AC4D Startup Pocket Hotline in the news
Austin Center for Design students Chap Ambrose and Scott Magee noticed that the front-desk attendant at the local homeless shelter was overwhelmed. With a line of homeless out the door and the phone ringing off the hook, the attendant – likely making minimum wage – was unable to help any one client in a meaningful way, and was left to sacrifice depth for breadth, moving the line along and giving just enough information to get the phone calls to stop. With so many people interested in volunteering and helping the homeless (the Christmas dinner service is all full, thanks), why is there such a lack of professional, qualified help answering the phone?
Chap and Scott developed Pocket Hotline, an application that can route support calls to anyone qualified to answer. Instead of the calls ringing at the homeless center, a volunteer can receive calls on their mobile phone whenever they are “on call”. Pocket Hotline gives the phone operators a searchable index of information at their fingertips, allowing them to answer questions quickly and effectively.
Chap and Scott set up a pocket hotline for Ruby on Rails support, encouraging novice software developers to call in and talk to an expert. Rails Hotline was picked up by Hacker News, and in just a few days time, they’ve:
- Had Jason Fried, one of the founders of 37 signals (the company that developed Ruby on Rails), tweet about their software
- Added some great volunteers to their Rails Hotline
- Identified a partner for their first professional pilot of Pocket Hotline.
- Got some great press
Congrats, guys, for a great and public entrance into the startup scene. Your product is solid and grounded in some great user-insights; you are performing an excellent service. Keep it up!