I was cold emailed by a company that wanted me to sign up for their preview. I think they found me on LinkedIn because I describe myself as someone who does some voice acting. That makes me their target audience.
They have a new service for voice talent. OK, let’s learn more.
Their first email said that they are, “a web app for voice over talents that allows you to create a professional voice portfolio to manage your demos online in a beautiful way.”
The “coming soon” web page says that they are, “an easy-to-use platform to engage your clients and make your voice stand out. We are transforming the way voice talents share their work.”
Well, I created a website for my voice work using WordPress and I have my demos on SoundCloud (until they implode and then I’ll move them elsewhere). But there is no lack of where I can organize and post audio clips.
So I told them I wasn’t having a problem creating a portfolio or managing my demos. I asked how they were going to engage my clients (do they help me find clients) and how will they make my voice stand out?
They responded that they are, “a portfolio builder, not a casting site. You’ll have full control over your demos and profile, you can include your direct contact information or forward to your existing website. It’s intended to be a tool for demos management and beautiful audio presentations. Very soon we’ll release a whitelabel and embed option allowing you also to insert on any web.”
They sent me a link to a video with more info about what they’re doing.
You Have A Non Solution to a Non Problem
I replied again telling them that in my other life, I’m a UX chick and I am concerned they’re not going to find success without pivoting. Here are some of the things I told them in my reply:
- I went to voice school (part time) for a year. We were prepared for a LOT of things. I never heard anybody say they were having trouble managing or posting their demos.
- There is something strange about “beautiful” audio presentations. Audio is sound. Beautiful is sight. Their video made it look like if you add a logo to an audio file, it’s now beautiful.
- The video tells me no rules, I can make my own thing. Well, yes, I can already do that on Wix, WordPress, SquareSpace, and everywhere else. I’ve been putting audio on websites since 1996 and it just keeps getting easier.
- Doesn’t my portfolio on your site end up at your domain? So links and SEO go to you? Why would I want that? Yes, I can load up audio on your site, make my own website at my own domain, and then embed the files… but I can do that now. Don’t give me another freaking site where I have to load my files. That’s not helping!
- Aren’t there endless WordPress plugins for embedding audio?
- Whitelabel? Sounds like a good word for a startup to throw around but what does that mean to me, the voice talent?
Their response was basically that many people in voice acting aren’t as tech savvy as I am.
User Research Is Endlessly Important
So who are these modern voice actors looking for work in 2017 (when I got this pitch) who have not found a way to put their demos online because they are not tech savvy… they didn’t use SoundCloud or BandCamp… but they WILL be tech savvy enough to use your system?
User research is endlessly important but especially for startups. It’s easy to imagine, “Hey, let’s build something for voice actors.” Or, “Hey, I know one guy who was bad at tech and didn’t know how to get his demos online.” Sure, but is that so wide a problem that it needs a startup? And this solution?
User research. We do that.