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Resistbot

Text RESIST to 50409 to contact your officials

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Eric Ries
Maker
@ericries
Resistbot was born out of my personal frustrations with trying to contact my members of Congress. I know it's important to do it every day, and there are dozens of blog posts and websites that tell you only a certain way "counts" - calls, emails, faxes, town halls, etc. My reps' phone lines are always jammed, and there's only someone there during the day. So most days, I don't actually get around to connecting to a person, let alone all three for my 2 Senators and 1 House rep. So I started trying to email each day. But Congress has accomplished the amazing feat of making it hard to email them. It's actually easier (!) to fax. So I started faxing every day. And I wanted to make sure my faxes were getting through, so I started learning about how Congressional offices handle messages. It turns out that most of them use software to help them categorize the inbound messages they get, sort them into issue buckets, and tally up the for/against numbers. Faxes and emails get automatically scanned and dumped into that flow - as long as they are not form letters and are verifiably from a constituent. So I designed Resistbot to solve this problem for me. It makes it insanely easy to generate a fax to each of my representatives every day. It doesn't tell me what to say (remember, form letters don't count) but makes my short text into a nice-looking letter. Now, i have my voice heard daily. Over time, Resistbot asks more questions and gets more sophisticated about what it's sending. If people find this useful, we'll eventually add more channels of contact, like phone emails and town halls. Our goal is to make it super simple to get started, and then have people level-up to more advanced features down the road. I hope you'll find it helpful as you look for ways to resist. Eric PS. Some extra commands: 'more' 'less' 'daily' 'weekly' 'monthly' 'reset' 'feedback' 'meme' 'tip' PPS. Mad props to the RapidPro open source community and Twilio.org who made this possible
Massimo Arrigoni@massiarri · Chief Product Officer, MailUp
@ericries Just sent my first fax via the bot. Easiest user experience you could have created. Great work.
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
I'm intrigued by invisible apps, especially SMS-based bots, because they're so easy to start using. Something like this is especially useful in big group or event settings where the time/energy to download an app from the App Store might be too distracting.
Juan Carlos@harrytawil · Principal
@rrhoover it is extremely interesting, but there is something to be said about having the app on the phone that reminds you its there. the SMS bot has less friction to use, but will it continue to be used? I typically have a hard time remembering, especially when the conversation falls on my convo list.
Jason Putorti
Maker
@putorti · AngelList
@harrytawil We are going to remind users occasionally of their civic duty. 😊
Brandon Anzaldi@caffeinewriter · Software Engineer @ ToTheTens
@rrhoover I think we'll be seeing an explosion of invisible apps across different platforms over the next two to three years. (More than we already are!)
Kate@katesegrin · Community @ Product Hunt
Resistbot is crazy easy to use and I get a major kick out of the fact that it makes it communicating with your senators as easy as texting and then it sends them a fax (so they're gonna see it!). Also, the bot is super friendly— I had to catch myself at the end from exchanging pleasantries!
Eric Ries
Maker
@ericries
@katesegrin thank you!
Can Comertoglu@cancom10 · Product @OneDrive (prev: Vimeo, Amzn)
@katesegrin Anything that makes it easier to have your voice heard in a non-harrassing way is a big win in my book. Although I don't condone censorship, @ericries do you think there's some leeway in having the bot be intelligent about the emotions/harrassment in the message to warn/massage the message before sending the fax?
Zachary Rozga@zachary_rozga · CEO, Swurveys
This is pretty amazing. Super simple. Not sure I love the name Resist (as some others have said) but the concept is fantastic and I'd like to think would drive some new civic engagement. I could see this tool paired with data collected from our new mobile feedback tool - Swurveys - as an amazing partnership. First someone who had an issue that they deeply cared about could build and send out a Swurvey to their fellow like-minded constituents to get a critical mass of people who have the same opinion - i.e. 85% of people in your district agree that we need to oppose the Muslim Ban Executive Orders. Then they would push this through Resist with a link to the publicly viewable results. Nice work!
Jordan@inventitorfixit · CEO, Rocketship Labs
Do you suppose that calling it Resistbot limits your audience by 50%? Is this more of an app for political engagement where growth is your focus or more of a political statement to enable people to express their anti-Trumpness easily?
Eric Ries
Maker
@ericries
@inventitorfixit I gave that a lot of thought, but I figured that most people who are contacting Congress are not calling to say "great job." Generally speaking, these kinds of tools are used to resist, hence the name. There's nothing in the app that requires you to be anti-Trump.
Jason Putorti
Maker
@putorti · AngelList
@inventitorfixit Hey Jordan, thanks for writing. For me personally, this was about being true to my values and passion. We may be leaving Trump folks out with this project, but hope to inspire a smaller and more passionate audience by genuinely sharing their values. Also I've been involved in several non-partisan projects over the past few years which never really gained traction or found their voice as a brand, it's tough to connect with an audience these days when you stand for nothing.
Jordan@inventitorfixit · CEO, Rocketship Labs
@ericries yea, I guess I kind of wished it was called EngageBot. It kinda assumes a 4 year or 8 year life to the product (or the name making sense at least). It also assumes the type of contact you want to have. Presumably if you're looking to chat with your Republican Senator about an infrastructure bill... you aren't resisting anything? I love the idea, but seems a small bit limited to assume that your contact not only must be about opposing Trump, but also about his policies at all. I wrote my Senator to ask them general travel questions, for example. Hopefully the usefulness of your tool will extend past Trump. I'm cautiously optimistic democracy will still be around 😄
Jordan@inventitorfixit · CEO, Rocketship Labs
@putorti totally can appreciate that. I think it's way better to be polarizing from a growth perspective, too. Just curious if the aim was a platform for anyone or a tool designed to fight for a specific set of values.
Anthony Glyadchenko@anthony_glyadchenko
@inventitorfixit If this were only about what is true and right. This is the herr herr Trump sucks slant of idiocy.
Jason Bedunah@jason_bedunah · JasonBedunah.com
@inventitorfixit Don't worry Jordan. I've sent this to DrudgeReport.