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Hum (letshum.com)
258 points by jonkratz on Mar 2, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 133 comments

Putting aside my own aversion to yet another opportunity to ramp up my continuous partial attention deficit, this strikes me as a solution looking for a problem.

One of my smartest friends noticed that when his support team answered emails quickly, the customer would treat this as an implicit invitation to shift the support thread into a support chat, via email.

They added a 3-hour delay before support sees any email, specifically to prevent threads from becoming chats. Note that phone support is also available; people with time-critical issues are encouraged to call in for immediate help.

The delay has been a huge success because people correctly assign priority to their concerns by selecting the medium. The back-and-forth is more focused and does not get off-track.

An unexpected bonus is that before the delay was introduced, people would often remember how one particular support rep helped them in the past and would hit reply on an old thread to pose a new question, unrelated to the original request. This was confusing (support people leave) and would mess up their issue tracking and happiness metrics.

After the delay, this behaviour went away almost completely and they didn't experience a statistically significant drop in incident satisfaction.

In conclusion, use email for email and use chat for chat. Email starts to feel like chat if you reply too quickly, and that's not a good thing.

I completely agree, not because of opinion but because of experience!

For six months i answered all of my e-mails within minutes, because i thought that superb support was the way to go. But it only took a couple of months before i saw the negative effects - both employees and bosses started asking questions about every little problem that they encountered! This distracted me in the middle of all other work, and billing for it was impossible because they implied it only "took 2 minutes" to reply to. At the end of the sixth month, i got a large job and couldn't reply quickly any longer, now, client's only ask things of real value (billable value) and often they solve the problem themselves.

Similar to HMOs vs catastrophic insurance.

You make some excellent points about using email in a support organization. To be fair though, Hum isn't designed to be used by employees in a call center.

Instead, Hum addresses a much more fundamental shift in communication patterns that is already in full swing. Conversations are getting shorter and shorter, and more to the point. Most teens I know never check their email. Many of them don't even have email addresses.

Hum combines some of the core organization elements of email, like threads and subject lines, with features that many people have come to expect from their more modern IM/text/Twitter client like instant updates, presence, typing indicators, @mentions, etc. It strikes a balance between the two that helps bridge the gap from email to a much faster and more productive medium.

About a year ago I started making a point of sampling all of the teens I found myself in conversation with — family dinners, speaking at high schools, friends' siblings — and asking about their email usage patterns.

While it's true that they don't use email as a primary communication medium (yet) it seems likely that this is because they also don't have jobs (yet) and that it's currently easier to talk to their friends via Instagram, WhatsApp and Tumblr.

And yet they all have email addresses, because otherwise there's no way to access most of the stuff on the web. You have to sign up, and unless you're talking about a phone-centric app like WhatsApp, there's no practical way to avoid email.

Even if you can login with Facebook Connect, you still need email to use Facebook.

So, can we dispel the myth that "teens don't have email" please?


As for my referencing a support operation delaying email, I used it as an example because I wanted to demonstrate that it wasn't a half-baked notion based on anecdotal evidence from one guy.

Meanwhile, conversations are most certainly NOT getting shorter. Each message in an exchange might itself be quite short, but the conversation itself really never ends.

Ask yourself what is more distracting: a long email or a series of 80 individual "short, to the point" texts, where each one vibrates your pocket and you have no idea when the next one is coming. You already know the answer. Often times you give up trying to do anything else and just stare at the messaging interface, waiting for the next message/fix to arrive.

Don't get me wrong; I use iMessage constantly and vastly prefer texting to calling people for most trivial things. But I also gave up IRC and ICQ (dating myself) cold turkey because eventually I was forced to acknowledge that it was holding me back in life. It was not more productive; it was incredibly counter-productive.

Wait....there's a myth that "teens don't have email"? Who are the jackasses that perpetuate this garbage?

Thanks for teaching me that "jackass" is just an animal [1] O_o

Without leo, I would have stupidly increased my use of invective.

[1] http://dict.leo.org/?search=jackasses

Well, cui bono? Facebook, who wants to replace email with Facebook.

I think Facebook have just abandoned that original strategy, though it's probably related to the WhatsApp pick-up.

The parent post said:

> Most teens I know never check their email. Many of them don't even have email addresses.

