Once upon a time, people who went on blind dates arranged to have a friend call at a predetermined time. If the date wasn't going well, that call would give you an excuse to claim an emergency had come up and you had to leave. This method required planning, forethought, and a willing friend. No more. Tiyo (which stands for This Is Your Out) is a keychain-size button that activates an automated call. Its tagline is, "An eject button for social situations."
Say you're on your date and it's a nightmare. You want to get out without just straight-up telling your date he's annoying the heck out of you. Push the button on the Tiyo and your phone rings; you can set the caller ID to say anything you want. A preset, repeat-after-me script then plays so you can respond in a natural manner, give your excuses, and get out of there.
Tiyo just launched on Indiegogo with a goal of $100,000. It's pulled in about $1,000 in pledges so far, with 30 days left to go. It works with any Bluetooth-equipped phone, not just smartphones. The basic Tiyo package comes at a $35 pledge price, which includes 25 calls. Additional calls are sold in blocks of 25 for $5. Though if you're burning through Tiyo calls, then you might want to reconsider the sort of social and work situations you're getting yourself into.
The mind behind Tiyo is Ivan Lukianchuk. He says he got the idea to create the product after his wife, an underwriter at a large insurance company, got stuck dealing with a particularly troublesome rep. His wife's coworkers developed a system of waiting 10 minutes after the rep entered someone's office and then calling to give the victim an excuse to end the conversation. Lukianchuk decided to simply automate the process.
"Personally, as an entrepreneur who does a lot of pitching and networking, I've found myself in many situations where I get stuck talking to someone who won't shut up and doesn't get the hint that I'm trying to leave. I don't want to be rude or hurt their feelings so it can be hard to detach at times, but when you are out on a mission to meet new clients or investors, time is money," Lukianchuk told Crave.
Lukianchuk imagines both business and personal uses for the product. "I think the top uses for the device will be to get out of bad dates, to get away from people hitting on you, to escape boring [or] useless meetings, to get out of talking to people who just won't shut up, and to escape awkward moments," he says.
Tiyo may sound like a funny idea, but if you're in a situation where you're desperate enough to wish for an emergency call, then it could save your sanity. It's either that or manning up and telling the person you're with to get lost. Sometimes a phone call is just easier to handle.