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Free Podcast Transcript: TAGP137 Ted Coine Mark Babbitt

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Note: This file has been transcribed as part of our Free Podcast Transcription program where we transcribe podcasts pro-bono for the benefit of the podcasters and their listeners. Learn more about the program at the following link.

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00:01 Sean Wycliffe: Hi, my name is Sean Wycliffe, and I’m the CEO and co-founder of Dealflicks, and you’re listening to the App Guy Podcast.

00:10 Speaker 2: The App Guy Podcast. Straight from your host, Paul, the App Guy. Sharing his app entrepreneur journey with you for your enjoyment. The App Guy Podcast. And now, Paul, the App Guy.

00:36 Paul Kemp: You’re listening to another episode of the App Guy Podcast. I’m your host, it’s Paul Kemp, and I am here to serve you and bring you some of the best guests I can find who will help you develop your business, help you with your app world, whatever that maybe. So, we often talk to a lot of individuals, but today, I really wanted to focus on social because I have managed to get the attention of two of the co-authors of a book called, A World Gone Social. This is a fascinating journey. I recommend you go and search for it now. All recommended good book stores and Amazon. If you look at it, you’ll see that the co-authors are Ted Coine and Mark Babbitt. Ted, Mark, welcome to the App Guy Podcast.

01:22 Ted Coine: Thank you, Paul. It’s great to be here.

01:24 Mark Babbitt: Our pleasure to be here, Paul.

01:26 PK: Well, you’ll notice first of all that we’ve got two guests, so this is one in every 50 episodes this happens. So, it means it’s already a special episode. So let’s start with you, Ted, maybe you could just tell us a little bit about yourself in a few minutes, and what it is that inspired you to write this book?

01:44 TC: Sure. I have a serial mess as a resume. I’ve been an entrepreneur a number of times. I’ve also worked for other companies, and right now, I’m one of the three partners running switchandshift.com which is a leadership blog, number two most socially shared on the web, and we got number one in our sights, but it’s a friend of ours, so it’s a friendly competition. I met Mark Babbitt, my co-author for this book and partner with Switch and Shift a couple years ago, and I asked him to help me write this book, which thankfully, he agreed because I needed some help fleshing it out, rounding it out, and he certainly filled in my gaps, and I think vice versa.

02:38 PK: Mark, what gave you the impetus to write the book?

02:43 MB: We lived a lot of what’s in this book, both with Switch and Shift in a community that I founded in addition to my work at Switch and Shift called U turn. It occurred to me even as we were building U turn when we started in 2010, how much the world had changed, how it used to be that you had to go get the VC money or starve in a self-funded environment. You had to spend a bazillion dollars on advertising, and now through social, we could start a business, an entire community of thousands of people globally, just by leveraging social media. And unless you went and bought a huge enterprise analytic solution, it was all basically free or nearly free, and it occurred to me, as Ted was talking to me about writing the book, how much that… It hasn’t change just a little bit, but that’s a dramatic change from where it used to be.

03:44 MB: And now, a solopreneurs, a guy working from home, like I do, raising kids, we could all be just as powerful as the well-funded VC backed start ups, and that was intriguing to me, and the more we got into writing the book, the more we found out that not only that was true, but how the little guys had this huge leg up now. They weren’t even… It wasn’t a matter of them, well, now we finally get to compete. They were not just competing in a lot of cases because they were more nimble, because they were more social. They were actually kicking butt and doing really well, and that’s exciting. So, once we dove into the book, it turned to be a whole lot of fun to get it on paper.

04:26 PK: And the relevance for the App Guy Podcast is that we see so many apps now that are built from the social platform. Let’s take the example of Candy Crush, the huge phenomenal Candy Crush that I’ve never played and I’m very happy about that, but I did see it all over Facebook, and they had a very big strategy for putting themselves in the timeline, on mobiles, on Facebook, and getting enormous downloads that way, which then ultimately led to the viral behavior, the traction, and the huge phenomenal success that that was. Are you seeing that more often, I guess not just Facebook, but the other social platforms?

05:07 TC: So here’s the thing about these companies, like take Candy Crush going to the mobile app. People are mobile now, and a lot of legacy companies still aren’t mobile. It’s really remarkable. Whereas app developers are just saying, “Sure, why not? Let’s do it. Mobile’s easy.” I mean, nothing is easy. Let’s not belittle the work that they’re doing, but we can do mobile, and if that’s where people are, done. We’re there. It’s really neat seeing how the people who are writing apps now are getting, they’ve jumped on this bandwagon before the big, established companies even get it. A lot of them still are not very good on mobile. I’m involved very actively here in the tech community in Naples, Florida, and so I have a number of friends who are part of your population. These are people who develop apps. And some of them do it as a full time work. Some of them do it on the side. Some of them do it for fun, and some of them to launch big successful enterprises. And it’s just so fun watching somebody able to sit down at their computer anywhere in a coffee shop, and create something that you used to need an entire huge corporate infrastructure to make.

06:27 PK: Absolutely. Mark, what are your thoughts on that? That the apps being used to really be sold on social media and going viral?

06:36 MB: Yeah. I’ll give you an example if you don’t mind. A relatively close neighbour of mine up here in the Seattle, Washington area in the US. He created an image viewer for the iPhone, and it was just one guy. He’s another guy who works at home. He has three daughters. He never goes anywhere, but he came up with this great solution. And before he knew it, on the strength of social media and blogging and, of course, word of mouth and reviews on iTunes, he got 4 million downloads. It was just one guy in his shop, and he did it all on the strength of social and just getting the word out, never spent a penny on advertising. That’s pretty exciting stuff, and again, that wouldn’t happen in the Industrial Age. It couldn’t happen. We’d all be beating our heads against the wall, against the big boys, and so this is very exciting.

07:33 PK: Yeah, and you’re the appster tribe listening to this right now and appealing to the audience that its incredible that we can actually as solopreneurs have such an impact on life and on the world. One of the big challenges though to both of you, one of the big challenges going forward, is that because there’s low barriers to entry, I mean, here we are. I’m doing a podcast using a Mac and a microphone and working from home. So, we don’t have big production cost anymore, but we do have the challenge of attention and getting people’s attention. From your… There we go… Look, someone’s got a smartphone out. If you need to get that, you’re welcome to get it.

08:19 TC: Sorry, Paul.

08:21 PK: You’re just showing off. Are you playing the game where we have to try and guess the phone?

08:25 TC: No, I was playing Candy Crush.

[laughter]

08:30 TC: Somehow, even though I know better, I failed to turn the ringer off on my phone. I’m sorry.

08:35 PK: Well, there you go. That’s one of the things that smartphones are with us all the time. You’re not gonna get interrupted by a desktop below or anything, but…

08:43 TC: I was really hoping that it was low enough you couldn’t hear it, but, obviously, that was not the case.

08:47 PK: Well, come on. Let’s face it. We’ve already heard Mark typing away on the laptop, and when you’re talking, he’s writing a book, I think, so.

[chuckle]

08:56 TC: So, Paul, it’s really funny. So give a lot of talks to audiences. A few years ago, if you see somebody reach for their phone, you might think, “Boy, that’s really rude.” Now, you just have to assume. This is what I tell myself, if anyone is ever reaching for their phone, looking at their phone, and typing into it while I’m giving a talk, I just tell myself, “Okay, this guy is tweeting something really wise I just said.” ‘Cause otherwise it’s just gonna crush your ego.

