2 min read

Being helpful, the mob, & being in charge of 911

Being helpful, the mob, & being in charge of 911
Photo by Ali Yasar isgoren / Unsplash

Welcome to post-time change November! Why this anachronism hasn't left us yet is beyond me, killing and maiming people and deer, reducing our carbon footprint, and making us all grumpy. Maybe my offer below is more relevant than I'd suspected... read on!

Anyhoo, I had the privilege of being on the inaugural season of my friend Vahid Jozi's new podcast Helpful, focusing on stories of how being helpful can make an impact. In it I share some of my stories, and one that I'd forgotten (but seems to have resonated with listeners) was that I was responsible for 911 at Bell's VOIP service in ~2005 at the way-too-young age of 29.

Yep. 911. Me. Vonage had been the upstart at the time and you could take your little VOIP box wherever you wanted in the world to call whomever, wherever. The problem was, when you called 911, the emergency services would deploy... somewhere. Usually to the address you'd signed up with, but if you were on the road, you clearly didn't need them there. Vonage, at the time, routed the 911 calls to an admin line, so when a Texas girl called 911 on her Vonage line and didn't get the police while her parents were murdered, clearly something had to change. The CRTC (Canada's telecom regulatory authority) had ruled that all 911 calls were to be routed correctly no matter what, and, while we had a solution that worked, we had to rebuild it to match the regulations. Let me tell you, not breaking and improving that service was... stressful...

Have a listen and let me know what you think. And yes, for some reason, I bring up the mob.

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Coming Up

  • We'll be doing a LIVE BetaKit AMA Podcast @ SaaS North in Ottawa in November with Satish Kanwar (ex-Shopify, investor) and Katy Yam (Partner, Real Ventures). If you're going, let me know. I even have a few discount codes if you need one - see it pays to read to the end.
  • I'll be in Montréal on December 7th for the 2023 Startup Community Awards recording my new show, so make sure you attend the event and say hi too!