Don’t believe everything you read…

29 Jul 2009 Maleghast

There has been a LOT of traffic on the web and in the mainstream media over the last few days about SpinVox, and it’s got to the point where I feel very strongly that I need to say something.

If you Google me, and then you hunt around a bit you will probably find my CV, and once you’ve found that, you’ll realise (if you did not already know) that I worked for SpinVox for quite some time, and it behooves me to say that I left there amicably because it was time for me to do something new. I should also point out that I have friends there still, some of them are people that I knew well before SpinVox was a twinkle in Christina’s and Daniel’s eyes, so if you insist on taking what follows as biased then so be it; I’d rather declare than be “found out”…

While I worked at SpinVox I did not work on the speech team, I never worked on the automation system, and so I’m not going to comment at all about conversion rates, the amount of machine involvement versus human involvement beyond the following… Throughout my time at SpinVox the amount of messages that were wholly or in part converted from audio to text by machines increased, in some ways dramatically. Now I am no longer in the business (but I know people well who are still there) I believe my friends when they tell me that the level of machine / automated conversion is getting to the realms of ‘the vast majority’ and as a member of the working world I do understand the myriad of sound commercial reasons why they cannot afford (even in confidence to me) to disclose __actual__ numbers.

Ok, so if I’m not going to speak to that issue, then what am I going to speak to?

Well, there have been a lot of unattributed, “they say”, “un-named sources” claims about mis-treatment of staff and non-payment of expenses. I have two problems with this kind of thing…

1. In my time at SpinVox I do not remember ANY examples of either unpaid expenses or salaries that were not IMMEDIATELY put right and apologised for. If there was one consistent theme in my time there, it was that the staff were treated with respect, paid in a timely fashion and generally had excellent working conditions. I’m sure that you will find people that disagree with that, but my point is that there is never only one story and the coverage lately has been pretty one-sided. I realise that the media has a far greater appetite for negativity and scandal, but I had a great time at SpinVox; sorry 🙂

2. If you are going to make the kinds of claims that essentially amount to accusing your former employer of contract infringement and fraud then PUT YOUR NAME ON IT! If you are worried about getting sued, then ask yourself whether or not the things that you want to say are provable. If they are, say or publish what you like. If they aren’t or they are heavily coloured by spite, anger, residual sour-grapes and so they are only “true” from your twisted point of view, then perhaps your ‘claims’ are not all that helpful…

No company is perfect, no company has made no mistakes, and SpinVox is no different, but one thing is true, SpinVox is a success, it continues to be a success and if you see the amount of negative coverage about a company as we have seen about SpinVox in the last few days then you have to ask yourself, “Who stands to gain from tearing these guys down?”. Their customers, who by the way mostly love the service, don’t benefit. The investors small and large don’t benefit. The carriers across the world who have bought the service lock, stock and barrel after doing their own due dilligence don’t benefit. Just have a think about it… Who benefits? Once you can answer that question, it may be a little clearer as to why all of this negative attention has been focused on a company that in my opinion we should be celebrating as a success story in a tough market, in tough times and as a shining example of innovation that we have every right to be proud of as British innovation.

Ok, break-time is over, you can start pummeling each other again; Round 2!

.
EOT

12 thoughts on “Don’t believe everything you read…

  1. Ex-Spinvoxer

    Well said Oli!

    I, too, used to work for Spinvox and agree with everything you said. I have never worked for a better company in my life and was very sad to leave for personal reasons, but I’d go back in a heartbeat.

    There are some bitter people who’ve held a grudge for a while, and I hope they get identified by Spinvox’s legal team soon and sued for their ludicrous smear campagin.

  2. Paul

    If Spinvox is a success remains to be seen. I use it and like it.

    What’s not in doubt is that they lied, and lied, and lied.

  3. response

    Your CV says you left SpinVox in Aug 2007. A lot has happened since then.

    I think that the fuel driving all the attention is that people don’t like the feeling of being deceived, and whether rightly or wrongly, it appears that the BBC, the Register, and others seem to feel that they have been personally deceived by SpinVox claims.

