Tell Us How to Make It Better

A New App to Keep Your Family Safe

June 07, 2022 George Siegal Season 1 Episode 41
Tell Us How to Make It Better
A New App to Keep Your Family Safe
Show Notes Transcript

June 7, 2022
41. A New App to Keep Your Family Safe

Tammy Haldeman has developed an app called Your Shield - to fight against bullying, kidnapping, sexual harassment, domestic violence, and human trafficking. Learn how it works and why it can help you in this week’s podcast.

Here are some important moments from the podcast: 

At 4:31 What got you thinking of creating this app?

At 11:03 What are you learning as people start using the app more?

At 14:01 What are the biggest obstacles you’ve run in to so far?

Here are social media platforms to follow Tammy:

Her podcast:
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/tammy-for-a-change/id1489959509

Her website: https://www.upliftuniverse.com/

Her app: https://shieldmehome.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/IdaTexas

Instagram:  https://instagram.com/ida_texas?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tammyforachange/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tammy-haldeman-565aa663

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Tammy Haldeman:

We've we've tested it and retested it and tested it again. It was, it was many months of testing and in those tests situations, it works great. Now this is one of those things, kind of like when you have a flat fire and you find out you don't have a Jack, you don't know you need it until you have the flat tire. It's kind of like that with this. You don't know you need it until you you need. You ha you're faced with that problem, that person that wants to hurt you or kidnap you or bully you or harass you, or, you know, in the case of domestic violence, something like that. But you're going to be glad you had it with you when you had it.

George Siegal:

I'm George Siegal. And this is the Tell Us How to Make It Better podcast. Every week, we introduce you to people who are working on real world problems and providing actual solutions. Tell Us How to Make It Better is partnering with The Readiness Lab. The home for podcasts, webinars and training in the field of emergency and disaster services. Hi everybody. Thank you so much for joining me on this week. Tell Us How to Make It Better podcast. The reason I started this podcast was to interview and introduce you to people who in their jobs or in their lives have identified a problem. And are trying to do something about it to make it better. They're not just complaining about it, but they're actually doing something. Now there's some serious problems that exist. We hear about them on the news all the time. Bullying, kidnapping, sexual harassment, domestic violence, human trafficking. These are all things that are tragic and have life altering consequences for the people involved. But there are people out there that are trying to do something about it. My guest today is Tammy Haldeman. She's a mom, a grandmother author of two books, podcast host of Tammy for a change. And she's developed an app called your shield and app to fight against bullying, kidnapping, sexual harassment, domestic violence, and human trafficking, Tammy welcome.

Tammy Haldeman:

Thank you so much for having me.

George Siegal:

Now, that's a big task you have ahead of you with a lot, a lot of very, very important issues. But before we get started on that, I want to try something new today. I want to give people a chance to get to know you and it has nothing to do with why you're on the podcast today. This is a completely different turn. Tell us something about you that most people do not know, but you will not be bothered by the fact that they're hearing it here first, today.

Tammy Haldeman:

Hmm. Oh, wow. That is a good question. I, there, you know, it's, I'm such an open book that it's hard for me to think of things that people don't know about me, especially anybody who's listened to me for more than five minutes, but I guess I would say that even though I'm very much a people person. I do sometimes like to have my shutdown time and be away from people. And people probably don't know that because I am such an extrovert or come across that way. So maybe that would be one.

George Siegal:

That's good. Yeah. No, that's a, that's something that they would go, gosh, she's always so nice. They don't know that you ever need a break.

Tammy Haldeman:

I do sometimes.

George Siegal:

Very cool. Now, if you were told to go. Today and just have fun. So all you had to do, what would you do?

Tammy Haldeman:

I would probably go ATV'ing or I would go traveling. I love to travel.

George Siegal:

Yeah covid it's kind of put a dent in that, but at least it's coming back now. Right. We can start going more places

Tammy Haldeman:

And you know, there's always camping.

George Siegal:

Well, my son is a camper. I don't camp. I come from a long line of people that just, you know, my idea of camping is a three-star hotel.

