At the Open Innovation team at Mozilla, I learned about Donutbot. It is a Slack bot that randomly matches people from the team to each other, so that they can then go on and enjoy donut together. They are usually just metaphorical donuts, you could totally go for bubble tea or lunch. It doesn’t even have to be together, in person. You could use video conferencing software. But if you do meet IRL, selfie-sharing is appreciated.
Random donuts are a fun way to meet people you don’t directly work with. Or people you, for whatever reason, never talked to. It is also like a water cooler for remote workers. I really like the idea, so I suggested it to Fronteers, the Dutch professional association for front-end developers. It has a large-ish Slack community of mostly Netherlands-based front-end developers.
The way Donutbot works is as follows: it lives in a specific channel, which everyone in a Slack community is invited to join. Every two weeks, it matches everyone in the group with a random other person. To do this, it will start a group conversation with itself and the two people. That’s it. They can then sort out a date and time to physically or digitally meet. After two weeks, it will ask if you have had a chance to meet.
As of this week, Donutbot exists on Fronteers Slack. To be part of it, join the
#meetandgreet channel, and who knows who you’ll meet next.