Accurate Always Call Center Recording Blog by Kate Haley
Always do the Unexpected in Startups. Sometimes it's Even More Hygenic.

Aug 14


That firm handshake you just shared? Expected conduct but unexpectedly germy. The New York Times had a recent piece about the merits of a wimpy handshake as it transfers just 50% of the bacteria the standard business issue ones do. Amusingly, they go on to mention that a high-five and a fist bump reduce the bacteria transfer even further.

What does this all have to do with startups? If you're not doing the unexpected, you are taking a long road that is often punctuated with burnout. Get memorable and have fun. Bump THAT.

A case in point: A good sixteen months ago I was walking into a second meeting with a biz dev guy who was tall. Paul Bunyan tall. I moved to shake hands and he beat me to it, swinging his arm skyward to deliver the first high-five I've ever received in a business setting. I'm 5'11" in heels but it would require jumping to make contact. So I did.

I rarely remember what I have for breakfast most days but this I couldn't forget. Be that guy/gal. Take it up top. Isn't that what starting up is all about?


Uh, Hello... a Call Center is Only as Good as its CSRs

Aug 14


In the wake of the Comcast customer service call debacle, one must tip their hat to those that are really getting it right. This message was recently left for a call recording solution provider by some wild and wacky contact center agents. We’re not naming names and numbers here but oy vey. Give it a listen.

Ironically, the Voxida call recording and quality assurance solutions, sold by the very company that these agents called, could have helped their supervisors prevent this sort of thing. An ounce of training is worth a pound of "oops."

Her Life's Work? To Inspire. RIP Avis, 86 Year Old Queen of Vertical Caving

Jul 14


A dear family friend passed away a few days ago and it got me thinking about our real work as female leaders in our corporations and communities. The following short clip shows two record breakers: Avis and a 9 year old girl, who was her caving partner. (Wow, right?!) If anyone ever doubts where we stand, how we can move into and climb out of challenging spaces, and what an everyday legacy we create, call on Avis. I am humbled and grateful for such a role model.

How My Three Year Old Became COO -- and Why it Rocked.

Jan 14


Being a working mom is hard. And unbelievably awesome.

I cofounded a call recording tech firm ten years ago, mentor startups, moonlight as a photographer and never, ever, ever hit the gym. It’s all a trade-off but I find that being able to delegate is key. The absolute best days that I have are when I just stop being point. And my three year old agrees.

We just got back from a Mom and That Dude’s Excellent Adventure for the day where I simply let the short guy decide what we’d be doing, where and how long. We hit the beach, hiked the bluffs, slurped suckers and carrot juice for lunch, leap-frogged pumpkins, chased bees, looked for wild animal poop, danced to an outdoor band, went to a goat farm and almost passed out from eating too much artichoke bread. I’ll be catching up on work tonight so Monday isn’t a total terror but I already know that it will be a heck of a lot better than it would have been if I just played it safe this Sunday and avoided having to scrub some unidentified sticky substance from my hair.

Keith Ferrazzi recently took a group of Valley CEOs to Burning Man. Zappos staffers have been known to don tutus in the office. Even my day/night/weekend/whatever gig has an unspoken “No shirt, no shoes, we no notice” policy before product releases and we might just be the only company that sells to call centers, financial organizations, aerospace, healthcare and other Fortune 100s but still argues out roadmaps across the room until someone cries uncle.

All of those things are vital to a company’s continuous improvement and I’m a poster kid for the weird in business. Still, the best mental agility often doesn’t come down from on high or the latest team building exercise; I find it comes from the home team.

Guy Kawasaki said that “Children are the ultimate start ups” and he was absolutely right. I know when to hire the best, though, and I’m appointing mine COO for a day.

3-year-old-coo (Sorry, ladies and other competitors: he's taken.)

All the World Loves a Lover and Other Marketing Tips

Oct 11


This will be a short post today but I thought it was worth mentioning that a good marketing and ad campaign is essential for any product launch. Enter the 1970's MANDOM awesomeness.

Really, if you are looking for excellence in advertising, look no further. If you are looking for cologne that smells like gasoline, well, you're all set there too. Oh, and remember that "All the world loves a lover. Man o man, that's MANDOM!"

Ninja Quickstops- Have a Great Weekend!

Aug 11


For those of you wondering what to do on a Friday night, there's always the old dress up in the usual ninja wear, grab a sword and hit the quicky mart for cigarettes and lotto tickets. See the ninja awesomeness awkwardness here. (For the record: I don't smoke. Or play the lotto. Yet.)

But I think the guy below has the right moves. If only we could get him the right outfit.

Seagulls are, and have always been, the ultimate ninjas.

Weekend, out!

xoxo, Your Ninja

Little Ninja: Don't Be Sad, Be Awesome

Jun 11


Just a little ninja inspiration for today: Starting up in today's economy can be tough, even for the most bad ass of ninjas. Corporate paper is drying up, everyone is short on time as they need to do more with vanishing resources and it's hard to get a soapbox when there's so much signal to noise in a saturated marketplace. I get it. I've been there. And I've fought my way out. You can too as there's wisdom to be had. Take Barney Stinson's advice from How I Met Your Mother: "When I get sad I stop being sad and be awesome instead."

Let that be your battle cry and just get started. Never take sad for an answer.