Tammy Haldeman:

So many people say that.

George Siegal:

Yeah, just I'm just a wuse. All right. So let's get into what we really have you on here about today. Cause it's, it's really important. What is the problem or issue that you have working on. Cause it looks like you've been doing a lot of stuff.

Tammy Haldeman:

So I have been, well, one of the things I do is I have a podcast and that's just to put more good out into the world at a time that the world needs more good. And so that's Tammy for a change. And then the other thing, the bigger thing, or the thing that we're really here to talk about today is I've been working on an app and it is now hit the app store. And the problem is bullying, kidnapping, human trafficking, sexual harassment, and domestic violence.

George Siegal:

That's a lot of things all lumped into one thing, a lot of problems. What got you into thinking about doing something like this? Was it a personal bad experience? Was it just seeing how crummy things are in the world?

Tammy Haldeman:

It's really crazy because I'm not a person who ever sat around and thought about bullying or any of these things. Really. I mean, it would hit me when I heard news stories, but I didn't just sit around thinking, what can I do about this? And I'm also not a person who sat around thinking, what app can I develop at all by any means? But what happened is we had a girl in our state who had been being bullied. And unfortunately she was only 10 years old. She was, she committed suicide. And I think that when I heard that story, it just, you know, it broke my heart, but it also broke my heart open so that I was ready to get this idea, I guess if you will, because I feel like the idea was a gift. Again, I didn't sit around thinking about it. I was working out one morning and all of a sudden, I just got this idea for this app. And as I continued to get ready, more and more ideas kept flooding into me about it and how I could make it better. And I was actually scheduled to be on a podcast with someone else to talk about monetizing my podcast. And so I had that meeting scheduled for Monday. I got the idea on Friday. So in the meantime, I went to my husband and I said, I got this great idea for this app. And he said, you've got to do something with that. It's huge. You have to do something with it. So instead of talking to him about monetizing my app, I talked to him about this and as luck would have it, he ended up being the one who put me in touch with the guy who helped me find developers to get it developed. And I spent the last, or I spent probably 16, 18 months getting it developed and quite a bit of money to get it developed because I think it's just that important.

George Siegal:

Yeah, no, it definitely is. So when we talk about how this problem affects people's lives, you had that one example. There are a million others. I mean, I see it with my kids in school. I hear about it all the time. I've made videos about it for, for clients. And, and that's, you know, I'm one of those, anything goes kind of like, it doesn't take a lot to rattle me, but bullying and the damage it does to young people, to me is inexcusable and has to be stopped. And I think a lot of it comes from what goes on at home and then it gets passed on down the line. So how do you feel this all affects people's lives in the big picture?

Tammy Haldeman:

Well, and I mean, bullying is just a small part of it too, but I mean, 10 to 14 year old girls are at the highest risk for bullying. I mean, for suicide because of bullying right now bullying victims are between two and nine times more likely to consider suicide. 20% of students ages 12 to 18 experienced bullying. I mean, that's just one example. Even like sexual harassment, which maybe isn't as likely to cause somebody to commit suicide or be hurt physically. My niece was sexually harassed at university. She was going to college. She's going to school for radiology and the guy who was teaching her is sexually harassing her while they're in a dark room, looking at x-rays together. If she had had this app, she could have activated with her one word. And he would have been recorded and caught.

George Siegal:

Now there are legal issues involved there because a lot of times you have to get consent from people to record them. What is the I, and it's different from state to state too, which would make it difficult for an app. Like if I wanted to set somebody up and get information from them, if you don't have their permission, what does that do? How do you, how do you get past that?

Tammy Haldeman:

Right. And I think that's, so one of the things that we ran into that was an obstacle we ran into with apple recording it, but it's not available to me or to any of my developers. The recording is available to the user. So the user is the one recording themselves and playing it for themselves. So for example, and honestly, I really don't know if it would stand up in court, but I do know that she could have taken that recording to her instructor and said, this is what just happened. And she would have at least had proof that he did say those things. Same with a bully. You know, the ability his first instinct is going to be I didn't do it. Yes you did. And at least then the teacher or the counselor, or the parents have the proof to call him on the carpet, and in a bigger picture it may actually get a bully to consider not doing it because they don't know if the person would have that app and be recording them.

