Thirteen years ago serial entrepreneur Richard Keith Latman made headlines around the country when Microworkz, his Seattle-based startup, was nearly crushed by an avalanche of orders for its low-priced PCs and free Internet service.
Amid mounting lawsuits and Better Business Bureau complaints, Latman found himself out of job. To support his family, he began selling cars. Working for car dealers gave him the idea that would form the basis of his next company.
In November 2003, Latman launched iCarmagic, which was later renamed iMagicLab, to provide cloud-based customer relationship management software to car dealers. iMagicLab has since grown to be one of the nation’s top five CRMs for auto dealers, used by more than 1,400 dealerships around the country, according to Latman.
The Cost of Freedom Voter ID app powered by Twilio seeks to jump start the application process for voters who need to get a voter ID. Launched on April 4, the SMS-based app provides information for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy. At the Hackathon for Social Good held during WebVisions NYC, I met Faye Anderson, Chief Evangelist for the Cost of Freedom Project, a citizen-led initiative that is developing location-based apps to provide voters with information on how to obtain a suitable voter ID.
Faye shared her concern that voters across the country are confused about whether they need to show a photo ID at the polls. Faye was a …
Walk into any school lecture and you will notice how many students are looking at their phones and how few are looking at the teacher. It’s no wonder that so many teachers try to discourage the use of cell phones and tablets. But Mike Silagadze, the co-founder of Top Hat Monocle, wanted to try a different approach. He wondered what would happen if the power of modern communications devices was harnessed on behalf of learning. It turned out teachers who incorporated Top Hat Monocole into their classes were able to increase engagement by turning a student’s phone into a tool for responding to polls and quizzes and participating in tournaments. The results: among students who use Top Hat Monocle comprehension of complex concepts is up 25 percent, grades are up 3 to 5 percent and attendance has doubled. We caught up with Mike Silagadze, Founder and CEO of Top …
As part of our series on tech innovation in libraries, we’ll be focusing on Florida’s “Ask A Librarian” virtual reference desk service. The pioneering service turned to Twilio to power its SMS reference service throughout the Sunshine State.
For Floridians, having a virtual reference library means that wherever they are—on a Ferris wheel in Disney World or an airboat in the Everglades—a librarian is just a text message away.
Jessica Riggins, member services coordinator, said “Ask a Librarian” is collaboratively staffed by librarians from 120 public, academic and special libraries throughout the state. In addition to its SMS reference service, the librarians offer help via live chat and email.
Since the inception of the “Ask A Librarian” service in 2003, librarians have responded to hundreds of thousands of queries. Last year, they logged 75,712 total sessions, including 53,597 chat sessions, 16,617 email sessions and 5,398 SMS sessions.
CraftJack, an online service that connects home owners with home-improvement contractors, needed a way to deliver instant leads to its advertisers. The company switched from Ifbyphone to Twilio and reduced its lead distribution costs by 75 percent.
Ross Gordon, the founder of CraftJack, describes the Chicago-based service as a cross between Angie’s List and Salesforce. “We help homeowners find local home improvement contractors, and we help contractors manage those leads,” he said. Gordon had originally tapped Ifbyphone’s cloud telecom apps to distribute web leads to contractors in the field, but quickly discovered that he needed more flexibility in order to build the service he envisione …
David Czarnecki is a Lead Engineer at Agora Games and an avid Ruby/Rails/Scala/Java developer. One Sunday evening he started playing with Twilio and ended up writing a GitHub service hook. This is how it happened:
If you think it’s hard to integrate Voice, VoIP or SMS into your application, you couldn’t be more wrong. In this blog post, I’ll show you how easily I integrated Twilio into a GitHub Service hook. It started out as a late Sunday evening exploration. I’m honestly not sure why I decided to play around with GitHub services or decided that GitHub push notification via SMS would (or would not be) useful, but it’s out there now.
In case you’re not familiar, GitHub Services are a coll …
One of the most important aspects of innovation in Silicon Valley is the incredible community – mentors willing to pass their knowledge onto young entrepreneurs, angel investors providing seed money to early stage companies, and startups banding together to help disrupt the status quo.
Our team’s focus is to build and support new initiatives that continue to help spur innovation. That’s why we’re pleased to hear about the kickoff event for /bin, the Box Innovation Network, and Box has given us ten tickets to give away to Twilio developers! /bin is a new program that Box is launching next week designed to help developers build disruptive, innovative enterprise software.
Box will announce all the details around the new program on November 17 at Dogpatch Studios in San Francisco. The event will also feature presentations by Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, Box CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie, and Box …
The UK’s WhatClinic is a lead-generating directory of international medical treatment providers. The company started off targeting medical tourists — people who travel abroad in pursuit of lower-cost healthcare – but as it expanded its international reach, WhatClinic realized that its service could be just as valuable to local consumers.
The basic business model remained the same: Consumers come to the site in search of specific medical treatment – anything from plastic surgery to a hip replacement – and can access the directory of care providers and contact the ones they like for free. Care providers, on the other hand, pay for leads that come through the site. They can also buy ad space or more prominent listings. WhatClinic’s lead-gen model requires a way for it to get credit for the leads it generates, so it went in search of a call tracking solution.
A broken call tracking solution
Launched in 2009, Thumbtack.com is an online directory that connects trade professionals like plumbers, gardeners and dentists to customers in need of their services. Thumbtack did research and found that text messaging (SMS) was the best way to communicate with their customer base and enable the listed professionals to respond rapidly to incoming leads. When Thumbtack built SMS alerts into its sales and marketing processes with Twilio’s dead-simple cloud communications platform, the conversion rates shot through the roof.
Since integrating SMS alerts, Thumbtack has sent more than 175,000 job leads through the channel. That number is increasing every week.
As a result of its early success, Thumbtack.com has begun to build SMS alerts into the core of its communications with its entire set of customers.
Thumbtack’s business model
Consumers come to Thumbtack.com looking for a specific job to be done — anything from a root canal to a new …
This week, Facebook announced that 600,000 Facebook logins are compromised every 24 hours. In another recent incident, a massive hack hit 760 companies and the IRS, allowing very private information to become public. Even old-school solutions, such as RSA’s SecureID, were hacked in the past couple of weeks.
The growing raft of online security compromises is the reason that companies like Google, Facebook and Intuit are offering their users advanced security options, including text message (SMS) and voice notifications. This form of security is commonly referred to as two-factor authentication because it requires users to demonstrate their identity in two independently secure ways.
In Googl …