To throw it in, the first one or two years using it email used to feel like something that has to be replied timely, and after a while it appears that's not viable. IMs feel the same now, it's supposed to be instant, but putting it away for a while and dealing with discussions in batches every hour or two hours becomes an option.

If urgent matters may come through, checking the messages only when two or three come in rapid succession is a good heuristic.

> So, can we dispel the myth that "teens don't have email" please?

Well, of course teens have email, it's just not a primary method of communication for them (as you admit). To them, email is just how they sign up for 'real' (to them, at least) methods of communication.

This may as well be the same as 'teens don't have email'

This is the first time I've ever seen anyone label the "instant updates" of IM/texts/Twitter as more productive than email.

It's rather hard to believe that any number of them wouldn't have an email address, considering everything they would use in place of it requires an email address to sign up for.

Are they mostly talking to friends via email? Probably not--I don't think that's ever been the case with teens--but I can't imagine that they just flat out do not have an account anywhere.

My non-scientific research suggests that the "teens don't have an email account" is 100% myth.

There's no research to cite because as you rightly concluded, if you don't have email then you don't have Facebook or much else.

> Most teens I know never check their email. Many of them don't even have email addresses.

Because most teens don't have any need to be productive. This isn't a sign that the times are changing, this is a sign that the people you are using as a focus group have no need for the type of communication email facilitates.

IM / text conversations are shorter but they also drift from one topic to the other. Generally chats are grouped based on people while emails are grouped based on topics. Categorizing them with subjects wouldnt really be practical.

> people with time-critical issues are encouraged to call in for immediate help

This is a company that doesn't want my business. If I have to pick up a phone, you've already lost.

Email provides quick but asynchronous communication. Each side can take a few minutes to do research or investigation, find someone with more information, and try possible solutions, without heavy distraction.

Discarding this communications channel and demanding my attention be monopolized by a voice following a script is somewhere between disrespectful and outright inhumane.

Discarding this communications channel and demanding my attention be monopolized by a voice following a script is somewhere between disrespectful and outright inhumane.

Why do you claim the OP would have the customer monopolized by a voice following a script? How much do you know about this particular company?

In my experience it is far easier for someone to follow a script in E-mail than on the phone. If a company wants to give users the runaround there are much better ways than a 3-hour hold on E-mail replies.

OP explained how E-mail was handled. It's not discarded, it's used in a way suitable for the medium.

Trying to have a real-time conversation in email is nowhere as good as an actual voice conversation. If that's what's needed then that's the better option and people should be encouraged in that direction.

If the support staff knows the answer to the questions immediately, and needs to probe the client a bit to find the problem, voice calls could be preferred.

However, if the support staff needs to look into the problem a bit, and already has required information from the client, I think email is far preferable. Being on the phone is likely to put the support person on the spot to make instant answers, else appearing to lack knowledge), whether or not correct.

> How much do you know about this particular company?

I know what was posted. What was posted gave me no reason to believe it's any different than 99.9% of companies. Even if it were, that would be inadequate to reverse my opinion of the stupidity of this strategy.

> In my experience it is far easier for someone to follow a script in E-mail than on the phone.

And equally easy to spot. My business is also lost at that point.

> it's used in a way suitable for the medium.

It should be plainly obvious that I disagree with that assessment.

> Trying to have a real-time conversation in email

Is not what I was talking about. Quite the contrary. The non-real-time nature of email is exactly what makes it superior to voice communication.

"Fast" and "real-time" are not the same thing.

>This is a company that doesn't want my business. If I have to pick up a phone, you've already lost.

Well, if "opportunity cost" estimates pan out, the only responce to that is "Don't let the door hit you on your way out".

> They added a 3-hour delay before support sees any email, specifically to prevent threads from becoming chats. Note that phone support is also available; people with time-critical issues are encouraged to call in for immediate help.

Interesting observation (and "solution"). I'd say that model of dividing things is completely wrong, though. When I worked in support, I would much prefer to get everything via email. At the time we had a small user base (small office internal support) -- and this wasn't an issue -- we could educate our users (if needed).

But the general rule I've formulated, is don't let the user set the priority level. They'll be wrong. So for email, you might want to triage/prioritize every issue at once (and: eg group requests that have to do with a service being down/unreliable) -- adding a full 3 hours delay on top of every email sounds like the wrong approach for most help desks. If for no other reason than that it seems it would generate an increase in calls -- which are much harder to handle (scale) than email.