George Siegal:

Yeah. That's such an important thing to to stop. I've talked to kids, I've interviewed kids who tried to commit suicide at some point in their life. You know, I'm pretty calloused to things that go on from my years in the news business, where you just kind of go, okay, this stuff happens all the time, but when a young person tells you that it actually makes you cry. It's so painful to hear that their life became so bad at that point, they considered ending their life. I mean, it's just, it's just an overwhelming thing to, to deal with.

Tammy Haldeman:

It is, it is. And again, there's so many things that are like, for example, the indigenous women of the world going missing. I mean, possibly this could help them. This app. They, what happens with the app is you speak one word and you program the word as the user, you program the word. Then when you, and you activate the shield and da activate the shield yourself. So you say the word. You could work it into conversation. You know, I, I envision this, you know, maybe child and he's maybe his word is, I dunno, lollipop. And he says, I just want, I want you to leave me alone. I just want to have a lolipop. That's a little extreme, but I'm just using it as an example. And it triggers your shield to be sending his location. The recording will not send the recording, but it starts to recording it's sends his location to his alert partner that he's also programmed in himself. And help is on the way. And the assailant never knows that the help has been even alerted.

George Siegal:

Very interesting. What what kind of response have you gotten? What are you finding as people are using it or trying it? What did you find out during the development for how effective this could be?

Tammy Haldeman:

Well we've, we've tested it and retested it and tested it again. It was, it was many months of testing and in those tests situations, it works great. Now this is one of those things, kind of like when you have a flat fire and you find out you don't have a Jack, you don't know you need it until you have the flat tire. It's kind of like that with this. You don't know you need it until you ne you ha you're faced with that problem, that person that wants to hurt you or kidnap you or bully you or harass you, or, you know, in the case of domestic violence, something like that. But you're going to be glad you had it with you when you had it.

George Siegal:

Now does it record in stealth mode? Because I've, I've had instances where like my kids were having a meltdown and just to get them to shut up, you say, okay, I'm going to record this. And so I'm going to play it for you later. And they know when you're recording them, kids know devices so well that they know when they're on, how does this record? And hopefully I'm not coming up with one of those things that you didn't think about, but how does that work?

Tammy Haldeman:

We thought of that, and you can't, you can't, I mean, you, if somebody were looking at your phone and, you know. They'd have to be staring right at it and know that you had activated something otherwise you would never know.

George Siegal:

And it's just audio. It's not audio and video.

Tammy Haldeman:

It's just audio.

George Siegal:

Yeah, because I imagine video would create just a whole other set of dynamics. So now as the app gets out there, there's a monthly maintenance fee for it. Is it a membership? Is it, and are there family plans or is it by the individual subscriptions for the each individual? Yes, it's

Tammy Haldeman:

a subscription for the individual and it's only 4 99 a month. I wanted to make it available for anybody. Anybody can, should be. If you can afford a phone, you can probably afford four ninety nine a month.

George Siegal:

4.99 per kid for 4.99 a month.

Tammy Haldeman:

Or there is a, if you have a family and friends discount of $26 for the whole family of six, so six or more.

George Siegal:

In terms of kidnapping and things like that, is it a device where if they say that word, the person that will know that they're being taken someplace, so they've activated that and if their phone hasn't been taken away, that can also get that message out?

Tammy Haldeman:

Yeah, and, and it will track them live tracking. So for example, we've tested it to the point where my husband could see me walking from the front of our business, to the back of our business. He could see me walking through the building and he said, you're walking towards the back of the building.

George Siegal:

Now in the development of the app, and now as you're rolling it out, what are the obstacles that you face? What are the biggest challenges? Because I've had great ideas and the toughest part always is coming up with an idea is easy. But then getting somebody to fund it is always a huge thing coming up with the money. And then the second thing is is, is getting it out there and getting people to accept it. You know, also the development, which can also be a challenge. So what are, what are the biggest obstacles you've run into.

