Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Show HN: It's hard to make friends offline, so we built a solution (letsbeamigos.com)
104 points by njoglekar on May 28, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 186 comments

Whenever I see a button that says "sign in with Facebook," I just close the tab immediately. Am I the only one who does this? What's wrong with just having me fill out a survey of my interests if that's what you want?

Facebook is the only account that I keep to myself and people who know me. My Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, Github and all the other stuff I can't remember, all exist to connect me to people I've never met. I'd way rather use one of those than Facebook.

I did exactly this, almost instantly, and the next first thing I saw because of that was this comment...

I don't understand how people even get it into their heads to immediately ask potential users for direct access to my private information?

Seriously, would anyone approach potential clients with that kind of attitude in real life?

"Hand over your wallet with your ID and the pictures of your kids and loved ones, your diary and your address book, or else you can't shop here."

Please, f* off.

I see you're new to Hacker News.

I can understand that you don't agree with the developer's choice to use Facebook connect. But this sort of response isn't productive to the conversation.

Is it really that black & white? I'd imagine there are tradeoffs between product usefulness and the imposing nature of Facebook connect. Shouldn't we talk about how to prioritize these tradeoffs?

> Please, f* off.

Please support productive discourse on HN and avoid comments like this in the future.

I see you're new to the internets. Sorry, that was cheap.

However, in your haste to patronizingly chastise me you're making multiple faulty assumptions.

a) I'm not new to HN. Just this account is.

b)"Please, f... off" was descriptive reflection of the way I would respond to the fictional analogous request which you have so conveniently omitted from this quote.

It was in no way intended to address the developer, but rather as a way to illustrate how I feel developers who use access to my personal information as the entry fee to their product treat me.

I think most people here got that.

> I think most people here got that.

Why are you assuming, or at least implying, that people who wish you wouldn't exert such an aggressive attitude, really just don't understand you and are stupid?

For Facebook Connect, I think what developers think and the general public thinks are sometimes two different things. If you think about Pinterest, their initial success imo was forcing Facebook connects so the social graphs automatically posts everytime something happens. Perhaps controversial, but effective.

So you're not angry at that particular developer, that person, but you're angry that people such as this person think it's a good idea?

I think it's a great idea to use Facebook to connect with other people. So this developer can see my interests and friends and posts....so what? So can all of my friends, and a lot of other people.

Privacy, since when have we had that? Your neighbors can freely watch your comings and goings, see who visits you and usually know what you're doing. Why aren't you more afraid of them?

Privacy, since when have we had that?

Since we've had costs to stalk people. Walls, for example, add a reasonably high cost to see and ear what we're doing. We can be reasonably confident that people in general won't care enough to pay the costs of violating our privacy if they're reasonably high.

Your neighbors can freely watch your comings and goings, see who visits you and usually know what you're doing. Why aren't you more afraid of them?

Because the costs are reasonably high and the "profit" is reasonably low. Most of my neighbors can't afford to stay all day looking at the door to see who comes in or out, nor do they profit financially from doing so, unlike these online services.

Lost in all this arguing about whether a startup using facebook connect is a good idea or not noone is talking about the actually project you know the whole point of the post. I bet the author got real exicted to see 100+ comments not knowing most of them are talking about something that he/she probably thought was a no brainer for a social website

Well, then the author learned a valuable lesson about jumping to conclusions.

turned off instantly when saw that need to sign up w facebool

Getting popcorn.

Before someone says that my comment isn't helping the conversation, there's this great site that you can order popcorn from... . ... ...

Not the OP and I sort of agree with you on the language front.

> Is it really that black & white? ...

It is a bit troublesome if the only way to try out a new service is to give you access to Facebook data (which likely includes a whole lot of data that is unnecessary for your service); it is asking for a whole lot of trust and my threshold for trying out services that require it is a lot higher than normal.

Of course it may be that many startups actively do not want people unwilling to provide FB data to try out/use their services. In that case we are in total agreement ;)

> Of course it may be that many startups actively do not want people unwilling to provide FB data to try out/use their services.

Right on! Using FB to login to various sites (mainly, commenting for in house or third party systems) has become de facto standard. Though some people will right away see the obvious problem with this approach, majority do not care, and will happily post with their FB profile.

It's a low hanging fruit, and with more than enough willing to give up their privacy, it's good enough for the echo system.

I am happily seating out of it though.

I agree with this statement. I'm creating a product right now which connects you to people who are friends of your friends. Since we need to have your friend graph, we currently require Facebook connect. We'd like to do without this and will look for ways in the future to do so. For now, Facebook connect is crucial to our product.

I dont think facebook will last that long.. and then theres linkedin which I think is also a large blip.

So how to do this with some horizon? Maybe it needs to be an open API that many social network sites implement/agree on. [ but one that allows me to share or not share my social graph orthogonally to using a sign-in user handle ]

What happens every time this is proposed is that the largest networks never join, since the last thing they want is to hand their best competitive advantage over to the competition. And then the project dies.