>One of my smartest friends noticed that when his support team answered emails quickly, the customer would treat this as an implicit invitation to shift the support thread into a support chat, via email.

Haha, had the same experience too! Started taking longer to respond and this stopped.

Heaven forbid that businesses might engage with customers...

It's funny to see someone rushing to the defense of the idea of customer engagement, as if it really needs additional promotion or protection. I mean, we only hear about how much companies need to be creating deep emotional connections with their customers and making sweet, sweet love to them 24/7.

As a customer, I want great service too. As a business owner, I understand that their are economics behind delivering such service, especially when customers also want low prices. There has to be a balance, and avoiding unnecessary interaction (or engagement) is an absolute key to providing better service overall.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that businesses shouldn't/don't/won't engage with customers.

All this particular business did was tell people that if they have a time-sensitive problem, call them and get immediate help.

Delaying replies to emails solved a number of problems and streamlined the exchange. Everyone seems happy.

I immediately become furious when I have to speak to someone on the phone because I assume, from years of experience, that the person I'm speaking to will be useless. Not because they aren't intelligent, but because they simply aren't given the authority to solve my problem. It's an unfortunate side effect of the tiered support system. Most people are calling because of a PEBKAC error, but I typically have a much better understanding of the problem and of the solution that should be instituted.

Hey Zac,

If you can be un-furious long enough to consider that you might have a blind-spot, here's what I can tell you about the company I am referencing:

- they are well-loved - it's highly likely that you are their customer or know someone that is - it's flat, not tiered (there's no "supervisors") - the system I'm describing is working specifically because those people that pick up are carefully trained and well paid North Americans that are actually subject-domain experts

The key detail and the reason I'm replying is because I know that what I described is working and you're not allowing yourself to imagine the possibility that it could actually work just fine.

I'm sure support via phone can work. I'm just saying that it usually doesn't. For exactly the opposite reasons you give. Most call center employees aren't especially technical, have little or no training, and are basically forced to stick to a script. I'm not saying it's their fault, quite the contrary. But because of these experiences, I'm automatically put off by the idea of speaking with a phone representative.

That's EXACTLY what was being suggested! Delaying replies to avoid conversation.

I think I up voted this comment, but I'm not 100% certain.

Given that I started using Slack (slack.com) last week, what in Hum would tempt me away from it? Slack fits pretty much everything I would want in team communication (being more or less private IRC with persistent history, full history searching, file uploads, etc), and has straightforward APIs and preexisting integration with assorted software and services.

The only thing I'm seeing Hum offer that Slack doesn't have any equivalent to is the email integration, and if I'm emailing somebody external to my team or company I'm not going to want to treat it like a chat anyway.

Hey all! Co-founder of HUM here, and happy to answer any questions you may have about it. We've been cranking away on this product for the better part of the past year and are very excited to be rolling it out over the coming weeks.

I have a few questions!

What does Hum offer that Google Hangouts doesn't? That just about every other alternative chat offering doesn't? (Keeping in mind that all sorts of people are already segregated by many of these services, including Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger which currently doesn't support any kind of annexing.)

Also where do you place 'security' in your list of priorities in regards to Hum. ('Secure, security, encryption, encrypted' are words that do not appear on your launch page.)

What's Hum's relationship with Email? Will it be integrated in any capacity? Also, not in a technical manner, but how will Hum be different than any other chat program?

Hum is able to both send and receive emails. People who receive stuff you send over email will be able to reply using the usual reply button, but it's not a full-fledged email client. The email integration is there to make it easy for folks who'd like to use it with their existing network of email contacts.

In addition, every Hum user gets an email address at letshum.com that they can use for incoming email.

This didn't address the question of how Hum will be different than any other chat program

Yeah, it kind of did.

Which chat program do you know can send a message as an email? And receive chat messages via an email address?

It seems the idea behind this, is that it's a "persistent chat".

Doesn't Facebook chat integrate with email in the exact same way?

No, because it only works with facebook... ?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but can't I open Gmail, send someone a message (@letshum.com or @facebook.com), and they receive it as a Hum or Facebook chat message? Then, they can reply to the message in their chat client as if it were a text, and it goes to my Gmail? That seems quite similar, and in both cases I can communicate using email, while my friend uses chat. This seems to be the underlying reason why both services give every user an email address, so I fail to see how this sets Hum apart from other chat apps.

