Feature Friday: Listen To This Blog

A few days ago, I stared getting emails asking about avc.fm. Was this done with my approval? Did I know who was behind it? The answer was no and no so I tweeted this out and gave my approval.



As I suspected they would, the team behind avc.fm reached out soon after that tweet and we've been trading emails since. That team is called Voice Bunny and their business is "voice talent via an API". If you want to see a reasonably technical and critical discussion of Voice Bunny, here's a Hacker News thread on the service.

The main knock on Voice Bunny in that HN thread is the cost. So I asked the Voice Bunny team about that. They said:

Our prices are coming down fast: Most professional talents are used to doing a few recordings per day and waste a lot of time auditioning. We are teaching them that VoiceBunny allows them to be more productive and, thus, charge less per recording. In just three weeks the median prices have dropped 40%. We expect the prices to continue to come down as more projects flow through VoiceBunny.

Royalties: We are extending our API so that our clients can build apps like avc.fm by sharing royalties with our talents. That way our clients won't have to pay anything up front. Most professional talents are used to be paid with royalties and they are welcoming the idea.
In any case, I like they way they used a stunt to get my attention. So much more effective than sending me an email saying "I'd like to come talk to you about a new project we are working on". So I'm going to start auto-embedding the avc.fm voice overs at the end of the posts on AVC (via the SoundCloud embed of course). I need to get Nathan to help me with that so I'm not sure when today's will appear. Going forward it should only take an hour or so each day. 

If you'd like to subscribe to AVC on your SoundCloud mobile app or via iTunes or via RSS, here are the appropriate links to do that:
RSS podcast: http://avc.fm/podcast

Comments (Archived):

  1. Dave Pinsen

    A productive stunt this turned out to be. Well played, as JLM would say.

    1. William Mougayar

      As a software stunt man myself, I’d say that not all stunts aimed at Fred work. They have to stick with real lasting value. 

      1. fredwilson

        Yeah. The eqentia stuff didn’t work on me

        1. Matt A. Myers

          It’s a good thing that was all apart of the plan … so when you were introduced to Engagio you were blown away in comparison!

          1. fredwilson

            Conspiracy theories are in vogue in this community

          2. LE

            It’s true.Three things going on here at least.First is the contrast principle (what you are saying). Second is same thing that happens to politicians who know they probably won’t win the first election. By the time they run the second or third time people feel more comfortable with them and are more likely to vote and support them. They are familiar and viewed as more likable.Also by getting rejected, William got direct feedback on Fred’s hot buttons (which of course are also on the blog). So he could build those into the new product. And improve his pitch.

          3. Matt A. Myers

            The only way I’ll get Fred’s interest is getting my prototype to an MVP — some features I realized were needed before became useful enough — and by that point will be gaining traction, not only from Fred using it. 😛

          4. William Mougayar

            Matthew, our story has been in the open. there was no single moment to it, but rather a lot of hard work since early october. and the hard work is about to get harder. 

          5. Matt A. Myers

            I know William. You’re a hard worker, smart and a thinker. That’s what I sensed the first time I met you when you gave me a tour of the Extreme offices.You’re not one to give up either — all qualities I admire and respect, look up to, and attempt to mirror in myself.I know once you get an engine going like you there’s nothing going to stop it. 🙂

          6. William Mougayar

            Thanks. Waiting for you to do the same. You can do it.

        2. William Mougayar

          I know. But that didn’t stop me from trying more than once.

      2. matthughes

        “software stunt man” – that’s awesome 

  2. JimHirshfield

    Sounds like a great disruptive service. Do you get to choose the talent? I’d like to hear Robin Williams read AVC.

    1. David Semeria

      I’d pay to hear JLM read out his own comments.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Are you suggesting an alt revenue stream for Voice Bunny? 😉

      2. fredwilson

        Me too. I’d pay to hear him read books.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          He must have a sexy voice!I think JLM needs to provide us with a demo… enough peer pressure might work? 😉

          1. JLM

            Haha, so funny.One of my most prized possessions is a recording of me when I was a 22 year old Lt and was on duty in the TOC (tactical operations center).  I was handling the big radio that night all by myself and we had units in the field.A unit called admitting they were hopelessly lost and needed to get reoriented.  I had a mildly unreliable RDF (radio direction finder) which could at least give me an azimuth.  I immediately recognized they were wandering into a minefield.  I knew the AO (area of operations) very well.I was trying to talk them away from the minefield but it was dark and they could not see any landmarks.  I had to cajole them to follow the azimuth back but they were having a tough time sticking to good compass readings because of the terrain.The other Lt panicked and I talked him down off the ledge and back to safety.  It took about 2 hours but I finally got him back on a road to safety.When I listened to that recording last, I could not believe I was that calm in such a circumstance.

