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Show HN: Ryeboard – Visual Workspace (ryeboard.com)
185 points by tyherox on Jan 9, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 77 comments

Is there a target set of customers for this product?

It seems well developed (minus the bugs folks are reporting), but I'm not entirely sure why I would use this instead of a normal document.

The ability to move things around in this format seems somewhat useful, but not particularly useful for any workflow I engage in.

When I create docs for work, I want to tell a story that is quite linear. When I want to tell concepts of hierarchies, I'll make a chart and then paste in the document.

I could see people perhaps storyboarding with this? Creatives?

I would encourage you to find all the types of people who are using this organically and segment the customers, then engage in a vigorous set of interviews on how they'd like to see it improved.

Some of the product decisions, too, seem quite strange. For example, why is commenting something that I have to drag onto the page as well? Why is that not integrated into each box with a click? Or why is that not generic to each board -- 1 chat room per board? These features would ideally be developed with specific customers in mind who say "I want it to work this way!"

This is one of those products that starts off "looking like a toy" but might actually become super useful down the road as it evolves. Good luck!

100% this. I think you've built something that has a lot of potential. Speaking from experience, the biggest trap you'll fall into is trying to find a feature set and a pricing model that caters to every segment who could possibly be interested in.

Call/email/meet with a wide sample of users and understand the exact value you're delivering for them. Then find people who aren't using it but are in the same market as them and see if they find it valuable. If you have a hit product, you'll find a market segment where you're delivering 10x value over their previous solution. Once you find that, focus and go all in.

One-size-fits-all is rarely a viable strategy for SaaS tools.

We do have a rough idea of who our target customers are but we are holding off any drastic feature developments until the numbers are more statistically meaningful! But wow, thank you so much for the constructive criticism. I will run this by my co-founder for our next iteration.

The pricing page crashed on click and I found that its because of a js error ```document.removeEventListener(this.listener, "scroll")``` But in the next refresh there was a fix with a console.log("fix please"). :D I'm glad someone fixed the most important page of the site

P.S: It should be a static site

Looks like a Miro (former realtime board) clone to me. What is the differentiator?

Yeah I thought the same thing. This one does have a better homepage though, so props to the design team/FE engineers/marketing team for that.

Having used Miro and Realtime Board when I first saw this I thought they'd decided to change their name again

Surprised nobody has mentioned it yet but please make it more obvious which cards are premium, finding out after I drag them becomes frustrating after you drag more than one. I would "disable" them and make a tooltip show up on hover (alert is bad and better for critical errors).

I feel like I bring this up on HN once a month, but here goes -

The pricing is IMO going to hold back adoption of this product. There's a free plan, but with 3 boards and 50 cards, that's just a quick demo. There's no way you could do anything serious with that. It's not even enough to seriously try out the product.

Then it jumps to $60 a year. I know the standard line about a cup of coffee, blah blah. That's a lot of money for most folks in a very crowded space. (I won't comment on product differentiation.) For someone that uses this heavily, I'm sure $60/year is a great deal. Very few people will, and they'll just move on.

In my opinion, for this to have any chance of catching on, it needs either a real free tier, or a low-price tier of maybe $20/year. Storage is a great way to differentiate tiers because everyone knows storage costs money. 100 boards and 10,000 cards plus 200 MB of storage for the free plan, upgrade to 5 GB of storage for $20/year, or get the current basic plan for $60/year.

As someone that has evaluated many products in this space, I really think you need to reconsider your pricing. You're using the wrong mindset if you expect someone to drop $60 to try out your product.

$60/yr is nothing for a company thats more than one person.

That's the price for individuals. Cheapest teams price is $144/user/year.

And besides "$60/yr is nothing" is not how people decide whether to buy something. There are thousands of products we can buy that are worth more than the price.

You're right. My mistake

This reminds me a lot of Apple's OpenDoc but reincarnated as a web-based SaSS product. Key value is openness; I'm not sure how well that can be achieved in a tighly closed ecosystem, but I wish them all the best!


The concept reminds me of https://jermolene.com/cecily/ - open source, own your data, hackable..

The home page style and screenshots look extremely similar to previous versions of RealtimeBoard/Miro. To the point that I thought it was a product from the same company.

Make sure to communicate the differentiator, perhaps change the visual style of the home page. In the current state it looks like a clone.

