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@CallinOates interview: How Michael Selvidge and Reid Butler built a Hall & Oates hotline

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The Verge interviews the creators of the Callin' Oates hotline, Michael Selvidge and Reid Butler and asks how they built the Hall & Oates service on top with Twilio.

callin oates
callin oates

First, call up 719-266-2837 (your local rates will apply).

Now that you're back, you should be sufficiently chilled out as you're listening to the Callin' Oates emergency hotline. The Hall & Oates-infused phone number hit our Twitter stream this afternoon, and we tracked down the creators of this Daryl & John project to see how and why it was built. Turns out that while it may not have been built pro bono by a H&O mega-fan for the community, it's still a pretty good story.

It's from "Go Solo" fan Michael Selvidge (@selviano), who recently joined cloud communications company Twilio, and his high school buddy Reid Butler (@rbutlersf). The San Francisco-based company requires that all new employees build an app, whether they're working in marketing, design, or systems. Selvidge, who formerly worked PR part time for Twilio before coming on as a full time employee, knew that he'd have to build something, but lacked an idea. He told me, "I thought, 'If only there was a pun that would work with this...' Then 'Callin' Oates' hit me, and that cinched it."

With the idea secure, Selvidge and Butler built and launched the hotline this weekend, mixing a bit of PHP and links to public URLs on Dropbox to create a simple interactive voice response system. The custom 1-719-26-OATES number costs $1 / month, and Selvidge found it via an online phrase search. Twilio's obviously helping out here, but any user can build a custom app on the Twilio API, and even with viral success like this, you'd just be out a "couple hundred bucks." Today alone, the first day it's gotten any serious visibility on the web, it's received over 34,223 requests as of 5:00 PM EST. And, if we're decent judges of the '80s revival in modern culture or the need for instant Hall and Oates fulfillment, the @CallinOates hotline should continue growing just fine.

Thanks, Katie!