features keeping people on their Facebook accounts (besides Messenger). At least in towns with strong music scenes and going to shows is important to individuals. I started brainstorming features a competing service would have but unfortunately due to my lack of web development experience it never came to fruition. I might still have my notes somewhere. If I remember Ill look for them when I get home later.

I think you have way to many words on your home page. This is a service catering towards events so that is what I want to see when I first come to your site. If I wanted words I would look them on your site, the service should be able to speak for itself. Also, someone already mentioned it, but your domain and your name aren‘t very good. Stuff makes me think im about to be sold something. "How did you hear about this event?" "I found it on Stuff" doesn't work very well imo.

Being able to follow event creators and venues to learn about uncoming shows, and to follor my friends to know what events they are interested or going to.

Opt-in notifications based on GeoIP to find out "Hey, my neighbor is having a yard sale!" Obviously, having the option to create private events that don‘t notify the neighborhood as well.

Being able to post on the events to ask questions would also be an important feature.

Ill double check my notes later to see if there's anything I didnt mention.

Hi, thanks a lot for your feedback and time. Much appreciated. We have had bunch of conversations re. call-to-actions vs. words vs. events. Initially we had loads of events on the frontpage - and everyone just thought we were a new version of Timeout without the option of creating your own private invitations.

Feel free to drop me an email on simon@stuff.li if you want to chat further or share notes.

Simon, Stuff.

Very cool! I like seeing people find ways to innovate in areas of social that are often just surrendered to FB.

Also, just an encouragement to take the strong opinions here with a grain of salt. Obviously, you have a list of features you'd like to build at some point, many of which are likely mentioned in the comments. But HN may not overlap with your actual users very much, and is likely to have a different list of "must haves" than most folks. Make sure you talk to non-techies!

Huge congrats on the release.

Stuff looks great, and my only minor suggestion would probably be to try to reduce friction as much as possible. Show me how many people are attending an event, let me RSVP without signing up (even if RSVPing doesn't do anything), etc.

There will 100% absolutely end up being a "winner" when it comes to events when FB dies, so good luck!

Thanks a bunch. And thank you very much for your feedback. RSVPs does not require you to sign up. We will add features like how many are attending and messaging on invitations over the next two weeks. Stay tuned. Simon, Stuff.

One thing unanswered by your site (prior to signing up anyway) is what the cost is, or how you make money. Also, your about page is just a copy of your homepage content.

Other than those 2 things, it looks very nice. :)

Thanks you so much for the feedback. - It is free; and I know we should be more vocal about that. - We will make money on the professional organisers at some point. Looking into different models with a bunch of different organisers.

It's probably worth making this clear up front. If I see that a service is free, I assume advertisements as a business model, which I believe is fundamentally at odds with any claims of privacy and transparency, which your service also claims. If the users are not paying you, your financial incentive to protect their privacy is not clear.

Added a bit more copy on the frontpage, to make it clear that it is free to use the platform :-)

This is a great idea and events are one of the things holding me on to FB, but the friction to signing up by not offering an option to OAuth (even for event creators).

I don't want another email/account and potential leak in the future -- just let me oauth with Google/FB/LinkedIn, etc.

We are looking into Google/Linkedin Oauth. Not fans of Facebook, though... -Simon, Stuff.li

Yeah, which is why using their oauth is a great way to stick it to them! Obviously don't only use it, but giving their users a one-click way to leave their platform is hilarious!

I understand that you are not fans of Facebook. But couldn't this be a good opportunity to show Facebook users that there is an alternative out there? I'm just not sure that restricting users who primarily use Facebook oauth does any good, to me it feels like a wasted opportunity!

I think the only reason to include FB OAuth is if it allowed such users to integrate the service with FB Events (which, AFAIK, isn't possible with their current API).

I'd say it's a given that FB users also use Google, and would be just as likely to use either service's OAuth.

I think that's a safe assumption. Anecdotally though, I prefer to stick with one service and if I was offered options that didn't include my primary choice I might be reluctant to sign up. I just don't think that intentionally walling out a group of potential users is a great idea if you're trying to expand your audience.

I tried to quickly find some numbers on distribution between them. Although I didn't find anything concrete, it seems to be Facebook > Google > LinkedIn. I would actually love to know more about this. Maybe someone with more experience has some more data?