Yeah, same here. We are trialing Miro and like it so far for sprint retrospectives, but part of trialing is trying potential alternatives. I wouldn't mind adding this into the mix for our team's consideration, but I can't bring it to my boss without quickly being able to point out clear differentiators -- and I don't have the time to just play around with it myself until I find them.

Just fyi clicking "Try Demo" didn't take me all the way to the demo (maybe because that part of the page hadn't loaded yet) so I was confused how to access it until I scrolled further down

I'm always interested in board-based projects as I am developing my own[1] (although it's targeting a different use-case). Just a small note: The help page looks broken on mobile, the menu overlaps the content (Android, Firefox)

[1] https://dashboard.darekkay.com/docs/

This looks like the kind of product that shows up all the time in marketing materials but isn't actually useful for real work.

I don't understand the whole "folks from X use this" part. Can anyone put that something is used by Oracle or Amazon?

Someone at a big tech company once told me that they knew the one person (or maybe they were the one person) who used a particular product, and were thus the rationale for that product to put their company logo on the front page.

It really says nothing about the product or its suitability for anything. They just want an excuse to stick recognizable names/logos on their homepage.

I work at one of the large tech companies listed on the site. I've literally never heard of this project until I found it on HN today.

It's funny to me, because just yesterday I was a having a conversation with a colleague who asked me if we had a "corporate account" with another commons SaaS PM tool that he has been using with his team. I think he was in shock when I listed all of the project management and collaboration tools that that I've seen used in our organization. There are no "standard" project management, planning, organization, sharing, etc. tools at big companies. There might be "official" ones, but then managers and directors just buy whatever the hell SaaS they want on a credit card.

Shadow IT is a thing. No company avoids it. I'd assume most Global 2000 companies use just about every single popular tool you can imagine _somewhere_ within their organization.

I was just about to start an ask hn on this topic. I’m surprised big tech or anyone allows the use of logo and names in this manner but obviously it’s very common to do this. It seems highly unethical to use the name of a company and imply endorsement of that company when all that’s happened is someone from that domain has registered. As many of you have, I have been through the formal PR battles with big tech to do press releases — and even simple things like including their logo in a PowerPoint. I’d be surprised all of these logos agreed to a de facto endorsement with a company that doesn’t even have an about us on its website. So I guess the question is - what are the rules here? Do these companies actually endorse this product, did these developers actually get permission?

Ps - separate topic but I have a hard time signing up for anything without knowing who the underlying owners or the company are and who the company is - legal entity, investors, headquarters location... never mind I could use a throwaway email address and password to register, what’s the point of putting my working documents on a service that can’t establish basic trust. Talk about rogue IT... what does it say about the organizations on their website that individuals used their company email address and possibly the same credentials that they use to login to their IT department? Never mind placing of potentially confidential information on an unknown SaaS?

I can guess with almost certainty that this product does not have permission to use our logo. If they had permission, our brand team would have probably made sure they were using the correct one, instead of a version that was sunset almost a year ago.

Very much this! I have a small business and my product has a lot of "big name" users, but consistently it's pretty much impossible to get sign-off to use their name or logo.

I don't know what the legality of just putting them up there whether they want to or not is, but obviously the social proof of doing so is huge.

How do people navigate this?

Excellent questions indeed. I started an Ask HN in case anyone wants to comment there.


And do those just come from email domain names?

This looks pretty nice for one-off design work. But for those who want to maintain something like a knowledge base (and a desktop app), check out Scapple and iMapping. In particular check out 0:13 in this video (https://youtu.be/bTQWL5wmdZY?t=13)

my $0.02: I would make the section "A Flexible Workspace for Everyone" the 1st main section, didn't really get what the product was until the 2nd and 3rd sections (the first one now just has generic blocks)

Tried out the demo:

- couldn't write in text blocks (chrome 79/mac)

- drawing went above cursor

- fullscreen / new page would be better

Writing appears to be fine for me (Chrome 79 on Win 10)

The drawing above the cursor looks like an issue with the iframe

The iframe url is https://app.ryeboard.com/board/demo, which works well

Ah! Thank you so much for the feedback, it is indeed a problem with the iframe - we will work out the bugs :)

I've worked for a company that released a product exactly like this. They went bankrupt 6 months later.