I think the bigger problem is maintaining the data. The advantage Facebook has is that your profile is always kept up-to-date implicitly by the act of you using it. You "like" something because you want your friends to see it, you add and remove friends because you want or don't want to communicate with them. The side-effect is that your data is actively maintained and therefore relevant to share. A dedicated identity provider that doesn't have avenues for continuous interaction will quickly render your profile stale, except for the most resolute users who are willing to manually duplicate all their interactions from all other social networks.

>I don't understand how people even get it into their heads to immediately ask potential users for direct access to my private information?

Either it's private to you, in which case this service is very likely not going to provide you a great deal of value, which puts you outside their market, or it isn't private, in which case you're in their market.

>Seriously, would anyone approach potential clients with that kind of attitude in real life?

This is real life. I don't like the implication that "it's an internet service" means "it isn't real life." This is a service that's trying to land you with real people, doing real things, in a personal way.

The attitude here is "you're looking to be social, so sign up with your social network." If you don't like that, then I'd warrant that you aren't the type of person this is aimed at.

It'd be nice to have alternatives -- others here have suggested a survey, for example -- but let's be honest: Facebook collates a lot of really useful information that is directly helpful to a service such as this. It's a no-brainer from their point of view.

> it's private to you, in which case this service is very likely not going to provide you a great deal of value

Why does this service's value depend on Facebook? I use Facebook to communicate with a few friends and family. I don't list my interests on Facebook.

> which puts you outside their market

Then they're unnecessarily making their market smaller. Unless they don't have the time or skill to implement an interest questionnaire, this doesn't seem like a good decision.

If you're going to intentionally avoid using the tools the way others do, then don't get mad when their solution doesn't work for you.

Are you trolling, or can you not control your arguments?

I don't list my interests on my facebook profile, nor do a great many of the people on my friends list. For some that is because they don't want facebook having this information, for others, they simple can't be bothered entering it.

I don't think you can classify this as "using it wrong".

It seems obvious that if I or a user like me were to use this service it wouldn't work very well, and would potentially devalue the service for other users (through poor matches).

The developer of the service is artificially limiting their market by only allowing Facebook Connect and they may have problems getting the necessary critical mass for the service to be useful as a result. I don't think it's trolling to make this observation.

You (and your friends) are in the stark minority. I worked on a product that drove product recommendations using Facebook interests. It worked great. People list their interests on Facebook because they want to personalize their profile page and share their interests with their friends.

When you create a product like this, every decision you make "artificially limits" your market. But often these decisions open up other parts of the market that would be inaccessible otherwise. For example, the time they would have spent on building alternative login options for people like you would probably be better spent adding features for the people who have no problem using Facebook connect, and who list their interests on Facebook.

> If you're going to intentionally avoid using the tools the way others do ...

Facebook was sold to users as a way to connect and communicate with my friends and family. This is how I use it. I don't use it as a tool to pass my personal information in bulk to marketers.

In any case, Facebook has many features. Listing interests is just one of those features (and a peripheral one at that, which many of my friends don't bother with either). If people don't use every feature of a product, they're using it wrong? According to who?

Judging from the comments, there are many others who also feel that forcing users to login via Facebook is undesirable. For those people, it creates unnecessary friction. For me, it was enough that I'm not going to bother spending more time with their product.

> ... then don't get mad when their solution doesn't work for you. Are you trolling, or can you not control your arguments?

I'm certainly not mad. The truth is, they're here pitching their service to me, not the other way around. I took a look, offered a suggestion, and that's that.

Further, consider this excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OAuth:

A growing number of social networking services promote OAuth logins to the dominant social networks (Facebook, Twitter etc.) as the primary authentication method, over "traditional" email confirmation type processes. Users of such practices include Klout, Kred, Foursquare, and others. The permissions granted typically permit the authorized application to download the entire social data stream belonging to the user, which is stored for data-mining purposes by the application provider. By facilitating such use, OAuth is acting as a component in a social engineering type scam where users of the application probably do not realize the extent of the data they are sharing.

Hey, guess what, you actually can control what permissions you ask for. And Facebook tells you what permissions the developer asks for. And this app does not ask for anything other than your public profile, friends list, email address, interests, and likes. In other words, exactly what it needs to accomplish its goal, and the same data you would need to manually fill in if it didn't use Facebook connect.

Complaining about "Facebook connect" doesn't make any sense. What makes sense is complaining when app developers ask for permission to access data they don't need, or they ask for access and abuse it in ways they didn't disclose to the user.

I do that too. I find it absurd, because no matter how cool the founders claim to be, or how much they promise not to spam my friends or write all over my fb page, they will, and they will do so without the slightest understanding of why I might not want it.

So yeah, I get you.

To the "lets be amigos" people: stop it please. I might think you had a good idea, had you not followed a path so closely associated with the scum of the internet.