A refreshing display of values, thank you.

Yea, fuck people that like Facebook! Even if they could be potential new customers, they suck!


This looks great!

I like hosting small to medium events and even though it seems simple most platforms are not effective:

-Most of my friends either don't use or don't regularly check Facebook

-PaperlessPost simply didn't deliver 80% of my invitations for last holiday season and almost ruined the party. Will never use them again for anything.

-Others just don't seem attractive/affordable/easy.

Awesome. Glad you like it. Feel free to drop me an email on simon@stuff.li - happy to discuss further. - Simon

It's look really slick! One thing that isn't clear to me though is whether it's possible to update an event and send update notifications/email/whatever to attendees?

Thank you - Really appreciate it...

The answer is YES! After editing/updating your invitation, you can tick a box to send email updates to anyone sign-up to the event and everyone invited through the platform.

-Simon, Stuff.

Awesome :)

The “Totally free” at the end of the second paragraph would be better placed at the end of the first paragraph. Right now the second paragraph is not very readable on the background image, and I completely missed it while skimming. I had to look at the “About” page and come back to realize it’s free.

Since it’s free, what’s the business model? Please state that clearly on the homepage. I usually avoid anything that’s free and doesn’t seem to have a business model (however hazy or crazy the model might sound to some).

Your privacy piece says “We are deleting data as soon as it is no longer relevant.” Please expand on this. I didn’t understand what “no longer relevant” means. Do you delete events after the date has passed? Or do you delete the RSVPs alone? When exactly do the deletions happen? It’s fine if you haven’t completely figured this out yet. But saying vague things isn’t a good idea in general.

Thank you so much for your feedback. Much appreciated. Will work on the copy and make it more clear. Especially on the privacy side. Also having a dashboard in pipeline showing what data is stored for how long etc.

Future business model will be based on professional organisers paying for services. We are currently looking into different directions based on the conversations we have with different venues and companies. Hope this clear things up.

-Simon, Stuff.

I would recommend putting the "Are you coming?" above the fold, if not the very top of the page. I'm on a 27" monitor and had to scroll all the way to the bottom. If you want to increase conversion you'll probably find that by moving it above the image.

Thanks, tried to put it in a couple of different spots over the past weeks - with pros and cons. Will give it another spin based on your feedback.

-Simon, Stuff.