Tammy Haldeman:

Some of the obstacles, of course there was the money we depleted alot of savings to do this. But we just felt it was that important. Getting it on, on apple and working through the intricacies of what's acceptable and what's not acceptable, that was a challenge. But we, we surpassed that. Getting it marketed is huge right now we're only available on iOS. We're not available on Android yet because it was harder believe it or not to get it on Android than it was to get it on apple. Which a lot of people are surprised when I say that, but it's true. So marketing right now is the biggest obstacle I'm facing.

George Siegal:

Have you tried to get on shark tank?

Tammy Haldeman:

I have not, I didn't think I was making enough money for them yet.

George Siegal:

Yeah, those guys will eat you alive. I mean, they scare the hell out of me. I would be. So I have a feeling in five seconds, they would expose that I have nothing.

Tammy Haldeman:

Exactly what they would do to me. So basically you're making, I mean, in their world, I'm making $0 doing this.

George Siegal:

Yeah. I'd be one of those people they'd yell at and shame and I'd have to run, run out of there with my tail between my legs. So Android in terms of like, does the app change or just the politics of getting it on their system is what's holding you back?

Tammy Haldeman:

A little of each. Google play has some other, I'm not sure what exactly it is that makes it harder for us to get it on there, to tell you the truth. I'm not a developer, I'm the person who had the idea and pushed to get it developed, but they tell me there's a few other things that we would have to do in order to get it on Google play. But that is the next step. We know how to do it. It is the next step. We kind of want to get it out there and get it marketed and then jump into that.

George Siegal:

Now is that development process frustrating because it, anytime you take something and it's now in somebody else's hands to do the work, you always wonder, okay, if I'm scraping together nickels to do this, maybe I'm their weekend project, as opposed to the first thing they're working on that day. How challenging was that?

Tammy Haldeman:

You know, it's crazy. I got in touch with I'm good. I'm going to shamelessly plug my guy that helped me because his team was amazing. So Jordy Wardman from one stop development shop is the guy that I worked with. Dane Maxwell from start from zero is the guy who put me in touch with Jordy. And there were some challenges. Some of my developers were in India. Jordy's in Switzerland, they're all eight hours ahead of me. So I spent a lot of one, two in the morning is when I'm communicating with them, they'd have a question we communicated on slack. And slack worked great because we had this one place where we did all of our communication. And so they would say, here's the question. And I'd be like, okay, we gotta do this. And sometimes it was really frustrating because you were thinking, you know, oh gosh, now I gotta wait a whole nother eight hours for them to see that message or turn out, you know, so, and you're, you're just getting going for the day and they're done for the day. So it was, that was a challenge, but they were phenomenal to work with. And I honestly feel like I have friends in India now. I mean, they're just we're so the guys were so great. It got to the point where they knew they would foresee things that I may not even notice. Hey, what about this? Oh yeah. Great. You, you know, I wouldn't have thought of that because I'm not a developer and then we would make those changes.

George Siegal:

So yeah, there's probably a lot of really smart people that you can hire, but when it's a completely different time zone, that can be very frustrating.

Tammy Haldeman:

And you're NG, or you don't know who you're trusting at the beginning. In the beginning, I was like, you know, and that's why I went to Dane and said, cause I felt like I could trust him. And I said, well, and I don't know him from anywhere other than his podcast. I said, well, who would you get? And he said, well, I think Jordy Wardman would be great, but I don't know if you can afford him or if he has time and as luck would have it, Jordy thought it was a great idea too. And so I was very fortunate. And my husband was very supportive because he didn't mind us depleating our savings to do this.

George Siegal:

Yeah. That's a brave leap of faith there too, to do that. And, and at, you know, 4 99 a pop, it could take a long time to get your money back.

Tammy Haldeman:

Absolutely.

George Siegal:

In terms of timeframe, what are you doing? I mean, are you just hoping for word of mouth? Are you going to advertise this? Are you getting involved with different organizations?