          2. Matt A. Myers

            Wow. Thanks for sharing — though that would be a little too intense to hear. Perhaps you can share a reading of Winnie the Pooh instead…

          3. Brandon Marker

            HELL. OF. A. STORY.

          4. andyidsinga

            C’mon! stop yakking [typing] and post us an MP3 🙂 🙂 :)[ edit: just to be clear, I wanna hear army stuff, swearing, loud cars, beer talk, fights (if any), stories of management ass kicking mixed with thoughtful slightly tear-jerking mentoring, airplane stories of hard landing and bad weather ]

          5. Donna Brewington White

            soundcloud.comEasy as pie.Your public awaits.

          6. Robert Thuston

            JLM, you have some great stories.

        2. ShanaC

          His vocal quality is that good?  Things you don’t know about a person…

      3. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        I think his comments are to be read out in our own voice after some years. read it again

      4. Mark Essel

        That makes 15,000 of us (I might have rounded that # up). JLM’s a shrewd business man, he can’t pass this opportunity up.We’ll start with children’s books, and have JLM work up to reading an autobiography.

      5. Todaydownload

        I Agree with you…

      6. Robert Thuston

        Haha… good picture in my head.

    2. Abelardo Duarte

       The API allows you to choose any type of talent you want 🙂

      1. JimHirshfield

        Love it!

    3. John Revay

      Re: Robin WIlliam, I recall reading an excerpt from the Steve Jobs book – relating to the voice over for the new Apple commercial when Steve returned.”And then there was the voiceover. According to Isaacson, Jobs and Chiat/Day’s Lee Clow wanted Robin Williams but he wouldn’t do it. Tom Hanks was the next target with Jobs going to the extreme of asking Bill Clinton to phone the actor on his behalf after meeting the ex-President at a fund-raiser. Eventually they settled for Richard Dreyfuss but Clow then suggested Jobs to the voiceover himself. Jobs recorded a version and only plumped for the Dreyfuss one at the very last minute, hours before transmission.”

      1. JimHirshfield

        Yes, I remember this passage from the book. Perhaps this means that Fred needs to be the voice talent for his own blog?

        1. Shawn Cohen

          A savvy voiceover artist would bill themselves as a Fred Wilson impersonator.

    4. El Flecha

      I hope so!

      1. fredwilson

        I stand corrected

    5. Alexander Torrenegra

      Hello Jim. You’ll be able to determine the talents that can work in your project. Here is a flowchart that explains how to do so with our API: http://voicebunny.com/devel

      1. JimHirshfield


      2. Luke Chamberlin

        Alex you are a mad genius.

    6. fredwilson

      I don’t think so. I think its a market. The talent chooses you.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Other replies to my comment lead me to believe you have some choice/control over talent selection. But alas, I don’t think Robin Williams is available. Second choice is Governator impersonator.

        1. David Lecinski

          Hey Jim,”Second choice is Governator impersonator. “<<<<<  Did you listen to the sample audio file produced by Mr. VoiceBunny on the http://voicebunny.com homepage?  Impersonator or the real deal?;)

          1. JimHirshfield

            Ha! I just listened to the sample – that’s great. Very creative.

        2. Leonardo Suárez-Ruíz

          For sure theere will be acouple of talents that might be able to record that impersonation

      2. Matt A. Myers

        I think it’s a brilliant / smart. If talent can quickly review the scripts they will be able to choose scripts they a) like doing the most, b) know they can do well / have success with, c) it’ll feel fun for them. The only other piece is having a critical mass to supply enough selection.Since finding out about VoiceBunny on HN the other day I already have plans to use it. Very smart execution, and I love the personality they show — and is a perfect example of the personality audio can give to anything — including a website (most likely overlayed on top of a video tour).

        1. Alexander Torrenegra

          Thank you Matthew. That is our goal right now: reach critical mass. This post helps a lot 😛

          1. Matt A. Myers

            To infinity and beyond!- Buzz LightyearBest of luck. 🙂

      3. Abelardo Duarte

        Actually you can select the type of talent you want for your project, even when sending projects through the API! Also you can give instructions to do an imitation, just like in the site trailer 🙂

    7. Rohan

      Ah. If I had to pick, I’d go with Morgan Freeman.What a voice..

      1. Mark Essel

        Morgan’s awesome, but I’d be split between James Earl Jones, and Patrick Stewart as a second.

        1. Rohan

          Ah. I haven’t heard James Earl Jones.Professor Charles Xavier is awesome. No doubt about that!

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Ever heard of Darth Vader?Yep.

          2. Rohan

            Knew Anakin as a padawan learner, I did..