I also stopped dead in my tracks when I saw FB signup. But I'd appreciate the choice of using FB or filling out a quick survey.

I'm also willing to bet money that, faced with actually filling out a survey, many people otherwise reluctant to sign in with FB will just do it.

Indeed, the internal monologue will almost certainly change from "Facebook? Are they planning to spam me/my friends?" to "Hmm, enumerating all my interests. Is it worth retyping all that to avoid facebook spam?" The latter is a real question with upsides and downsides. The former is all downsides.

Please explain how this app's use of Facebook Connect will make it possible for them to spam you and your friends in a manner different than they would if they just asked for an e-mail signup.

He's referring to the fact that they can't spam your friends with just an email address, but can request additional permissions (which are often clicked through) to do that on facebook.

Yes, but this app does not ask for those permissions.

As I indicated in my response. Your original question asked what one can do with Facebook login that one cannot with just an email address. Your friendlist is always communicated with Facebook login.

I like your thinking the problem is that we really need both:

1. identity + likes / interests 2. filling out activities as a backup in case they don't have interests on FB

My likes on facebook doesn't reflect my interests, I don't care much to them and I think it's the same for many other people.

This app literally cannot spam your friends or write all over your fb page, because this app does not ask for that permission. You are living in 2008 or something, whenever it was that Facebook didn't have fine-grained permissions.

I close it immediately when there's no other option to sign up via email. I don't understand the FB lock in. Anyone who wants to sign up via email alternatively, would probably be fine filling out a list of interests. TBH, I'd rather fill out the interests myself instead of having this app pull god knows how many I have saved in FB now.

I don't "understand" it either, but I'd imagine their line of thinking is that you've been using facebook for years, liking things you like, going to movies/shows you like etc that won't end up on a form you fill out. People want to be done with the form filling portion very quickly and won't put in very much detail. When scraping your facebook data, they get a very large amount of personal data and they figure they have a better chance of linking people together who actually do have several common interests, instead of: "I like music, and movies and the outdoors"

I agree with this sentiment so much. I know it's a trendy HN thing to hate Facebook, but I seriously feel like the company lacks maturity and moral integrity and that's why I don't have one.

It's too bad since I was at first really excited about the idea of Let's Be Amigos, as it purports to solve a problem I've been having lately, but immediately my attitude did a 180. Facebook is not going to be a good resource to mine interests for people that don't have one.

Glad you like the idea! We are adding more login options soon and a larger response below

I think this is unique to programmers because they are in the unique position where they completely understand the ramifications of giving a 3rd party access to their Facebook account.

Outside of our world, signup with Facebook would probably convert a lot more and even improve engagement. It's a worthy tradeoff IMO. Atleast to a business owner.

I'm amazed that no-one else has said this. What you- as a tech-savvy developer- want is quite different from the average user. Most are more than happy to use FB Connect, in fact, many like it.

I have never once (IIRC) used "sign in with Facebook" on any site that wasn't Facebook.

Hey guys, we actually have a survey after the fb login for that reason (I have few interests on my FB profile). And we WONT write on your wall under any circumstances.

Lastly, for now wanted to dodge anonymous signups. Won't be much fun to set you up with people that are not real. Hope you give it a shot.

> And we WONT write on your wall under any circumstances.

Being able to trust strangers is nice, but not needing to is even better.

If I recall correctly, apps must explicitly ask permission (above and beyond the login) and authorizaton which just gives access to your "basic information".

Oftentimes you can deny the post ability. You can't tell until you arrive at the screen, but if you don't click okay, nobody's posting anything on your wall.

Yeah, until Facebook quietly changes how that works and gives all sorts of new permissions to apps you've already authorized with.

That's the real problem here: Facebook has a history of wanting to expose as much personal information as possible, including exposing information that was previously not exposed without warning. I don't necessarily distrust the OP's business today, nor do I necessarily disagree with the permission settings I can set today. What I don't trust is Facebook's future changes to those permission settings, nor what the OP's business is going to do when/if it has more access to my information than it used to have.

You can remove the app. Its not permissions for life.

That does nothing to prevent the app from retaining the information they obtained using the Facebook API during the time they were authorized (yes it's against the TOS to do so, but it's completely unenforceable).

But the information they would retain would be the same information they'd have if you'd signed up with email and manually entered information.

That's not true at all. If I enter information manually, then the site has exactly the information I've chosen to give it, no more and no less, until I decide to provide more. That is most likely not the same information I've shared through Facebook. But if the site gathers information from my Facebook account, then it gets whatever Facebook chooses to give it; the choice is not under my control.

If Facebook had a history of strong privacy protection and strict opt-in policy to information sharing, this wouldn't be so bad. But since Facebook has the completely opposite history, including Zuck coming right out and saying that he would prefer all Facebook user info to be shared, I'm not going to trust Facebook to keep whatever I want private private.

Not really, basic permissions on facebook includes your friend list.

"Basic information" on Facebook includes your friendlist.