[chuckle]

09:27 PK: There’s a real social etiquette problem isn’t there, I guess, with with phones everywhere and the…

09:32 TC: What you’re gonna do? You have a really good point, which is that because the barrier to entry is so low, on the one hand, that’s really good for everybody who… We don’t need the millions of dollars to get started. On the other hand, it’s bad because there are millions and millions of apps out there, and how do you get through? How do you break through all of that noise in other to get your app discovered by the audience you want? And that really is what I think social can do for you. You build relationships overtime, build a reputation by providing value, be what we called a ‘relentless giver,’ and the people in your audience say to themselves, these are the people that you follow as well as they follow you. They say “Okay. So, this person is providing a tremendous amount of value to me. He’s an expert in something or he’s a really good communicator. He introduces me to the links I need to know, and now, he’s got a great new app out? Okay. I’m gonna pay attention to this person.”

10:37 PK: So, I’m into being very authentic and open and transparent. I love this world that we’re living in where we just almost reveal all the stuff behind the curtains, and the reason I say that is that I discovered this week, and I can’t believe I haven’t found this before, the analytics tool for Twitter. And I don’t know if you’ve been on there, but it shows you, basically, the impressions and the engagement that you’re getting on Twitter. Now, what I was really surprised at is that I’ve had a lot of very popular guests who have huge followings, and you would expect to have very large impacts from their tweets about my show. But when I go in to the analytics, the impressions to their follow account is actually quite low as a percentage, and then an impression to an engagement is even lower. That means that people are just skipping through these timelines and not really engaging with the content on Twitter. Is there anything you can talk to… Ted, maybe let’s start with you. Perhaps talk through your experience with Twitter as you’ve written this book and what we can do to improve engagement.

11:53 TC: Well, it’s really funny. I think people get the wrong impression, especially people who just are not on Twitter at all, and there sure are a lot of them still, especially in the town of Naples where I live in where probably the average age is maybe 70. It’s probably actually higher than that. So, there’s a lot of people who still are not social, or they’re just on Facebook to share vacation pictures or something like that, with their grandkids or something. But the thing that people don’t get is, they say, “Oh boy! You’ve got 370,000 people following you on Twitter. If you just got them all to give you a dollar a year, that would be pretty special.” You know what? Why would they give me a dollar a year? Why wouldn’t I give them a dollar a year? And I certainly don’t have that much money to give to 300,000 people, right? It’s not like that. And the other things is people are not… They’re not on all the time. I check my Twitter feed and just for like two minutes as I’m walking downstairs to get myself a coffee, and then I’m back doing the next thing, so I catch three, four, five tweets. I might click through to one link if I’m on at that time. So, it’s false to say that the number of people following you is the number of people who are going to click through to the links that you share. A lot of them just aren’t there, or a lot them, they look at the title of the link, and they say, “Okay, that one’s not for me. I’m gonna move on.”

13:17 TC: Maybe we should think of Twitter more like a spring shower where there’s rain all around us, and only a few of those raindrops are gonna hit us. And that’s okay. Just kind of go with it. But over time, over a very long period of time, you can get to know people really well. Like for instance, Mark lives in Seattle. I live in Florida. We’ve only physically met twice. So, we met on Twitter. We went to phone. We had Google Plus Hangouts where we got to see each other face to face, and all of that gradually built a relationship where I trust Mark as a real expert in his field, and a very good guy. And over time, we started working with him for business. So, my other business partner and I reached out to Mark when we needed some intern help, and that’s kinda how we started working with him with Switch and Shift, and then later, we brought him on as a partner. It wasn’t putting out a tweet: “Hey, who wants to be a partner on this company that we have?” And Mark raised his hand out of the 10,000 people who also raised their hand, and we chose him. That’s not how Twitter works, and it’s something that a lot of people just haven’t wrapped their heads around yet unless they’re immersed in the medium.

14:37 PK: Yeah, Mark. Do you have any thoughts on the way you use Twitter and to help us use Twitter better?

14:43 MB: Yeah, I think… Here’s what it comes down to. It comes down to social proof, and I say this all the time to the point Ted gets tired of hearing it, but what we say about us is marketing. What everybody else says about us, and, hopefully, it’s positive, is branding. And I think what people have done is they’ve taken, not just Twitter, but also Facebook, and now the publisher system on LinkedIn, which is just a spammy mess that I refuse to even participate in, it’s all about me. And its all about wanting you to read my content or buy my product, and we don’t talk like that in real life. Paul, if I ever came to Dubai and had a beer with you, I wouldn’t ask you to buy something first, right? I wouldn’t…

15:37 PK: You would if you’re English.

[chuckle]

15:40 MB: See?

15:42 PK: Can you get me my beer, please?

15:44 MB: Yeah, that’s true. The beer, the beer. Good point. Life doesn’t work that way. In a lot of cases, especially the big companies, which is why the small nimble groups seem to get it so much better, they simply replace social media with another broadcast mechanism. We say in the book, more social, less media. And it’s because people… You can’t just stop buying ads on your favorite television show or your favorite cable network and replace that with bombarding people with tweets. It just doesn’t work like that. And so, it takes time to build relationships, and it takes time to build the social proof, and it takes time, especially for us little guys, it takes time for us to develop the credibility where people want to talk about us. And they talk about our apps, they talk about our business, they talk about our customer service and our brand and us personally. And those are the tweets, if you look at Twitter analytics, those are the ones that really find an audience, where people will go, “Yeah, I read that book too” or “I’ve used that app too.” And it works, and its great, and then it snowballs. But it’s not the broadcasting tweets. It’s not the me, me, me tweets that help you find engagement. It’s when people are genuinely interested and care and are championing your brand.

17:09 PK: So Ted, Mark, this is very powerful stuff because, I’ll explain what I’ve done over the last year for… I mean, I’m speaking specifically about Twitter ’cause that’s one I tend to use a lot more than I used to. So, I have turned off all those automatic RSS feeds that go into my tweets. I turned off all the auto posting, the buffering, anything that’s sending out sort of automated stuff, that’s all been turned off for at least a year now ’cause I was doing that to promote my apps and my businesses. I only try to engage. So, I’m engaging with all my fellow guests on… And I’ve put them into a manage list, and I make sure that if they’re promoting stuff, and they’re asking for help that I’ll re-tweet, and I’ll help. And what has been amazing to me is that… Even New York’s Time’s best selling authors are sending out stuff, tweeting it, and they’ll only get one tweet, and that’s from me. So, it just shows you, especially to the listeners now who are listening to this, you can engage and help out some very influential figures in the world just by simply helping them fulfill their needs, and then, ultimately, I think that will come back.

18:25 TC: No, it’s true. A lot of the people that I have met along the way, I don’t pay any attention to whether you’re somebody with a million people following you or with three people following you, who cares? Have you got something interesting to say? Have I noticed it at that time? That’s the only thing that matters. Am I online when your sending it out? If I am, if I catch it, and it’s interesting? Sure. Then you’re providing me value, and the whole thing, I think one problem that a lot of these people have without knowing any names that you’re discussing is they have this industrial age mindset of: “I’m the expert, so I’m going to broadcast my opinion and latent everyone else. I don’t need to follow them back. I don’t need to engage with them in conversation online. I don’t need to really lower myself to their level and treat them as a peer or anything like that.” And those people are the ones who have no traction on social. A lot of brands do it, a tremendous number of professors do it, which is just… It’s just, it’s a shame ’cause a lot of these professors, and I’m friends with some of them, and they’re really, they’re valuable, they’ve got valuable things to say, but they don’t say it in a way that makes people want to care.

