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Q & Answers: The Origins of the TickTalk App

What exactly is the TickTalk app? 

TickTalk is the talker’s metronome iPhone app, which is just about ready to hit the app store.. It’s there to help people who talk too fast or talk too slow or maybe somebody who just wants to change the cadence of their speech for a certain situation, like for an interview or a speech. Your phone sits in your pocket and the app causes it to vibrate at the rhythm of your choice. It goes from fast to slow (from “auctioneer” to “southerner”). It can buzz silently in your pocket or you can turn on audible cues for that extra tick-tick-tick.

How did it come about? Where was the inspiration?

My inspiration from TickTalk came from hearing myself talk! I’m a fast talker. I talk really, really, really fast and it’s hard for a lot of people to understand me. I took part in an interview with a local Austin radio show called iLab and upon listening to it, I realized “Wow, I’ve really got to learn to slow down.” So I thought “How can I slow down? Let me hop on the iTunes store and download a metronome!” Unfortunately, none of the metronome apps that I found had a vibration function. I spoke with one of our developers (Adam Weeks, who did Brewski Me for us) and asked him how hard it would be to create a vibrating metronome. He checked it out and told me that if we went over 120 beats per minute, it would just become a constant buzz, which is why most metronomes probably don’t have a vibration function. So we made sure we didn’t go that far and I’m really pleased with the results. It’s an app that does one thing really well that’s a big help for me and will be a big help for people like me, who have problems speaking too fast or too slow.

How do you hope the app is used? Who do you hope will use it?

I hope everyone will use it! I can see it being particularly useful if you’re going to give a speech. Just pop it in your pocket! My number one user would be someone like President Obama, of course. Being a film director and being involved with filmmakers all the time, part of my thought process was that this could be really useful for actors if they need to slow down their speech or learn to talk at a different level. To see people from around the office open it up and use it for the first time and realize how much it can actually help makes me realize just how cool and necessary this app is.

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