The Inconvenient Truth…

It is an inconvenient and quintessentially modern Truth that while the Internet has empowered anyone to be able to say whatever they damn well please, it is also an instrument of unimaginable power, and unfortunately the cliché is true; with great power comes an equally tall measure of responsibility.

Anyone can say anything on the Internet. I can say, “The world is flat! I know it to be true!”. As long as I write my name you will all know who to blame for the rash of nutters saying in response, “It’s on the Internet. It must be true.”

Of course no one will care about the above, mostly because it’s patent nonsense, but also because it ceased to be interesting roughly 400 years ago.

The real problem, is that if you carelessly, and anonymously, bandy around juicy, scurrilous rumours about an emerging business and do so from the easily achieved hiding place of the Internet and all of its possibilities for anonymity then you are playing a very different game indeed.

I am sure that the shadowy individuals who were able to find my criticism of their activities on this meagre blog firmly believe that their grievances give them every right to pursue Christina Domecq and Daniel Doulton by any means necessary, but I fear that in their anger, and I daresay grief, they have forgotten a very important aspect to what they are doing…

Allow me to explain… Mud, nay even shit, sticks and sometimes when we least expect it can become a deadly and indelible stain. Whoever you are, tossing your mortars of insinuation and doubt into an already questionable milieu of media supposition, that only a fool would assume is less complex than any other media circus we have seen in the past, you are no longer messing solely with CD & DD. Oh no, you are playing with other people’s lives now.

I am not just speaking of my friends who work for SpinVox, or of their families, their children, but of the people who work for their business partners, their investors and even their customers. Are you really prepared to loftily assume that all of these people are complicit in whatever wrong you have experienced? Am I as guilty of the things that you alledge seeing as I worked for SpinVox for a goodly length of time? Are my other friends amongst the SpinVox Alumni also in your sights? Where does your anger end?

For all I know, everything that you say may be true, but we live in a world where truth is in fact only a consensus, where in order for your truth to be held in any esteem, you must prove it to the satisfaction of Society. I venture that if you could prove it, you would do so, and you would have done it already. To stand in the shadows, wearing the mask of a convenient righteousness, whilst doling out judgement and reproof, accusation and insinuation IS an act of cowardice and desperation.

If you have proof, bring it forth. Show the World the triumph of your certitude and in so doing nail your colours firmly to the mast of your endeavour; sign your name and prove your mettle.

If you have no proof, even though you may believe whatever you want, you have a duty of care to my friends, and their families and every single person that you have not considered in your fury, whose livelihoods you are gambling with, to hold your tongue.

Publish and be damned, or trouble not mine eyes with your empty rhetoric. If you can prove what you say then there is no reason for fear of lawyers or the courts; I am afraid to have to tell you that being right (not that I concede you are even close to being so) is simply not enough, and it is no excuse for fucking with people’s lives.

And as a side issue, to my most recent detractor, in comments upon my last post, it is spelt “credibility”. I am far less likely to believe the words of anyone who does not have the good sense and courtesy to check their spelling.

C. Oliver Godby – See it’s not hard to sign something that you have written.


Don’t believe everything you read…

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!