19:40 PK: So, Mark, here is one of the themes, the big themes coming out of my show. You’re episode 137, so we’ve had a lot of interviews. The big theme is that social media is a little bit like TV channels. When they first came out, there was only one, two or three or a handful to choose from. And then as the industry matured, there became a lot more choice, and there was a complete expansion of what’s on offer, and that’s what’s happening with social media. So, for example, we had a recent guest who has 1.3 million likes on Facebook, and all she’s doing is an app that is posting cute little pictures of kittens and cats. Thankfully, getting all that rubbish off of Facebook, but the point I’m trying to make is that there’s an opportunity here for app developers to almost specialize in something specific to people’s needs like their interests, and then create an app or a community around that and then have them share as many, for example, cat pictures as they like between themselves because that’s the community. Do you feel that that’s an opportunity for app developers, Mark?

20:55 MB: Well, I think we should invent that. We should call it Pinterest.

[laughter]

21:00 PK: There’s a good idea. Yeah.

21:03 MB: Right? ‘Cause… I think you just described Pinterest. No, I mean the niche is everything, Paul. The niche is… We can’t be everything to everyone, and it’s funny. I mean, think about little things like cupcake shops in New York, right? I was just in New York City, and that’s all anybody was talking about was their favorite cupcake shops. It’s like, really? Cupcakes? That’s the topic? But you just never know. Kitten pictures, puppies, babies, cute babies, or in the [21:36] ____ case really ugly babies. You have to find whatever your niche is and serve that niche really, really well. And as you know, you can’t just blast out stuff about your app all the time. You have to show how people are using the app, and I’ll bet that’s one of the things the kitten app is doing really well is, is she is engaging with the community that’s using her product, and my guess is, I don’t know her, I don’t know her app, but I’ll bet you that beer we just talked about, that she is really, really good at engaging with the people that are using her tool, her app, and that’s what’s setting her apart from every other app out there.

22:19 PK: Yeah, actually, Ted, this one’s for you. One of the things that came up, and we didn’t really spend enough time talking about it. I think this is a good opportunity is the democratization of the timelines because some of these big social media platforms like Twitter are really dominated by the big influences. The Justin Biebers, the people that have huge followings, and they tend to then… Also YouTube. It tends to be the people with large subscriber bases that get into the top, most popular. And so almost, it’s harder as solopreneurs to crack that viral nutshell because you’ve got these really competitive, the big players. Her belief, for example, this was an app called Klooff, was that there needs to be a fairer way of democratizing the time line so that everyone gets the same sort of shout at getting into the time line rather than just the big players. Could you speak to that point?

23:26 TC: Well, here’s the thing with… Whenever you bring famous people into any environment, they’re just gonna dominate. If you’re a movie star, you’ve already been in everybody’s living room on rent to own or what have you and… Sorry, not rent to own, but instant video, that type of thing. Everyone knows who you are, and so then you jump on a social media and then boom! There you are. You’re famous, and you’re getting all the… I wouldn’t say getting all the attention though. Sure, Justin Bieber is getting attention from Justin Bieber fans, but I have never seen a single tweet by that guy. I don’t even know what he looks like now that he’s a little bit older.

24:07 TC: I think he used to be blonde. I don’t know what he is anymore. So, the thing about social is, there is a bit of democratization already. Now, for instance, there are millions and millions of people on Twitter. It’s just my favorite, so it’s what we keep going back to. It’s Mark’s favorite as well. There’s millions and millions of people on there. But, in the leadership space, there’s only a few hundred of us that really are constantly on there talking about leadership. In the app space, the people who are giving tips on building a business, building apps, my guess is there’s probably only a few hundred of you or maybe even fewer. And the kittens pics, okay, they’re very very popular. But the people who love kittens all flock to a single spot where they find each other. We do this on Twitter through hashtags. We do it on Facebook through the pages that we set up. LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, you name it, we can filter these things.

25:08 TC: So, if you’re mixing in the general population, never mind, you get lost in the noise. But, with this… I forget the name of the guy who coined this term, “the long tail.” The long tail is, okay, there’s gonna be a few people who’re in the mainstream and dominating it, but the long tail is the specialist, the niche players who carve out their little niche, have their very popular following, and that’s why… I don’t know any mommy bloggers, but there are people who don’t know me, but they sure know mommy bloggers. They find each other. That’s what you have to do when you’re trying to break out into a different environment, make your own home. And I think it’s really important not just to stand for something clear and something important, but to also make sure you do not stand for anything else. So, if you’re the app that makes math games for school kids, don’t make anything except math games for school kids unless you have dominated that, and now you’re ready to branch out into some other educational products for school kids. That focus is how you make your name.

26:21 PK: Mark, let’s just pretend that we are that app developer who’s created math games for school kids. Yeah, let’s take that as an example. What tips should we be… Could you give us we should be doing right now on social? Are there any new platforms we may not have heard of? Perhaps you can give us some insights into how best to tap into this social world.

26:43 MB: I think there’s probably two segments to that, Paul. One is, we have to find out where our audience sits. If we’re Twitter people, and yet our demographic is mostly on Facebook and Reddit, then we’d better figure out Facebook and Reddit really quick. And it’s not as hard as it sounds, right? I mean, people used to say, “Oh well, all the college students are on Facebook.” That’s not true any more. It’s really niche dependent. But if you have a product that’s a little bit more maybe rebellious or subversive, then maybe Reddit is the right choice for you, or a Facebook community that speaks directly to that audience is the right move for you, or starting a Twitter chat might be the right move. So, that’s the first thing is, we have to find out where our customers are now, and then we have to go there. We can’t start a big social media campaign and hope people will find us, we have to go where they are.

27:43 MB: The second thing is that we have to find the people that are using our app now. The parents of the school kids, the school kids themselves, the teachers, the administrators who bought the product for their entire school, we have to get them to champion our product for us. We have to do testimonial branding. We have to get them involved on social. If they’re not by the way, we can’t say, “Hey, Mr. Principal, you just bought $30,000 worth of our app for your entire school district. Would you please get on Twitter?” And if they don’t have a Twitter account, of course, the answer’s gonna be, “No.” So, it’s like hiring. It’s really like hiring. You have to find the person who loves your product, but you also have to find the person who can translate that level of your product into an ambassadorship on social media, and it’s not easy. But once you find those five or six or 10 or 12, pretty soon it’s 18, 30, 50 ambassadors of your product, now they’re talking about you, and you’re not, and that makes all the difference in the world.

28:46 PK: Yeah, what I’m thinking of is hustle, and that word keeps coming up on this show. You have to hustle for it. A lot of these apps that are very popular now such as Airbnb, they were literally… Airbnb is a world phenomenal app, and they were knocking on doors in San Francisco at the early stages. ‘Cause I think that many of us as app developers are told that we have to scale, and we have to do that. But there’s no point in scaling if we don’t have the people that you say, the ambassadors, the people promoting our product. So, almost reaching out to those people individually, finding out where they are and then creating and turning them into ambassadors for the product. Should we incentivize them, Ted? Is that something we should do, incentivize those people?