          3. Luke Chamberlin

            Haven’t heard of James Earl Jones? The irony is strong in this one.

        2. Donna Brewington White

          I can hear Richard Burton reading AVC.  Well, an impersonator.

          1. Mark Essel

            I was thinking of narrators in general, for avc it’s gotta be Fred’s voice.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            I agree.

    8. Rohan

      Actually, on second thought, maybe I’d ask Frank Oz…… 😉

      1. JimHirshfield

        Wise choice, jedi

  3. William Mougayar

    Great idea. So, I have 2 feature requests:a) a BunnyStumbler where I can tie together Fred’s & other blogs and with Skip/Fast Forward button. Do you have a marketplace directory for all the bunny stunts?b) this one is a stretch, but it would be interesting to be able to comment via voice and have the Bunny do a reverse flip and post my comment into the blog’s comment section.@voicebunny:twitter I noticed you’re at the GA on the 4th rabbit hole. I’ll be a tenant there as of next week Monday. 

    1. leigh

      Did stumbleupon ever come up with an API?  If they didn’t they should have.  Discovery and serendipity service for large content sites is so important…..

      1. William Mougayar

        Not sure. My mind is elsewhere now. 

    2. John Revay

      Item b) commenting via reverse flip.Can’t wait to see Engag.io start aggregating these sound cloud recording andThen with a new Engag.io feature do the reverse flip all within Engag.ioAt the pace you and your team are going at – I would expect to see it pushed out this weekend. 

      1. William Mougayar

        Bunny funny.

        1. John Revay

          Just another channel or stream & yes I am amazed how quickly you pushed new features…it was like seeing the app built in front of one eyes.

    3. David Lecinski

      Hello William,Love the ideas!  Both are quite interesting and our team constantly collaborates in what we call our “Brainstorming Chat” to discuss ideas just like yours.  The VoiceBunny concept coupled with our feature-rich API (which continues to grow) will allow many of these ideas to eventually become a reality.I’m based out of Chicago, but was in NYC all last week.  I plan to travel back at a minimum of once per month so I’ll be sure to look you up on one of the Friday networking events!Be Well and happy Friday.

      1. William Mougayar

        Sure…I’m getting oriented at the GA Monday morning. Looking forward to meeting you.

    4. ShanaC

      You’re moving from toronto?

      1. William Mougayar

        Not moving personally, but moving the mind of the business to New York. NY is a launching point for us into the US market. I’ll be there on a regular basis given that we were selected as one 6 Canadian companies by the Government of Canada to take a 3-month tenancy at the General Assembly. http://www.international.gc…And I’m not adverse to hiring local talent from NYC 🙂 Already and via the AVC blog, I love the NYC Tech community and want to leverage it further.

  4. awaldstein

    This is an antiquated part of the entertainment biz. Ripe for disruption. There are two sides to this of course, the talent they are targeting but the producers who hold the dollars need to be sold.  avc without comments is like seeing Avatar in B & W.

    1. William Mougayar

      true. i made a comment about the comment part too. i think we have discussed voice comments before on this blog, and the conclusion was inconclusive on voice comments. however, if they voice-normalized comments, maybe there’s something there for listening to comments after they are closed. During the first 24 hours, the comment section is so dynamic and threaded that a voice over would be entirely messy and incomplete. 

      1. awaldstein

        Content available as audible I’m all for. Been a proponent of this since I had an odd job lifetimes a go running a library for the visually impaired and managing the volunteers recording sessions.But I’m on the fence whether the post is really the content. Newspaper articles, yes. Dynamic community discussions?  Not sure they can be parsed and hold together. 

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          @awaldstein:disqus @daryn:disqus @VictusFate:disqus @wmoug:disqus @fredwilson:disqus I’m hoping as you see your comments together you see where the virtual voice applies… a matter of doing it right.

        2. Mark Essel

          If Disqus’ input stream was a little more like Twitter’s timeline (ideally pure routes Disqus.com/victusfate shows my comment activity), audio would work as long as there is a context option.Based on my on page comment reading, audio navigation would require dashing around the too tier and then following threads down. An audio web is a challenge.

          1. awaldstein

            I’m happy to see this product. Considered taking on a client in the space a while ago.In order to figure it out, it needs to get started as the rules are not written yet.If there is someone thinking and blogging on this space I’d like to know so I can follow along. 

      2. daryn

        The problem with voice normalized comments is they lose their voice, as far as who wrote them. Now maybe if it were a hook into disqus, where you could choose from a library of voices to represent you… Also, who’s going to be the first to mash up avc.FM with some visualizations and word clouds so Fred can post about watching avc.TV on his Boxee 🙂

        1. Mark Essel

          Now you’re talking. Choose your own virtual voice.