Facebook has announced their intention to retire @facebook.com addresses, forwarding mail sent to them to the user's primary email address and making all chats involving @facebook.com addresses read only.

If I may, linkedin does allow users to correspond with each other using both mail clients or directly through their platforms. The part that I am not too sure about is how does Hum solve user problems that whatsapp/wechat can't. The gap I find as a user is that unless there are ways for Hum to integrate with the fragmented contact databases we have across the various social networks (i.e. my gmail, 1k+ linkedin contacts, facebook friends, twitter correspondence etc) and make my life easier, I may not venture and try yet another chat platform.

You aren't wrong, but you only described half the feature.

Send an email to someone new from your facebook chat.

Regardless, this is clearly a different product, if you want to try really hard to think it's not, that is your prerogative.

You should mention this in your HN profile. Your other comment here was in gray because it looks like astroturfing.

Thanks for the tip! Just updated by profile.

It looks (very much) like Google Hangouts in your trailer video. Right now, hangouts is pretty much installed on every new android phone, so i assume you have some kind of edge on hangouts to gain traction on Android?

Is it mac only? I am poor and I cannot afford a mac :(

No. ;) There is a Mac desktop client but the app will be available on the web as well.

Will there be an API for 3rd-party clients (perhaps ones that become officially sanctioned ones at some point), so that we can build a proper desktop client for those that don't run Macs?

I am wondering you can release a windows client. Web is acceptable but not perfect (i.e. cannot provide notifications).

you can build it on .NET. Don't care about XP, FUCK THESE XP USERS.

You can provide notifications on the web. Support maybe limited to some browsers only but it is possible.

This works in Chrome: http://jsfiddle.net/dandv/wT26x/1/

I think Safari has a system for this too: https://developer.apple.com/notifications/safari-push-notifi...

Firefox: https://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/Web/API/notification

CanIUse stats: http://caniuse.com/notifications

Although it's not quite the same as a native app, we already have built in support for desktop notifications on all browsers that support them, including some older WebKits.

so how about a tray icon? AFAIK there is no way to create one using HTML5.

What do you need the tray icon for...?

There are still a great many organizations that are using XP. It's a reliable and battle tested OS. Ignoring these users wouldn't be a good idea, I don't think.

That's a beautiful launch page. I like that you subtly get the user to scroll down.

Yea I noticed that too. You initially scroll down to see the rest of that sample chat inbox, which provides a smooth transition between the div with the background video and the div with the main content (since the first chat inbox spills into the second div). Looks good.

You mean to get rid of the annoyingly distracting video?

Nice work!

In Firefox, scrolling down the page below the cover image causes a Youtube embed of what I assume is the trailer to get stuck blocking a large portion of the content of the page.

Seems "we're not testing any platform except Chrome" is trendy those days <sigh>

It even happens in chrome. I don't even compute how the developer could fuck this up this badly.

Why announce the product before shipping? I added my email to the list, but I probably won't remember what the product is when you finally release it.

The copy could use some work, you should be able to pare down a lot of the text. Also, you could increase the font size for maximum comfort. Why is the product name capitalized? When I see HUM I think "H. U. M."

> you could increase the font size for maximum comfort

Oh, god, no. It is very well sized as it is.

Increase your display DPI instead.

Oh, god, no?! That font size is absolutely tiny and my display has a low logical resolution (1440×900 on a 15.4 inch screen, that’s pretty abysmal as logical resolutions go).

It should be double the size at least. Way too tiny.

> I added my email to the list, but I probably won't remember what the product is when you finally release it.

I'm sure the email you receive when it launches will give you all the information you need to remember what it is.

This isn't the first time I've seen this on HN either. Pretty sure it's been mentioned before some time ago.

Sometimes I wonder if dogfooding has gone too far. With respect to the OP, I see so many... products like this which seem very oriented towards the teams building them. Witness the example page. I'm trying to imagine another field where co-workers could conceivably feel unsatisfied with the level of real-time connectivity they have now. Ranchers? Astronauts? I can't think of one.

But I guess I'm something of a Luddite, with my flip phone.

While the app looks pretty cool and I have no beef with the app specifically, introducing yet another IM app is just going to fragment the market further and cause more issues than it solves.