Tammy Haldeman:

Yes. I have been reaching out to groups that like sexual harassment groups, indigenous women groups, domestic violence groups, bullying support groups, those types of groups to tell them about my app. The problem is there's so many scams and so many people who are not, you know, on the up and up that are also reaching out to people. And so I think that things like this, reaching out to yourself and getting the word out in a podcast, format you on YouTube. It's my testimonials on Jordy site. I think all of those things will help me to become more credible. So they'll realize that when I do reach out to them, I'm not a scammer. I'm not just trying to get their information. I'm legit.

George Siegal:

I mean, how low do you have to be on the food chain to be a scammer that would go after a victim's rights group or people that have been abused? I mean, it's just, you know, I dealt with that with my last documentary film, The Last House Standing, all the people that get damaged by floods and storms and their houses are destroyed, their lives are ruined. And then people come in to rip them off.

Tammy Haldeman:

I it's unbelievable to me. I have actually had, we have a website called shield me home for the app. And I have on at least a weekly basis, somebody trying to get into our app. It'll say 16 failed attempts in my email, 13 failed attempts in my email. And it's, it's at least weekly, if not daily that I get that.

George Siegal:

That's very disheartening to hear that. So tell me about the two books you've written. I've written a couple books that I think maybe I've read in a couple other people, but nobody ever buys them. It's not easy.

Tammy Haldeman:

I feel that way too. My first book was called, Take My Advice I Don't Use It Anyway. And it kind of just a book that I used mainly as therapy when I wrote it. My sister was diagnosed with cancer and I was going through divorce in oh five all in the same year. She passed in oh eight. My mom passed in oh nine, my dad in 12. So it was kind of a therapy thing to write. Right through all of that. And it's sort of a book on, I hesitate really to call it a self-help book. It's a growth book on how to get through the tough stuff and come out, trying to be better instead of bitter I guess.

George Siegal:

That's good. You know, writing a book is a lot like having a podcast, you know, you kind of have to get something out of it yourself because you don't know if anybody else is going to consume it. Tell me about the podcast. Welcome. Sorry. Tell me about the other.

Tammy Haldeman:

The other book is do more, be more and it's lessons for living life uplifted. It's very similar, but it's more of a story. And then what I learned out of it and Hey, what can you take away from it. Sort of journalistic so they can jot down their notes and go back and look at it later on when they need it.

George Siegal:

Okay. Now tell me about the podcast. How is how's that going?

Tammy Haldeman:

So it's, it's growing. I actually was on hold for a couple of years. We we bit off a little, I don't know, ma I don't want to say more than we could chew, but we bought a cafe. So the past few years I've kind of had it on hold because I've been developing this app. And running a cafe. Now the cafe is for sale and I am focusing completely on marketing the app and doing my podcast again. So it's growing, I'm getting guests on there. I'm hoping to have you on my podcast.

George Siegal:

Actually check my schedule. I'm available.

Tammy Haldeman:

Perfect. It's all about putting more good into the world. I felt like at a time when the, when the world needed more kindness and generosity and optimism and love. We could put that out into the world in the form of a podcast. I had, I was born with a gift of gab. What else can I do with it? I might as well start a podcast.

George Siegal:

I'm going to play your therapist for a second. Cause I see a pattern in your life. You've got an app, you have written books and you had a restaurant now I can't think of three things, more challenging too. And restaurants might having a restaurant might be the most difficult thing to do because I don't know how so many of these places, a lot of them don't survive. That's a tough business.

Tammy Haldeman:

We actually opened during the pandemic. We honestly, the cafe did really well and we have great, had really great regulars that came in and we're in a small town, real small town. And we did really well, but the problem is we like to do other things besides the cafe. And so that's why we decided to sell it because we really, we never got time off. And we really wanted to do some traveling, do some ATV'ing and some camping spend some time with our grandchildren, all of those things that we didn't get to do when we were there 24 7.

