ShareTheBoard on Product Hunt

As of September 26th, 2022, ShareTheBoard is live on Product Hunt!

Another Top 10 Performance by ShareTheBoard

Product Hunt is a platform where new products/projects/services are launched – scores of them, every day! Users from all over the world come to see the latest creations and support the ones they’re most excited to see launched.

We’re proud to announce that ShareTheBoard made the Top 10 on its launch day! Our high position comes from the many votes and comments we received throughout the day. Moreover, the latter have become a source of some serious kudos that we’ll be happy to feature in this post.

Before getting to the accolades and the well-wishes, however, we’d like to share a word from one of our founders – just like on Product Hunt!

ShareTheBoard's origin story

Hello!

My name is Marcin, I am the co-founder of ShareTheBoard – the most familiar, engaging, and human-centric remote learning and collaboration solution.

Many of us are remote today. If you are, harken back to your in-office/school days. Imagine what collaboration looks like, what brainstorming looks like, what communicating a complex concept looks like. Are you at any time imagining yourself hunched over a laptop?

I’ve been working remotely for over ten years. I love it. I understand it’s not for everyone but I, personally, can’t imagine spending every day in an office ever again. That’s not to say that the move home wasn’t without problems. Fewer social interactions, many new distractions, kids that are lovely (but so loud) – the list goes on. One of the biggest drawbacks for me, however, was a near total halt in shared brainstorming or impromptu/unstructured exploration. It’s just not easy or comfortable to accomplish when I and my colleagues are sitting in front of our screens. It’s unnatural.

I looked for solutions. Everyone pointed me in the direction of “digital whiteboards” and various collaboration tools. Some of them are great and they do, indeed, fit well with specific tasks. But for unstructured exploration or brainstorming? Hmm, it just wasn’t the same as gathering around a whiteboard. Not as comfortable and not as frictionless as using a whiteboard. After trying just about every whiteboard look-alike or alternative out there, I decided to flip the question: instead of making something whiteboard-like online, why not just, like, bring the whiteboard online?

We shared this flipped question (“why don’t you use a whiteboard online?”) with a number of companies and the answers almost always fell into three buckets:

  • we don’t use whiteboards because the folks joining remotely can’t see/read them
  • …or because they’re not interactive
  • …or because getting content off of them is a hassle

 

If you’ve ever used a whiteboard, you probably know all about these issues. How many times did you see (or write) “do not erase” after solving the world’s problems on a board? Or how many times did someone try snapping a photo of the board with their phone (which of course gave the data security guy a heart attack) only to never send it out? Or perhaps you subscribed to the “stack a bunch of books on a table and place a laptop on it” solution to the legibility issue?

There had to be a better way! We looked for one… we couldn’t find it… we decided to make it. That’s the origin story of ShareTheBoard.

Here’s how ShareTheBoard brings the board back to remote scenarios:

  • It uses some crafty ML, CV, and math to identify and vectorize handwritten content in real time, while making obstacles (like people) appear transparent. Effect: legible and unobstructed content.
  • It gives remote viewers the ability to contribute digital content overlaid onto the shared whiteboard in real time. Effect: remote viewers can interact with your board.
  • It automatically saves and organizes everything written on the board as (editable) vector graphics. Effect: your board is now your scribe.

 

But that’s not all. To make it easier on everyone, ShareTheBoard is also smart enough to identify writing surfaces. Point your camera at a board or a piece of paper and… you’re good to go. And if you’re sharing a writing surface from a difficult angle (often the case in smaller conference rooms), you can easily adjust it right there in the app.

Though our intention was to solve the lack of unstructured collaboration in our remote lives, we soon found another massive use case; or rather, it found us. In our early alpha days – which, coincidentally, were the early Covid days – we started getting requests from Universities worldwide interested in using our app. Yes, it took a pandemic for us to realize the obvious application of remote/hybrid learning! It’s since become one of, if not our main, use case. Focusing on education allowed us to clarify a few other critical benefits:

  • ShareTheBoard requires zero training: all teachers are experts at it from day one. Effect: instant adoption.
  • ShareTheBoard requires no fancy or specialized hardware. Odds are, you already have a laptop and maybe an external camera in your classroom. Good news: your existing infrastructure just learned new tricks.
  • ShareTheBoard is categorically more cost effective than hardware alternatives. Effect: just about any school system worldwide can afford it.

 

And perhaps the most important part – applicable to both education and collaboration: ShareTheBoard puts people, not files/apps, front-and-center again. The pandemic showed just how detrimental the sudden shift from such a human-rich interaction like learning to a digital-first experience can be: learning loss, social and mental health issues, and disengagement. It’s the same in business: when we removed whiteboards we cut off the human element: all of that body language, gesticulation, getting up and down that helped the juices flow, kept the discourse alive and the experience more human. And this, ultimately, is the mission underlying our app: delivering a more familiar, truly engaging, and human-centric remote experience.

We have a lot of exciting updates in our roadmap but I’ll save those for another time, since I’ve written a book already. We hope you enjoy our app and help us bring back a bit of the familiarity and body-language underlying our shared collaboration… to an increasingly remote world.

Happy whiteboarding!
Marcin

The kindness of users

Perhaps the greatest source of pride in this achievement was the opportunity to receive so many well-wishes and voices of support. We’ve highlighted a few here (to see the rest, check out our launch page on Product Hunt).

Congrats on the launch! You’ve found a great way to easily bring organic conversations and idea sharing to virtual or hybrid meetings. Every meeting participant who likes to share their thoughts organically on a board will love your product.

I’ve been using ShareTheBoard for several months now, and I love the fact that content is saved as a vector graphic, which means I can enlarge it if necessary for a closer look at a detailed sketch that someone made.

Typically, teams give up on white boarding remotely after just a few minutes of fumbling around to get things right only to realize you can’t, without a product like this!

Very cool idea for folks working in hybrid teams with some in the office and some out.

Its always awesome to see cleverness and even better to see cleverness that solves a real problem – in this case, both for the business and education.

This is a really great idea! I can’t wait to see this adopted by more schools and universities. This will help get other solutions’ complicated interfaces out of the way of learning and allow teachers to do what they do best: teach.

As a recent college grad, this is something I wish my professor had used. Great idea!

I wish my kids had had this when they had to do hybrid in-person/virtual school! Trying to see what the teacher had written on the board was a disaster, and the teacher didn’t know who to teach to! This product is also perfect as we continue to grapple with ever-rising technology needs being implemented by users of wildly varied technological abilities. Share the Board is easy enough to use by anyone!

This is really fascinating stuff! The hybrid meeting is no longer the exception but becoming the norm. Share The Board will be a killer app for product management and engineering teams.

Unbelievable, right?! Those kudos will keep us going for quite some time! A BIG THANK YOU to everyone for this incredible support.

We learned quite a lot from our Product Hunt launch, gained new experience, met some fascinating people and – most importantly – found out just how magnificently kind and generous our users can be. From all of us here at ShareTheBoard, again, THANK YOU!

ShareTheBoard

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