          1. Donna Brewington White


        2. William Mougayar

          i agree. the voice thing has its limits, but if properly used has its merits.

    2. Matthew Aylett

      Absolutely. Watch this space. Use speech synthesis for the comments, contributors choose a voice they like or clone their own voice. The trick is to mix automatic, bespoke, and customised voices in a way which communicates content in a rich audio environment…. Hey, why not sound effects too! You could have  a cork being pulled from a  wine bottle.

      1. awaldstein

        This is unchartered territory Matthew I agre.Audio, I’m deep into its value.Creaf was built on the back of sound for games. I had the distinct pleasure of building a developer organization serving some 4000 game developers who actually, drove the sales of most of the 80M sound cards.

  5. Timothy Post

    It’s been an idea stuck in my brain for years now. Perhaps, VoiceBunny can make it a reality. The idea is for someone to take text articles/interviews from magazines/journals and turn them into audio files. I call it refried audio. Anyhow, there’s tens of thousands of great text articles (think of all the historic interviews in Esquire/Playboy from the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s alone) that I’m sure could find large audiences. I’d love to see someone stick them up on iTunes and Amazon and charge 25 cents an article. I’d gladly pay for the opportunity to listen to all that great content previously locked away in text archives.

    1. Abelardo Duarte

       This idea is brilliant, one of the best I´ve read until now.. I´m from the Voicebunny team btw…

      1. Richard

        Can you tell us about the realtionship between voicebunny and Voice123?

        1. David Lecinski

          Rich,Check out http://voicebunny.com/pages…

        2. Abelardo Duarte

           It’s a startup backed by the company 🙂

  6. William Mougayar

    It seems like there might be synergy with SoundCloud? 

    1. Abelardo Duarte

      A lot of synergy!

    2. fredwilson

      Yup. First thing I did was email intro.

  7. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    What happened to the two guys from South Africa … who did the voice blog for you?

    1. fredwilson

      Tyrone is still doing itSoundcloud.com/MBA MondaysAlso on iTunes podcast. Search for MBA MondaysThe difference here is its a talent market with an API

      1. tyronerubin

        wrong url http://soundcloud.com/mbamo…Nope I wanted to achieve this exactly connecting people together ala talkshoot.comI just made mistakes by not doing MBA Mondays in realtime. So 6 months ago I made the mistake of starting at Post 1. Instead of feeding current MBA Mondays posts to MBA Mondays.Damn!!!!

        1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

          Performance is different from PersistencePersistence is a bigger force than performance.

  8. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    There is one good thing about voice than text. You can do paralleled tasks.I think we discussed in depth about all this few months ago when … i forgot the name … but i believe they are from south Africa . His voice was much better than what i hear from voice bunny.I listened to “The Engineers Brain” … I can’t hear beyond 20-seconds … hearing Fred in lady voice sounded bad … at the least those guys could have matched the gender.

  9. John Revay

    Wait a minute…I read the whole post thinking someone high jacked   http://fredwilson.fmInteresting – I have been a listener to the MBA Mondays recording on sound cloud (recorded by Talk shoot) for the last few weeks > they stopped at #49 the case study on ChiliSoft. I welcome this form of media….it is very interesting some times – just easier to tune in or listen vs reading – Re: I was listening to the MBA series while riding on a stationary bike.I don’t fully understand or appreciate the need for hired voice talent for an application like this, I traded emails w/ Fred once suggesting that after he posts the written version of the blog…he just hit the record button on the sound cloud app and quickly read off an audio version….what’s better than listening to AVC read by Fred ( in Fred’s voice).  I understand it may be a time sink.

    1. Jess Bachman

      love that last idea.  An FXFW (Fred by Fred Wilson) audio would supremely awesome.  Surely it would only take less than 3-5 min to accomplish.

      1. John Revay

        YUP – I like your FXFW branding

    2. ShanaC

      As long as it isn’t on a real bike…Sometimes the way technology intrudes on external life scares me.  I see runners all the time with headphones on, and I wonder if they can hear oncoming traffic.  I marvel at my own bad behavior of texting and walking….

      1. John Revay

        Stationary in my basement.  I got an iPhone bike mount for the front handle bars – I am thinking when it is nice out – I will drop the trainer and head out on the open road music blaring ( no ear buds).That should wake things up in my quite town!

    3. Alexander Torrenegra

      Even with professional equipment, one minute of high-quality recording takes at least five minutes of work: adapting the wording for a podcast, recording, removing mistakes, and uploading. An MBA Mondays article can easily take an hour of work.

