ladybro 341 days ago [-]
Hey all, Brett here, founder of Mindstamp / awkward dude in the demo video.

I spent last year building a social video annotation app called Aech that never really caught on, but captured interest from a couple people that wanted the core annotation technology for business.

Mindstamp is the result of those conversations and six months of development work. It lets you enrich your videos with interactive notes (text, audio, video), questions, and personalization in just a few seconds before sharing them with your customers, clients, or teams.

Video is growing rapidly but is still largely a one-way, static asset. Mindstamp aims to change that by providing an interaction level on top for both creator and viewer to exchange ideas and gather feedback. We're just getting started but think there's a lot of room to innovate here.

Built 100% by me with Rails, VueJS, Vuetify, and Heroku ️

I'd love to hear your constructive feedback (please be nice, first real product shipped) and am happy to answer any questions you might have. And yes, I'm going to make a better demo video - it's just a placeholder for now.

Thanks for reading!

undershirt 338 days ago [-]
I like your speaking style, and the product idea is neat.

As a snobby stickler for aesthetics, I think the instant darkness and silence at each pause feels like being unplugged too abruptly.

I'd take a cue from dialogue options in games [1], and not let the UI cover the whole screen, and maybe play a prerecorded "pause" video(s) so the flow isn't broken.


jeremyperson 338 days ago [-]
Just a quick note to say I agree with this feedback. +1 etc. Nice product idea.
ladybro 337 days ago [-]
Thanks Jeremy :) Noted on the feedback.
ladybro 337 days ago [-]
That's great feedback, thank you. I've been feeling it's a bit too abrupt as well - I'll make it smoother.
davedx 338 days ago [-]
Just want to say I think this is a great product and it's incredible you built it all yourself, I'm really impressed.

I actually really like the demo video too -- it's personal and the outdoor location is a refreshing change from the typical sterile "recorded in an office" videos.

Great work and good luck with it!

ladybro 337 days ago [-]
After months in the sometimes-not-so-happy dev cave, comments like this mean the world to me.

Thanks so much, Davedx!

mrieck 338 days ago [-]
Nice work. I think your annotations of startup school lecture videos are useful.

I'm also doing video startup in startup school, but mine is for making original animated cartoons/meme-mashups:

Good luck with your startup.

ladybro 337 days ago [-]
I'm glad you find them useful! If anybody's curious, you can find them at

SuperAnimo looks sweet. Care to share more about what you're doing technically to create the videos?

mrieck 337 days ago [-]
Everything used to be just an HTML5 canvas, but since Automattic made a canvas renderer in Node I was able to use that:

Kagerjay 338 days ago [-]
this is interesting, what did you build this with?
mrieck 337 days ago [-]
Thanks - I think the interesting part is converting the animations to mp4 which I do by loading the animation engine in node and using node-canvas to render each frame. Then I stitch those together and add sound with ffmpeg.

I didn't use a framework for the editor. It's just a lot of jQuery and CAAT.js (a scene-graph animation library).

anonymous5133 338 days ago [-]
Interesting concept. There are other ways to do this but more for the technical savvy. So I could see where this comes into play in the sense that it is focused on a user friendly experience.

The pricing options seem burdensome to me. The whole per month pricing is a deal breaker to me. The pricing language is confusing as well. What is up with all these stipulations? Videos that really necessary? It needs to be simplified.

When I see this service what I think is okay...I get it that interactive video is good and I need it so I want this service. So I want to add one, two, three or more of these interactive videos to my website. The type of pricing I would want to expect is some sort of flat rate one-time payment that is not monthly. You really need to rethink the pricing.I get it that you want the monthly income but you need to bring people in first with some sort of "wow, this is an amazing deal" type of offer. The 30 day trial does not cut it for me personally.

Just me 2 cents.

ArtWomb 338 days ago [-]
You'd have to drill down into the cost, but flat rate per year may be difficult to price before achieving scale. How much compute and storage does the average video require? One hour GPU compute may be on order of $1. 1TB cloud data store per year may be on order of $10.

Charging $20 per video for unlimited annotation could be more sensible. Akin to Podscripter's $10 per episode podcast transcription service.

Best of luck!

tnorthcutt 337 days ago [-]
Hey Brett, consider this a suggestion to completely ignore the pricing feedback above. Sure, you could price it based on your server costs, but that's a terrible way to run a business.