There are so many different ways to communicate currently, that soon we aren't going to be sure what app to best contact a particular person with. You've got Email, SMS, iMessage, Facebook (Chat), WhatsApp, Twitter, and those are just are some of the top ways.

Everyone has their favourites and because of this, communication is getting more annoying and difficult purely because of the diversity of choice. Its not helped by large companies vendor locking their customers into a specific way of messaging, fully knowing that not all of the people they contact are there.

I have a strong opinion on this yet I have no real solution.

Whats the chances of the top tech companies coming together to create and implement a secure open protocol and/or app allowing end users to message anyone regardless of platform? I guess its pretty bonkers.

Yeah, that exact thing already exists, it's called XMPP/Jabber but hardly anyone uses it. It's a shame. There is a federated chat protocol just like federated email, but it's businesses trying to lock in customers that is causing all of these communication problems.

In a perfect world Google, Apple, Mozilla, etc would just contribute new features to the codebase, and everyone could have their own client interfaces and do unique team apps etc

*Bonus points: Jabber chat protocol addresses are the same as email addresses, they are interchangeable. One less thing to list on your business card. Socially, this mindset would potentially shift into just being called an 'address' instead of assuming it's only for email.

I have noticed we're running into this right now with iMessage, Facetime etc in giving out an 'email address' to do connect doing something other than emailing.

Ironically, Whatsapp started out by using ejabberd — the XMPP server written in Erlang — as their main chat infrastructure, and then modified it to the point where it no longer implements XMPP.

And google talk and facebook chat both used xmpp, and are both(?) avoiding federation -- and both(?) phasing out even supporting xmpp clients.

For a little while I actually bothered using IM, as I actually had someone to talk to (most of my friends had facebook or gtalk -- and I could talk to them in the same interface I used for xmpp at work) -- and I could keep all the logs in one place (if I needed them) -- and it all supported secure texts (OTR).

Now all my friends have access to crappy html5 chat silos that I'd rather not touch with a stick if I can help it. The things are all but impossible to use in a sane way without having to use a mouse -- and even if I could use them, I can't aggregate the logs, keep them independently of whether or not I keep the account(s) and I can't have access to everything in one application.

Why would anyone use this or slack.com rather than setting up a jabber server? If you desperately want to restrict your choice of interface, you could always deploy a html5 jabber client, and pretend there aren't good native clients out there. I'm not sure why anyone would do that, though.

HipChat actually supports XMPP, if you don't want to use the native apps. Doubt it's popular enough that services like Slack will do it too.

Generic chat UI, check.

Generic marketing copy, check.

Generic video with uplifting folky music and hipsters dressed like hipsters doing hipstery stuff, from sitting at a minimal wooden desk to surfing, check.

So what exactly does this bring to the table that we don't already have or does better?

You can use it to collaborate on shitty startup ideas.

I like the ring-shaped indicator around people's avatars to indicate not only that they're typing, but how much they're typing.

Interesting, but might be a little creepy in practice, I'm not sure.

I'm curious about the ring. How do you know how much of the ring to "populate" unless you know how much they're going to type?

I don't know how they do it, but I'd populate the ring with frequency, not quantity. Keydown Events per Second is probably pretty easy to track.

I'd bet it's the latter (with a character limit), since this really isn't that groundbreaking of an app...

Why are there so many negative comments? And most of these aren't even constructive criticisms.

Do you have any suggestions to give the founding team? Any constructive criticism to offer? I'm sure they'd like to hear it. On the other hand, snide remarks provide hardly any value to anyone.

Looks like you're new around here. Welcome to HN, where the top comment for DropBox's launch was something along the lines of "this will never work".

Presumably the second highest rated comment was "less space than a nomad - lame" ...

To read the atom.io threads. Plenty of positivity around here when a new product strikes a chord.

On the other hand, snide remarks provide hardly any value to anyone.

Sure. Does the same apply to single-sentence "This is great!" comments?

Is a new business helped by people who cheer them on with vague support without also confirming that the product solves a real problem for them?

It brings to mind some of the ideas behind having an MVP. It's almost meaningless to have people say your business idea is great. What matters is will they part with their money for it.

Empty naysayers don't contribute much, but neither do empty cheerleaders. They're just less irksome.

Sure. Does the same apply to single-sentence "This is great!" comments?

