Viral Tech Report 1.6

Would you hurry up already?

The Pay Phone Isn’t Dead

On December 4, NYC’s very own Chief Digital Officer, Rachel Haot, kicked off the NY Tech Meetup on with an amusing bit of digital theatre. She begins her presentation, her cell phone rings; apologizing, she ‘has to take this call.’ Then, projected on the screen, is the big boss, Mayor Bloomberg, calling from a pay phone. They banter about bad cell service and the importance of pay phones during the recent superstorm crisis. He repeatedly insists that “we need to reinvent the pay phone!” while an impatient New Yorker huffs and heckles him to hurry up.

There are 11,412 pay phones in NYC to be replaced, and Rachel was at NYTM to announce the opening of the “Reinvent the Pay Phone Challenge” – starting with the NY Tech Meetup audience, “the most creative minds in NY.” One new Meetup, Reinvent The Payphone, has popped up already.

The submission period ends Feb 18, 2013, and the best will be presented on Design Challenge Demo Day, March 5, 2013. For more information on guidelines, the review panel and more, go to or email Rachel at

photo by Jeffrey Marino

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