To echo @adambard, I would've given this a shot as well if you hadn't requested my FB login. I'm very protective of using my FB credentials on a site I don't know much about (probably an irrational fear, but I know I'm not alone.)

You will get more signups if you offer alternatives, vs. trying to convince people you won't abuse the FB privileges. Just something to consider.

I don't have a Facebook account. I deleted it years ago. I guess I can't make any new amigos on your site.

Oh, I forgot! I DO have a fake one that I use for development. I guess I can just use that...

Have you seriously not seen plenty of obviously fake Facebook accounts on there?

Sorry, but even if I were willing to sign up via Facebook, I wouldn't do it just so that you can pretend that you're making sure that only real people are signing up.

We don't think it eliminates the problem but for us it helps quite a bit.

Either you put a demo and it interests me enough I might remotely consider logging with Facebook ... maybe. Or you accept fake accounts and be thankful for a lot more feedback from HN. By being greedy you have more to loose than to win.

I really don't understand the Facebook deepthroating trend. But feel free to ignore the advice that have been repeated here times and times again.

What sort of demo would make you likely to log in with Facebook? Screenshots of people you might meet?

Not the OP, but pictures of people tend to be a negative signal to me, as though someone's trying to use stock photos of faces to lend unwarranted legitimacy to their site.

I think most people who are concerned about "people that are not real" on a site like this are concerned about the site owners creating fake user accounts and fake activity to (a) make the site seem more active than it is, and (b) drive users to a subscription plan in order to see "who's trying to contact me".

Well, it would be hard to fake activity on a site like this since the activity is something that happens in real life.

I don't know how your site works, since I haven't gone past the home page. My comment was based on a typical "dating" site's behavior:

You can sign up for free. Almost immediately, you start to get emails, instant messages, flirts, matches, etc. You can see some info from the profiles of the people supposedly trying to make contact with you, but you can't see what they're saying or provide any kind of response unless you subscribe. If you do subscribe, more often than not you'll discover that all of that contact activity was from fake accounts that never respond to anything you send them. By that point the site already has your payment, so it's too late to do anything but cancel before the next automated payment occurs.

I'm not saying your site works like this; I hope it doesn't. I'm just saying that this kind of thing is why users of a site like yours would be concerned about fake accounts on the site.

makes sense, for more info check out the about page

Ah, I didn't see the "How does it work" link, because I use Ghostery to block trackers, and the Ghostery popup in the upper right was hiding the link.

Only a small percentage of facebook users are actually real... Seriously though I think you might be over concerned about spam in the short term. If the site gets popular then it certainly could be an issue, but that's always a big if.

There are still plenty of security concerns here. People like to be anonymous and disconnected in many ways. For example, I can see who on my facebook friends list uses your app:


> Lastly, for now wanted to dodge anonymous signups

Well, the only way I would log in with facebook is with a freshly created "anonymous" fb account for this purpose only.

How about supporting https://login.persona.org/ ?

I did exactly the same thing. It's a shame, really, because I recently moved to a different country and this is the kind of thing I'd be interested in.

Same with me, I internally cheered when I saw the post, then internally booed when it asked for facebook. My facebook hovers at around 50 people who are all close friends or family.

I agree. I honestly would want to try this app out, but a FB-only login is a deal breaker. The founder did mention they were adding alternative login options, which is reassuring.

I almost never use my facebook account, so I'm interested to see what the site thinks my "interests" are. Probably toilet paper and towels since my wife uses my account for couponing.

Towels could be interesting

Interested but also stopped dead in my tracks w/ Facebook login.

That's so interesting. This thread totally validates what I have been saying all along for the past several years - that mobile phones are a better platform for building social apps than facebook. That's why my last two years have been spent building this:


Not that I'm against the concept, but I'd much rather give up my Facebook info than my mobile phone info. I even avoid(ed) giving Facebook my phone number.

Yes! I hate it when startups think they are so cool by using Facebook/Social logins. Sane users have one good email account for work/important stuff and one useless email account for experimental services such as this. Why would anyone want to give out all their Fb info to random companies.

If I was personally interested, and thinking about the purpose of the app, it's easy to understand that a connection with Facebook may be genuinely beneficial in this instance.

That Facebook is "for people who know you" means it's exactly where Let's Be Amigos can find other local, friendly second degree links. Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, with generally global and/or impersonal links, aren't as good source material for the stated goal.

I only have facebook for this reason. There are no interests to be pulled. A survey should definitely be available.

You speak kind of to the upside to having FB auth. It makes it easy to try services like this without committing to a password. If I'm on my phone or playing around with Show HN apps like this I'm probably not going to bother giving an app a unique and new password and I certainly don't want to give it my go-to lazy password. Because of that I feel like things go a bit smoother if they have FB auth. The benefits became clear to me when LivingSocial got hacked - I didn't have to worry since I use FB auth on LivingSocial and they never had my password in the first place.

You're not alone. I did the same thing. Don't have a facebook account but was interested in a service like this.