Do Nice Guys Finish Last? Confessions from the Marketing Trenches

Mar 10


When my current company was getting started we had a marketing budget of $500. Total. That's $500.00 USD. No, really: $5-0-0. And no, the rest of the money was not spent on Aeron chairs, like many startups in the day.


We had to come out swinging against the 500 lb gorillas of our industry. While we held the edge in tech, call recording systems of any brand were hardly a household name. There were a few that were of note, with the biggest being Nice Systems and Dictaphone


Nice was an older player that built their business upon several key acquisitions. This added a lot of punch to the Rolodex and established sales channels, albeit causing brand diffusion and occasional confusion. But, like Borg, they were everywhere and tech budgets were being assimilated, left and right.


One of the keys to their later success is the truth to the arguments that no one ever gets fired for specifying IBM. They’re big. They’re entrenched. They have marketing budgets (shockingly) in excess $500. A Nice solution wasn’t likely to get you fired, due to the sheer size and halo effect that comes with the beast. Of course, no one can get hired solely based on something like that either.

 We stood out in our ability to offer one-on-one technical service and pre and post purchase support. Our interface was, and indeed still is, simply powerful enough to allow users to record and monitor calls, run meaningful reports and track users and groups, while gathering customer-interaction intelligence within a  single user friendly application. Single and multi-site call centers rapidly adopted Voxida, our call recording platform, and there still wasn't a grey suit- or a canned solution- offered by any of our team members. We operated with a mantra of keeping call recording cool. Because, really, it should be.

So, we "got" the web and search engine optimization (SEO) right away. When most companies were working on brochure-ware sites, and the more saavy of those bought Google AdWords, we focused on organic search when it will still the ugly step child. Admittedly, we got around the budgeting hurdle by allowing most leads to come to us via word-of-mouth, industry news and organic searches for specific technology, like a call recording system that works specifically with an Avaya S8700 PBX with digital and VoIP phones. As engineered, Voxida could speak multiple vendors proprietary PBX languages when much of the industry was still relying on simple call events and noise-driven recording modalities. And Voxida could do it out-of-the-box.


So, when it comes down to the question "do Nice guys finish last?" we're still offering a shrug. The only certain thing is that it's way too good to be one of the naughty.


Join us at work or at play.

Smallest StartUp I've Signed On For: Etsy Featured Sellers with 8 Toes

Aug 09


I've been roped into some wacky business ideas. But, this one is the weirdest by far.

It earns the distinction of being the only gig I've ever done where all the cofounders have eight toes. And are cockatoos. These feathered folks have their own shop on Etsy that's "Parrot Run, Ocean Approved" and sells beach glass jewelry, ocean items, beauty products. And the little weasels give 100% of Net Profits to charities that rescue parrots, which means that my founder stock is worth, in practical terms, a big fat zilch.

Etsy is the biggest online marketplace devoted to selling handmade products. You can see more about Etsy in the Press here

When the cockatoos of WildPen were contacting by Etsy about doing a video about their artistic process, they said "as long as there's going to be some rock and roll...."And Etsy delivered on that.

View the WildPen parrot's video on Etsy and baffle yourself on how/why I got involved with these guys. :)


You can also read more about this little Wildpen startup on Etsy here and keep up with the cockatoos on their beach parrot blog.

Sales Staffing for Ninjas: Tech Startups Considerations

Aug 09


Any startupeer knows that sales= snappy new tabi boots. Oh, and survival. It's time to look at how you should, could and really need to sell. (If you are a geek/engineer founder, especially take note!)

When I looked into selling for fun and profit, and yet again, had to give props to Dharmesh Shaw at (I wonder if he's part ninja as well....?) See his Building Startup Sales Teams blog entry.


I could not agree with all the points more. Having done more than my fair share of tech start ups, mostly founded, run and maintained by engineers and the rest of us geeky types, I see a common, related- and sometimes fatal- mistake. It is far too easy to let the new sales person tail wag the dog. Just to get this out of the way, let me state the obvious: No sales person, or any UFO, will save you. It's not that easy. Suck it up and let's look at where you really stand.

Even though the founders do grok the product, the market, how they are going to save the world, jump over buildings in a single bound, etc., there is still a tendency to think that sales people know much more about sales, and to equate it to a dark art. Once sales people get in place, the founders forget that they were pimping the product way before the it was stable, feasible or that they were able to pay the overdue electricity bill. I have fallen into this amnesia trap many, many times.

While sales people and rainmakers often play big a part in the evolution of a startup, there's not just one way to get the job done. And we need to remember that. Our agility got us this far, no?

But, when you do find the sales partner that you need, like any core team member, you better be ready to run errands for them and pick up their kids from school. I build businesses like family. It is work but it works. Sure, there's a lot of yelling and borrowing each other's cars, and it takes some skill and lots of patience, but I'm just saying that if you decide to get married, don't leave 'em at the altar. In our out, buddy. You wouldn't want your new sales person/team to do that to your customers, would you? A startup, like all areas of seeming impossibility, needs love.

Just don't let it be a shotgun marriage. Nothing is dire and you're far from knocked-up. Really, always remember that, as a startupeer, you are already one part idiot and one part superhero.

Just do what you've must to get these sales in the bag. And, just like adopting new team members, it's best to be ready to feed and water your new sales as well.

But enough from me. I'm off to go marry Voxida, Accurate Always' communication recording system, to another little/big call center that could.

By all means, keep starting up!  -kate


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