      1. PhilipSugar

        I can see that.Whoever did my MBA Monday’s post was very good.You know that is not just ripping off an 8 min recording.  (I was shocked it was that long)

      2. John Revay

        Hi Alex, you are the expert, I am clearly not. I have been trying to get Fred to do his own recordings, I think it is < than 1 hrs…and hopefully more like 5 mins,… Assume1/ Fred uses sound cloud – limited production/copying required – recorded directly to the cloud2. Fred gets a good quality Mic3. He finds a place at home or office w/ OK Acoustics – soft furniture to adsorb echos. 4. Assuming he is subject matter expert – re: he know’s the topic in general and more importantly – he just wrote, he knows any and all pronunciation, any phrases that one might want emphasized – again he is the author – in his own words 5. Does not have to read verbatim – it would actually be good for him to ad-lib re: he has license to do so. – It would kind of be a bonus to hear him possibly go off script a little.5. All in I would hope for 5 mins or < ( perhaps once a week he blows through seven of them).I know Fred is a smart guy – so I am worried that he already thought about this or even tried it and concluded that time required was way more than 5 min per post.

  10. John Revay

    “Our prices are coming down fast: Most professional talents are used to doing a few recordings per day and waste a lot of time auditioning. We are teaching them that VoiceBunny allows them to be more productive and, thus, charge less per recording. In just three weeks the median prices have dropped 40%. We expect the prices to continue to come down as more projects flow through VoiceBunny.”I would think there may be an online market place where people (including students) may want to voice recording….extended where each voice or talent is ranked.CHECK THAT – I GUESS this is what Voice Bunny is

  11. Sean C

    Considering I’ve actually been the voice of a few of your blogcast posts already as a result of this (such as The Management Team and Dispersion and Entropy), I can’t really say I disagree, haha. Here’s to hoping there’s tons of content in the future!

    1. Alexander Torrenegra

      Thank you Sean!

  12. dwhistler

    This is why it’s a great thing to have Creative Commons-licensed content, like your blog does––you don’t need to put time and attention into giving permission to projects like these to remix your content.

    1. fredwilson

      Permissionless innovation!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Cynthia Schames

        Asking forgiveness > asking permission.

        1. ShanaC

          (as long as you don’t kill someone)

          1. Cynthia Schames

            @ShanaC:disqus I generally avoid homicide.  Even when justifiable.

          2. ShanaC

            🙂 oh, agreed.I still think one of the most meaningful books I read last year was interpreter of maladies. You start understanding how medical ethics works (and if you’re a medical startup, worth looking at)

  13. kenberger

    there’s encouragement here for people who don’t know you to perform unannounced stunts for your attention??It’s all fun n games till someone flies a helicopter up to your bedroom window (or worse!)

    1. fredwilson

      Yeah but the effectiveness is related to the applicability of the stunt to me

  14. John Revay

    Nuance / Siri  Not to downplay the importance or value of good voice talent.For certain content – has there been enough advancements in machine generated voice.Depending on ongoing talent costs – would a machine generated voice be Good Enough for non commercial content like AVC?   Fred – no slight intended.

    1. fredwilson

      I hate machine generated voice for consuming content. Its fine for command and control applications

      1. John Revay

        Yup – Don’t mean to be a fanboy here…but I still like the new iPhone commercial w/ the kid starting a band ..”from now on call me Rock God Ok” http://youtu.be/JSfIm3nbKLs#command&control

      2. falicon

        The only place I’ve found I enjoy it is with http://www.xtranormal.com …somehow I think the computer generated voice really adds to the fun there…

      3. ShanaC

        What about the subway?

        1. fredwilson

          That too

      4. Aaron Klein

        Totally agree. It will be amazing when the technology gets to the point that we can machine-replicate a human voice naturally.It still won’t be perfect but it may be good enough for the bottom 90% of applications.

    2. Michael Elling


      1. ShanaC

        Too many verbs to be grimlock

        1. Michael Elling

          Condensed version.  A quick listen; albeit painful like a workout on concrete.

  15. Cynthia Schames

    The bunny’s t-shirt says “I (bunny) Fred”.  Consider me sold.

  16. RichardF

    hmm….looks like I might have to brush up on my Richard Burton impersonation and put myself forward as talent.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Ha!  I commented above that I could see Richard Burton as a voice for AVC.Do you really do an impersonation?Years ago — maybe high school — had the (vinyl) LP for Camelot.  Listened to it over and over — or at least the recording of the poem.  “Don’t let it be forgot.  That once there was a spot. For one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot.”

      1. RichardF

         Badly,  Donna….

  17. John Revay

    Fred – AVC brand, doesn’t look like you are the registered owner for AVC.fmWondering if the voice bunny people agreed to transfer domain ownership to you. Side note FredWilson.com I would be interested in know how much web traffic those consulting engineers in Jacksonville FLA get from people looking for the Fred Wilson (also an engineer) from NY, NY.  Assuming no relationship?

