Some may argue that the term “Easy Conference Call” is an oxymoron and the animal is simply not real. Over the past few years I have logged more time on conference calls than I care to admit, and I dreaded the idea of yet another conference call.
It was getting so bad that I was starting to be quite late and miss conference calls completely. At the time, I am certain that my subconscious mind made sure I missed those calls. Let’s be honest, even a good conference call is likely not the highlight of anyones day.
I was on so many conference calls per week that I could not keep track of which dial-in information was to be used for each teleconference. I tried everything. I had Google SMSing me my teleconference information so I would have it on my cell phone just before the meeting. But sometimes I would not see the SMS come through, likely because I was distracted or maybe… working? So I would miss the call again.
It was bloody frustrating and sometimes quite embarrassing, especially if I was the one who set up the call! The whole thing really started to get under my skin.
I started thinking of ways to try and solve the problem. The Christmas before last my family and I went to Hawaii. By the time we landed my mind was full of ideas, I started writing them down. What I came up with was Gaboogie (gah-boo-gee). Half “Gab” and half “Boogie”, as in “talk and get on with it already”. Weird name I know but I wanted something unique and easy to trademark.
So I talked to a few people about the idea. My brother who ran a digital media company in Australia and colleague of mine from Shift Networks said they might be interested in being involved in the project. One thing lead to another and Gaboogie was born.
Together, Randy, Dan and I invested our own cash into the project and started mocking up the first Easy Conference Call service. A few short months later it was launched on Gaboogie.com. Here are some of the flash tutorials from that first service.
The Gaboogie service received quite a bit of press on launch and things were looking rather rosy. We had great traction in the market and companies started signing up and were paying to use the service. The feeling of euphoria didn’t last long, we started having significant problems. The system was a beautiful thing to look at but the usability wasn’t there and the VoIP switching infrastructure we built on was not holding up. Our engineers tried their best but jsut couldn’t pull it off. Both of them left the company soon after launch. The mood at the Lagerway household was not exactly cheery.
Determined not to let the situation get the better of me I started the hunt for an engineer that could lead the charge and make things right. We went through a few consultants but all had plenty of work and none were interested in tying themselves to just one project. I found Michael Deering, a talented Ruby on Rails engineer in Edmonton that showed real interest in taking the lead on re-engineering a solution that would scale.
Michael Deering joined as a consultant himself but just after a few short weeks he was so convinced that gaboogie was solving a real problem he joined full time. Not only did he join, Michael put a good chunk of his own after tax dollars into the company. Things started to look up again.
In and effort to retain some good will with our customers we took down the Gaboogie service and refunded everyone’s money. We started to rebuild. This time things would be much different.
We partnered with strong switching and networking vendors and who had a track record for success. We focused all of our engineering effort on building a robust API that any developer could leverage to build a telephony application. We used the API to build our first new application, Lypp Mobile Conferencing.
Lypp Mobile Conferencing was a simple offering that allowed users to make phone calls from any IM (Instant Messaging) interface to any phone in North America. All a user had to do was to send a command to their Lypp buddy, e.g. “call 6049741150”. The system would first call the person making the call and then would connect that person with the other party. On launch we again received some fanfare and the userbase climbed enough for us to flush out the bugs and find the potential weak spots in our system.
A few more months and many long days/nights went by and we finally hit pay dirt. Our new conferencing service, “Lypp: Next Generation Conference Calling” and our flagship Lypp API are finally ready for public abuse.
We are pretty excited about this new conferencing service and our revised Telephony API. Now it’s time to put the sales hat on. Let the fun begin!