Yet, there have been times where we share the same interests, but the other person is especially boring. It doesn't matter what interests you share, if the other person can't elaborate on their interests or offer insight/comments.
Also, sometimes I like talking to people with completely different interests. One of my favorite persons actually is my exact polar opposite. We get along great, but we share 0 common interests.
I'm pointing this out as a consideration factor, not because I don't like your project. I think you do have a good start... but feedback never hurts? :)
It's not that you need to have a lot in common with someone to get along. The hypothesis of the app is simply that the least-awkward way to begin a conversation is by starting out with the common ground you share. From this warm introduction, it's then easy to move on to other topics.
And, the awkwardness I'm trying to overcome is the small kind--how to make the first comment, how to send that first message. I personally find blank message screens intimidating.
A big obstacle in my mind is duplication of overlaps, e.g. 'I read Hacker News' and 'I read HN'. The both mean the same thing, but if two users click "Me Too" on the different versions, they won't see the common interest. People may be tempted to just add a new overlap instead of searching for an existing version, especially as the number of users and possible overlaps grow. Hopefully you can find a way to have the community help aggregate overlaps.
Somehow you need to get back in front of me--say next week--with some reason I'd want to return.
I figure "small wins" -- like the initial fun of joining your first overlaps -- are a step towards building this critical mass. They don't encapsulate a long-term value proposition, but they get the site part-way there.
Some of the early testers found the service quite addicting and were returning every day to see who had joined the overlaps they've created. So another opportunity might lie in building more of an experience around this sense of belonging/community.
The western approach was described as bringing your real life network online (fb etc) and the eastern approach was described in terms of sites that allow people to create temporary ad-hoc networks based around shared interests. The example of this given in the program was mixi.jp which is apparently huge in japan.
This latter approach seems to be closer to what you are trying to do. It'll be interesting to watch how far you get with this, so please keep posting to hn to keep us up to date.
 This description works for fb but I don't think it really applies to twitter.
"You like data visualizations? Check out my company!"
Should I use a pseudonym or my real name?
In general, I prefer to use my real name. However, if personal sentiments of mine will be shared publicly, then I prefer pseudonymity.
When you meet new people in real life, names are only given after a certain amount of trust has already been built.
A brief note: the "Show me [Safe for all ages|Moderate\Unsure|Restricted] overlaps" is awkwardly phrased-- if I select Restricted, is the site gonna be all sex, all the time, or will I still get the unrestricted overlaps?
Also in that little settings pane, having to click OK after selecting from a dropdown is annoying-- I expect it to work like other dropdowns, where it stays like I left it if I click somewhere else.
I like that after searching for an overlap and not finding it, I can click "New Overlap" and it auto-populates, but does that need to be a separate text field? The transition feels a little awkward, and it needs to be very smooth to encourage people to create new overlaps.
I'm still playing with it, but I think it's a very neat concept that could get big.
EDIT: Okay, if I "Me Too" and overlap, I get to see who else did too, over on the right, but it's still one more click to open up our overlaps, a scan through the list, some typing, and another click before I can send them a message about how we both like Nutella. What if there were a message button by each person that I could use right after I "Me Too" something to talk to them about it?
Sorry if this is disorganized and long, I'm just adding as I go through the site.
Good points re: settings UI. Will fix shortly.
Hmm will think about the New Overlap flow. I wanted there to be more space than the search field allows, and also to make sure people review the options available.
Originally I had a single text box that would automatically find/create an overlap for whatever you typed in... but I want people to review existing overlaps first. If a similar overlap is already popular it would make sense to join that one.
EDIT: Or keep it the way it is, just with the same field for search and the new overlap, but with the other stuff being visible on the button click.
Overall, I think this is really cool concept and on the right track. Currently, I would like to drill down first by Location/Region followed by interests and then have you show me who fits those two criteria. If there are too many matches I would refine/add more and if too few pull back on my interest selections.
Good luck on the project!
EDIT: A faster suggestion: please make the overlap "suggester" ignore common prefixes such as 'I like', 'I love', 'I am', etc.
Apologies if I'm blind but I couldn't see an easy way to see who matched overlaps? Could be useful to do a list of users according to match rates, or to find those who match a certain profile.
Also, might there be some value to doing negative matches as well as positive?
Filtering, by both match rates and location, will obviously be a high priority as the # of users increases.
One possible solution is to only let you leave an overlap a week after you've joined. But then you have an incentive to create a fake account, and you can't use it for short term overlaps (like joining "I feel like shit" for four hours).
It's actually my first web app.
Btw., the design could use some tweaking. It looks a little like a Microsoft FrontPage template.
With more data it'll be also be possible to suggest overlaps to you based on what you've already joined.
- I live in New York City
- I live in New York State
- I live in the United States
All tweets, blog posts, postcards, phone calls to friends, shouts from rooftops etc. would be greatly appreciated in helping Overlap grow ;-). My marketing budget is less than what I spend on coffee, and I'm currently in Colombia.
Running Chrome 12.0.742.100 on Maverick.
Unrelated feedback wrt the dating settings: restricting the gender identifications to male/female and most definitely restricting the "looking for" to male XOR female leaves a nontrivial number of people in a bit of a bind.
Dating settings will be updated... I removed extra options yesterday to simplify the user queries, but they will be put back in.
1) Poor defaults - better to pick "Choose One" / NULL instead of misclassifying gender, etc
2) Small widgets, hard to click/read
3) Confusing "OK" button and saving behavior
4) Hard to even find in the first place!
It'd be cool if you could select a bunch of "Me too" options when you first sign up without it reloading the right sidebar. On Chrome at least, it slows down, gets choppy, and makes it hard to click on other options & scroll until its fully loaded.
Once you've made some initial overlaps, you should be fine. Starting off it just is a bit tricky.
Besides this, it's a cool idea. Good luck!
You could definitely release interesting stats on what people like, particularly on how certain subjects correlate with each other.