29:31 TC: It’s really funny you should ask that because I’m of two minds. One is that you want to make sure that the people who are ambassadors are not just showing anything that will pay them, right? And the other thing is that can get very expensive very quickly if you were to try. But the other thing is you have to be fair. If you’re a company that has budget, and you’re not paying people to support your brand, at what point are you taking advantage of them? So, there’s that thing. I’ll let everyone walk their own moral path. As far as compensating people, sometimes, there are people… Fortunately, this world is full of people who just love to share a good thing, to tell their friends a great tip that they found.

30:18 TC: Getting people like that to fall in love with your product, speaks to me a lot less about paying those people and a lot more about creating an awesome product, and your first app may not be awesome. It may just be okay ’cause you’re learning, and your second app might be really good. Your third app might be technically proficient, but not very intriguing. But the thing is, are you learning app development? And are you learning marketing? ‘Cause you’re in sales, if you’re a solopreneur or a small business entrepreneur, no matter what, whether you want to be or not, you’ve gotta market and sell your products. So, are you learning that stuff? Are you moving forward? And most importantly, are you creating something of high value for the people that you’re trying to serve? You do that, you’re already halfway there. Airbnb is not a famous app or a famous brand because they marketed a lot. They’re really great product, and people have come to love them. It’s a good idea. That’s why they’ve succeeded.

31:28 PK: Yes, and it’s almost like, I guess, there’s a balance between creating a great product, but also just getting it out there and marketing. Before we bring this to an end, ’cause we’re getting towards the close of it, I’ve got to talk about another issue. Mark, maybe I’ll pick this up with you as well. Is that… And this is come about because of all the guest interviews that I’ve done over the time that I’ve been doing this podcast: Facebook. Now, Facebook was a wonderful way of building a list. About a year ago, and I think earlier this year, they changed the algorithm, made it very hard to get your status updates in front of your fans. Have you noticed any changes and perhaps you can us give some guidance on what we could be doing with Facebook to really negate some of these algorithm changes?

32:22 MB: First of all, a disclaimer, I have always hated Facebook.

32:27 PK: [laughter] That’s not a disclaimer.

32:32 MB: Yeah. Well, maybe. Yeah. You’re right.

32:35 PK: I thought you were gonna say you owned some of the shares.

32:37 MB: Well, you said you were using… No, that would be disclosure. No, this is… Facebook’s a tough one and here’s why. Facebook was built on communicating with our friends. And then, Facebook went public, and they needed to drive revenue, and they need to have a return on investment, and they stopped allowing us to communicate with our friends. And now to communicate with our friends, we have to pay money, and if you are a brand, and you’ve worked hard over the last ten years to build up 2.1 million likes on Facebook, then Facebook has said that they’re only gonna allow you to talk to 6.5 percent or whatever the number is, of them at a time, unless you pay us money, and I find that a little less than ethical. Everybody needs to make money, I get that. I don’t fault them for that, but it just seems like they let us build a house on their land, and then they took the land away.

33:38 MB: And so, I’m not a big fan of Facebook, but to answer your question, if you have even just a little bit of money. A startup friend of mine, studentlinkup.com. He’s in the middle of getting funding right now. He got over 200.000 likes for his product before his site ever launched. All it was, was a landing page, and he did by spending about ten dollars a day on Facebook apps. 200,000 likes for ten dollars a day. So, there is a way you can do it. You just have to open the purse strings a little bit to make it happen. But, it works, and it’s working for many, many brands now. Look what Red Bull is doing, Coca-Cola, even Bank of America, despite, here in the US, despite the fact, most people hate Bank of America, they’re still doing a lot of work on Facebook, and they’re turning people around. They’re turning angry people into customers, and they’re doing that by spending money and changing their brand image through social media. So, there is a way to do it. It’s just not like how it used to be.

34:46 PK: Yeah, I would just…

34:48 TC: My advice on this…

34:49 PK: Sorry Ted, go on.

34:50 TC: Yeah. That’s okay. I’m sorry. My advice on this, is just… And I know that I am really extended on Twitter, like if somebody just pull the plug, and there was no Twitter tomorrow, I’d be really disappointed because I am very… I’m like a lobster, a New England lobster with one big claw or like a crab, one of the claws is really big. My big claw is Twitter, and then the rest of the social media, it’s not like I’m not engaged in them, but I’m less established, right? If it went away, I’d be in trouble. If it switched the rules, the way Facebook did, boy, I’d be really, really put out, as Mark was pointing out, because they changed the rules, after I’ve already invested in their game. I think anybody who invests in somebody else’s social platform or any other type of platform for that matter, you’re really putting yourself out there. You’re opening yourself up to potential victimization down the line.

35:46 PK: Yeah. And I wanted to appeal to the audience, and I will speak to the both of you as well because I think there is a way of attracting. I mean, the most important thing is getting people off of your Facebook and get their email addresses because then at least you have the ability to send them a newsletter and to communicate with them directly, and you’re not going to be… Succumb to this algorithm and timeline status. So, to do that, we have interviewed a guest, he was on a few shows ago, who has this very clever way of running give-aways. And in fact, ironically, the give-aways were created by the guy who invented Facebook Timelines, a guy called Noah Kagan. And he came up with this contest software. So, it’s a way of running give-aways on Facebook, and then people have to then go to the give-away page, enter their email, and then enter the contest. And then there you go, you’ve got their email, and you then have, I guess, approval for communicating with them directly. Have either of you come across this working, this give-away type of strategy to get emails?

36:57 MB: Well, I’ve heard of similar programs, and I gotta tell you, we love them. In our book, Ted and I talk a lot about digital share-cropping. And what you’re talking about, Paul, is avoiding that. And everybody who’s familiar with the share-cropping term, you know that that’s a farmer that grows his crops, but doesn’t own the land. So, if the landlord, if the landowner wants to use that land for something else, all the work the farmer has done all those years is gone, and that’s what happens when you build the backbone of your business on one social platform or another. If the rules change, you go the way of the share-cropper. You have no say. And what you’re talking about, by making the direct connection, by engaging, by getting their email address, by getting their Twitter handle, by communicating with them, you’ve gone from using Facebook as a share-cropping site to a lead generation site. And that makes all the difference in the world.

37:59 TC: Yeah, it’s absolutely… I think that your guest is really savvy. Another thing that people can do is establish their own website, and then do it there. So, for instance, at Switch and Shift, we have a give-away. You sign up for… You subscribe for a newsletter, you get a free… Which you have to give your email to do that. You get a free white paper as a kind of thank you. You don’t just say “Give us your email.” Some people might do that, but most will not. I certainly will not. But give me something of value, be it a chance at winning in a contest, which is great, by the way, it’s great to get people to vote more than once in that type of thing. Run a contest, give away something of value to them, but not of expense to you, something like that, absolutely.