    1. Alexander Torrenegra

      We’ll be happy to transfer it, of course! We wanted to surprise the community, and thus we had to buy it first and ask questions later 😛

      1. fredwilson

        I’d love to own it and style it up like avc.com

        1. Aaron Klein

          I have a feeling they only want a 3X liquidation preference for the domain, so that should work out okay.

        2. Alexander Torrenegra

          Sure. We’ll get started with the domain transfer. I will then send you an email to coordinate additional details.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            …and your style.

      2. John Revay

        Nicely Done!

      3. Donna Brewington White

        I like the way you think, Alexander.

  18. Rohan

    Ready. Fire. Aim.Do first and apologize later.Neat.

  19. Matt A. Myers

    This is the kind of natural, synergistic, mutually beneficial cross-promotion that will drive and dictate who will lead to who the ‘winners’ are.Think Independent Web.

    1. fredwilson

      I am convinced the independent web is the sustainable and winning model

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Me too. And because I have this obsession with problem solving I’ve been figuring out the ecosystem and how it can be put together (or how to let the pieces fall together) – or at least how to position myself well, in part which best-case-scenario is to lead it.. Projects I’m working on will give me the tools/communities to tinker with as a good test base.

        1. Richard

          How do you define the independent web.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            My latest definition isn’t refined yet, though a few things I could point you to –http://www.avc.com/a_vc/201…http://mattamyers.tumblr.co…That’s not so much of a definition, though if you’ve followed my comments you’d notice different clips and references to it.My focus has to be directed elsewhere right now though I do eventually want to write a piece on it. If you follow me on Tumblr than you’ll eventually see it. 🙂

      2. Richard

        What are your thoughts on the independent web when it comes to Bottlenose.com and Twitter?

        1. fredwilson

          there may be something that i don’t know about. but i think bottlenose is great.

  20. DRC

    At Typecaster, we’re working on a similar service: providing blogs, newspapers, and other websites with professional audio recordings of their content. If you’re interested, visit http://www.typecaster.net or email [email protected] and we’ll be in touch.

  21. Jess Bachman

    Is it just me, or does that woman sounds like a really good machine voice.  It’s hard to tell these days.  Machines are trying to sound like humans, and humans are trying to sound like machines.Could use +5 personality.

    1. Cynthia Schames

      @jessbachman:disqus I agree.  For a few years during college, I was a voiceover artist.  My background in musical performance led me to an opportunity to record industrials for a large healthcare related firm located near my college, and it was lucrative, relatively easy, and also boring as hell since I was talking about subjects such as managed care, nursing staff tenures, and management of distributed healthcare systems.  Even in the dry world of industrials I was able to inject more personality.If I were recording Fred’s words, I’d probably blow through studio hours like water just trying to tone it down.

      1. Jess Bachman

        lol… when we read something, like Freds blog, we hear the voice in our head we want hear.  While it will never match a VO, it’s never as dry as the VBunny stuff.Id rather here a Cristopher Walken impression of Freds blog.

        1. Cynthia Schames

          Christopher Walken would be hilarious, but I’d most like to hear Fred’s words in Fred’s voice. “FXFW”.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            or FWFTW!

          2. Cynthia Schames


        2. Aaron Klein

          “I’d love to see us build an engaged community around this…but it needs more cowbell.”

    2. Donna Brewington White

      Yeah, I was disappointed by the voice and tone.  Nothing wrong with the voiceover artist for the right material.  Just didn’t seem like the right voice for Fred’s material.  It’s a casting issue.

    3. Matthew Aylett

       A lot of synthetic voices sound so dull because people expect them to be like that. Its a casting issue as well. Check out our Sexy French voice on Android (search CereProc Android Marketplace). I think that would have given the audio a bit of pizazz..Its a real issue though. Synthetic voices are good for dynamic content. We can make them have more personality (or use other peoples), but if you want to read a bedtime story to your kid, do it yourself, in real time.  

    4. Ela Madej

      +1 for +5 personality. had the same impression and it took me a little while to understand what VoiceBunny is about (initially thought it’s text -> voice API)

  22. Dan Epstein

    I like the idea.  I’ve wanted something like this for a while.  Also glad to see SoundCloud in the process.  I can’t wait to queue up posts and articles for times when I can’t read.  Kind of like an audio Instapaper/read later.  Fred, I wonder how long it would take you to record/read the blogposts. Would that be worth 5 minutes?

