Pump up the Volume (Christian Slater, 1990)

We’re Adding One Button

There are a lot of people pushing the ideals of American Democracy forward. Childish Gambino, Arlan Hamilton, and Corey Ford come to mind immediately. All of these leaders have literally put their money where their mouths are and bet their careers on the possibilities they are creating. I know that I speak for the entire nēdl team when I say how proud we are to work towards this same wave of social transformation.

Our company, nēdl, uses AI to search live audio broadcast. Not only does our search engine scan over 120,000 global radio streams for what song is playing right now or which artists are on, but we also search for keywords that are being spoken in real-time by live sports, news, and talk commentators. This means, no more poking around the presets for over 227 million daily radio listeners in the U.S. Now, they can simply say, “North Korea,” to their Alexa-powered car radio (currently, this includes Ford, Toyota, Lexus, Mini, BMW, and Volkswagen) or enter the keyword in our iPhone app to be taken to the live stream that’s playing their request right now.

But, that’s never been the full vision.

Today, we advanced our vision to democratize access to information and to the microphone itself with the launch of one button. We call it nēdlcast.

Because Amazon Alexa doesn’t allow broadcasting (yet) from Alexa, we incorporated the broadcast button right in the iOS app. Front and center. And, by pressing it, we put the users ideas and thoughts front and center, too. You see, nēdlcast lets anyone start a live audio broadcast where every word they say gets injected into the same real-time search results. It’s like Twitter hashtagging while they broadcast. Talk about Iran and they’ll get listeners looking for that discussion at this moment, and if they are on the ground in Hawaii, then they can nēdlcast what they’re experiencing so people looking for “Volcano” can better know what it’s like to be there.

The greatest threat to progress is the belief that something is too complex to fix.

Friends, the long-running sitcom from the 90’s, was an unlikely subject of an excellent political essay from author David Hopkins in which he wrote, “The greatest threat to progress is the belief that something is too complex to fix.” Said another way, we have not completed our work in this imperfect democracy, and we need redouble our efforts to get it there. We can’t allow ourselves to be tricked into thinking the problem is too big and nothing will work. We think, a whole lot of things will work — together.

Today, it’s widely known that the majority of U.S. media ownership is concentrated among just a handful of companies. Comcast, Disney, NewsCorp, Netflix, and Time Warner dominate much of the average person’s mind share and the designers of the algorithms that create our Facebook (Instagram, Whatsapp), and Twitter experiences, get the rest.

People say that there’s plenty of information, but what good is a ton of diverse-looking information when it’s all filtered through the same lens? People say, there’s plenty of free speech, but what good is freedom when everyone is shouting and drowning out each other’s voices? The idea of nēdl is that there is wisdom being buried by this narrow lens of corporate ownership and that the good voices, the next thinkers, the next leaders, can find the way to our ears if they are given a chance to stand out — a chance to be discovered.

We believe that everyone should have the right to broadcast their voices (and be heard) in a free society. So, as Hard Harry from, the cult classic, “Pump Up The Volume,” would probe, “Are you out there? Are you listening?” We hope you are. And we hope you speak up.

Ayinde O. Alakoye is CEO and Co-founder of nēdl (as in the haystack).