A lot of people where I live are thinking about Christmas right now. The weather couldn't be better for it, either. We're having an old fashioned Canadian winter, the likes of which I haven't seen since I was a child. It's cold at night (think -25C), and during the day we're getting snowfall after snowfall. Yee haa!
At iotum, we're already thinking about the New Year, or rather New Years Eve, specifically. We've been running promotions for the last month encouraging people to get in touch with family and friends throughout Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season — Christmas, Chanuka, Eid… they're all great excuses to get your family together, virtually, on a call with our Free Conference Call service.
New Years is the last hurrah for the holiday season. So, we've got a few special items in the works.
First, to get everyone in the spirit, we've built a little New Years Party application on Facebook. Send your friends News Years gifts, ranging from a midnight kiss (for those special friends) to a party kit, and even a hangover cure. My favorite is an ice bucket with Veuve Clicquot Champagne! And if you don't like the gifts we provide, upload one of your own!
Second, to make it super easy to call your friends — even from the party! — we've built a simple conference calling application which we've dubbed Talk-Now Conferencing. Choose ANY four digits as your access code, send them to as many of your friends as you want (a text message is an easy way to do that), and then have everyone call 218-936-6583 to be all joined together. No registrations, no applications to install, and no other extra steps. Easy easy easy!
Third, for those who like a great big countdown, and can't make it to Times Square, or wherever people gather in your part of the world, we're organizing the Great North American New Years Call. There'll be a countdown, and other fun and shenanigans like games, giveaways, and quizzes.
And lastly, to promote the event, we've had a video made (professionally even!). It's posted up on YouTube, and also on Facebook.
The story behind this video is particularly cool; a real feel-good holiday story. Longtime readers of this blog may recall that last winter I made a series of home-made promotional videos for our Talk-Now application. The first was pretty amateur, and a fellow by the name of Fred Graver in New York City mocked it. Upset, and not wanting us to be known for a bad video, but rather the quality of our software, I removed the video from YouTube and the other places it had been uploaded. I also wrote a pretty savage post about the experience.
I didn't give it another thought until September, when I got a piece of email from Fred apologizing. He had just had my posting pointed out to him by a friend. Subsequently we met in New York for a coffee, where I learned that Fred – a former VH1 producer and script writer for Letterman – was the brains behind Best Week Ever, a video review site.
Fred offered to write and produce a video for us, at his expense, to make up amends. A couple of months passed, with a few conversations about the topic for the video. Then, just before the American Thanksgiving Weekend, he called me and suggested a New Years Party, which we thought was a very cool idea.
That's the origin of the video you see in front of you — it's campy, edgy, and way better produced than anything we've done previously.
Happy New Year to you all! And thank you, especially, Fred for being such a gentleman.