    1. fredwilson

      MaybeBut there are many days when I hit publish and run downstairs to wake up josh or run to the gymI am hesitant to add to my workflow

      1. Dan Epstein

        Yeah. I hear that.Being selfish, I’d rather listen to you read the post than someone else. But being able to listen at all is cool.Posts read by the author might make more sense for longer-form pieces (New Yorker, Grantland, etc.).  Would be nice to SoundCloud Like an article on the web to listen to it later. cc / @David:twitter 

      2. PhilipSugar

        I liked the guy that did my voice over much better than I would like my own voice.

    2. William Mougayar

      Queuing them up would be useful indeed.

  23. Elia Freedman

    Three quick thoughts:1. I love how you are pointing out interesting stuff that isn’t a portfolio company but may be of interest to your readers.2. All I could think of is that if you worked for an old world entertainment company you would have sued them instead of encouraged them. I’m tired of movie studios.3. Friday!? Again?! Who keeps shortening my weeks???

    1. ShanaC

      The president?

      1. Elia Freedman

        Oh, sure, ShanaC. Break out the tin foil conspiracy hats!

        1. ShanaC

          hahaha, no I mean it was president’s day monday. Which would have made monday feel like a sunday, and shortened the week 🙂

          1. Elia Freedman

            Ah… no, that’s not it. I worked Monday. My weeks seem to be getting shorter. (My daughters aren’t helping matters, either. They are visibly getting older, which makes time pass faster.)

          2. Mark Essel

            Not kidding around, I can feel the passage of time accelerating. I chocked it up to age, but it may just be my schedule.I took a 15 minute “all stop” break from wrapping up a django project yesterday afternoon and sat with my two dogs. We watched Apple’s screen saver on the big screen to our Dropbox photos while listening to ambient Pandora music (that’s what I set them up with as a distraction while I’m working in the back).I’ve known my wife for over 5 years, but time wise it feels like we met very recently. It doesn’t take a wild imagination to extrapolate that I have a handful more precious present moments with her.

    2. fredwilson

      My hope is I’m an equal opportunity promoter. If I promote usv portfolio services way more than other services, that’s bad

    3. Alexander Torrenegra

      Let’s see how long it takes me to convince Fred that VoiceBunny should be part of his portfolio 😛

      1. fredwilson

        First step: is it a network of engaged users on both sides (content creators and voice talent) and is is a truly open marketplace

        1. Alexander Torrenegra

          These are two of our objectives, indeed. All sellers (talents) and buyers (content creators) can join our marketplace. We let the marketplace determine rates, deadlines, and quality expectations. We’re building tools that ease the matching process using such factors. As for engagement, we are trying to follow the lead of companies like Etsy (building a community), Twillio (evangalizing), SoundCloud (content sharing), etc.Having said that, the definition of “engaged users” and “open marketplace” varies from person to person. I’d love to learn how you think your own definition of these concepts could apply to VoiceBunny.

          1. Matthew Aylett

             And speech synthesis? Your voice talents shouldn’t be scared of this technology. Its like a builder not wanting to use a Digger because he’s worried it will put him out of work.

          2. fredwilson

            thanks. that is very helpful

        2. Richard

          How i like feedback like that! How do you define “truly open”?

          1. fredwilson

            anyone can join. no permission needed. only scammers and fraudsters and bad actors are removed.

    4. fredwilson

      My hope is I’m an equal opportunity promoter. If I promote usv portfolio services way more than other services, that’s bad

  24. ShanaC

    How are they recruiting the voice over people?

    1. Abelardo Duarte

      Uhm, any talent can sign up on the site. There are quality checks done for every job though…

    2. David Lecinski

      Great question, Shana!We openly welcome new talents to join VoiceBunny and are also leveraging the talent database of Voice123 to facilitate building the pool of available talents as the market demands increase.  At this time, we have only invited a portion of these talents to participate in VoiceBunny and are adding to the database daily.Voice123 is the industry’s first and largest online voiceover casting marketplace with more than 100,000 registered talents covering more than 50 languages!  Check out our story here:  http://about.voice123.com/

  25. LE

    The key to being able to disrupt the existing market is the “Search our database” feature where hopefully someone will be able to target the existing talent that they think is appropriate for their project. (Currently not operational)The “get one recording quickly” is good but I can see companies not wanting to put in the true script because if you reveal correct details then you are losing privacy on your project. There will also have to be buy in from agencies on this. And the thing with that is they typically markup anything they buy so it will be interesting to see what their motivation is to use this product to save clients money if it impacts their revenue.

    1. Abelardo Duarte

       LE check on the company backing VoiceBunny —> http://www.voice123.com/Does that disruption you are talking about and its a business model tailored to agency needs.