I do not use Facebook. I won't sign into a service with Facebook.

For professional work, I'd far rather use Github as my auth provider. :-)

I do the same, and I know a few others who do the same. It is really annoying to see FB buttons (somehow, twitter and google buttons don't annoy as much - not sure why)

I don't care for it either but I've been assuming that a lot of the time, people do this so as not to having to develop their own login system.

Exactly.. and agree with the Please f'off sentiment.

Especially when I can just type in a few tags which signal my interests really well and enable sifting for like-minded people.

eg. "Frisbee bike Newark hacking" or "maker bots liberal coffee valley" or "photography walking s&m boston" :]

Nope I do this too.

You're in good company.

Welcome to HN, where showing your work gets you a "fuck off", "scumbag", and "scum of the earth", all without an iota of positive feedback or constructive criticism!

What a brilliant community, indeed!

This is exactly what I was feeling. Hey, you have a cool idea, and you don't necessarily want to create an additional login account (which would add yet another security risk to each user)? Don't use facebook, because clearly NO ONE uses that </sarcasm>.

Really though, I think that the target market for ... social people... who want to have social gatherings... would likely be people on Facebook.

Just because HN in large hates Facebook for XYZ reasons, not all of which are unjustified, I really don't think it's fair to shout at the developers for choosing to use it.

This whole comment thread is a disgrace.

FWIW in my own app, on iPhone, Facebook connect with native dialog has a near-100% login rate. (The non-native dialog is much worse unfortunately.)

So, fuck the haters, Facebook connect is a very low-impact way to get users to sign up to your service, particularly if you assume in the long run that it will be deeply integrated with phones as it is on iOS. Yes, a few nerds will opt-out, but most of them will be pulled in eventually if your service turns out to be useful and trustworthy.

I think its hard to make friends, because people only feel fulfilled when they are working. This is demonstrated by the fact all these billionaires are still working and they are not content to just be leisurely.

Therefore, the premise that you like baseball and I like baseball, so we should just hang out, will feel kind of pointless. That's why I don't think anyone has really nailed this market.

I think a better take on this would be, you want to publish a comic book, and I want to publish a comic book, so we should work on our projects and hang out. Or you want to run a 5K and I want to run a 5K so lets meetup and practice this together.

> people only feel fulfilled when they are working

Some people do gain fulfillment primarily through work (especially the entrepreneurial crowd that frequents HN), but we should recognize that this is not universal.

Working could include raising children, or gardening or a lot of activities that one doesn't get paid for, but it is universal that a sense of fulfillment comes from laboring for something.

> it is universal that a sense of fulfillment comes from laboring for something

I'm not sure I can agree with this either, though it's hard to come up with universal truth statements when dealing with a concept as abstract as "fulfillment." I acknowledge that labor can be (and often is) fulfilling, but I wonder if other life philosophies (e.g. Buddhism) may approach fulfillment through other means.

One could argue that fulfillment in Eastern philosophies is still attained via the labor of contemplation, but the question then becomes whether the point was the labor or the resulting awareness.

They think they are making spiritual progress. They are doing some form of work: meditation, fasting, praying to try to achieve it. It's not idling or leisure activity.

You nailed it, this is where we are headed. Love to chat more about how you think we can get there.

I think something like, "I am going to be working on my comic from 7-9 at this coffee shop, broadcast this "ad" to people like comics that have the following characteristics [male | female | doesn't matter], politics [ x,y,doesn't matter]"

You sometimes could have an open ended invite, and sometimes you would have to have both parties agree to meeting before hand, like in the case of restaurant reservations.

I think that open ended invitations leave too much room for cancellation / a poor experience. But, perhaps other people might feel this is not an issue. Any feedback?

Depends on the activity. For example, I'm working on my novel at the coffeeshop. That is a good open ended activity. If no one shows up while I work on my novel, well that's fine, because I still got some work done.

But running around the lake is not an open ended activity, because I don't want to wait around for people to show up.

Also add a button, "Leaving for the activity now", or "I'm here at X" would be helpful.

May want to take a look at "atthepool.com" then.

My thoughts exactly.

Do yourself a favor and ignore the comments here screaming for alternative login options. Look at the data and see what the conversion rate is for people, and only change it if the conversion rate is below what you consider acceptable. (Filtering out "Referer: news.ycombinator.org" of course.)

Most people here complaining about Facebook Connect are basically ignorant as to what it actually allows you to do, and are also in the minority of people who have not populated their Facebook profile with interests.

1st: the Facebook only login is a HUGE turnoff for many people.

2nd: Videos need HTML5 support.

If the Facebook issue is that you are wanting real people, then maybe you could create a "confidence" score for people to identify their trustworthiness, or maybe some kind of ratings system. Confirming a phone number or school email would also be a good alternative to the facebook requirement.

> Facebook only login is a HUGE turnoff for many people.

... on hacker news. And in the rest of the populace? Not so sure.