I'm unable to create an account. Tried on both Chrome and Firefox. Here's the console error from chrome when I click on "Create Profile"

``` generic.js?id=8ab332005e9019c3db72:1 Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property 'checked' of null at hn.createUser (generic.js?id=8ab332005e9019c3db72:1) at submit (eval at Ea (generic.js?id=8ab332005e9019c3db72:1), <anonymous>:3:4149) at t (generic.js?id=8ab332005e9019c3db72:1) at HTMLFormElement.Fr.t._withTask.i._withTask (generic.js?id=8ab332005e9019c3db72:1) ```

Meeeeh, Had a connection issue between services. Have been updated and changed, so should work properly now. Let me know if you are still experiencing problems. Simon, Stuff.

It's working now, though the flow is a little weird. I created the account on my desktop, but didn't have my personal email setup there, so I activated on my iPad. That activated my account, but it's missing any relevant info. Eg, instead of "Hi Peter, thanks for activating!" it just says, "Hi , thanks for activating!". I also can't login from my iPad. Tapping on "Log in" does nothing, won't even bring up the side bar. It works if I open an incognito tab, though. For reference, using the latest Chrome app on the iPad.

Interesting. I like the idea of splitting events away from the rest of the social network. Personally, I'd include surveys in that, like Doodle. Then I can start with a group of people, figure out what time works for us all, and then organize the event itself, all in the same place. It's odd to me that Facebook and others don't really support this. Facebook does have groups and surveys, but they don't work well at all for picking a date.

Wish you the best! Events, at least for me, is still my main reason why I still stick on Facebook. Hope you manage to gain a big enough traction to erode that market.

> Events, at least for me, is still my main reason why I still stick on Facebook.

Same. And it'll likely have to remain that way until I live in a larger city where something like this can compete against FB's network effect; there is hope, however, as FB loses the younger audience.

So do we - we will be doing our best. One invitation at a time :-)

It looks more of a eventbrite alternative than FB events.

my 2 cts

I'm quite interested in this space, I have been for a while. In my experience, one problem with Facebook events is that when people aren't on Facebook they often just don't get invited. Would be great to see an alternative that got traction. I wish suffhq luck!

Social network calendar in similar vein:


Feel free to offer feedback, this is just a side project I tinker with that I'd be happy to check in on if people are finding it useful.

That looks cool. It would be neat if it provided a time range, basically a list of upcoming events. Clicking day after day for a week and not seeing anything is no fun. If there is a way to specify "upcoming" or "next 7 days", it's not obvious.

Huge fan of any effort that gets rid of FB events.

My biggest feature request in this space is around address book and inviting new people to a larger event. I want something that can, for example, check my email or other contacts and surface anyone I've been connected with since the last party.

Btw, I no longer have a facebook account and only held on to it for events, until I didn't. Now when I don't get invited to events personally I just think it wasn't worth it in the first place. Haven't tried the site for an invite yet, will do my next one on it. Been using paperlesspost. It's fine.

Thanks for the feedback. We are looking into different opportunities - and weighing pros vs. cons on functionality and privacy. But one thing is sure, we will do our best to create something you will rather use than Facebook, Evite, Paperless post etc :-)

Simon, Stuff.

There already a bunch of event management services such as evite, etc. Why is evite not a thing anymore? Because is not on Facebook. Even if people flee Facebook, it's still the best platform. Most of our events are on Facebook and are the most successful. It's not just about the contacts, it's also that once a confirm I'm attending an event, my friends see it, and learn about that event. You can't simulate this via email.

I recommend testing your responsive site on smaller mobiles (I’m on an iPhone SE and your site is too wide for the screen)

Edit: it’s the “Create Invitation Now” button pushing the width out too much.

Thank you. I've spotted a few views that needs some love. Will have it fixed by Friday. Thank you for the heads-up. -Simon, Stuff.

Actually just yesterday i thought to myself: "How I wish someone built an alternative to FB Events" and here it is.

Really sweet!

Genuine question: Did customers ask you to make this? I ask because to me (and it appears others in this thread) Events is one of FB’s best features because they own the social graph and I have no interest in a competing product unless if you own a better or equivalent graph.

That's totally Brooklyn Bridge Park in the photo, not Governor's island.

I've managed to pull together the design team to change it. They were not proud. Screenshot is updated - might require a "fresh" browser. Simon, Stuff.

Hey Simon, nbd - just a nit. Keep at it!

I like where you’re thinking is at. I see the opportunity. Best of luck!

I love Events/Local, but would get off it in a heartbeat.

I've looked at your app. Only Copenhagen and New York events are available. Do you plan to extend to other cities soon?

Copenhagen and New York are just the very first cities we are covering. We will slowly extend over the next months. Just remember that public events can still be created outside these cities. -Simon, Stuff.

The website defaults to Danish for me, coming from a Swedish IP.

Heja Sverige. My wife is Swedish. She told me you guys were ok with Danish ;-) Language switch is in the footer. Alternatively hit https://stuff.li/en directly.

Simon, Stuff.

We can mostly understand it when reading but it really is not a good idea to default to danish for a multitude of reasons.

It probably shows Danish for all Scandinavian language headers. I’m Norwegian but currently in Paris so it’s not IP based.

The link to your privacy page is broken on the about page.


Thank you for the heads-up. Link has been changed. Simon, Stuff.

What's the difference between this and Eventbrite?

Eventbrite or meetup.com

I'm confused by your event time fields, are they 24hr? I tried to enter in 2:33pm to 2:33pm and got validation errors.

Time fields are 24hr. I don't have any issues entering 2:33pm/2:33pm in Chrome/Safari. Could you please try again and send me a screenshot on simon@stuff.li so we could have it resolved. Thank you. Simon, Stuff.

I was going to show something similar, I think there is a huge space for it. But been done a lot of times. Google “The uphill battle of social event sharing” published by one of our advisors in 2009 or so.

Maybe make it and sell it to festivals, like this:


Is there an option to create an event without an account?

No, unfortunately not. Creating and managing an invitation requires a login. Guests are not required to create a profile, though. -Simon, Stuff.

Bookmarked for the next time I plan a get-together!

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact