Tweak Your Biz » Marketing » Audioboo’s Mark Rock – Making The Spoken Word Social

Audioboo’s Mark Rock – Making The Spoken Word Social



I first heard of Audioboo via Paul O’Mahony on Twitter. Paul must be one of the most prolific Audioboo users. He introduced me to Mark Rock who created the social platform and immediately I wanted to know more – as I do. Living in London Mark has an extensive TV branding background and has previously led successful companies. Mark explains how he got the idea for Audioboo and how big it has grown in such a short time; he also shares some business tips and his favourite Audioboos.

AudiobooWhat was your background before Audioboo?

I started a company called Static2358 in 1997 with a colleague. We focused on broadcast motion graphics and interactive technology. As one of the first company’s to use Apple Mac’s for the entire creation process, we were lucky enough to land the job of creating the on screen branding for FilmFour, Channel 4’s first digital only channel. The company then went on to rebrand Channel 4, Sky One, Star TV in Asia and many more. At the same time, we were creating an interactive TV division which worked for Teletext, QVC and Sky on applications for set top boxes.

Fusing these two disciplines together led us to launch PlayJam, a TV games Channel on Sky that allowed viewers to download simple games via their TV. We later rolled this brand out to cable in the UK, Canal+ and TPS in France and Cablevision in the US. We sold the business in 2001 to a large US company and I continued to work there as Chief Creative Officer till 2006.

What gave you the idea to create Audioboo?

Memory, or rather the loss of it. My mother died and all those vibrant memories of her’s – about the dogfights of Spitfires and Messerschimts above her Croydon home during the war or walking the Swiss Alps in the 50’s with my dad – were gone. When Channel 4 asked us to look at their nascent radio initiative in 2008, we came up with the idea of a mobile recorder, always with you, always capturing the most mundane of stuff but complete with core metadate like location, image, title etc. Very much an accidental startup.

Audioboo

Please can you explain what it does? How many users and Audioboos are there?

Audioboo is all about making sound social again. The spoken word is the key way culture, information, emotion has been exchanged since we first started to talk. In the era of social networks, it’s lost that power, as people tweet or video or take pictures. Audioboo allows you to capture high quality audio off a smartphone, add info to it and immediately upload to the web, where it can be effortlessly shared with your friends, family or the world.

We currently have about 500,000 registered users and many more unregistered. We have over a million individual audioboos from 220 countries and get around 150,000 listens a day, up 200% from 6 months ago.

We’ve been very lucky in attracting a lot of companies like BBC, Guardian, Royal OperaHouse, Christian Aid and British Library into an official partnership with Audioboo, as well as great individual users like Stephen Fry.

Can you give me 5 bullet points of advice for someone who has a great idea that they want to bring to fruition?

1. Get a partner with different skills than you. A creative needs a marketeer, a techno needs a commercial person.
2. Make something that is as simple a proff as possible and show it around. Don’t keep things to yourself.
3. Raise money early and don’t worry too much about your ownership percentage or valuation. You can sort that later.
4. Hire people better than you
5. Above all, enjoy yourself.

Which Social Media platform(s) have you found most useful for your business?

  • Linked in for checking people out.
  • Twitter for allowing a new kind of customer interaction.
  • Facebook for knowing what my son is up to.

Have you any favourite Audioboos you can provide some links to with the reason why you think they are great?

Too many:-

Imogen Heap for showing a new way to connect with a fanbase.

This one, just to break your heart

For making you feel great

Showing the human side of David Miliband

And our Delores for showing the power of the human voice

What is next on the agenda for Audioboo in 2013?

Far too much and most of it is secret. And most, actually, will happen before the end of this year. But personalisation, notifications, finally good UIX and reward are up there at the top.

Plus a holiday at last :)

Have you started using Audioboo yet? What do you think of it and do you have any questions for Mark? 

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The Author:

Sian Phillips is the Managing Editor of TweakYourBiz.com and a Moderator on Bizsugar.com. Sian is also the accountant for her clients Henparty.ie, (Dragons Den winner 2009), Clearwave.ie and Comserv.ie. With over 20 years’ worth of experience in business and accounting Sian provides help to the SME sector. The other half of Sian’s day is spent workIing in the Social Media space; writing blog posts and conducting interviews for TweakYourBiz.com, plus writing for clients globally about Social Business and Accounting. She is a qualified Accountant with an Honours Diploma in Journalism too. http://www.tweakyourbiz.com

Add Your Comment

  • http://www.theexecutivesuite.com/blog/ Warren Rutherford

    Nice interview and article, Sian. I’ll be checking it out.

  • Sian Phillips

    Thanks Warren – I have only used it once so far but found it so simple and a great idea. Hence why I was interested in knowing more

  • Mark Rock

    Great article. I sound very lucid for once – the sign of a great journalist.

  • Sian Phillips

    Thanks Mark – sign of a great subject I think :)

  • http://about.me/Lindeskog lyceum1776

    Sian: Audioboo is a great tool for podcasting. How would you compare and contrast it with Soundcloud?

  • http://about.me/Lindeskog lyceum1776

    I am very happy with Audioboo. It helped me when Cinch.fm closed its service, so I then followed a guide on how to transfer the audio files to Audioboo. If you want to listen to my podcats, go to: http://audioboo.fm/Lyceum

  • http://www.smartsolutions.ie/blog/ Elaine Rogers

    Martin, I wanted to use Audioboo to provide meditation podcasts for my newsletter list, but you cannot make audioboos private, you can with soundcloud. Perhaps Mark is addressing that for 2013?? That would be fantastic!!

  • http://www.smartsolutions.ie/blog/ Elaine Rogers

    I have to say I really enjoyed reading this, I have great respect for Mark, Audioboo and its most avid user @omaniblog (Paul O’Mahony) Paul just sent me an audio DM this morning – brilliant. Well done Sian and Mark for explaining the service so well, I will be using it more in 2013.

    I am hoping there will be the facility to create “private” boos, like soundcloud – this would be hugely helpful :)

  • http://www.smartsolutions.ie/blog/ Elaine Rogers

    Sian is brilliant at asking the pertinent questions, a great service Mark, thank you both for highlighting it here on TweakYourBiz

  • http://about.me/Lindeskog lyceum1776

    Please send me more information about your newsletter and future meditation podcasts. I used Cinch for private audio files now and then.

  • http://www.smartsolutions.ie/blog/ Elaine Rogers

    Martin, Dec issue going out in 30 mins!! You can sign up here – http://ow.ly/fZOxD

  • http://about.me/Lindeskog lyceum1776

    I have signed up for your newsletter! I want to talk with you about newsletters and future projects later on! :)

  • Sian Phillips

    Thanks Elaine – I’m glad you liked it. I’ll certainly be using it more in 2013 too

  • Sian Phillips

    Thanks – I haven’t used Soundcloud so can’t compare sorry

  • Elish Bul

    Thanks for the snappy and concise insight into what works in start ups – the 5 bullett points were crystal clear.