I should really keep these links handy, but real-world user testing generally shows a pretty strong aversion to Facebook Connect. Here's at least one paper that studied informed consent with Facebook auth: http://www.guanotronic.com/~serge/papers/chi13a.pdf

Interesting, but the 3 web sites they used are all news web sites. I don't mind using FB connect, but for a site like that, that I read without logging in? No way.

I think more research is needed.

You might be right, but the site being displayed seems to be primarily for more introverted people, which are already likely to be shy/cautious. I've never offered facebook exclusively on a site because of the fear that a smaller percentage of people will signup.

After building facebook, mobile, and web apps for a long time, I'm extremely cautious about the internet. I recommend to friends and family "don't add or download any apps, don't use IE7, and don't put anything on the internet that you wouldn't want in your biography."

Until you've built a facebook app you'd never think that your friends added apps have extended permissions to your profile.

And shy people may not even have a FB account (like me).

I really you might be interested in 'Minimal Viable Product', but really, I think this is below Viable.

Why ask for my Facebook if you are then going to ask where I love, and my interests, afterwards?

Do you realise how limiting it seems to ask if I live in:

    Palo Alto, CA
    San Franciso, CA
    Somewhere else

Yeah, feels like it's targeting the people who need this service least. Bay area is geek central, or so it's reputation suggests. I just moved to Albuquerque, which is beautiful and scenic and has no existing nerd scene. A tool like this would be incredible for finding or building one, though.

I don't mean to be the "but what about my edge case" guy, but it really does seem like your target audience is going to be denser when you get into cities that don't have thoroughly saturated tech scenes already.

p.s. If there are any HN types in the ABQ/Santa Fe area, please reply and we can grab lunch sometime.

> Yeah, feels like it's targeting the people who need this service least. Bay area is geek central, or so it's reputation suggests

Just because there are lots of similarly-minded people in the same area as you doesn't mean it's easy to make friends with them. A lot of people relocated to the bay area every month, a service like this would be great for them.

Certainly falls under the category of "solving problems of SV 20 somethings" though :P

We have some ABQ signups, you should be amigos with them :)

Los Alamos here!

This is nothing against you, but I don't trust websites that request personal info but where it is unclear who is behind.

© Let's Be Amigos 2013

What is Let's Be Amigos? Who is behind? A company or a person? Please give some more details.

So I have done plenty of A/B testing with Facebook login and I can tell you one thing: having just Facebook login converts multiple times better than having either email sign up or both. The quality of signups are also much better. Sure, you lose out on the hackers but they're a minority and from reading this thread a pretty rude crowd as well.

The hackers are an efficient way to advertise a product for free. They are continually online and like to go from website to website and talk about stuff they just learned about.

Not to mention they will tell their friends and family constantly about the cool new thing they found. Also when people consider a new service who do they ask? Usually the hacker in the social group/family

Don't offer one way to log in. At least give the standard Facebook/Twitter choice.

It doesn't make any sense to have a site to help people be more social but then only offer it to people who are social...

Coming soon...

Facebook required so you know my interests? Facebook doesn't know my interests.

Or...unfortunately maybe facebook does know my interests but not because I've deliberately divulged them. In any case, it would be much better to ask me directly.

For friend-making through common interests I use meetup.com

Has it worked well for you? Do you like going to activities already scheduled or do you think there is value in having people found for specifically you?

I think the big advantage of meetup is a lower "creepy factor". If I'm going to a scheduled, planned event to do something specific then that has natural boundaries - and then often a subset will go to the pub afterwards where things get a bit more informal, but you're under no pressure if you don't want to. I do like this idea because making new friends is hard, but I'm worried meeting people who have been "matched" with me would turn awkward.

Love to get your thoughts on our about page. Does this make it seem less creepy? We want to de-creepyify this as much as possible!

What if you don't keep track of your interests on Facebook? Or you don't have one, or want to use your FB account? No other option?

So at this point, FB is a huge help to help gauge your interests. We do also let you enter a few activities you like to do after signup.

Lastly, for now wanted to dodge anonymous signups. Won't be much fun to set you up with people that are not real.

In defense of the Facebook sign up, how about issues of safety? Meeting a stranger online can be risky. Forcing signup via Facebook helps provide data that users can use to perform a due diligence on the strangers they might be meeting. It helps hold people accountable if they do decide to do something malicious offline. Perhaps LinkedIn might be better, but I don't see a problem with utilizing some sort of identity related social sign up for this idea.

I'm not as opposed to the Facebook signin thing as a lot of people here seem to be, in that I don't consider Facebook "private". My default assumption is "if it's actually private, it doesn't get posted on Facebook". IOW, Facebook is mostly just a big online Rolodex to me.

BUT... I am opposed to having only Facebook login, just because it's not an open standard, and it isn't part of the Open Web. I'd argue for supporting, at a minimum, OpenID as an alternative.