Looks to me like you're pricing based on value and to deter support zombies, so stick with it! Don't worry about anonymous commenters on HN telling you your pricing is too high.

ladybro 334 days ago [-]
Noted, thanks Travis :)
ddingus 337 days ago [-]
have_faith 338 days ago [-]
Second this, pricing is a little hard to follow.
mindgam3 337 days ago [-]
Really solid product. I have been needing a simple video annotation tool exactly like this for a project of mine. From the demo video it looks like you’ve executed on the concept well. Look forward to putting it through its paces!
MediumD 338 days ago [-]
This is a really, really cool idea! I may try and use this for a product demo video. What do you expect the primary use case of Mindstamp to be?
realty_geek 338 days ago [-]
Great work Brett!! You may refer to yourself as the "awkward dude", I'd say the "authentic dude" ;) A project like this comes across much better when you get to see the real person behind it.
ladybro 334 days ago [-]
I truly appreciate the kind words, thank you :)
davedx 338 days ago [-]
Yeah I agree with this. His speaking is clear and genuine.
realsneil 338 days ago [-]
This is a cool project and a very clear landing page.

One thing I felt was a little jarring while working through the stamps in the demo video was the audio completely cutting out when a question is posed. Perhaps having some 'standby' music would help in that way, or even just fading the audio in and out when the pause happens.

Spotify do this on play / pause.

Great stuff, and good luck with the project!

davedx 338 days ago [-]
Counterpoint: I like it as it is, the quiet pause gives me space to think. :)
ladybro 334 days ago [-]
Thank you for checking it out and thinking about it enough to give feedback! I genuinely appreciate it. I've gotten similar comments about the abruptness of the transitions and agree a little softening would go a long way.
338 days ago [-]
jesperht 338 days ago [-]
Really slick - great landing page and I love the demo. Clearly demonstrates what the product does, and I can certainly see the value.

Small nitpick: IDK if intentional, but it seems that you're not quite sanitizing input. I Added an annotation with <script>console.log("Hello")</script> and it printed to the console as I viewed the video.

ladybro 334 days ago [-]
Whoops :/ Can't believe I didn't take care of that before sharing...fixed now.

Thank you for that and the kind words!

bryanrasmussen 338 days ago [-]
Hey, I think the part there about the data the users added being saved to your mindstamp dashboard is good, but I think a lot of companies (especially the company I just finished a couple years consulting at and whom I'm going to forward this to) would like to pay for that data to be available to their scripts on the page.

The context I am thinking of specifically is guided help systems in which you want a response from a customer before showing some more video or maybe even switching to another video.

If you think you would be willing to add that kind of functionality in to your product I can tell them when I pass it on to them and set you up to talk.

ladybro 334 days ago [-]
Hey Bryan, thanks for this. I agree that surfacing the data for use elsewhere is the best path forward and it's on the road map. My concern, being so early, is spending time building the wrong thing / adding the wrong integration when I don't know exactly how people will want to use it.

I'd love to learn more about what you envision this looking like. Would you send me an email?

exodust 338 days ago [-]
I have some constructive criticism.

The pricing is over the top for what is just timestamps + (any interaction you can think of) on a video. And it's a subscription model, which is an extremely optimistic pricing model.

While I believe there is untapped potential for clever video time-stamping (I've worked a bit on this stuff myself), most of the time viewers don't want their video interrupted. Nor do video producers want their videos interrupted due to the fact timing, editing and pace is usually important to a video presentation.

Asking "what is your name" or inviting other input at key points could be very useful, but not when it depends on being a member of something called mindstamp. That's more than friction, that's a brick wall.

Tutorial videos, or complex "paths" for say an interactive story involving choice, could be a use case, but we're now starting to get excited about the scraps on offer after most people have said no thanks. In saying that, there could be plenty of money in the scraps if it's a niche, specific application. Such as tutorial videos, e-learning, evaluative videos, induction day training, and so on. But again... the subscription model... ouch.

ladybro 334 days ago [-]
Thanks for the feedback. A couple things that came to mind:

- It costs me $ each month to store multiple versions of the video for different devices and connections. Charging a flat rate per video would be nice but eventually I'd start to lose money and have to ditch customers.

- Viewers don't have to be members of Mindstamp. The name / email captured from the video is sent only to the video owner, not for account creation. That fact should be clearer if you thought it was the case, though.

- Not all videos need to be made interactive, and being able to 'opt out' of the interactions as a viewer is on the road map.

- The pricing might be over the top for a single individual trying to take notes on a Youtube video, but for a business customer that is uploading and streaming multiple videos per month in a professional setting, $39 / month is a drop in the bucket, especially if it's resulting in a couple fresh leads or a few hours of email timestamp-ing saved. For now, I'm channeling Patrick Mckenzie [0] and keeping the prices high.