Snide remarks can be valuable. If everyone you pitch says "your idea sucks!", then you know you're 'probably' not sitting on a billion dollar idea. That value (from snide remarks) starts to drop rapidly once you start to get a few positive responses. Why? Of course some people will hate your idea, that's fine. The key question is: can you gain enough users/customers to build a profitable company?

A "This is great, I would totally use this!" comment is much more valuable than a "Yet another chat app, count me out." comment.

In fact, no. The same is not true of empty positive comments. A good place to read about the HN philosophy on what makes a bad comment: http://www.paulgraham.com/hackernews.html (scroll to the comment section)

As I write this though I realize I have a pretty fundamental disagreement. Going up to someone and telling them that they're an idiot or otherwise abusing them is totally unacceptable in most social settings. Congratulating someone is not. Why should HN be different?

Going up to someone and telling them that they're an idiot or otherwise abusing them is totally unacceptable in most social settings. Congratulating someone is not.

The essential distinction here is between personal comments and comments about a product.

There's a difference between congratulating someone on launching and telling them their product or idea is great.

I don't believe that "What a great idea" is as bad as "What a stoopid idea", but question whether the former actually contributes any more to to the discussion or is tangibly useful to anyone.

I've noticed quite often comments of the form "+1" or "Cool article!" get down-voted quickly into wispy gray. They contribute nothing to the discussion aside from a virtual pat on the back. One-sentence "Great idea!" comments feel much the same.

From your link: And since it's hard to write a short comment that's distinguished for the amount of information it conveys, people try to distinguish them instead by being funny.

Or perhaps by being super-upbeat, a more acceptable way to post without offering much substance.

You say the question is whether it contribute more. Obviously it does not, but that's not the question. The question is what produces the best community on the site. Vapid positivity can be easily ignored (and as you point out is often down voted). But even when it's not, no big deal. Vapid put-downs are vastly more dangerous, because they're mean as well as stupid and thus create a negative and toxic environment for others.

You say the question is whether it contribute more. Obviously it does not, but that's not the question. The question is what produces the best community on the site.

That's a good question, but it's not the question I posed.

I agree that vapid positivity is easy to ignore.

Sniping is arguably worse than "+1" back-patting for the community overall, but I was asking whether vapid positivity was adding any benefit to anyone, or is it simply a lesser or different kind of bad.

As someone else pointed out, individually these sorts of three-word comments do not contribute to the discussion. In the aggregate, though, both the good and bad may have real value, at least to whomever is behind the product under discussion.

It's a weird situation because no single comment of that form provides discussion space for a response (other than perhaps meta-comments about superficial commenting) but as a whole they may drive some useful observations.

I would like to suggest that the founding team finds a problem to solve.

I accidentally upvoted this with my big fingers. Now, having seen the video, I wish I could take that upvote back.

The application is quite nice looking, and I really like the @ integration/notification.

That said, I really hope 11MB splash videos on home pages doesn't become a trend.

Unfortunately, the video background trend is definitely a thing. Paypal's been doing it for at least a couple weeks and I've seen at least one other site doing the same.

This might even be worse than the old autoplaying music embedded on every page fad. Hell, at least you could mute it.

I hope you're wrong but fear you're right. I think this site: http://threeringfocus.com/ is an good example of a way to create a cool animated splash without forcing an 11MB download on the site visitor.

At first I didn't get what you were saying because I just had a black background

I took like 5 to 10 seconds to load on this connection:


.... Well Hum no thanks :)

I prefer Hangout for friends and Hipchat for work

Why are startups always out to redefine stuff that is working fine? Stop inventing solutions to problems that don't exist.

You mean the problem doesn't exist for YOU !

If everybody thinks like you, than an iPhone was never invented ;-)

Sounds like Google wave, but a little less intense and a lot more lean.

I had the same thought.

Team i was on at the time made a concerted effort to use wave, and we were just starting to be pretty productive on it when google axed it.

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Wave

This reminds me of google hangout featureset. Better UI on top of it, though. Nice work, Hum!

IMO, the fundamental challenge of feature-based "utility" apps like this is that big players will eventually implement the most useful pieces of it, and slowly erode your market share until you are worthless to the average consumer. The best play for these guys long term is to get acquired before the OS people take their features.

It appears that you're targeting corporate users, am I right? I would guess that individuals would probably just use something like Google Hangout or e-mail or some other chat client.