I hope you'll have more success, but at this moment I cannot see anything in there that makes it better than the product that the company I worked for was working on..

I love it! I could see myself using it to document event storming sessions, impact maps, Wardley maps, etc.

That said, I found it a little buggy at the moment. A couple of bugs I noticed were that scrolling too quickly to the right produced an error, and the 'flag' box rendered some of the text outside of the box. A tiny usability improvement for me would be if the buttons behaved more like Photoshop or Omnigraffle, where I can select the tool and then apply it on the canvas, rather than dragging the tool to the canvas. I'd also like to try out all the different tools before paying - the checklist box, for example.

Not to take away from OPs product announcement at all but recently I ran a remote event storming workshop using https://miro.com/ with a standard "whiteboard" and their regular postits feature.

The sizing and color options, the simple way some small things in the UX works to make grabbing a postit fast, and coloring it correctly was really, really surprisingly nice

event storming was exactly what came to my mind as well. Seems like an impressive product, well done

Looks like OneNote.

This just makes me miss Google Wave.

This along with Google Reader makes me think smart engineers are good at building the future but not at the right time.

When I share a board with a link, the shared board is read-only even if the shared user can interact on board.

Good product anyway, I'll use it later I think

Yup, this was an intentional design choice we made! Thanks~

No screenshots on the main page. The embedded video isn't clickable on mobile (iOS Safari). Fluffy marketing speak throughout the page.

What is this exactly?

Agreed: I was hoping for a succinct description of the product, but only found empty marketting words. I am not yet interested in who uses the product, but in what the product is. Don't try to tell me it will change my life before I actually know what it is.

Granted, I only skimmed the page, and the website made the experience painful, as it is full of fade—in animations, so I felt like I was scrolling an empty wwbsite (mobile Firefox). The experience was annoying, so I left.

I would likely have stopped scrolling had I encountered a screenshot or a relevant section title. I feel websites like this are super common nowadays, and generic enough to be applied to many different products.

I read the page top to bottom. I don't know what it is. Is it an online OneNote?

I don't know what the things you build with it are for.

Yeah, and there already is of course the on-line onenote from MS...

Ouch! I was not aware of the unclickable video. And ha, fluffy marketing speak! I will be the first one to admit that the landing page isn't perfect. We will probably go through a dozen more iteration until we get the message right.

If you are connected to the developers, as a side-side note there is the "common" issue with:

>You need to enable JavaScript to run this app.

I actually do not want to run any app, I only want to have a quick look to your homepage/site to see what it is about, and if javascript is needed (which is of course OK) something like "This site needs javascript enabled" would be IMHO better, and even better if that was accompanied by a brief text/description of your product/contents.

Yeah. What the heck does this do? What distinguishes this from a thousand other shareable notebooks?

Needs more screenshots and less abstract drawings of the UI.

I would strongly suggest spending the extra $10 or so and getting wryboard.com before someone else does... and getting @wryboard twitter handle.

Looking at your twitter, I see this is based in Seoul. No doubt English is known thing, but 'wry' and 'rye' are sound-alike words, and the moment I read 'ryeboard' I also heard 'wryboard'.

and... now it's gone... :/

I right now use Google sheets for the same usecase, what advantages does this have over a spreadsheet?

Google sheets are « good enough » to serve as a scratchpad for ideas (comments, some styling, multiple tabs, scripting ...)

They are not quite engaging for creative users however.

I find the « messy infinite desktop » where documents and webpages are not only links but viewable widgets really attractive but rapidly limiting.

For ideation / brainstorming, I still prefer gathering people in a room and writing / sticking stuff on the walls.

Please add middle mouse to pan if you're going to have horizontal boards.

I like holding space bar to grab and then pan with the mouse.

We will add better board navigation soon!

There's something wrong with drawing..It's drawing above my cursor.

Sorry about that! There's a bug at the moment with the iFrame...

Which is the font used in the logo? Looks nice.

Also, did you design the animations?

Yup, animations were done in-house by my co-founder and the font is Lato I believe.

How is this better/cheaper than OneNote? Serious question.

We're trying to build a platform where content can easily be exported & imported (hence the cards) and free spatial information can augment brainstorming / communication activities (hence the boards). I know the price isn't for everyone but I believe we've made a unique product that has connected with many people. But as you probably can tell by the rest of the comments here, we currently have a problem communicating these qualities and we will work on clarifying our message based on the feedback on this thread!

