It was time for a new challenge and I had some pretty tight working criteria that needed to be met before I’d work with or for a new business. Forward thinking software or tech of some description was essential. A team with high standards and a long history of development and business success. A CEO or leader who gave a sh$t about his customers, product, team and wasn’t too mad. A business clearly on a mission and preferably with an environment conscience. 🌿 Finally, a product that was relatively new and innovative. Not much of an ask!
I came across Thumbtel and both their products Hullomail (10,000’s of users worldwide and a 10 year legacy) and Another Number (new and innovative). The new product had years of proven technical groundwork and experience coupled with the team’s relationships and knowledge of the world’s mobile network infrastructure. A true 2nd mobile number for existing mobile phones, no new sim, network-independent and it worked as any mobile calling experience does. ☎️
Most of the team had been with the CEO for over 10 years and worked with him previously in business-critical telecoms and financial service communications, instances where connectivity and fractions of a second count.
Customers were loyal and genuinely appreciative of both products, proven by the huge lengths of client subscriptions – regularly over 7 years. ⏰
Then the final requirement was met. When Andy (CEO) explained the environmental impact of a new smartphone and especially the growing use of a 2nd phone for work, I was genuinely shocked. He explained that smartphones take 13 tonnes of water and 18 sqm of land, including rare precious metals, to manufacture one single device. 🤯 Plus, UK phone users have over 14 million second phones for work or other uses, many of which are simply not used.
The statistics got worse and more scary as I researched further (see the Shift Project). Smartphones contribute 11% per year to the total worldwide ‘digital’ energy consumption and that use base has already increased from 4 billion in 2017 to 5.5 billion in 2020 and 90% of the energy consumption was during production. Producing the latest smartphones generates 400 times more emissions than the same phones average utilisation. Furthermore, the rare metals used in manufacturing have very low recycling rates (e.g. indium, tantalum and germanium < 1%) and these rare metals are often deemed conflict metals, funding oppressive regimes and militia. So, we have a genuine environmental quest and may truly make a difference. 🌍
We’re on a mission to squeeze the absolute maximum we can out of every single device. 🍋 Nobody should have a 2nd phone and smartphones can be used for way longer before replacement.
Oh yeah and the CEO is a surfer! 🏄