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Thank You For Being A Friend: Retiring Legacy ThruTalk

But worry not — NewTalk is the best dialer friend you’ve ever had.

The Get Thru Team

Travel down the road and back again…

It feels strange to say, but after November 30, 2022, you will no longer be able to log in to the comfortingly simple yet oddly dated Legacy ThruTalk platform. What was it about the UI of that platform, anyway? It wasn’t the sleekest UI you’ve ever seen. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. But there was something about it that was strangely comforting for so many of us — like finding your old My Chemical Romance Geocities fan site on The Wayback Machine.

If I had to venture a guess, I’d say the source of a nostalgic mix of comfort and anxiety is because, for better or worse, logging into ThruTalk meant it was time to get down to business. Thousands of candidates and organizations put their policy hopes and dreams on the line (literally, on both cells and lands) and had conversations that moved the needle. You loaded a list, we throttled, and we won elections together. Ballot initiatives passed. COVID relief and mutual aid got to the right people when they needed it most. There were bumps in the road, sure, but when you take it all in, we did some really incredible things together. Your heart is true; you’re a pal and a confidant.

And if you threw a party, invited everyone you knew…

ThruTalk’s journey didn’t begin with us, though. ThruTalk began as the Justice Dialer, the calling tool that our friends at Justice Democrats used to power the phones for the first primaries of then-candidates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Presley, and more. In 2018, as we were seeking to broaden our toolkit beyond ThruText, we acquired the Justice Dialer. Back then, we were still known as Relay, and we were also still sharpening our wordplay skills, so we just called it the Relay Dialer. The name worked, and so did the tool — but not without some serious grease. While the progressive movement was on the phones powering GOTV for The Squad, we were behind the scenes hand-coding those phone scripts using HTML. Can you imagine?

In 2019, we got better at wordplay, rebranded as GetThru, and the Relay Dialer rebranded as ThruTalk. We did other things that year, too, but this post is just the highlights and reminiscing. If you want to see the rest, check out our neat timeline.

Then 2020 happened.

Like many of you, we were gearing up for an important election year. We knew that it was going to be big, but we could never have predicted the ways in which the Coronavirus pandemic would change our clients’ use cases, our call volume, the very ways we campaigned, and the ways in which our tools would be tested.

When you couldn’t hold in-person events or knock doors, we helped you make calls. A whole lotta calls. 711,000,000 calls. Seven hundred eleven million. Phone calls. We made Donald Trump a one-term president. But much like in 2018, not without some challenges.

We won’t relitigate 2020 here; just enough to say that the sheer volume we were running surfaced some issues in our dialer’s infrastructure that we knew we didn’t want to have to face again. So once the celebration parties for the General Election and the Georgia Runoff had come to a close, we went back to the drawing board and said, “Let’s build a new dialer.” 

You would see the biggest gift would be from me…

There were many lessons we learned from 2020 and from running ThruTalk for a couple years. We knew what was good about it, we knew the weak links in the chain, we knew the links it should have never had to begin with, and that’s the framework we used to build NewTalk. We wanted to keep all of the things that made it a critical part of your outreach programs (speed, scale, dial management) while leaving behind the things that hindered us (outdated UI, unreliable third-party infrastructure). 

We’re so excited that with NewTalk, we’re now able to offer two-way VAN sync, on-demand reporting from the Admin side (that’s right, no more waiting for nightly reports), a unified platform for accessing both NewTalk and ThruText (which means if you like the ThruText interface, you’re in luck), real-time list and dials visibility, a better calling script experience (including branching scripts), consistent speeds of up to 250 dials per hour per caller, and a calling tool that works on laptops, cell phones, and tablets. That’s not an exhaustive list, and 2023 will see even more features make their debut, but you get the idea. We built a better dialer. And the proof is in the numbers: contact rates on NewTalk are significantly higher than on Legacy Talk.  

We’re a tech company, so we know it’s our job to build the best possible product in our market, but because our roots are in progressive politics, launching this new calling tool also felt just a little bit like the moment of excitement right before you give a gift to someone who means a lot to you. And the card attached would say: thank you for being a friend.

In honor of one of the best television shows and the best dialers—play us out, Golden Girls Remix.


The Get Thru Team

GetThru was created by veterans of Bernie 2016, where we helped build the campaign’s historic voter contact operation. In the process, we saw the need for better technology for large scale 1-to-1 communication that reaches people where they are—on their cell phones.

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