QwikTalk: A Simple Way to get Expert Advice Using Twilio Voice

October 19, 2011
Written by
Meghan Grady
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own

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Josh Breinlinger
Josh Breinlinger had the idea for QwikTalk, a phone-based advice service, so he got together with developer Den Markin and together they built the service using the Twilio Voice API. Through QwikTalk, users can reach experts for advice on cars, pets, business, and virtually anything where sage advice is needed. They recently launched the first test categories for Excel experts, SEO experts, and SEM experts.  Soon after, they launched the call-a-mechanic and call-a-veterinarian categories. We got in touch with Josh and talked about the future of QwikTalk and their Twilio integration.

How did you come up with the idea for QwikTalk? 

QwikTalk was conceived during one of my daily commutes from San Francisco to Menlo Park.  I was thinking about how much time I waste in the car and was thinking of ways that I could do work during my commute.  The only thing that I could really do is talk on the phone, so I set out to build a phone-based expert network.  As I thought about how to make a system work, I thought it must be exceptionally easy for the user to get good advice on the phone (just like calling a friend), and it must be accessible to experts just working from their phone.  This drove a lot of the decisions about the workflow and ultimately led us to Twilio as a solution to get the service working just two months after the idea was formed.

QwikTalk screen shot

What are your future plans for QwikTalk?

Going forward, we hope to launch additional categories in health and legal, include mobile apps, pay-by-phone, feedback by SMS, voice transcripts, and lots of other features.  Luckily, a lot of these features are very easy to implement with the Twilio APIs.

Our development dream is really a one man coding machine, Den Markin, from Russia that I connected with on oDesk.

What Technologies are you using to build and support QwikTalk? 

Ruby on Rails 3, MySQL, and resque (redis based queues/scheduler) for backend, jQuery, HAML, and SASS for front-end, and of course Twilio for the telephony.

How was the experience of integrating Twilio Voice with your chosen tools and technologies?  

Slick and straightforward.  Using the Twilio gem hosted at GitHub, this was as simple as pie.  I don’t remember any technical issues with it.

How did you get started developing with Twilio?

For me, as a newcomer, Twilio’s interface and documentation, plus awesome gem were the key points for the choice.  Twilio just works for us.  Later we are going to add transcript/recording features for answers history.

Josh would love any questions, feedback, or experts to reach out to him.  You can contact him at josh@qwiktalk.com or via Twitter @jbreinlinger.