Flowroute sponsored DeveloperWeek Hackathon, which is the nation’s largest challenge-driven hackathon and boasts over $100,000 in prizes from more than 20 different vendors. Flowroute developers were at the event and had a chance to talk with groups looking for the best way to incorporate messaging into their applications. Our team was incredibly impressed with the creativity and thoughtfulness of the developers and projects at the hack. We took some time after the event to chat with Jacopo Daeli, the brains behind the ThunderTalk application, about his vision for simplifying and organizing the chaotic ways that individuals and companies manage their communications channels.
What is your background and what lead you to the DevWeek Hackathon?
I’m a Computer Scientist, Software Engineer, and Hacker. I’m passionate about web technologies with a strong vocation for designing succinct and clean code. I develop with Node.js, Go, Rust, Python, C/C++, React and Redux for the web. My research interests are around parallel computing, distributed systems, and Peer-to-Peer applications. Last year, I developed a product call Flip (link: https://flip.sh). Flip is a groundbreaking P2P file sharing application that lets users share unlimited files across the globe.
I was visiting San Francisco for the DevWeek conference. I was thrilled to attend the event and decided to participate the DevWeek Hackathon with a friend to have some fun while trying to build a quick, meaningful prototype in a short period of time.
What was your inspiration or thought process for creating the app?
I believe today’s companies manage their social accounts and emails in a complicated, disorganized way.
I personally experienced this when I was working with my previous company in London last year. We had thousands of emails forwarded from one account to another, hundreds of twitter DM screenshots, and a large number of important documents that were being sent and lost over email and Slack. My hackathon project, ThunderTalk, wants to solve this problem by taking out the pain of team inboxes and enabling users to scale their customer support, sales and more. It isn’t just for back-to-back messaging. It brings all of their external messages from emails to social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook Messenger, and SMS into one unified platform.
I have been playing with the idea of ThunderTalk in my head for quite a while now, and DevWeek Hackathon has proved to be the opportunity to concretely execute and bring it to life.
What was your technology stack for the project?
Node.js, Postgres, and AWS on the backend side. React, Redux and Browserify for the front-end.
Do you have a feature or particular capability that you really wish was included in the app?
I really wanted to add a speech recognition to text functionality, enabling ThunderTalk to receive incoming voice messages as text in the messaging platform. Services like Flowroute and Twilio can provide the possibility to forward an incoming audio call to your own custom system. They stand at the base of this functionality.
A system that can receive an audio call as input while generating a text transcript of the audio message as output, would give us the opportunity to receive the audio as text in an app used for messaging.
How do you think the ability to utilize SMS differentiates or adds value to your app?
If you can integrate SMS in applications such as Slack, Flock, and Mattermost, you end up enabling the capability of receiving and replying to people through direct SMS from your preferred messaging app. From a customer service point of view, this helps customer support team to respond to customers much easier and faster, saving both parties’ effort time.
For example, if a customer service agent receives a message that he or she cannot directly solve the concern, the agent can easily assign or forward the concern to the right person who can better manage the issue. Also, the customer support agent can do so in just a few clicks without ever having to leave the app.
Anything next on the horizon for you or the app?
My team and I are considering building a fully functioning ThunderTalk MVP in the near future.
Transporter, time machine or cloak of invisibility?
I absolutely vote for a time machine! Personally, I believe you can do anything with a time machine. I would love to take a time machine to meet my superheroes, such as Alan Turing, Nikola Tesla, and Isaac Newton. I would also like to take a time machine to see our future on Mars. Cloak of invisibility is a way too nerdy for me, and Transporter is awesome but not as useful as a time machine.
I learned to program in PET BASIC in my elementary school years.
My first computer was the Commodore 64. A wonderful machine to play with!
I love Atom, Slack, and Spotify. This combo creates my daily productive workflow.
I once waited in line for…?
I once waited in line for eating the best sushi ever at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. I waited two hours and it completely worth it.
Stay tuned for more information about the future of ThunderTalk! To learn more about Flowroute’s long code and toll-free SMS capabilities check out our Developer Portal.
More about ThunderTalk Founder Jacopo Daeli:
Jacopo Daeli is a computer science expert and a senior software engineer. His research interests include cloud infrastructures, distributed systems, peer-to-peer applications and machine learning. He is the founder of Flip, a groundbreaking file sharing application. After a few of years in London working as a Chief Software Engineer for Impero, Jacopo is now the Head of Software Engineering at Pikichat, a company which operates Tribe video messenger app in both Paris and San Francisco. Outside of his professional work, Jacopo mentors at the Holberton School and Node School in San Francisco and writes technical articles for the Node.js foundation and Google Cloud Platform community. Occasionally, he is a guest speaker at many prominent global conferences and meetups including Best Of Web, Paris.js, SFNode, London New Tech, and Codito Ergo Sum.