38:54 PK: Yeah, so that… Just wanna appeal then to the appster tribe listening, if you do have a following on Facebook, and you’re worried about that, just think about how you could actually pull those emails and at least communicate with your audience directly. And, Mark, I love that phrase, the “share-cropping.” I think that’s… “Digital share-cropping” as well. That’s really good. I’m gonna make a note and use that in the future. We’re getting to the end now, is there any… Mark, Ted, before we say goodbye and ask for your contact details, is there anything here you’d like to say as final thoughts? I guess I’ll leave it to who wants to go first.

39:33 TC: Mark?

39:34 MB: I’ll go first this time. One of the things that we found as we were writing “A World Gone Social,” Paul, was how important it was to grow our inner circle, to grow our social influence, not among a quarter of a million followers, but like Ted alluded to earlier, whatever the number is, if there’s 20 people developing apps from home, then you need to become known as one of those 20 people. If you’re one of the 200 people that develop Mac apps for students, K through 12 students, then you need to know everybody else that does that too. And pretty soon, we become part of our own circles, and in the book, we called this “Ordinary Person, Extraordinary Network”, OPEN. And that is, especially for the smaller groups that don’t have the big budgets, that’s the key because you wanna be top of mind. Whenever somebody’s talking about your niche, you need to be top of mind.

40:38 MB: And if you don’t know everybody else who’s doing that, and if you don’t build relationships even with your competitors… Even with your competitors, you must know those people. You must know their strengths and their weaknesses because you never know when an opportunity might come along to work with a competitor because you happen to know something they don’t or their secret sauce is different than yours. You have to build those relationships way before you need them. So, that’s my closing bit of advice, is you have to grow your inner circle. You have to develop your own open network, and it’s gonna pay off in spades.

41:14 TC: And if I can just add to that, that’s absolutely, completely true for somebody who’s on their own. That comes… OPEN comes from Section Two of our book, where we talk about how large companies are actually at a disadvantage. The first chapter, that section is “The Death of Large.” And in each chapter, we focus on one kind of poster child for the… One example company. In that one, we talk about Growth Hacker TV. There’s only… Three partners own this company. Speaking of stay-at-home dads who also run a company, this guy, Bronson Taylor, who’s one of the founders and does all the interviewing for this, he works maybe two hours a day. But he’ll be sitting there looking at his phone while he’s talking to me having an interview or what have you. And “Oh, yeah. I just made 29 dollars,” again and again and again because people are signing up while he’s not working. We talk about how the nimble and nano corporation… Nano is the term we use for the little, tiny corporation that kind of gets bigger as the work is necessary, and then smaller again, moves on to the next project. That is something that I think is “the” move for the future. So, people who are sick of working for “the man,” really… How much longer are they gonna have to do that?

42:41 PK: Well, this is… I’ve got to bring this to an end, but what a fascinating discussion. I recommend everyone now, go out and buy the “A World Gone Social.” Mark, how can we best reach out and connect with you? What’s the best way?

42:57 MB: Well, you can certainly find us on aworldgonesocial.com and also on switchandshift.com, and we encourage everybody, Paul, don’t just come to the site and look around. Take a look, find something of value, contribute to the conversation, reach out to Ted and I on Twitter. We’re there quite a bit or Facebook or LinkedIn, but continue the conversation because that’s how you get known. So, find us, yes, but talk to us. Let us know what you’re thinking, contribute to the circle that we have, and pretty soon, you’ll be in that one.

43:33 PK: Yeah, and I just want to reiterate on that, Mark, because I didn’t know either of you two, and I reached out to you, and you very kindly said yes to the interview and… I just think everyone can do that. Don’t be too scared if you’re listening to this now, and you’re thinking about approaching someone that is an influencer in your world. Just go and reach out to them because we’re all inter connected. It’s amazing, and the worst that can happen is you get a “No, try me again in a month,” and I just feel that not enough people do that. So, Ted how can we best get in touch with you?

[chuckle]

44:07 TC: Well, okay. So, Mark told you where to find us through aworldgonesocial.com or switchandshift.com, and I’m always on Twitter. So you can find my Twitter profile which is Tedcoine… My name is my Twitter handle. But, what you said is absolutely true. I will talk to anybody for an hour about me! Are you kidding me? Who wouldn’t do that? So, if you want to…

[laughter]

44:34 TC: I’m half joking because I actually don’t find myself that interesting. I’d rather talk to other people about what they’re up to; that’s how I learn. But…

44:40 PK: Well, Ted, I’ve got to… I gotta confess something, actually.

44:43 TC: Yeah.

44:44 PK: One of the things that I’ve got to confess is that the reason I’m doing this podcast, and it’s daily, is because I just love talking to people, and I actually get a really high conversion rate on those emails that I send out to invite people to be on the show. And it’s just… Compared to a few years ago when I was using LinkedIn to try and sell an app or build an app or try and sell something, I mean, you get no response, but what I found is people are very willing to come on the show and to just share ideas, and it’s just a fascinating way of learning. I mean, I’ve learned enormous amounts, and my network has grown exponentially over the year that I’ve been doing this. So, yeah, that’s one of the reasons why I do it because people say yes.

45:33 TC: So, Paul, it’s just a savvy way to do business. Obviously, the more people who are listening to your pod cast, then the more people are gonna say yes because when they have something that they want to get in front of a larger audience, they’ll want to be on your show. So, this is a self fulfilling virtuous circle where you’re providing value by providing your audience, your audience is experiencing value by learning from these great minds that you have, and the occasional guys like Mark and me, as well, and then…

[laughter]

46:06 PK: Too modest.

46:07 TC: Everybody… There’s not a single person who does not benefit from this. You’re getting people coming to your website where then maybe, yeah, you can sign them up for your email list or something like that…

46:22 PK: But, Ted, I also need to confess as well that in a years time, when we have seven million downloads, and one of the big things about pod casting is people go back to past episodes and re-listen to those. So, of course, that’s when I’ll be coming to you and saying, “Yeah, I’ll just be charging for you to get in front of my listeners,” and do what Facebook did.

[laughter]

46:42 MB: See, that’s the virtuous part of the circle right there. That’s an entrepreneurial mindset. I love it.

46:48 TC: Exactly, and then we’ll say, “Oh sure! Yeah, you just have to pay us a $100,000…

46:54 PK: For the next interview.

46:54 SW: The time we gave you.

[chuckle]

46:56 PK: Actually, it could work in reverse, can’t it? You could… I can have like this real big flow of podcast listeners to the show in the past, and then you could just phone me up one day and say, “Hey! You know that interview we did? Now, we’re gonna charge you for royalties on playing it.” So…

[chuckle]

47:12 MB: Paul, you don’t know this, but you just inspired 1,205 app developers to start their own podcasts.

47:18 TC: Oh, yeah, seriously. But the thing is, what we were joking about is just such bad karma; it’s not worth it. It’s not worth it for anyone involved. It’s a really good way to trash your reputation. I guarantee you someone will try that, but most will not, to their benefit.

47:35 PK: Yeah, so there you go… Let that be a lesson. Do not do what Facebook did and…

[chuckle]

47:39 MB: Yeah, that’s right.

47:40 TC: Well, seriously! It’s not… At some point, Facebook could become the next MySpace. My understanding is MySpace still exists, but I haven’t run into it. So, there’s nothing written in stone that says we will always be on Facebook.

