iSchool Alumnus Featured in CBC Radio Episode

Alumnus Farhood Basiri was interviewed in CBC Radio Episode about his commencement management software, “Tassel Turner.” “Tassel Turner” is an online service platform made for everyone involved in commencement ceremonies, from parents and students to event coordinators and administrative staff.

The CBC episode specifically explores the growing trend of universities using professional name readers in their ceremonies. One of “Tassel Turner’s” main functions is to “generate roll calls and review graduate names through phonetic spelling and audio recordings” before the ceremony happens. Many of us fear our name getting pronounced wrong, especially on such a special day, like graduation.

Long before “Tassel Turner” was launched, Basiri founded his company, Bellwether Incorporated, in 2004 while an undergrad at Florida State. By this time, Basiri had already been building websites and providing IT services for almost a decade. 18 years later, Basiri and cofounders and fellow FSU alumni John Long and Travis Dunn, still run Bellwether together, making applications for the web and mobile devices.

“John and Travis similarly wanted to form a company,” Basiri said. “We each brought a different skillset to the team. Our goal was to form an ethical business that put clients first. After eighteen years and hundreds of projects, we’re still the sole owners and continue to abide by our founding principles.”

Not only is Basiri an FSU alumnus, but he also taught mobile application development courses at FSU’s College of Communication and Information. Current iSchool Professor Lucas Von Hollen was a former student of Basiri’s, and informed Basiri that FSU’s current graduation management platform was not ideal. Hollen put Basiri in contact with the student, and Basiri was then introduced to the Registrar’s office. From there, the software platform “Tassel Turner” was created.

“We were asked to join a Zoom call with the [FSU] Registrar’s office where we learned the governor wanted in-person commencement ceremonies throughout the state,” Basiri said. “Now, this was near the tail end of the semester, so planning and prep were going to be very, very tight.”

Even though Basiri and his team only had ten days to make it work, they accomplished it. FSU held nearly a dozen in-person ceremonies that semester.

“They all proceeded without issue,” Basiri said. “The graduates were happy, their guests were happy, FSU was happy, and we were happy. It was exhausting but completely worth it.”

With the growing popularity of professional name readers, “Tassel Turner” continues to gain interest from clients all over North America. Basiri cites his success to multiple courses he took at FSU during his undergraduate studies. Notably from CCI, he thanks Dr. John Dubard’s (CCI, retired) courses in project management, Dr. Phil Grise’s (CCI, retired) courses on organizational behavior, and Professor John Marks III’s (CCI) courses in legal research.

“Those courses helped me learn how to cope in complicated situations professionally,” Basiri said. “I continue to credit my experiences for my success. They helped me be the person I am today.”

To learn more about Basiri his company Bellwether, and Tassel Turner – check out his website here and connect with him on his Linkedin!