I had a pleasant conversation with Ooma CEO Andrew Frame last night. No, really, it was mostly pleasant. Apparently, of my three blog readers, one of them is an Ooma employee. Hey - big shout out. Hollywood in the house.
So, I'm not going to go into too much depth here about our conversation. Andrew promised me my own Ooma box to play with, and I'll give you an honest appraisal of it when it arrives. We couldn't talk long (as my cell phone kept dying), but I frankly didn't hear anything from Andrew that was earth shattering from a business perspective. I hope that Andrew's sudden "I have to go" response to "Tell me why your customer acquisition costs will be substantially less than Vonage's" was about schedule, and not about an uncomfortable question. We've planned to speak again after the box arrives, and I'll tell you how that goes.
No, what I want to mention is a good Ooma feature. According to Andrew, one Ooma feature is that when you are on the phone, if another call comes in, the other phones in the house ring. I love that feature - and I'll tell you why. It's a feature that doesn't require customer education, and doesn't require the customer to change his habits : the two killers of value added services. And, as Andrew rightly states, it works almost by surprise, which might be the best way that consumers learn about their product.
The second reason why I love that feature is because I'm getting excited to see some good engineering. What I mean is, I can't wait to see how they pulled that one off without causing serious head-aches for the installers. Near as I can tell, you need to drive each wired phone in the house independently to pull this off. If you had a multi-line wireless phone driving your house, it would be pretty easy, I suppose, but how many people have that? Typically, don't those Comcast installers cut the main line into the house, and then drive all the phones from their set top box? I don't think most houses have a system where all the wired phones go to the same place in the house, then are bridged together. Andrew told me these guys are the best in the business. I am truly excited to see how good their product is, and how innovative their solutions to problems like this will be.