I like it and may use it. Needs an API and Zapier integration.

Zapier integration is definitely on our to-do list!

Wanted to build something like this for years. Looks great. GG


Hello Tyherox.

I'll be taking into account some of your responses to other members.

A. So, home page:

Anything, Anyone, Everyone. You feed everyone, you nourish no one. You have a rough idea of who your target customers are, but are holding off... until numbers are more statistically significant.

At your stage, that could be a while, and frankly shows a: 1. Lack of direction 2. Lack of properly segmenting whatever groups you have looked at 3. Lack of clearly defining early adopters 4. Lack of positioning 5. Lack of relevant copy addressing pain points, motivations, objections, reservations 6. Lack of initiative 7. A few other things, which is somewhat worrying.

I am of course willing to update my initial thoughts upon more information. I don't ignore the fact it takes time, a lot of time, it's an organic evolving path, and I make the same mistakes many times. But for now, that is what I think. Instead of taking the long way round, why don't you take the shorter way, which is to clearly define:

B. 1. Who this is for 2. Early adopter disposition which makes it more relevant to them than the rest of the market 3. Reach out to them and find out what they think. If you are looking for signals, this is the quickest way. 4. Pain points addressed, benefits, goal, end-goal, etc, etc.

I am not actually saying you haven't done these things, what I am saying is based on information shared, and the website, that I don't see it. To be fair to you, points B. 1 -4 should really be questions. If you want to answer in private to me, by all means. To also be fair to you, due to the versatility of your product and the many use cases, you do have many markets you could target. However when time, money, resources, focus, etc, are severely limited you can't go after them all.

Furthermore, there may well be competitors known and unknown who can service some of the markets better than your solution, who have honed and refined their features to either be more suitable for them, or have segmented features based on various factors to do so. Which again leads me back to, pick a target, see if you can hit it or not, because at the moment, it is a case of we are waiting to see which target to aim for.

C. Ok, back to the home page. When you say Work with Anything, Share with Anyone, I read This Might Be For You, Maybe. That's no way to greet a newcomer. You either very blatantly let them know, This Isn't For You At All, or This Is Seriously For You.

Secondly, early stage startup (pre-seed pre-revenue), describe your product. You have nothing in the memory bank, no previous touch-points, don't create confusion and promote a lack a clarity in visitors. Very simply for now, what are you, what do you, how do you do it, what's in it for me, why should I care. All within tight positioning. You can't create a fire within anyone, but you can surely fan the flame. And your early adopters, their fires are burning.

D. I know this is the current trend with startups especially, inappropriate usage of customer logo's, as in way too soon. Trust, social proof, are important, but not at this stage. Just like in the funnel when it is further down, so it should be the same on the homepage. Instead of talking to your potential customers, instead of building bridges, creating resonance and relatability, usage of customer logo's is basically saying, let my customers speak for me. The onus is on you to speak to your customers, and not to shift that responsibility. I haven't made up my own mind yet at all, so what do I care what others think?

There are other issues further down the page, but I don't like to come across as too harsh, plus I need to get back to work.

Good luck, Ace.

Hello Ace!

First of all, thanks a ton for taking the time to give me this detailed and candid feedback - it is exactly what I needed to hear to plan out my next steps. At the moment I admit the product is a bit too general to survive in the harsh SaaS market and will need to find a market fit in order to survive.

I will reevaluate the direction of this project and what this product should be.I am grateful for all this interest in Ryeboard and thanks again for taking the time to write out this very detailed feedback!

This app immediately reminded me of Plectica/Kingfisher when I saw that landing page and all the cards and its controls.

Are there any similar open source projects that are offline? I had difficulty finding the right keywords to search this.

Does anyone know of similar products for organizing notes/text snippets in a visual board?

Check out scapple.

Is there anything similar to this but offline and open source?

Visually it looks nice, good luck with the product.


Looks nice, is there a way to export my data?

You can only download individual cards at the moment. We will be supporting exporting by PDF or images soon!

PDFs are non editable even if probably easy to develop for you. Are there plans to export as HTML ? I don’t want my data to be locked in.

Alternative to pinup.com I think.

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