December 16, 2019

What is mic-check and how will you approach it?

Tim Abell @timabell

I logged this idea in my trello ideas board on 20th Nov 2019 at 20:23 pm, probably while listing to podcasts and trying to get an early night to get enough sleep with our small children waking us up regularly.

I've been mulling it over since.

What is it?

A simple web-page that allows you to record & play-back 15 seconds of your own audio & video to make sure your kit is working before jumping on a call.

What's good about it?

  • I know the tech is out there and not too hard to build with. (WebRTC for audio/video, maybe tailwind for design).
  • It's quite a simple product idea which could work well as a first side-income project. Basically just a couple of pages, a share link and a server.
  • It has built in virality - by having a "request a sound check" option people can spread the word
  • It has the potential to earn money - people who have a lot of podcast guests, or user researchers using lookback for remote sessions might pay to have their guests send proof of working sound & video before they spend their expensive time on the old "can you hear me now" routine.

Progress so far

I asked a question on MegaMaker slack which has a #podcasting channel which was a bit inconclusive. It probably jumped to quickly to the "would you pay me?" question.

I've sketched out a couple of designs and workflows in my physical notepad just to make sure I can imagine what the product might look like and what it would feel like to use and I think it's okay.

I opened the WebRTC home-page and established this won't be a five minute job.

I looked at Tailwindcss to try and work out if it would cost me money somehow.

Really?

I think there's a need, I've experienced it first-hand, and I think for some people it's a need that is irritating and has a real cost in time and maybe even lost recordings. You need blind faith you know otherwise you'd give up. Erm....

What now?

Now I need to work out how to test the idea's viability without building the whole product (again, ahem http://schemaexplorer.io/ )

I'm not sure how this is going to go, but I've started to ask mom-test questions. I'm not really sure how I can test this without building it because I think leading with a free thing that works is probably my best marketing.

If I managed to contribute a useful tool to the podcast or user research community I'd be pretty happy with that.

Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it.

---

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Don't hold back, I'm pretty thick-skinned these days. I'd rather hear the worst now than build it in ignorance.

  1. 2

    I've been using the Krisp app on my Mac for this since I started using it.. it's certainly nice to have a quick way to check. If you do the website thing you could ad support the page with links to Zoom, Krisp, Jabra etc.. anyone in the software, service or hardware space around calls, meetings etc.

    1. 1

      https://krisp.ai/
      That's very interesting, hadn't heard of that.
      Thanks for your comment. I agree that helping people get good kit would be a nice thing to add. It's taken me ages to find decent audio gear and I've bought lots that weren't what I needed.

  2. 2

    I like this idea too. I can see the uphill battle to make it catch on too though. I use a camera tester before web meetings but I don't even remember its name. (I google for it every time and click on the one with the 'visited link' indicated) I think if it was better made I would bookmark it and I'm sure something could even be done to make me share it.

    1. 1

      Thanks! I'd be interested to know which one it was. I didn't much like any of the ones I could find

      1. 2

        Its this one: https://www.onlinemictest.com/webcam-test/
        I go to that one because I can search, visit and test in less than 20 seconds then I'm done again for a few weeks.
        This is how I find it this one: https://i.imgur.com/pp8DSXJ.png

        1. 1

          Brill. There's an SEO play if ever I've seen one!

          Does it solve your problem?

          1. 2

            Yes it does "I can search, visit and test in less than 20 seconds"

            1. 1

              Cheers!

  3. 2

    Hey Tim,

    I like this idea and the name too!

    In fact I searched for a solution for this exact issue today! (how to make a test call for a Cisco WebEx ahead of time) however, (I suspect you have found this already) I wasn’t looking for a paid solution to that problem.

    That said, you could start small, start with knowledge and instructions on making test calls for the top 10 platforms. Start driving traffic, then maybe add in a basic technical solution that’s free to actually test on your site to generate further sharing and use of the site.

    How you monetize it can always come later and you’ll likely find a range of possibilities.

    From affiliate pages recommending podcasting gear, to paid site sponsors like Zoom or even just building it to sell at some point in the future!

    I would definitely use it!

    1. 1

      Ooh, thanks :-)
      Did you have any luck with https://www.webex.com/test-meeting.html ?

      1. 2

        Yes that’s what I used but it’s not the most memorable URL :)

        1. 1

          I googled what you wrote and that's what I found lol.
          Did it solve your problem?

          1. 2

            It did work :) but I’ll still have to search for it again next time and find other similar tools for Skype and Zoom and all the others

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