      1. LE

        Just took a look. Perfect.But I’m wondering to what extent the talent would be willing to compete on price.  And have results sorted by price.For example this paragraph (my emphasis):Does the price depend on the purpose of the recording?Talents and voice producers tend to charge depending on the purpose of the recording. In short, if the recording is widely popular and helps you make a lot of money, voice over talents expect to get more money than if the recording has a very limited use. For example: a 30 second recording for a TV commercial broadcasted all over the United States may cost up to 20 times more than a 30 second recording for a voice mail greetingThis basically just supports a legacy way of doing things. It’s not that I have a problem with that. But I think it’s only a matter of time before someone ends up making this market operate in a truly competitive fashion. So will that be voicebunny or someone else?After all you are removing many of the steps necessary to get work. And unlike legal work, the work is clearly defined. And why should it matter what the voice is being used for or how much money the company using makes?Of course I recognize that with digital rights it does work this way. Comcast charges more for TV in a bar than in a home and getty images charges by usage for stock photos as well.As @fakegrimlock:disqus  said the other day:”SOLVE OWN PROBLEMS BEFORE SOMEONE ELSE SOLVE YOU OUT OF BUSINESS.”

        1. Alexander Torrenegra

          Thank you for the feedback! In fact, we are trying to promote the per-word pricing popular, regardless of how the voice will be used: http://voicebunny.com/proje…

          1. LE

            One more thing. A nice feature would be the ability to match a particular voice where you don’t know the voice but you can provide a sample of it from either a video or another source.For example if I want someone who sounds like the narrator in this video:http://www.youtube.com/watc

          2. Alexander Torrenegra

            Thank you for the idea. This seems to be an interesting technical challenge! I like it!

  26. Tom Labus

    Sure this has been said but how do you gather in the comments too?

  27. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    We have now “reintroduced” the talkies!

  28. Andrew Hoydich

    Hey this is a really cool service! However, one thing I noticed and feel compelled to point out is that the voiceover paraphrased a little and added/removed words here and there. I’m not sure if that was purposeful or if it happened by accident so I figured I’d mention it anyways. Although the changes were nothing major, if it was by accident, there could be unintended consequences in the future.Just looking out for ya Fred 🙂

  29. andyidsinga

    Along similar lines of voice audio  : Has anyone every heard of or used  Librivox? http://librivox.org/  ..public domain audio books ..volunteer based.

  30. Geoff

    Maybe a different technique is for Fred to just post up his musings as plain audio then get the community to type them out as posts 🙂

  31. Donna Brewington White

    I am more impressed by this than I expected to be.  Very smart, innovative idea meeting a real need and it looks as though it is well executed. While there is an existing market, a product like this by its very accessibility will expand the market and create new customers for voiceover services.  Yep, brilliant.  Also very impressed with how this emerged from Voice123.  A sort of vertical?I will be really interested to see how they manage relationships with their “Country/Language Managers”( http://voicebunny.com/pages….  Seems like management of these entrepreneurial relationships will be a huge job!  Especially for such a young company. That, coupled with managing product and brand integrity in the face of broad global expansion and the localization that comes with this.  I also wonder how they will recruit these Country/Language Managers?  That is a marketing challenge and need in itself!I see that they are also looking for Sales Directors.  Now that could be a fun job!

  32. Seth Godin

    I dunno… I’m pretty glad they didn’t do this to me.I just listened to today’s post on the site. Her voice doesn’t sound like you, the energy is low, she missed a few words that changed the tone of a sentence, and most of all, it robs the post of the expression that makes your posts work–it’s not you.Also, I think there’s a big difference between doing one of your posts as a stunt and taking more than a dozen and waiting for you to make a stink. One is gutsy, 18 is stealing.

    1. fredwilson

      it’s allowed under my CC license so it is not stealing

      1. Seth Godin

         My mistake. Sorry to have jumped the gun without looking for that first.

        1. fredwilson

          no worriesi want to get the content i create distributed as widely as possible so i try to encourage this stuffsome of it worksmuch of it does not

  33. Robert Thuston

    Fred, this is cool.

  34. Ela Madej

    A quick heads-up: that postcast link (http://avc.fm/podcast) is broken – http://screencast.com/t/zFN…

    1. fredwilson

      bug reportedthanks

      1. Alexander Torrenegra

        Thank you Ela and Fred.Ela: The link seems to be working fine, as it’s an RSS feed (XML file). You’re supposed to copy and paste the link into your favorite podcast application. As such, this seems to be an UX issue: you probably expected to see a menu of options when clicking that link. We are going to improve the UX to reduce confusion. If the link doesn’t work for you within a given app, please let us know and we’ll take a look.

  35. Alexander Torrenegra

    There are multiple talents recording voices in VoiceBunny. We’re analyzing which voices people like the most for each application, so that we can give priority to them.

  36. William Mougayar


  37. William Mougayar

    cheap shot i admit…but it’s friday. you can get me back on monday 🙂