Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The phone call is dead..........NOT

Back in November, Techcrunch published an article, The Phone Call Is Dead. That really set the alarm bells ringing as we had just started working on our startup, KooKoo, whose main purpose was to allow people to make and receive phone calls programatically. A leading blog like Techcrunch writing an obituary about the main feature of your startup is really not the best way to start :).

Then I saw another article, Phone Numbers Are Dead,by SayNow (This was actually an earlier article, but I saw it later). Ok, so phone numbers are dead and the phone call is also dead. Shit. Did I choose a wrong startup idea?

Then I thought,

But what about 911(or 108 or other emergency numbers). Is that number dead too?
What about birthday wishes and new year wishes? Will I not get a call for those anymore?
What about the 123 different ways in which people are using calls?
What if someone wants to communicate with me immediately?Well, they can email me.Or maybe, they could tweet me or post on my wall.But they will not call me as the phone call is dead.

I know, the posts above actually did not mean that the phone call was dead or that phone numbers were dead. They meant they were on the decline. But they chose the post title to be a little dramatic and so I also used a little bit of drama :).

After being in the business of handling calls the past 4 months,and we have handled a lot of calls (~50 million), I would like to amend their conclusion a little bit. The phone call is not dead. The primary use case of the phone call may be dying and even that is subject to debate. But one thing is for sure, people are finding innovative ways of using a phone and the phone call, as seen in the 123 and counting Twilio mashups and also in the innovative ways in which our platform KooKoo has been used(, etc).

So I say to thee, The phone call is dead, long live the phone call ;).

I would like to mention that I have the highest respect for both Techcrunch and SayNow(SayNow has been acquired by Google) and I am just presenting my point of view.