Inspiration

Loneliness. It is particularly heartfelt when just starting to work remotely, as many of us do now. You are no longer seeing your office coworkers, you no longer see people in your commute – you are working alone from home.

What it does

Snack connects you with your teammates to have unplanned 1:1 conversations. Just like you would have serendipitous conversations with your teammates when taking a lunch break in the office, we create the conditions for the same conversations to have in a virtual environment with your teammates and people from other teams working remotely.

Anyone can participate. Just install the Slack app and type /snack.

How I built it

I have built it using Node.js and integrated with Slack and Zoom APIs.

Slack responds to a /snack command, we match two people looking to snack, Zoom hosts the video call.

Challenges I ran into

Turns out that building bots is hard! I've written 70k+ lines of code. Most of the complexity comes from "negotiating" people availability to have a snack, i.e. handling scenarios such as broadening snack search outside of Slack team when there is no one available to snack, etc.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I am proud of the simple and fun user experience. Anyone can start a conversation with a /snack command. People are rewarded snacks for every conversation they've had.

There are some fun easter-eggs too, e.g.

  • After you've had your first conversations, you can type /snack fridge to check what snacks you've been rewarded and who did you snack with.
  • There is a mouse that comes from time to time and steals a snack from the fridge if you are not active.

What I learned

  • Slack API
  • Zoom API

What's next for Snack

Grow it into a protocol for starting 1:1 conversations. Type /snack @person and we will negotiate the time when you are both available to have 15 minute conversation. It is the equivalent of you walking up to someone in the office and asking "come by my table when you are available".

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Updates

posted an update

100th Slack organization just added Snack!

Rebuilt the landing page to address common feedback https://aboutsnack.com/:

  • show how the video experience looks like with the ice-breakers
  • emphasize that conversations are prioritized based on topics
  • emphasize that chats are 100% opt-in

I've also added a dark theme to the Snack room and it looks (https://imgur.com/a/MUUpfuW)

Next milestone is 1000 Slack orgs.

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