Thanks again for your thoughts, I truly appreciate you taking the time.

Kagerjay 338 days ago [-]
the idea is interesting but there are way too many dialog prompts to get anything done.

I personally find very little value in this type of video application for collaboration. A good video presenter should know exactly what questions an audience has, before the questions asked. When you have a webinar or video, inside of tools like skype, that's what those chat tools are for. It allows for asynchronous communication on a predictable level, unobscured and easy for anyone to grasp immediately. Twitch / youtube-live are also options too.

If you want to make something I would really want -> build a app that allows you to take timestamps on youtube videos similar to udemy, but unobtrusive. Youtube has a predictable time duration on each video and time stamps, so this should be possible via a userscript and or chrome extension, with data input going to another server / called from the extension. You can opt to do localstorage but longterm that data should be stored elsewhere.

ladybro 334 days ago [-]
> I don't like this

> I don't have this problem so nobody else should

> You should build X unrelated technical thing if you want my approval

I don't mean to be rude but this is a quintessential non-helping HN comment. You should consider re-reading your comments before posting.

davidpelayo 338 days ago [-]
This is exactly what a product like Edpuzzle does for educational purposes.
ladybro 334 days ago [-]
EdPuzzle looks great. Thanks for sharing.
getaclue 337 days ago [-]
Nice job Brett. Logged in just to make a suggestion. If you haven't considered the enterprise angle - I can see this being useful in creating enterprise video content. Specifically for making e-learning content and such similar things. You don't know how much this space lacks in proper tooling. Having said that, I can see some challenges if you have considered or are considering. I can shed some light if you like. Or if not, best of luck =) Useful!
ladybro 334 days ago [-]
Hey, thanks for taking the time to post this!

Definitely considering the Enterprise angle, just trying to feel things out right now before committing to anything on a larger scale.

I would love to hear what you're thinking about though - could you send me an email?

Thanks again!

soared 337 days ago [-]
Interesting idea. A good use case might be for video tutorials, where the video could auto-pause and ask when the user has completed the previous step. I find myself pausing tutorials videos constantly. Another idea might to build logic in, so that the video asks whether you're following along and will want pauses, or if you're just watching to learn and won't want pauses between steps.
ladybro 334 days ago [-]
Definitely. Conditional logic is on the road map :)
laex 338 days ago [-]
Pretty cool. Does it handle multiple resolutions of the same video (Eg: 1080p 720p 480p 360p ) ?
ladybro 337 days ago [-]
Yup! Adaptive bitrate HLS streaming.
AnnoyingSwede 338 days ago [-]
Awesome project, will follow the development. Thanks for posting, you got all my upvotes!
ladybro 334 days ago [-]
Hey, thanks a ton :)
miket 338 days ago [-]
Interesting idea! Is there any way to customize what the user sees next in the video based upon how they answer a question?
ladybro 337 days ago [-]
In the works!

Each answer will have a couple action options: continue playing, move to a different time in the video, open an external link, or ask for more info.

ddtaylor 338 days ago [-]
Great idea for some types of content but also a bit frustrating as someone who doesn't want to "engage"
simplysh 338 days ago [-]
The interruptions are pretty jarring and I rapidly got annoyed for constantly being asked for input when I just wanted to watch the video. I get it was a demo though. I'd like to see some sources to back the claims that people engage more during video.
ladybro 334 days ago [-]
Agreed, not all videos need to be made interactive. Conditional logic is on the road map to let viewers opt out of the interactions if they'd like.
burnt1ce 338 days ago [-]
Very neat! Good job!
ladybro 337 days ago [-]
Much appreciated :)
greenerplate 340 days ago [-]
Played around with it and I love the interactivity. I can see this as a great FAQ and marketing tool.
ladybro 339 days ago [-]
Thanks for checking it out :)
gpickett00 340 days ago [-]
Just played around with it - really cool. Are just serving the video / audio notes on the front end each time? Any plans to create a new video file with them included if so?
ladybro 339 days ago [-]
Yup, just creating / swapping html5 media elements. No plans to re-render the video with notes included right now.
rorrr 337 days ago [-]
I had a similar idea, but I wanted to do it properly, with markup: define sections with time ranges, properties for effects like fade in/out, auto-pause, HTML+CSS blocks. Initially it would be driven by the JS, but once things settle, maybe the browsers would standardize it.