Is it a real pain? Should I spend a couple of month of my time on it?


I always hear that a good idea is to solve people's pain. Here I have one:

  • Pain: When I really want to talk
    to some one. His/her phone is always
    busy/no answer/please leave message
    ... etc. So I need keep calling until
    some one answer the call. It's boring
    and wastes my time.
  • Solution: Create a web or mobile
    app to keep dialing the number in a
    certain frequency (every 10 min?) for
    a certain period (for 1 hour?). My
    app will connect the call to my phone
    once some one (not machine) answers
    the call.

I'm programmer not entrepreneur. So from technical point of view, it's doable. But I'm not sure if it's a real pain for most of people and if there is any existed solution (as I know there is not)?
If it's a real pain I can implement the solution. Maybe add more features(schedule call, deliver recorded message) and apply a freemium mode on it?
Any suggestion or comment is great appreciated. :)


Now It's very clear that I should not go any further. Thanks so much for everybody's comment and suggestion!

Ideas Website Internet Mobile

asked Apr 14 '11 at 10:02
11 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • Well it's a good way to get your number blocked. That sound seriously annoying to be on the receiving end of. – Davy8 13 years ago
  • dear god no! please! – Rory Alsop 13 years ago

7 Answers


There are 700 ways to get in touch with someone when their phone is busy:

  • Send an email
  • Send a text-message
  • Tweet them
  • Throw a rock into their window with a note
  • Just leave a message on the answering machine like they wanted

I don't know of very many people whose preferred solution is "keep calling every ten minutes until you actually reach them." This sort of reminds me of what life was like in the 1950s before answering machines, email, text messages, caller ID, etc.

Wait ... are you from the 1950s? :)

answered Apr 14 '11 at 11:20
Joel Spolsky
13,482 points


Sounds like you're just passing off your pain onto someone else.

Every time you call their phone, they are getting a call-waiting indication which often cuts out their call or beeps in the middle of of a conversation, making communication very difficult. If they did not answer your call, there is a reason.

Doing this seems akin to somebody walking into a conversation and going...

"Hey guys"

"Hi there"

"Guys, I'm here"

"Look, I know you're having an important conversation, but HI!"

"Are you done yet?"

"Ohh, look. A smartie!"

"Oh, just so you know I'm still here. Hi."

answered Apr 14 '11 at 10:49
266 points


Don't know about where you are, but in the UK there are some fairly onerous legal restrictions on auto dialler systems due to abuse and silent calls from those super gym membership and "won" a holiday calls.

Now, is it something I'd pay for ? No, because most of the time it's an annoyance at most (Phone service here has a star code to auto call me back when line is free for 10p - mostly I don't bother)

Is it worth flying? Only you can say, but think of the (press) reaction the first time some drunk teen decides to have a laugh at 3am, or some moron decides to hassle their ex.

And once I've got through, then what? You're holding the call on the net - I want it on my mobile - skype maybe? Now you have to implement a skype connection.

Too much downside too little upside to my mind, unless I'm missing something.


answered Apr 14 '11 at 10:47
2,552 points


What if you are not available when the call actually gets through?

answered Apr 14 '11 at 10:21
Antony P.
714 points


If it would solve your pain I say you go right ahead and make it for yourself. See how it works. If you survive and still have any friends or people who will talk to you after -- oh, a week? -- then you could distribute it to said friends.

I downloaded one of those phone aps that lets you mask your caller ID as another number. I called someone who was avoiding me. They answered thinking I was the someone else. Yeah -- now I have two people justifiably avoiding me.

Sometimes the cure is far worse than the original pain.

Here is my idea for your startup. I grew up in a small town. (It was then -- not so much now) I was convinced that when the local glass repair company needed work some kid would magically go on a bender and throw rocks through windows. Clever. So how does this help your constant ringing program? Find a lawyer that makes money filing or defending people from restraining orders. Put some "in-app" advertising for the lawyer. He gets the calls from the product's user who is now defending themselves against restraining orders. Then your added feature can have the app capture the number being called, and sell that as a very warm lead to the law firm that specializes in filing restraining orders. It's probably not illegal -- but it is certinally of an highly suspect ethical nature. Which brings us back to your ap idea. . . . .

answered Apr 14 '11 at 13:18
Joseph Barisonzi
12,141 points


Before you do this, you may wish to see if you already have However, I would love to see phones change (and they will) so that a busy signal signals back an email address/txt message number/tweety thingy to email/txt/tweet back to.

answered Apr 14 '11 at 13:33
171 points


The general general consensus seems to be NO, don't do it, harness your talents for the good of humanity.

If your interested in someone who would be keen on it then look at selling it to debt recovery, accounts departments etc ...

10 years ago we built a predictive dialler for debt recovery, its focus was on optimising the time the operators spent on actual coversations rather than dialing, wiaiting and "dead time".

answered Apr 14 '11 at 16:45
Robin Vessey
8,394 points

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