48:00 PK: Well, and Ted, how do we reach out to you? What’s your… You said your Twitter handle, didn’t you? So, I think we’re…

48:06 TC: I think the best way is visit aworldgonesocial.com. All of our social connections are right there. So you can go from there to Twitter to LinkedIn to email. And we’ll be very happy to hear from you.

48:24 PK: Well, it just leaves me to say to the both of you, I’ve loved this. Every minute of it. I was a bit worried about being interviewing both of you at the same time, and it’s worked out great. And as three work from home dads, we’ve managed to go through the entire episode without talking about our kids, so we’ll save that for the other show.

48:40 MB: And only one phone call.

48:42 PK: Yeah, only one phone call.

48:43 TC: That’s right.

48:44 PK: Maybe that was Mark ringing Ted there. Just to show off. Okay, great. Wonderful. Thanks for joining us on the App Guy Podcast. All the best with your book. If there’s anything we can do as an appster tribe or podcast listeners, we can help you out. So, all the best with everything that’s going on.

49:04 MB: Thank you, Paul.

49:05 TC: Thanks so much for having us, Paul. It was a blast.

[music]

49:09 S2: Thank you for listening to this podcast. Stay tuned for the next episode. If you want to be a guest on the show, or suggest someone, then please send an email to info@onemob.com. The App Guy Podcast.

[music]

Transcription Allows Your Audio And Video To Be SEEN!

Monday, September 1st, 2014

blindfolded-computerYour content is invisible.

Well, not exactly… it’s invisible to a pretty good portion of the internet.

Let me explain: With the web shifting more towards mobile browsing (along with the multitude of tablets, and other computer-derivatives hitting the market) it is more important than ever to make sure your content is “visible” to everyone.

Most people worry about getting their videos and podcasts into everyone’s screen — but they forget that lots of people can’t even view that content.

  • The Stressed Worker – Do you operate a B2B service or product? Well then you know the plight of reaching your prospects through email + the telephone. When it comes to online marketing, the sales “barriers” appear with added intensity. Most employees aren’t allowed to view videos or listen to podcasts while at work. That means without an accompanying text transcription the non-text video or audio is invisible to them!
  • The Old-School Mobile Browser – Unfortunately, there’s also a very significant segment of the market that DOESN’T have an iPhone (or otherwise modern web browser) which means lots of video or audio content is completely stripped from web pages. This is another huge issue, because often the end-viewer doesn’t even realize what they are missing out on. This even applies to other multi-media when it comes to advanced phones. (For example, iPhone’s to-date have never accepted flash-based content.)
  • The In-Depth Researcher – Research has shown that a large segment of online buyers do not respond well to non-text content. While a video or podcast might allow you to reach a certain segment of the market, don’t neglect the overwhelming majority of the internet that thrives on text content. Many people who are doing in-depth research about a product want text so they can search for certain keywords, copy and paste features into a spreadsheet, or even just skim read for the important stuff.
  • The Low Attention-Span – You can’t always rely on your video content to do ALL the selling. Remember that people have an average attention span of what, 8 seconds? Use text in coordination with your other content efforts to ensure that people are engaged with your content. This is the only sure-fire way to keep hold of your prospects attention. If you’re putting in lots of money, time and effort into your content, it’s your responsibility to efficiently disperse that information to the masses. You deserve to be rewarded for all that work — right?

As you can see, there is a huge part of the internet that is blind to your non-text content. Maybe in the future, as hardware and software technology advances, this will become a non-issue… but for the foreseeable future, content (in text-form) is king! So remember to make the absolute most of your content marketing by utilizing a transcription service in the future.

Hopefully these examples have given you a good picture of the “invisible” web surfers that rely on text content. No matter your industry, business, or marketing strategy — you can’t afford to miss out on audio transcription.

Why Transcription Makes Sense For A Content Marketer

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

transcription-for-business-productivityIf you’re a high-performing marketer or business-owner, there is one thing you detest: wasting time.

In the same vein, you hate wasting opportunities… because missing out on opportunities means lost money.

Today we’re going to demonstrate why utilizing a transcription service is more of an opportunity for content marketers than it is an expense. In fact, after reading this article you will realize why your lack of video and audio transcriptions is actually hurting your business (hint: it goes along with lost opportunities).

In the past, we’ve covered why transcriptions help SEO rankings but today we’re going to take a difference approach. Instead of demonstrating the tangible benefits (more traffic, better user experience, and additional content types for viewers) we’re going to take a more strategic approach.

Essentially, today we want to explain how you can use transcription services to deliver an entirely new medium of content without doing any additional work. Here’s how it works:

The Initial Content Production

This is where you create content that is easy to produce — aka. audio podcasts or quick youtube videos (the normal question and answer kind that last 2-5 minutes). The reason people tend to love making podcasts or videos is because you can just speak to the camera or microphone and all of your knowledge is delivered without much work. No editing, no writers block, you just speak and are delivered high-quality content for promotion.

Do this for a few weeks (or a few months, doesn’t make a difference) and you should have a solid amount of content to pull from. Theoretically, if you’ve been video marketing (by posting to youtube and other search engines for video content) or getting downloads on your podcast, you’ve figured out exactly the type of content that your target audience loves.

Now, without doing a single word of writing yourself… you can introduce a new marketing channel without any additional effort.

How is that possible? With transcriptions of course!

Repurposing Content (without annoying your userbase)

Now, you might have noticed this tactic being used by some of the biggest bloggers/content marketers in the world.

  • They’ll create a podcast… promote it through the podcast marketing channels, then upload the podcast to youtube and add some graphics (this isn’t required, could just directly upload)… and boom now they have a content-rich video to promote.
  • One of the coolest ways to take this strategy to an even bigger level is to utilize transcription services to heighten the content promotion even further. Since you just took a podcast and syndicated it as a video — now you can do the same thing but with text.
  • Send the podcast over to a transcription service, and boom! Now you have nearly unlimited blog posts to upload to your company blog.
  • Do you see where this is going? One piece of audio content can be repurposed into a video and another blog post.

Just make sure to stagger the promotion of these pieces (even if you end up waiting a month or two between posting them), so that you don’t flood your website viewers with three different versions of the same content every time they check the site.

Disruption: Pioneering The Transcription Industry

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Transition can be hard.business model

Here at Scribie, we’ve been pushing the limits in comparison to the traditional transcription industry. For better or worse, our business model is gaining momentum and causing a major shift in the way people and businesses view transcriptions.

Let’s take a look at the difference:

The traditional model…

  • High cost — you’re hiring an agency, or a specialist. It’s going to hit your wallet, hard.
  • Hard to stay consistent — What happens when the first project you send in is done to perfection… but then on your next transcription, a new employee at the agency takes over. What if there’s no oversight and the mistakes go unnoticed.
  • Slow turn around time — When dealing with a company that specifically does transcription, (with the traditional model) they have to either employ as little transcribers as possible to keep profits high, or increases prices. Unfortunately, both of these are negatives to the client.

Now, the Scribie “freelance” model…

  • Low cost – Affordable transcriptions 24/7, our availability of high-quality freelance transcribers allows us to keep internal costs low which we pass onto the client.
  • Perfect consistency — Through our proprietary transcription quality check process, we can guarantee a 98% accuracy. Multiple checks and balances, editors, and a killer review process let’s us perfect an imperfect industry. The use of intelligent technology and our expertise is a huge benefit in this area.
  • Turn around on YOUR schedule — Another huge benefit to having access to a huge quantity of transcribers is that we can work on your schedule… instead of the opposite. Shouldn’t it always be that way? Choose when you need the transcription done, between a month to as quick as 8-12 hours.