    Even you must feel deceived about Christina’s past. As an employee, you must have been aware of the widely told story of Christina’s past success as an entrepreneur, but now it appears that this was not true. She did not create a company, she bought a franchise with family funds. It did not have $14m in turnover, but less than 10 percent of that claim. It was not 6 blocks from the World Trade Center and it was not put out of business by 9/11. The truth is here (make sure you read page 2): http://www.allbusiness.com/government/government-bodies-offices-law-courts-tribunals/10602370-1.html

    SpinVox says it’s conversion rate must remain secret, like Coke’s formula, and we should just trust them. But this is like Intel claiming that the speed of its processors is secret knowledge. More important, SpinVox has no credibility (see previous paragraph), so why should we believe them?

  4. help

    pleez, help. If you know anyone at SpinVox, please check on health and wellbeing of @whatleydude. He seems to have gone quiet which is very unusual for him, especially after all the taunting of the Beeb for not responding to Whatley’s last blog post (that taunting seems to have abated today for some reason). Is he ok? If he can’t type, he can always speak a tweet via SpinVox. But all this silence is eery and scary.

  5. Current SpinVoxer

    Well said indeed! The old adage where you a negative story is repeated 7x more than a positive one is more than true in this case. It’s a breath of fresh air when the old SpinVoxers come out to defend what is indeed an amazing company to work for.

  6. Maleghast

    OK, some comment traffic on my blog *faints away dead*

    Mostly this is nice traffic, or just silly traffic (I’m sure Whatley is fine)… However, there is someone making claims on my blog without reading what I have posted complaining about so:

    Second commenter – You left a fake email address and give me no indication of your credentials. Tell me who you are and put a name on your comments / accusations or I have no reason to trust you any more that the people that I know well at SpinVox. If you are going to say something about someone, sign your name; anything else is cowardice.

  7. not hard to understand

    not hard to understand why commenters might want to remain anonymous. Not cowardice but prudence given Ms Domecq’s posse of lawyers and flying monkeys. Dorothy and I would prefer to avoid their rath. But we do have pesky little Toto the dog on our side, and he seems to be stumbling on some truth behind the curtain. It is afterall, hard to keep falsehoods secretly hidden behind the curtain forever, even if your have some SpinTastic PR diversions distracting attention.

    Most of the munchkins will be better off in the long run when the truths are revealed. IIRC, the Land of Oz survived the previous bad leadership when a house fell on it.

    These opinions and musings stand on their own. They don’t need my name or email for credibility purposes.

    That’s unlike SpinVox which says trust us. Our cerdibility is all you need to know. We can’t give you the info you request, you just have to trust us. That’s why they have made Christina’s personal credibiilty so important to the success of the business. Trust us: new funding is on the way. Trust us: we’ve got this and that technology. Trust us, trust us.

  8. Milo Yiannopoulos

    > While I worked at SpinVox I did not work on the speech team, I never worked on the automation system, and so I’m not going to comment at all about conversion rates, the amount of machine involvement versus human involvement

    Unfortunately, that’s all anyone is interested in hearing about at the moment.

  9. Alick

    Erm surely…. if those allegations about Christina are not true then they are easily disprovable.

    Lies about turnover that should be demonstrably disprovable, also allegations as to address etc.

    So did Christina lie or not lie in order to start a business?

    If she did she is a fraud and deseverves to be pilloried. If she isnt then surely it could be demonstrated quite easily…. and publicised.

  10. Maleghast

    Alick, I essentially agree with you wholeheartedly, apart from the fact that I don’t believe that anyone should ever have to defend themselves from accusations or charges that are delivered anonymously; one should always be able to face one’s accuser and more to the point if you wish to accuse, then stand by your accusation and make it in the light of day.

  11. Tyson F. Gautreaux

    Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

    1. Maleghast

      While I’m very happy for you, Tyson, I am confused as to why you decided to write this short love-letter to the Zune as a comment on this blog entry… Care to enlighten me..?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.