For many corporations, I think one of the biggest issues is having their internal chats hosted in the "cloud". Maybe I'm assuming too much here, but i'm guessing all of this is happening on your servers. I'd highly recommend allowing people to deploy this service on one of their own servers and also providing some sort of security guarantee. Then some of the bigger companies might be willing to move to it, and I could see how this would be a joy to use over IM/e-mail/IRC/maybe even HipChat?

Anyway, good luck on your product. Hope your launch goes well! :)

Well, the main 100-pound competitors are Google and Microsoft. Google is cloud-only, Microsoft offers self-hosted and cloud solutions.

I would generally agree that the biggest market is probably for self-hosted solutions.

I'm sure there's a big market here, but companies have been reinventing the wheel here since the days of AOL. What the world really needs is for something like XMPP to gain traction and actually work in a federated way with email addresses.

There's some elements that remind me of Moped (http://blog.moped.com), which has since been bought and shut-down. It's actually quite more enjoyable to keep this stuff out of your inbox, and if you really wanted to, you could use Moped as your email client. I don't use Hangouts, but doesn't that require other people you send messages to to also have Hangouts etc?

Disclaimer: I wrote the Mac client for Moped.

Google Wave 2.0?

It's got a lot more focus than Wave had at launch. Wave's big problem was that it introduced so many new features at once, in one product. No one could figure out what to do with it, and it was very confusing.

This looks much more focused, although its unclear what it offers over Hangouts or FB messenger. The only feature it seems to add over facebook's product is a focus on conversation subjects versus social groups.

Was that Wave's issue? I thought it was that it was a solution in search of a problem.

Which does make me wonder what problem Hum is solving. What group is saying, "X is really painful for us"?

It's like IM/texting with the exact layout of Twitter. Are we at a point where it's almost impossible to innovate anymore? Is anything created in this space going to be only slightly different than _______?

That was my first thought as well. Not sure about the 2.0 part though.

I've decided to ignore all messaging "apps" unless they're based on open standards. If they believe current open protocols (email, jabber/xmpp, etc) are insufficient for their needs, they can propose a new one, but please, make it open. Otherwise, I doubt they will become the next email.

I'd like to see an organizational com platform built around App.Net. Or maybe there already is one.

I don't get the need for a subject line. You're always going to read a message from friends. They can screen the first line of the first message if they want. If I want to start up a new conversation with a friend group, it should just tack onto the last conversation with that friend group.

Why to use this over Flowdock? Flowdock: Group chat for teams. Integrates with GitHub, Jira, Trello.


I honestly can't understand what this app is trying to do. Is it an email client that uses @mentions to involve other people in the conversation? Is the "chat" part of the app here just a UI feature? Or maybe other protocols are supported as well?

I wonder if the same idea can be adapted for online forums. Think - something like standard PhpBB, but with each thread being its own IRC channel with full archive. Has anyone seen anything like this done already?

Here's an idea: when I visit your website, let me choose whether or not I want to watch a video. Don't just play a god damn video in the background. Too much emphasis on flashiness over substance.

Feels a lot like what Google+ should have been - the mishmash of Google+ features point to some of the ideas in Hum, but lack any "here's how you should use it" sense.

Minor tip when embedding YouTube videos, as with the 'Watch the HUM Trailer' video - add rel=0 to the URL to prevent 'Related videos' from appearing at the end.

Am I missing the differences between this and HipChat?

Even if it did resemble HipChat (not sure I agree), did you have a point?

No, I'm just looking for differences. After reading the features I was struck that each one reminded me of HipChat.

What about security? Are chats encrypted over the wire, and in storage? What's the underlying protocol - XMPP/Jabber?

Hey Hum team, I've been waiting for months. Any Exact launch date to announce to the audience?

i don't feel like this is significantly different from whatsapp. at least not yet

A little off topic, but I wonder if Hum was developed using Meteor.js?

Bam! I got a solution.

Hey! you too, it's cool.

Hmm! come over, now let us find a problem.

I don't understand what this is.

What's the business model?

Ho hum. Another chat app.

this is my favorite comment

Are there any startups these days that don't include words "features a beautiful, simple design"?

It's web 3.0's blink tag.

Looks like another closed communication system that won't work for me until all my friends DL the app - and they won't.

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