Accurate Always Call Center Recording Blog by Kate Haley

3 posts categorized "startups that baffle me"

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.)

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.

Aviators By Design and Assistance by Necessity: The Case of the Little Startup that Could

May 09


I have to confess that I'm a sucker for an underdog. And I'm amazed by what people accomplish when they do not know what can't be done. This post is dedicated to the birds, an the startup, that really inspire.

Parrots, the ultimate aviators, have been plucked from the trees and smuggled into the country. Here they are sold and change hands constantly. There has been a huge industry push to crank out more of these guys, as parrots, behind dogs and cats, are the most popular "pet" in America. To wit, every year approximately 350,000 companion parrots find themselves without a home.

Parrots scream, self mutilate, bite and have other destructive behaviors that commonly crop up far before they have a shot at getting real help. They are often beaten, neglected, euthanized, "released," left in small cages with limited access to fresh food and clean water. I wish it wasn't true- but trust me- it can get ugly.

(Not that the fellow below, at the Save Haven Parrot Sanctuary, is ugly. Actually, he's a looker but you should have seen him when he came in after getting multiple injuries from a tangle with a ceiling fan.)

Yo. What's it take to get a little humanity around here?

Sometimes the best these parrots can do is to make it to a sanctuary, often via a referral from the Humane Society, who's not equipped to handle the needs of parrots. There's no way around it; a very special place, with very special people, is needed for the care of these aerobats, dive bombers and Amelia Earhart's in their own right. Luckily, many have found a home with one of the best fledgling non-profits that I've seen in a while.

Safe Haven Parrot Sanctuary, Inc. is a startup in the truest sense. No, you won't see Aeron chairs, VCs or painful PowerPoint presentations. This is the real, grass-roots, deal.

It started with one woman. I think of her as the Rosie the Riveter of the Avian-inclined. Frankly, all the nights I slept under my desk over the years are a cake-walk compared to what she does before I get close to stumbling towards the espresso machine. If I was reviewing her operations plan, I'd see "working her ass of to do the best she could by these birds" was the idea. And I'd say there's no freakin' way this would fly.

But, it did. Word spread and now there are in excess of 100 parrots, now served daily, out of her sheer determination, love and grit.

Safe Haven Parrot Sanctuary is simply, honestly dedicated to the care and safety of unwanted parrots. That's their corporate mission, mantra and vision in one nice little, but hugely difficult, package. They provide the high quality care, even love, that's desperately needed for parrots that have lost their home for whatever reason.

From a business stand-point, they know their niche. They specialize in parrots that are not adoptable due to abuse, physical deformity and related challenges, and/or overall behavioral problems.

The barrier to entry in this market is high, as you'd have to be crazily devoted to have your ears blown out on a daily basis, while serving orange wedges. Round the clock feedings and emergency veterinary care requirements arise just when you think you can catch a few zs. (Ok, so I know a little about this too.)

Their profitability plan is iffy. And amazing. 100% of the money donated goes directly to the parrot care. Yes, really. A single salary from an outside gig pays for everything else. Efficient? Yes. Focused? Hella.

Any real hope, like any soon-to-be successful business, all comes down to a call to action.

Safe Haven provides natural living spaces for parrots that are as close to their native homes as possible. Learn by example while donating and saving these parrots from an uncertain future. They need your support to provide these cheeky fellas with the environment they so richly deserve. See Safe Haven now. Accurate Always is a supporter of Safe Haven and they'd look great on your personal or corporate donation list too. Of course, all donations, while karmically sound, are also fully tax deductible.



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