More About Dave Troy


In addition to all of the other things I mentioned, here are some of my other accomplishments and obsessions.

Popvox LLC (2003-present)

In 2003, I began developing software and services based around Asterisk, the open-source PBX software from Digium. Grep the source for my name; you’ll find it. Asterisk is powerful because it took telephones away from proprietary vendors and the resellers that love them.  And it worked; look at Nortel now. Unfortunately VoIP is a tough place to build a business long term, and despite high hopes for the industry, its primary success has really been limited to disrupting traditional telephony. Regardless, I’m a big believer in open source telephony and believe that phone numbers are nothing more than hooks into the digital ecosystem, just like URLs. We’ve rolled our VoIP knowledge into our new company, Roundhouse Technologies.

Under the Popvox brand, we developed a web-based distributed call center system that enables volunteers to connect to constituents, working from anywhere. The system has been used extensively to support political campaigns in the US and Canada and is marketed through a licensing agreement with Direct Leap Technologies.

We also developed custom tools for Cogent Communications to manage their worldwide VoIP phone system. It includes a global management console with web interface, version control, and automatic configuration global deployment.

In 2007, I also wrote roughly half of a book for Pragmatic Bookshelf covering Adhearsion, a Ruby-based telephony control system that’s incredibly cool. When Adhearsion gets to version 1.0, this may see the light of day. I also had the privilege to consult with Truphone (London, UK) on their VoIP-via-wifi platform for Nokia, and now iPhone.

ToadNet, Inc. (1995-2004)

Founded in 1995, ToadNet grew to be one of the larger Internet Service Providers serving the mid-Atlantic area. With broadband, hosting, colocation, dialup, and email services and about 50,000 users, the company was sold in 2004 to Continental Broadband, a division of Landmark Communications (parent company of the Weather Channel, the Norfolk Pilot, and several other media properties) in an all-cash deal. I served in an advisory capacity for the company until December 2004; the company went on to acquire Baltimore-based CharmNet, and is now known as DataPoint located in the TidePoint complex in Baltimore.

Since the sale of ToadNet in May 2004, I have been consulting on multiple other opportunities and developing new ideas for future businesses.

Toad Computers, Inc. (1986-1997)

In 1986 as a sophomore in high school, I and partner Ray Mitchell founded a small computer mail order firm specializing in the Atari ST series of computers; (yes, they had computers, they were comparable to the early Macintosh computers in functionality). We grew it into a $1 Million+ business and by the time I had graduated from high school, we were serving customers all around the world from a storefront location in Severna Park, Maryland. Because the Atari computers were popular with musicians, our customers included acts such as the Beach Boys, the Neville Brothers, and Prince. We developed and marketed multiple hardware and software products which were sold around the world. We embraced online ordering and order status checking early, in 1995. The last Atari computers were officially discontinued in 1993, but with a loyal customer base and a continued demand for products, Toad Computers continued to prosper. By 1996, it became clear that a new direction would be needed, and we set about an emphasis on the Internet and non-Atari computers.

Toad BBS (1984-1988)

Before there was social media, the community, personal brands, and the Cluetrain Manifesto, there were Bulletin Board Systems. I started a single-user bulletin board system in June 1984 using my parents’ home phone line. They were not amused; I quickly got a dedicated line.  Its overnight success led to notoriety amongst the Baltimore BBS Twitterati where as a precocious twelve year old, I was known by the handle “Toad.” The name stuck and helped drive and shape my later successful business ventures. The BBS was where I learned to code; I hacked together an “open-source” bulletin board system with my own modifications and licensed it to others. Think of it as an early CMS system.

Other Stuff I Didn’t Mention

  • Helping to build a VoIP platform in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, working with Arvana Networks (2006)
  • The Talking Roomba: SIP+Asterisk PBX powered robot vacuum cleaner. “Press 1 to start sucking.” Also plays “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.” It’s a trip. (2006)
  • Toad Music, our short lived CD music store (think High Fidelity; 1992-1994)
  • Working with ARINC (Annapolis, Maryland; 1996-1998) to build an early platform very much like Orbitz, which ultimately never saw the light of day due to political pressures
  • Working with ARINC to design a next-generation IP “extranet” to deliver ground-delay data to facilities using IP Multicast. Or, as Cisco’s Stephen Deering, who sounds like Yoda, would say, “Multicast you will.”
  • Earned Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree (1996) from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, where I studied computer science, behavioral biology, cognitive science, mathematics, history, philosophy, literature, and architecture.
  • I am a certificated Private Pilot (Airplane Single Engine Land) and am about 60% through my Instrument Airplane rating.

It’s been a fun journey so far, and we’re not even to the part with the phosphorescent algae!