I really like the concept, I was thinking on something like this a while ago, but it was around the concept of going out to dinner with someone, sometimes you want to try a new restaurant but your friends are maybe busy or they don't fancy the food, even though you could go on your own, eating alone is not always fun.

Thanks, we think dinner is a good idea but so are other activities (playing a sport, computer game, or whatever)

This is a great idea, however probably the 5th time this has been on Hackernews this year. Again, there are 100 startups all trying the same thing and it just doesn't work, because you have incredibly high critical mass and no marketing channel.

Examples: Spontacts, Woofound, Matewire, Activepepper

Hope that helped.

It's not that I am against signing up with Facebook, it's just that every service I've used with a FB login claims to help make oneself more social; however, that is hardly ever the case.

As for wanting to meet people in my area with similar interests, I'll stick to using Meetup.

Additionally, here is some advice from someone who runs their own Meetup group. My coffee and conversation group is over a month old and has over 50 members. Only about 20% sign up for a Meetup and about 75% actually show. These are rough estimates, but from people I talk to that host events, they have similar results. I think you'll find that once you set up these "meets" with 4 people, usually not all 4 will show up. I guess if you had them prepay, they would be more inclined to...

but anyway, good luck!


I like the idea! I hope this is constructive.

I signed up with facebook.

The next page asked me what my location was. I thought that was a bit odd, because what's the point of giving you access to all my FB stuff? So, I drop down the thingy and there are 2 towns, both in California. Well, it's brand new so I kind of expected that. But I have no idea how to enter my location. Do I just put my town name? Or town name, county? Or town name, UK? Or what? So, I guess at town and UK.

The next three boxes ask me for some things I've done recently. Eh, I really don't do much. It might be worth giving people a grid of ideas as suggestions?

Hi Dan,

Well one issue is that you can work in one city and live in another. That may not be reflected in Facebook. We didn't think about town vs. county vs. city.

Suggestions are a great idea. Thanks.

I filled out all the info, clicked submit, and then it just took me back to the homepage. :( Looks interesting though. I was just talking to my wife about this problem the other day.

hmm small glitch we are fixing, it should say:

Thanks our matchmakers and algorithms are hard at work to find the perfect matches for you.

We will email you soon.

We should have just fixed this, can someone try and let us know?

Worked for me just now.


..."GET STARTED WITH FACEBOOK" button on the same page.

Do you not see the irony in your tagline?

My thoughts exactly.

Well we aren't introducing you to your Facebook friends so I'm not sure I see it.

I went through the signup process. Was pretty fast and easy. A few suggestions:

- I live in Redwood City, CA. Would be nice if this autocompleted.

- Include more suggestions for the types of things to include in things I've done in the last month.

- You should include the "How It Works" info on the landing page after I finish.

- There should be other ways for me to find people, I shouldn't have to rely upon algorithms to do all the work.

On a more positive note:

I'm lovin the name, it made me laugh so much. Great idea too. I move around a lot so am always looking for ways to build a solid network of new friends.

If you have a vision, pursue it with relentless ambition. Don't let these criticisms put you off.

Clicking the "Get started with Facebook" quickly opens and then closes a popup. I'm guessing this is the "authenticate with your account" popup, but it closes too quickly to even do anything.

EDIT: Thanks for the support, this issue was quickly fixed.

Similar problem for me, except it doesn't even open the popup. The page just scrolls to the top and a # gets appended to the URL. Looks like some Javescript listener is failing to fire.

I'm using Safari 6 on Mac OS 10.8 if that helps.

Think we fixed this too, can you try again?

It's still not working for me. I even tried emptying cache, but no luck.

Whoops, fixed. Thanks!

still not working. Signed up, answered your questions, back at the main page

I just talked to help:

letsbeamigos: we got it

letsbeamigos: when we have matches we'll email you

letsbeamigos: with an activity

Hey njoglekar - your window-fixed "Contact Us" bug is covering up your copyright in the bottom right. And the white text shadow on your main headline and some buttons is rendering poorly in Chrome 27 on a MBPr.

I want this but anonymous. I like meetup but its the same drag, digital me showing up to an event feeling akward. I'd use the digital equivalent of picking up a flyer from a coffeeshop.

I don't have a facebook. I guess this site isn't for people like me.

The 'new to the area' headline has a white text shadow on the already white text that makes the content blurry and hard to read. You probably want to turn off the text shadow there.

We've created one like that in the past (strangers for dinner). Similar ideas - use Facebook info to matchmake for dinner parties.

The project failed. I am quite curious to see how this one goes

You need to move that Facebook button much higher on the page. I had to scroll to see it, and I have a larger than average screen.

What does this offer that Meetup.com doesn't?

Our goal is to actually find people that we think would be a good match for you. With meetup.com you are signing up for an activity. Here we are finding people that you should be friends with and setting up an activity. Like a friend matchmaker.

Every friendship I've ever established has been based on some activity: sharing an office, playing sports, watching a movie, etc. And I don't think I'm unique in this respect.

