600,000 Calls Later, Callin’ Oates’ Developers Share Their Code
Callin' Oates. Heard of it? If not, you've gotta get yourself some more meme-hungry friends. Built (partly as a gag) to satisfy a Twilio employee's new-hire requirements, it's an on-demand Hall & Oates hotline that has managed to pull mentions everywhere from Time to NPR . Call the number, pick a song, hear Hall & Oates music. 600,000 calls later, the developer behind the project is releasing the service's code and a quick tutorial on how to put it all together yourself. Think of the possibilities! Bob Dialin'! Rung D.M.C! The Rolling Tones!
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When Michael Selvidge called me up to talk about his new project, Callin’ Oates, I laughed it off and called it “silly”. Built with the help of a friend to satisfy the new-hire requirements at Michael’s new job (at Twilio, where every employee has to build an app with their cloud-based telephony API) it’s an on-demand Hall & Oates hotline. Call the number, pick a song, hear Hall & Oates music. Simple.

One week, 600,000 phone calls, and a mountain of coverage later, it’s probably safe to say this little weekend project was a success. I still think it’s silly.

To celebrate their success, Reid Butler (the aforementioned friend) has released the service’s code and a quick tutorial on how to put it all together to build a hotline of your very own. Think of the possibilities! Bob Dialin’! Rung D.M.C! The Rolling Tones!

Alas, gag clones aren’t Butler’s intention in releasing the code. Instead, the guys hope that bands will take the concept and make their own hotlines as a new form of promotion. Sure, that kind of ignores that a good chunk of Callin’ Oates success presumably stems from the hokeyness of the whole thing — but hey, free knowledge!

Butler is releasing the code via his newly formed “Exploring Twilio” blog, where he plans to dive deeper into developing with Twilio’s APIs over time. And for the curious: Butler is neither employed nor affiliated with Twilio, outside of his friendship with Michael.

Bonus Video:

At the peak of the Callin’ Oates excitement, I found out Selvidge and Butler were going on the local ABC affiliate for an interview. Dared them to sneak a “meow” in there somewhere… and they did. Catch it a minute and thirty seconds in:



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