As you can see, through technology, innovation, and a smart business model we have created a triple win-win-win situation for our clients, our freelancers, and our business.

The transcription industry is a perfect example of disruption allowing additional benefits and value to the provided without cutting back. Essentially, through our strong quality check process we are able to mix the benefits of human transcription with those of a freelance model.

The other less-known benefit to our model

Another one of the huge benefits to this pioneering business model is that we add value to a whole new segment of the world. Instead of just benefiting the clients and the business — we are able to give work at home mom’s, and other segments of the population looking for work from the comfort of their home, access to a straightforward way to make money.

Almost anyone will a solid grasp of the english language, as well as strong communication and writing skills can be a great transcriber. Just put on your headphones, listen, and type. We’ll take care of the rest.

It’s just about that simple.

How can a small business profitably utilize transcription services?

Friday, August 15th, 2014

businessman transcriptionTimes are changing… As you’ve noticed, the world is becoming more digital. This is especially apparent in the business world. Instead of software… now a lot of the biggest applications are accessed through websites.

This can be daunting for a business owner who isn’t constantly keeping up with the times. Don’t worry — with the right information, it’s easier than you think to level the playing field.

Today we’re going to help you uncover a cost-effective way to utilize transcription services… to save time and money.

Let’s start with audio and video content…

Raise your hand if you’ve heard the term “inbound marketing” and “content marketing” before… Everyone?

Good.

Now, your first reaction to these topics was probably a big sigh of annoyance. “Do we REALLY need to start producing free stuff for our website viewers… clients… and prospective customers?” But after some reading and catching-up, you’ve probably jumped on the bandwagon.

Assuming you’re already producing some kind of video content (like for Youtube, Sales Videos, even Product Demos and Walkthroughs) or audio content (like a Podcast, Music, or Voice Recordings of calls/meetings)… there’s an AWESOME way to get more exposure.

That’s right — instead of adding more to your “to-do” list, we’re going to explain how you can multiply your current efforts.

The power of transcription!

Just like we mentioned in one of our last articles, there are huge benefits to getting transcription done for your content.

  1. Sales Videos — If your killer explainer/sales video contains a better or different message than the rest of your website… most of your viewers are missing out! At the very least, allow viewers who don’t have access to headphones the option of following along with the text transcript, while watching the video.
  2. Meetings, Demos, Walkthroughs — Here’s another killer way to get multiple uses out of one piece of content. Try putting up some recordings of your customer support people (or sales/marketing) speaking with your current clients. It’s a great way to get your brand message across and give people an inside look into the backend of your business. Better yet: Just record some meetings, get them trancribed and with ten-minutes of editing (or less) you’ve got a GREAT new blog post.
  3. Multipurpose your content — Like the method we mentioned above… transcription offers a effortless way to generate more content for your website. Every video you produce can now be repurposed as a blog post, email newsletter, or social media piece.

And it doesn’t take more than a few minutes…

One of the biggest benefits of our transcription service is the “hands off” operation. As a time-deprived businessman (or businesswoman) you really don’t want more stuff to do. That’s why you should send over your relevant audio content and have us take care of the transcription. Better quality transcription — more time saved — more money saved… the triple trifecta of benefit.

Hopefully this article helped you understand the massive potential for transcription-related content, for small to medium businesses. Multiply the reach and exposure of your audio and video content… if you do it right, one 10-minute voice recording could become the source of mutiple blogs, newsletters or social media posts.

Business Podcasting: Are Transcriptions REALLY Worth It?

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

podcast headsetPodcasting has grown to be one of the hottest marketing channels of 2014. It makes sense why this relatively new form of content is making such a buzz. It allows business owners (and bloggers/brands) to demonstrate their voice and build relationships with listeners.

If you’re a business or solo-entrepreneur trying to make the most of your podcast, the topic of  transcription services has probably came up. This is a tricky subject because podcasting is normally seen as a “free” channel of marketing. On one hand, most people don’t want to turn podcasting into a “paid” channel.

First off, here’s why that assumption doesn’t hold up:

  1. Podcasting requires your time… for most marketers/business owners, this is going to be your most valuable asset in the long-run.
  2. Podcasting benefits from your own social media promotion along with any organic visitors that come in from search engines (in many cases, companies will spend money on advertising their podcast to kickstart the growth)

Essentially, podcasting may seem like a “free” initiative, but in reality you have to pay for it in some currency.

Here’s where audio transcriptions come into play:

Think about the business goal of your podcast — Are you trying to drive more traffic to your website, blog, landing page? Then there is a specific monetary benefit from maximizing your podcast’s viewership.

More listeners on your podcast = more leads, signups, sales. It’s as simple as that.

For this reason, you need to treat the podcast just like your website or any other branch of online marketing for your business. Transcribing the audio from your podcasts and making it available on your website is a huge piece of this.

Check out just a few of the huge benefits of getting a transcription for each of your podcast episodes:

  • Convenience for the listeners — Sometimes your listeners don’t have an hour to sit down and listen through the podcast… in this case, having a transcription allows them to skim through to the important parts or copy and paste the info they were looking for.
  • Added benefit for search engine optimization — Currently, search engine “crawlers” cannot understand audio content… so they aren’t going to index and value your podcast episode the same way as a blog post. For this reason, the transcription acts like a textual map of the content on the page. More indexing, more ‘searchability’, more traffic.
  • No headphones… what do I do? — What if your listener is in a place where audio can’t be played… a waiting room perhaps and doesn’t have headphones? Most people aren’t going to bookmark the page and come back hours later to play it. This is why audio transcriptions can help get the message across to previously lost traffic.

Having a transcription done for your podcast might seem like a complicated question… but it really comes down to your business goals.

Do you really NEED to get the most views from each podcast episode? Do you really WANT to make the most of your time?

Remember that you’re dedicating hours upon hours into podcasting to craft quality content for your listeners… now take the final step and make sure that everyone can find your podcast so they can benefit from it.

Human Versus Software Audio Transcription: Cage Match!

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

robot vs humansIn the ring today we have human verified audio transcription and automated software…

Who will come out on top? Find out below:

98% Guaranteed — With our proprietary review process, audio transcriptions come out at a 98% accuracy (or higher) every single time… This is due to the rigorous transcription process we implement on all of our clients’ files. First, your audio file is broken into bite-sized 6 minute pieces for our transcriptionists to take a first-attempt. Then the text goes through a review process which ends with timestamps and speaker-tracking being integrated into the text. Finally the work goes through a proofreading phase and a final quality check to ensure we stand behind our guarantee 100%!

Mumbling… background noise? Not a problem! (Usually) — Another huge benefit to taking advantage of humans (instead of an automated software program that attempts the same) comes from audio quality. In a perfect (transcription) world, everyone speaks the same language with the same vocabulary, accent, and tone. Unfortunately, one of the largest stepping stones that needs to be dealt with in audio transcription is the large variance in audio files. Sometimes, people forget to turn on their fancy microphone and instead the important class lecture is recorded on a low-quality device.

