VoIP: The Bernie Sanders of Technology

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]You’ve seen them: bumper stickers supporting Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for the 2016 presidential election cycle. While Sanders has recently conceded the race to Hillary Clinton, there are still many things we can learn about his contagious popularity, in particular, how Bernie Sanders is innovating on the campaign trail, just as VoIP has done in the technology space.

No matter your political leanings, it’s likely that you’ve seen an unusually high amount of organic support for Sanders’ campaign. If you’ve listened to any of his speeches, you’ll see many of the same characteristics that Obama used to rile up emotions and garner organic support. Considering Sanders is a ripe 74 years old, he was able to draw on the emotions of his audience and garner huge applause.

His stances on abortion, same-gender marriage and free college polarized the nation, but through it all he continued to outrank Hillary Clinton in micro donations. In March of 2016 Hillary announced that she had received 1,000,000 donations, where 94% were for $100 or less. In contrast, at this point of the campaign Sanders had received almost 2,000,000 donations with an average contribution of $27. This higher volume of smaller donations is the reason why we contend that VoIP is the Bernie Sanders of technology.

Here are the three similarities between Bernie Sanders and VoIP:

 

1. Humble Beginnings

Just like the early iterations of VoIP, Bernie Sanders rose out of a humble beginning. He was born in 1941 to a poor Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York. His father, a struggling paint salesman, could provide only a one-bedroom apartment for his family. This meant Bernie and his brother shared a bed in the living room. Unlike Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and most other 2016 presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders did not come from money – he had to work hard through his younger years to earn a living and pay for his education. Speaking on the subject of education, he is also one of the few politicians to have not attended an Ivy League university.

Like Sanders, VoIP also rose up from humble beginnings. The first iteration of VoIP started with VocalTec in 1995. This iteration, called the “InternetPhone” was perhaps ahead of its time: by 1998 it had captured only 1% of all voice calls. VoIP wasn’t born out of a big telecom and didn’t have the budget of it’s more established competitors. In fact, VocalTec’s first foray into VoIP gained the needed financial underpinnings through a series of advertisements that a caller would listen to before the call. At the turn of the century, larger telecoms saw the disruptive nature of VoIP and began to leverage the technology in their own offerings. By 2003, VoIP calls increased to 25% of all voice calls.

2. Grass-roots & Fresh Ideas

“There is a lot of sentiment that enough is enough, that we need fundamental changes, that the establishment… is failing the American people” declared Bernie Sanders at a Brookings Institute address in February 2015. Bernie has never been an establishment candidate. In 1963 he was arrested at an anti-segregation protest in Chicago. He later ran in the minority Liberty Union Party for Vermont governor and US Senate. In 1980, he ran against Gordon Paquette, to capture the Democratic incumbent mayor’s seat in Burlington Vermont. The remainder of Sanders’ political positions have been anti-establishment focused and fed by the grass-root “get out the vote” movement.

Just as Bernie Sanders has always appealed to the common man to get out the vote and push for big change – so too did VoIP have its earliest roots fighting against the established industry incumbents. The large incumbent players in the space were telecom companies, and they had every reason not to support VoIP in its earliest years. The main reason, though, was because VoIP had the power to cannibalize their lucrative industry. In the early years of VoIP telecoms owned much of the internet bandwidth which was primarily broadcast over their telephone or cable lines. VoIP was such a fresh and disruptive idea that consumers continued to clamor for it. This clamor, along with a grass-roots led effort to democratize the internet, made way for many new internet providers. As these new internet providers entered the market VoIP became the telecom disrupter it was always meant to be. VoIP is now a high-quality and affordable telecommunication option for both consumers and businesses.

3. Ardent Supporters

When Bernie Sanders traveled to the Democratic National Convention, so did thousands of his supporters. While at the conference, numerous arguments and considerable discord broke out between his supporters and Clinton’s supporters. The grass-roots method by which Sanders has garnered so many supporters has instilled in those supporters a fever-pitch level of support.

Likewise, VoIP has an ardent support base – a support group that clamored loudly in the late 90s and early 2000s for greater internet bandwidth that could support the voice over internet protocol. Once a business or consumer starts to use VoIP, they are generally amazed at the high-quality and affordable prices. In fact, 79% of businesses use VoIP phones to help run their business.

Make a difference

Whether you consider your political leanings to be conservative, liberal or independent, you are trying to make a difference in your sphere of influence. That’s why you’re here reading this article – you’re trying to make your world a better place. Just as Bernie Sanders’ supporters are leading a grass roots movement to uphold their political beliefs, it is important that you, as a change agent for your business, look towards adopting new technology to save money while increasing the effectiveness of your business. If you’d like to have a free consultation to help you get started with a VoIP system you can contact us here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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