So you've just hosted a big holiday bash, and your 50 closest friends have kindly left a living room full of empties and a sink packed with cake-encrusted plates.
You don't have time to clean, but you've heard of this company called TaskRabbit that will quickly send someone to your house for $15, $20 or $30 an hour or more (depending on where you live and whether you want your dishes washed with soap).
Now that you've found a so-called "Tasker" willing to do the job, you have to provide detailed instructions on where to park and what to pick up on the way over. Bleach perhaps? The best option is a phone call, but neither you nor the Tasker want to exchange a personal phone number with a stranger.
That's where Twilio enters into CNBC.com's "Powering the holidays" series.
Marketplaces like TaskRabbit, founded in 2008, are popping up every day. Modeled on the success of Uber and Airbnb, start-ups are operating with the thesis that we all have some combination of excess capacity, time and stuff that other people could use. They're matching us up for everything imaginable, creating all sorts of potential privacy and security problems along the way.
Twilio's cloud-based software allows these marketplace providers to enable one-to-one conversations without showing personal numbers. The way TaskRabbit uses it, two parties can chat via text message in an app, and if they opt to start a call, one of them can push a button and Twilio rings both phones.
"They're merged into this magic phone call where the number is never shared," said Kevin Busque, a co-founder of San Francisco-based TaskRabbit and the company's vice president of technology. "It's a great feature for us."