EFH-First Product Requests (Everything From Home)

Thanks to Corona Virus, we’re quickly moving from social lives to social distancing. We’re changing work from in person / in office to WFH. This is a great window of opportunity for new products. Here are a few ideas I was thinking about. If you are building anything like this, let me know, it would be fun to jam.

1) ReplyTime

One of the biggest challenges with Slack, email, group messaging, and most group communication channels is what happens when you ask a question or ask for feedback. You usually start with a request for feedback by sending an email, a doc, or even just a thought. Then the responses start coming. It’s often the first person to reply who sets the tone for the entire rest of the thread and discussion. This then creates competition to be first, meaning if you are sitting around your keyboard or on your phone, you can jump in before everyone.

Boom, win! Get everyone on your side! Make the first wisecrack. It’s great.

Except it’s not great. The people on the thread who don’t get a chance to jump in quickly get discouraged. They might still have some of the best, most useful, most meaningful feedback but after 12 messages already on the Slack thread, no one else wants to weigh in. And if they want to say something contrarian to where the group is leaning, they have to decide if they want to push back on an ever growing thread.

Instead, I think we need to change the way it works. Imagine a situation where you want a productive discussion. You want real feedback. You are willing to wait, and not reward just who responds first. You use ReplyTime.

  1. Send out your Email with a special reply-to email address.
  2. In the email it specifies the reply time when all of the reply emails will be released to the group. You have to reply before then to be included.
  3. All emails are held until the reply time. Then they are released as normal.
  4. After that first round of feedback, then anyone can reply and the group discussion can commence as usual. Or, you can add more layers of reply time.

If this were implemented successfully, I think it would make email and remote conversations in particular much more equitable. Being first would no longer be a prize. Being thoughtful would be. I’d love to see Slack implement this natively, and other new communication channels as well too.

2) JamSession

With people practicing true “social distancing”, the live music industry is going to be in a world of hurt. Musicians make most of their money from touring and playing live shows. People are going to stop going, and musicians will cancel a lot of touring plans. On top of this, people will just miss out on experiences they care about.

But there could be a better way. Imagine a true Jam Session. Musicians can set up live streaming and limit the number of fans that can attend. Zoom, for example, could be used for the hosting, and Eventbrite for the ticketing. (Eventbrite needs to create a page for hosting online / virtual events).

The musician can come on to the video and introduce themselves. Fans can introduce themselves too and start chatting with each other and the musician. The musician can play a set, take requests, and run through an entire show. It’s not quite the same as a live experience, but at least you’ll see your fellow fans following along, and hear the music performed intimately. This would be an entirely new kind of show. And after a few tries, I’ll bet it will be great.

This can be integrated into a full product that is tailored for music, as well as for the fellow fans to meet each other. This should be small groups willing to pay premium ticket prices. This shouldn’t try to emulate large live streams — those aren’t any better than watching a concert video or on YouTube.

3) LunchBuddies

When you work from home, it’s important to still take the time away to break for lunch. You need to eat anyways, and it’s good to have some time to let the brain rest from working. But you are at home alone, and it can be kinda boring. You can just order from doordash, or heat up a frozen Hot Pocket. But this could be so much better. So much healthier. And social.

Imagine a new service, LunchBuddies where you sign up and join a small group with a professional chef. The chef can prepare a menu of meals for the week and you can vote and choose ahead. You get a fully filled out Amazon Fresh order delivered to your house on Sunday, and perhaps Wednesday too.

Every day at 12, your alarm goes off and you unplug your laptop from your desk and take it down to the kitchen. You go to Http://lunchbuddies.com and join your live group. You say hello to your new friends, and your Chef guides you each in the cooking of your lunch today. It’s a full cooking lesson right in the middle of your day. If you make any mistakes you can get feedback from the chef quickly. Once cooked, you sit down to eat in front of your laptop, or really in front of a group chat with your new friends. After everyone is done you say “see you tomorrow” and go right back to work.



I love building products that people use. I‘ve helped build Twitter, Facebook Connect, LinkedIn, Robinhood. Investor in Medium, Tiktok/Musical.ly, Discord

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Josh Elman

Josh Elman


I love building products that people use. I‘ve helped build Twitter, Facebook Connect, LinkedIn, Robinhood. Investor in Medium, Tiktok/Musical.ly, Discord