October 4th, 2012 Twilio Meetup at Union Square Ventures


On Thursday, October 4, 2012, OLC attended the October Twilio Meetup and watched live demos from three members of the hacking community: Colin Nederkoorn, co-founder of Customer.io; Arun Nagarajan, Developer Advocate at Google; and Aditya Mukerjee, hacker on Lobbyists From Last Night.



Customer.io allows you to email people automatically. Nederkoorn's project makes email automation a breeze. He uses behavioral analytics and big data to "make it easy for non-technical people...and manage sophisticated customer activation and retention campaigns." The platform allows people to hack emails—in the sense that they can automate them.

Today, Nederkoorn showed the audience how to use Twilio, OpenVBX, and PHP Fog to create a 800 telephone number and how to use them for fun and profit. Nederkoorn realized that he could raise conversions to paid users (+1.8%) by adding a 1-800 line to his website. He used OpenVBX and PHP Fog (uses Git Push to deploy PHP apps) to configure an automated phone system. He asked for a stress test and a phone number was shown on the screen. Multiple members of the audience called and the test passed, much to Nederkoorn's relief. "What's great about what we do is that marketers can send emails that change how the user behaves," he said, to wrap up his presentation.


Google Apps Script was next, presented by Arun Nagarajan. Apps Script is a Javascript cloud scripting language that provides easy ways to automate tasks. It has an editor in the browser and a set of API hooks to Google products. Basically, the Apps Script is a platform where you can take Google products and add communications and a UI and utilities to manage tasks that might otherwise seem time consuming. Nagarajan gave the audience a few examples: Flubaroo creates quizzes using Google Forms and automatically grades quizzes against the answer key. Using Google Apps Script, it emails the results to the students and creates data and charts and tables for the teacher to scrutinize. MailMerge defines a simple template using draft emails and can be used as placeholders. A Vacation Calendar for Brown University was the final example, and Google Apps Script aggregated data for all staff on vacation and created calendar entries, which lists people who are out without crowding the calendar. Google Apps Script "creates democratic ways of automizing scripts," Nagarajan said.


Finally, Adita Mukerjee presented Lobbyists From Last Night, but unfortunately, his computer and the projector would not work for him. He explained his project instead. "Developers and comedians got together and built apps and platforms during Comedy Hack Day in NYC," Mukerjee said. He utilized Sunlight Congress' API to obtain information regarding "fundraising" events that legislators had planned. The platform is a way to publicize how lawmakers are raising money and reveal that in many cases, the average person would be unable to afford attending the events. Originally LFLN allowed people to call their legislators by clicking "Call" on the website, but that has been taken down as it uses Mukerjee's personal number. The platform is open sourced on GitHub.