3 min read
In the beginning were the boxes. You know the ones I mean. The boxes through which we meet when we can’t meet in person.
As many do, we hated the boxes. Stiff. Boring. Confining. The way Orwell might have imagined future human community.
So we worked and worked until we came up with a video meeting interface that felt comfortable, dynamic, social and, above all, human. This took some time. We went down many dead ends. But the final result makes people happy, so we know we got it right.
We then developed the first version of Toucan: Events.
The Toucan platform made it easy for people to host and attend events. They could be scheduled, configured, and managed.
Hosts used the Toucan platform to create events, thousands and thousands of events. Some were big, 200 person quiz nights, job fairs, all-hands; some were smaller; and some were very small, groups of friends getting together to catch up, co-workers brainstorming, lovers wondering when they’d finally get to meet again in person.
When we started building our social-first video platform, we focused on what allows us to be social beings:
As I said earlier, our interface work was primarily focused on connection.
Our work on Events focused on engagement. A few metrics tell us that we’ve been successful. Users spend more than twice as much time on Toucan than on any other video platform. 93% of event attendees speak, which is extraordinary. How many times have you attended a Zoom event and not spoken? Worse, how many times have you attended a Zoom event and not been allowed to speak?
“Shut up and engage!” no one ever said.
The last social element to address is presence. When we talked to our hosts, they confirmed what we suspected. They wanted a permanent place in which they could spontaneously gather. They wanted a permanent URL that led to their own meeting place, a place to which they could invite one or one hundred people, whenever they wanted.
We listened to them, and today, we’re introducing Spaces.
Spaces are a radical change, but like all true revolutionaries, we’re changing things quietly.
Spaces look just like the Events our hosts and their attendees have grown to love over the past year. This is intentional. We don’t change things for the sake of change.
But Spaces don’t work like Events. We’re giving our hosts what they’ve been asking for.
It would be absurd if you had to give your friends new instructions every time they wanted to come visit you. Luckily, your home’s address doesn’t change. A Toucan Space’s address won’t change either. If on Monday I tell my friends that they can find me at https://app.toucan.events/prmurphy, they’ll also be able to find me there if I invite them on Sunday.
People will want personal spaces – maybe more than one – and professional spaces. These will be unique, like email addresses, phone numbers, or social media accounts.
Ultimately, the distinction between host and attendee will disappear. Everyone will be a host of their own space, and visit others.
Sometimes you need to lock your house, and you probably don’t let random strangers through the door.
If you want to lock your Toucan Space, you can.
If you need to invite a bunch of people to your Space and don’t want strangers showing up, you can send your guests an access code that’s only valid for a certain period of time.
This is Toucan Spaces 1.0. It’s a giant leap.
If you’re a host, you’ll be amazed by how much easier you’ll find inviting and meeting people on Toucan.
If you’re an attendee, you won’t notice much difference to the old Events. But that’s going to change. We’re building a lot of new tools for our hosts that are going to make your experience on Toucan more productive and more fun.
Connection, Engagement, and now Presence. Welcome to the new Toucan.
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Rabbi, driving instructor, and acrobat in parallel universes.
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