It can be said that Alan Levy is a good business man, a direct and effective negotiator. He retooled existing, large telephony infrastructure technology into a free, light-weight web service anyone with a phone can figure out. He makes money on both premium services and advertising, as well as backend US numbers procured by the phone company he also owns. But the service, again, is free. And long distance is included with virtually every phone service these days.
I said “hero”, because we’ll all see heartbreak at some point, but few of us create a mechanism by which anyone can communicate, build community, share, connect with friends, family, paranormal psychologists, authors who write about paranormal psychologists, actors who play them on TV and activists concerned for the pet portrayals played therein. Smart businesses will take the technology, like Dave Winer did and build cool sub-services. They can use these privately like recorded conference calls, or on the fly via cell-phone only from the ballpark or town hall meeting. Podcast on-the-go.
While I don’t work for the company now, I still love them and I respect what Alan did, coming back and building this for the world. He didn’t need the money. He needed to give back and he did that for thousands of people. Listen to the discussion with Alan.