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PopularityDialer Offers an Exit Strategy

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PopularityDialer Offers an Exit Strategy

Digital Life

PopularityDialer Offers an Exit Strategy

PopularityDialer Offers an Exit Strategy

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

JennyLC Chowdhury and Cory Forsyth created It's a Web site that allows users to schedule a phone call from one of five recorded voices... providing a way out of boring meetings or uncomfortable situations. The founders speak with Scott Simon.

Unidentified Man: Hey, what's up? Well, you got time to talk? Good. Where you at right now? Is it any good? Oh, I don't know. I was out with the guys. You want to come out later?


Could you use a call from this man to get you out of a boring meeting or a bad date, maybe just to make yourself look cool? Well, you can get one. Visit and you can schedule the time and date you'd like him or her to call.

Unidentified Woman: Hey, you. What's going on? Well, that's good. Well, I'm going out later. You should come. It's gonna be awesome.

SIMON: In fact, there are five recorded options that will call your phone just for the sake of having it ring at just the right time. PopularityDialer was created by two students from Tish's Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. JennyLC Chowdhury and Cory Forsyth joins us from our New York bureau. Thanks very much for being with us.

Ms. JENNYLC CHOWDHURY (Co-Founder, PopularityDialer): Thanks for having us.

Mr. CORY FORSYTH (Co-Founder, PopularityDialer): Thank you, yeah.

SIMON: You have to keep up a conversation if you're the person who books one of these calls, right? That can be demanding.

Ms. CHOWDHURY: It's not that demanding. I mean, there's natural pauses left in the conversation so that you can answer it. It sort of guides you.

Mr. FORSYTH: This is a social augmentation tool for creating a heightened sense of popularity in its users.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. CHOWDHURY: That's close to it. That's the one-liner.

SIMON: What is Tish's Interactive Telecommunications Program? I should know, I'm sure, but...

Ms. CHOWDHURY: Well, it's sort of a cross between art and engineering. Some people describe it as Hogwarts for Hackers, or what's the other...

Mr. FORSYTH: The study of the recently possible.

Ms. CHOWDHURY: We just make things with electronics or something with the Web. It's a very collaborative program, and it's all project-based.

SIMON: Now, are those your two voices that I hear in these calls?

Ms. CHOWDHURY: I am the voice of the female popularity call, and Cory does the voice of the boss.

SIMON: Do we have that call of the boss? Let me try this, okay?

Mr. FORSYTH: Hey. This is Mr. Johnson calling from the office.

SIMON: Hi, Mr. Johnson.

Mr. FORSYTH: You might have heard from Lenny, but there seems to be a problem with the photocopier. It's spilling ink...


Mr. FORSYTH: ...all over the floor.

SIMON: You want me to call those people?

Mr. FORSYTH: Could you, were you aware of that?

SIMON: I was not, not until you called me right now.

Mr. FORSYTH: Yeah, so there's a big puddle of black ink coming out of the photocopier, so I think I'm going to need you. I'm going to need you to get in here and fix that right away. How soon can you be here?

SIMON: Ten minutes. I'm leaving right now.

Mr. FORSYTH: Okay, yeah. That's not really going to work for us, because as I said, there's ink coming out of the copier.

SIMON: Eight minutes...

Mr. FORSYTH: We need you to come in right now.

SIMON: I'll be there. I'll be there, Mr. Johnson.

Mr. FORSYTH: All right. We'll see you soon.

SIMON: Thank you, Mr. Johnson. I'll see you soon.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. CHOWDHURY: Well, the - I was thoroughly convinced.

SIMON: Boy, I work for a horse's patoot. Thanks very much, both of us.

Ms. CHOWDHURY: All right, thank you.

Mr. FORSYTH: You're welcome.

SIMON: JennyLC Chowdhury and Cory Forsyth created, and this is NPR News.

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