This can lead to buzzing, background noise, and unclear audio… a huge problem if your transcription software is designed to work off a specific type of audio. (Hint: This is why audio transcription apps tell you to get one of their recommended recording devices, and to speak very clearly and slowly.) The same exact issue is present with accents and multiple speakers talking over each other.

On the other hand, humans have a huge edge in this department. We’re able to utilize context clues, our own professional experience/knowledge, and our superior brain power to get the most out of each file. We can decipher audio files that software couldn’t dream of handling! Humans aren’t perfect though, sometimes audio files are so far from perfect that even a professional transcriber can’t revive it.

What about my grammar and punctuation?!?! — Unfortunately, this is another issue with software-transcription… how can a computer know when you paused to take a sip of water mid sentence, versus stopping for a sentence (period) or paragraph (period and return).

Slang Vocab… Yo!  — Think of software transcription services as having the vocabulary of your nearest dictionary. A wealth of knowledge… that’s for sure, but how long has that old Merriam-Webster been sitting in your closet? (
Hint: If there’s dust on your dictionary, it’s probably outdated when it comes to colloquial terms.) The main difference here between a human and an application is that humans adapt, grow, and learn with time which static dictionaries become outdated the day they are conceived.

Homonyms “They’re there! Right in the audio.” – Similarly, when your brain is analyzing the speech coming from your friend’s voice… you understand the difference between “To, Too, and Two” but that’s due to your complex understanding of language (not just knowing how words sound). For better or worse, unless your software can analyze, and understand your audio file… you’re not going to see correct homonym usage.

We have a ways to go with vocal recognition before a computer can decipher complex sentence structures, non-common word usage, or mumbling… for everything else, there’s our transcriptionists. 

Relaxed Location-Independent Money Through Freelance Audio Transcribing

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

freelance-audio-transcriptionThese days with a tough economy in many countries throughout the world… money is hard to come by. And easy, job-less work from home money is even harder to find.

That’s why online transcribing jobs are helping thousands of people supplement their income. Scribie’s freelance transcription program provides an easy way to make additional money on YOUR terms. The key here is that you are able to be your own boss, work when you want… where you want, and how you want.

While millions of people are stuck in less than desirable office jobs that have stringent hours and requirements, freelance positions are starting to thrive. Why’s that? The answer is simple… people want a way to generate money without the stress.

New systems like our freelance transcription program are allowing everyone from work-from-home moms, new freelancers, and experienced professionals to make some extra money. The biggest benefit is truly the laid-back operation of the system that ensures everyone wins.

The clients get high-quality audio transcription for their audio/video files, with industry-leading turnaround times and accuracy. The freelancers get paid a fair wage with huge benefits from being their own boss. No more headaches, no more corporate life, no more issues.

How is this all possible?

Scribie has spent countless hours perfecting the entire system to ensure a “win-win” situation for all parties involved. Everyone gets what they want, and then some!

Can’t wait to get started? We understand — here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to our Freelance Transcription Program page and get acquainted with the entire system (hint: it’s pretty simple).
  2. Make sure you fit the requirements and can handle this commitment (albeit a small one). The most important ones include having a great comprehension of the english language and a fast typing speed.
  3. Apply — it’s a very simple process that involves mostly basic information about yourself.
  4. Wait (just a little while) and go through the final stage of the application process that involves a test piece of audio transcription
  5. Boom! Now you’re ready to get going. As long as everything went smoothly, no strings attached money is right around the corner.

A Win-Win Transcription Service

At Scribie we really believe in giving back to the community and this freelance program is our way of funding many jobs that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Think of us as a conduit to audio transcription services — we connect our clients to capable transcribers at an affordable, effective rate.

Recently, Sam Altman of YCombinator was talking about wanting to fund a tech startup that could provide “one million jobs.” The caveat, of course, was that the business couldn’t employ these one million people through traditional means (aka. having one million employees, because that would be too simple). Instead, he insisted that the jobs would be created through disruption of an industry… similar to how Uber allows regular people to make money from driving in their free time.

In a way, our freelance transcription program follows a comparable system. Stress-free, work from home, work at your own pace… what more could you want from a job that allows you to work when you want, where you want, and as much as you want. 

Self-Transcribe

Monday, May 26th, 2014

The Integrated Editor has proven to be one of the most useful tool at Scribie.com. We always get great comments about it in our customer surveys. We use it as the primary editor in all the four steps of our process; transcription, review, proofreading and QC and also make it available to our customers for files which have been transcribed and delivered. But today we are changing that. The editor is now available for all files which are uploaded to our website. You can always order the transcript, but if you wish to transcribe it yourself, you are more than welcome.

The following are some notable features.

  1. Supported file formats: mp3, wav, wma,  m4a, ogg, aif, aiff, amr, 3gp, 3gp, wmv, avi, flv, mpg, mp4, m4v, mov, webm, mts
  2. Configureable shortcuts
  3. Autocapitalization and autocorrect
  4. Autosave
  5. Live spellchecker
  6. Multi-cursor
  7. Terms and Phrase Analysis
  8. Conversion of transcript to Word/PDF/ODT formats.
  9. Tab completion (coming soon)
  10. Word prediction (coming soon)

The following additional features are available on Google Chrome browser.

  1. Variable speed playback
  2. Amplifier
  3. Dynamics Compressor
  4. Dictation

The editor has been extensively tested and works on all HTML5 supported browsers. However we recommend the latest version of Google Chrome for the best performance.

The following is a brief step-by-step guide.

  1. Upload your file at https://scribie.com/files/upload
  2. Wait for the upload to complete
  3. Click on the Transcribe link as show below.

Transcribe audio/video files

As usual, comments and feedback is most welcome.

Transcription Skill

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

One of the misconceptions about of audio/video transcription is that it’s all about typing. Typing is definitely one of the key skills required, but there are other skills which are equally important, if not more. In this post we’ll elaborate on some of those skills.

Context:

Applying meaning to words and interpreting them is a uniquely human ability. It’s a feat which machines are yet to achieve. We listen to spoken words and combine it with our own knowledge and thoughts to interpret it. During transcription we come across a lot of words which sound similar and have to use context to arrive at correct word. Eg. illicit vs elicit. These words sound similar, but the meanings are vastly different. The correct word depends on the usage.

Memory: 

We often face the situation that the speaker’s voice is partly un-clear and only a syllable or two can be heard. These are the places where we leave blanks. However,  sometimes we can recall the word or the phrase being used in a similar sentence, which fills in the last piece of the puzzle. This is quite similar to the fill-in-the-blanks type of exercise, with additional hints from the audio file.

Research:

Research is one of our strengths. Since multiple people are involved in the transcription of each file, we have that many hands for the research. Google is our best friend for the research, but even searching on Google is a skill in itself. We have to use context again and add something to the search terms. It requires few tries before we find what we are looking for. Names of people and products, acronyms etc. are good examples. Google Maps works amazingly well for names of places.

Knowledge:

Knowledge is not a skill per se, but we use it everyday in our work. The discussion topic in our files vary widely. So general knowledge, current affairs, etc. is good to have.

At the end of the day, it’s accuracy which matters the most. We have to rely on much more than our typing skills to ensure that the transcript is 98% or more accurate. If you are looking to start transcription and/or getting your audio/video files transcribed, then you should consider these factors as well.