Meeting a person solely for the person of selecting him or her sounds very specific to dating.

I think your project is interesting and has a lot of potential — I'm just pointing out that, by downplaying activities, you may be expecting a type of socializing that's unnatural to many people, especially if you hope to differentiate yourself from dating sites.

We totally agree. When we make a match of 4 people we send them on an activity. Perhaps we need to make that clearer in the messaging - where would you like us to say something like that?

Do most people actually like things that are useful? Most of my friends "like" stuff like Starbucks and Wal-Mart.

Sounds like At The Pool -- http://atthepool.com

I immediately thought about the old sega game called samba de amigo. Cool name.

Don't mind all the negative comments. The idea and website are cool!

Can't I just make friends on Facebook? This is silly.

Who the hell is igos?

My level of jokes will probably never increase.

So a vanilla version of bangwithfriends?

Can you add Seattle, WA as a city?

We are planning the first few groups in the bay area but we have gotten so many inquiries from Seattle that we can organize something soon

Let's beam! ...igos

I'm from Northern Europe and the problem with making friends is that you have to have an excuse to make friends - there has to be a pretense. Sure, a lot of sports, volunteer work, hobbies and so on and so forth emphasize that you will get to socialize, but you don't get away from the fact that you have to have some kind of pretext to meet new people.


I'm from UK and the same is true here. People make friends by doing things together, and spending time together doing similar activities, e.g. working in an office, playing football, going to school/uni together. Finding someone random to be friends with online is just plain wierd. I feel like this kind of 'hook-up' friendship is more acceptable in the US, especially SV.

In British culture we are only just getting over the social stigma of internet dating, and it is starting to become more widespread for people to be proud of meeting their spouses online, but meeting friends online is still a social hurdle, and arguably, less efficient than just turning up to a local football club.

How is that a problem? Go out and do something.

It is a problem because you necessarily need to take the whole pretext as well - which is fine if you really like that pretext, less so if you don't. Maybe someone just wanted to meet new people and so she got a volunteer job for some organization. Now she has the job and has made some friends, but the job is weighing her down, because it turns out that she didn't care for that job in itself. "But", you say, "she could just find something she likes", but that might not be so easy. In her case, she needed to commit to a job, and it is often something of an investment like that when it comes to these pretexts - it's not merely a question of "casually drop by that thing I do whenever I feel like it, but I've committed to noone about doing with any regularity".

Hopefully she can quit her job and still maintain her friendships - but people also tend to compartmentalize, and without something like a common job, there isn't necessarily a compartment for her anymore.

I am not talking about merely needing to do something together to meet new people. I'm not talking about going down to the court and asking random people to shoot some hoops, and basketball being the pretext. I'm talking about "we need to work together or have met in some context where it was clear that we had stuff to do other than make friends with each other". There might not need to be a pretext after a friendship is established, but you sometimes need to get over that hurdle.

The premise of this and every tool like it is to bring people together with common interests. If you are actually interested in something, go do it and you'll meet people with that interest. It's far more important to do something than it is to express your interest on some friend meeting site, because people who are actually interested out pursuing their interest. You can also participate in an online community around the interest.

Saying you like hiking and snowboarding on a friend meeting site will never get you anywhere. Go to the mountain. Join the Mountaineers.

hopefully we can help with that!

I doubt it. Working against social habits is an uphill battle that even facebook cannot afford.


[Scumbag LetsBeAmigos]


I see this comment every time somebody posts a social product on HN, and I'm not sure why. It adds no value to the discussion, and isn't even good feedback. The number of people looking to socialize but don't have a FB account is small enough that requiring FB for an MVP is perfectly reasonable. If the platform takes off, the OP can add their own login system as well.

By refusing to have a Facebook account, you have willingly chosen to avoid a large portion of the web's social layer. Don't complain when you can't use a social product then.

If you provide an alternative way to socialize but require a Facebook login, it's kind of like releasing a video game but requiring people to log into World of Warcraft to play it.

These reasons are really excuses. HN probably has a higher proportion of people who have personally rejected Facebook. If you post your MVP here and it requires an FB login, you can expect these not-particularly-constructive responses.

A number of us are programmers and have some sense that the amount of labor being saved by using FB for authentication versus custom code is not significant enough to be the real reason for using FB login, as opposed to a long-term plan for using the integration for other purposes.

It's not that we don't have a facebook account, but rather that we don't want to have another app tangled in with all of our facebook data.

That is a different concern, and is expressed in the current top comment (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5781522), which I upvoted. The comment that I replied to only bemoaned the assumption that they have a FB account. I think that is a perfectly reasonable assumption. Now, whether the product provides enough value for me to want to give them my Facebook details is a different question.

I agree, (apologies for me too response).

Just a tip, HN frowns on memes and other low-density information formats. (treating it like reddit will result in lots of downvotes)

Indeed, but to my surprise, the poster has been here longer than I have (over 5 years).

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