George Siegal:

Yeah. When I've talked to people in the restaurant business, they become slaves to that because there's there's, you have to be there all the time. I wanted to have a bar years ago and I talked to a couple owners and they said, you don't want to do this because you can't, the bartenders all rip you off. And you have staff that doesn't show up they're unreliable and they listed all the reasons why you don't want to do. I mean, it made it a lot less attractive. I admire businesses that are able to find the formula and succeed much like podcasters and authors, but it's not easy.

Tammy Haldeman:

It's not, it's not easy. And I had fun doing it. I loved every minute of. But I'm also very glad that we decided to stop doing it.

George Siegal:

Well, I hope you find a buyer and get, get out of that. What, what advice do you have somebody in mind?

Tammy Haldeman:

Yeah, there's a couple that's interested in, at least renting it and reopening it. It's called Meraki, which means putting your heart and soul into your creative work. And it's a Greek word and they want to keep it the same. So hopefully they're going to rent it and reopen it as Muraki.

George Siegal:

Well, this we're recording a couple of weeks in advance that since we've just trashed, owning a restaurant, make sure you sell it to them in the next couple of weeks, because maybe they don't know how difficult it is. I don't want to change their mind.

Tammy Haldeman:

They are probably just as stubborn as I am and they're going to do it while whether somebody tells them that they're going to be married to it or not.

George Siegal:

And that's really an entrepreneurial spirit people need to have, if you're going to create or do something. The fact that people tell you not to do it, shouldn't stop you from doing it.

Tammy Haldeman:

And that actually, if you know, in your heart that you still should do it after people have told you not to do it, you know, you need to do it then.

George Siegal:

Yeah. I've had so many people tell me, why are you doing a podcast? You know, that's like living in LA and saying, you're an actor. All right, everybody, everybody's an actor. Everybody's got a podcast. Now I've listened to some that I go, you know, to, to me, the social media and the internet in a way it's great because it opens up a voice for people. But the other side of it is now we're hearing from people that maybe we don't necessarily need to hear from. It makes it very challenging, especially when I see people that I don't think we should be hearing from that are doing much better than me.

Tammy Haldeman:

Very true, very true.

George Siegal:

It's amazing I have hair left. . Okay. So what advice do you have for other entrepreneurs out there? People that have an idea or, and you certainly have had some great challenges and ideas in front of you, what would you tell people to get them started or to tell them not to do it?

Tammy Haldeman:

First of all find someone who believes in you, you're going to need the support. So whether it's a friend, family member, spouse, a guy on a podcast, find somebody that believes in what you're doing and is going to be there. Somebody that you trust and start working towards your goal and never give up. Never. Even if it seems like it's futile and it's not going to happen. If you know that you have a good idea, keep going. And I think that if you believe strongly it's worth starting, then you need to believe strongly it's worth finishing.

George Siegal:

Great advice. Great advice. So how do people get ahold of you? How do they get the app? How can, how can they consume all your materials? Go look at those books. Find your podcast?

Tammy Haldeman:

So the app is your shield two words it's on the app store. And we're also at shieldmehome.com. My Facebook page is uplift universe. I try to put something good. There's so much negative in social media. I try to be the positive. So there's a lot of positive quotes, things like that on uplift universe on my Facebook page, my podcast is Tammy for a change. It's wherever you listen to podcasts and I guess that's it.. I'm tammy@upliftuniverse.com.

George Siegal:

Awesome. And this will all be in the show notes so people can listen and go wow. I really want to find out more about this woman and there'll be able to, to go right to you, Tammy. Thank you so much for coming on today. All the best wishes for your app to be successful. It's an important task and I wish you all the best.

Tammy Haldeman:

Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. That's going to do it for today's Tell Us How to Make It Better podcast. I appreciate you stopping by and listening. If you could subscribe so you could become a regular listener, leave a review, hit the follow button. That would be fantastic. In the show notes are all the links so you can get in touch with Tammy Haldeman and find out how to get her app and see her books and listened to her podcast as well. There's also a form to reach me. If you have any ideas for future guests or thoughts about this particular episode I would certainly love to hear from you. Thanks again for listening. See you next time.