Turn your Zoom calls into John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight with Mmhmm

Jack Chong
5 min readAug 17, 2020

Mmhmm developed by Evernote founder, why it will be Zoomed, and how to avoid its Doom

I hate my Zoom calls. Boring. Mmmmmhmmmmm. You too?

As ridiculous as it sounds, Mmmmhmmm is actually a startup.

Mmhmm is the latest project from Evernote founder Phil Libin and All Turtles. To be honest, I don’t even know how many Ms and Hs there are so if I misspell it, just bear with it. Mmhmmmmmm 🤔🤔

I have requested to be put on the waiting list for its Beta. Until I’ve got my hands on it, let’s take a look at its preview video and see what it can do!

Here’s the preview!

1. You can set a virtual background in Zoom/Google Meets calls

Okay… but Zoom can do this for me too! Keep reading!

So no points for Mmhmm.

Mmhmm: 0, Zoom: 0

2. You can set your “Shared Screen” as your background!

Gone are the days when you say, “eh, let me find that share screen button. Wait. You can see my screen, but not my face?? OMG, why doesn’t Zoom just add a Picture-in-Picture feature!!”

Just a one-click share of your screen. Or you can import images and save them as background slideshows.

Mmhmm: 1, Zoom: 0

3. You can adjust the transparency of your image and you can move around your virtual background!

You can adjust the size of your image so that it does not overlap with your background presentation. You can change your degree of transparency and do some cool tricks.

Does this remind you of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight?

With Mmhmm, I am definitely going to be famous and get 8.3M subscribers overnight. Definitely. It’s not that hard, is it?

Mmhmm: 2, Zoom: 0

4. You can “Airplay” your phone’s screen!

This feels very Apple TV to me… is it just me?

Sticky rice W/ pork for $2.80 is a really good deal!

Well, for this round….. neither Mmhmm nor Zoom gains a point because, to be honest on Zoom you can also share your iPhone’s screen…

5. You can share your “Interactive Recordings”

Imagine sharing your Weekly meeting updates but in the Last Week Tonight style.

Very much Grapevine style too! The future of work meetings is towards on-demand playback, rather than live. If the purpose of the meeting is just to debrief, why should I wake up at 8am to follow YOUR timezone, and to LISTEN to your debrief?

Just record it and send it to me. Duh.

Mmhmmmmm. What’s the total score?

Overall — Mmhmm: 2, Zoom: 0

How much is it?

  • Likely a “freemium” model
  • Some features will be free and others will be on a paid tier.

The future of work meetings is towards on-demand playback, rather than live.

Mmhmm‘s potential moment of doom by Zoom

This will be my face if my startup is getting cloned by others… or worse.. Zoom itself

The moment Zoom became part of our lives is the moment when we realize we need something like Mmhmm.

However, it seems to me that if Zoom or other streaming solutions realize the same user needs as Mmhmm, they will just clone it in a moment (esp. for Google). Boom. Done. Cloned. With a native integration.

Here’s how Mmhmm can out-Zoom Zoom

On Zoom, you can only have either gallery-view or speaker view.

Both photos are taken from Zoom’s official support center website

But what if, I am doing a one-to-one interview with another person, with 10 people in attendance?

Ideally, I would want everyone in my Zoom call to see this:

☝🏽Always love Bloomberg’s interview visual layout style. You can see the interviewee’s reaction to the interviewer’s question in real-time.

The host’s picture on the left is fixed while the speaker/guest’s picture on the right is changeable, depending on which guest is speaking, or whose turn it is to speak.

This improvement will make the event organizers’ and attendees’ experiences much better. The Speaker View constantly switches whoever’s in the mainframe if different people speak at the same time. The Gallery View gives me a useless overview of everyone’s faces that I just don’t care about.

I just want to focus on the speaker/guest!

Zoom out and look at the bigger picture

Mmhmm has already raised a total of $4.5 million led by Sequoia. With its product roadmap presumably a few months ahead of its competitors, its natural advantage now is that Mmhmm feels as powerful as OBS but as dumb to use as Snapchat.

Sorry, Snapchat 👻💛. That’s a compliment.

A sample of how gamers use OBS to stream their PUBG

If Mmhmm really is as easy to use as it seems, with a bunch of drag-and-drop, then welcome to 2020 when we stream work-meeting playbacks on Mmhmm. Bring Twitch to the workplace.

So Mmhmm here’s my plead:

  • Please integrate nicely with Zoom and Google Meets
  • Make the UI drag-and-drop and keep it dumb to use!
  • There is always a trade-off between complexity and easiness to use. As you add more features, please do NOT just become another OBS

Mmhmmm….

Phil Libin, any chance that you can get me off the waitlist and let me do a full review 🙃 ?

Also, check out the Verge’s and Techcrunch’s coverage on Mmhmm

About the author:

Jack Chong | LinkedIn

Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn. Always keen to hear your story 🙂

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Jack Chong

I review products, strategy and startups. Twitter: @jackchong_jc