Jeff Kofman is the Founder and CEO of Trint.com. Trint is a web app that creates a transcription of a recording and links the audio to the text. Trint was started at an Italian Airbnb in 2014.
Before founding Trint, Jeff was a news correspondent for CBC, CBS and ABC. He won an Emmy for his coverage of the Arab Spring in 2011, and speaks English, French and Spanish.
10-Minute Transcript by Trint.com
[00:00:00] Welcome to THE ART OF VALUE show Jeff Kofman. Jeff is the CEO and founder of Trint dot com. Trint started at an Italian Air B and B in 2014 prior to founding Trent. Jeff has been a news correspondent for CBC CBS and ABC. He actually won an Emmy for his coverage of the Arab Spring in 2011 and he speaks English French and Spanish. Jeff welcome to the show.
[00:00:28] Well thanks Kurt. Thanks for inviting me.
[00:00:30] Well it's a pleasure. I learned of Trint, I can't remember how I think it was in a Facebook group and when I learned about the service I thought you know what this would make an interesting topic for the show. But before we get into that what's the most important thing you could share about pricing customers aren't always looking for the lowest price they're looking for the best value.
[00:00:51] And I think for someone like me it was a first-time entrepreneur I spent my life as a journalist and I think oh my gosh if we raised prices will they run away. But not if they see value. I think there's an axiom that I've run into many times which says that startups usually underpriced their product and I can understand why because you don't want to scare people away when you're trying to attract customers. But the thing is you've got to charge what makes you a sustainable company. And in our case, we have a huge amount of innovation in our pipeline. And so, if we're going to be a viable business and so far, we're very much viable.
[00:01:28] We need to be able to charge a price that allows us to build a team that can build the product that people like you and me as a journalist and so many other people describe that tension between OK we want to make sure we get customers but yet realizing the value that you're creating for the customer and pricing appropriately for that. How do you resolve that tension or how would you suggest somebody who is trying to work through that approach it?
[00:01:56] I think pricing strategy is one of the biggest puzzles of the journey for me on the startup because partly what is challenging about trends is that we're inventing something that has no precedent. And so, we look really hard for models that take lessons from you know we transcribe recorded audio and video in the cloud through artificial intelligence using automated speech and get you the mechanism on the tree to editors to get perfect. That's always been the conundrum really cool that you can be you can ask our other major speech recognition to do so well but it makes mistakes. And for that reason, for me you know my 30 years in journalism flawed data is useless data. I can't if I can't verify I can't use it. And what Trint did was find a way to do that so you know we try to measure what. How big is the market whether people are using what do they do now? But most people transcribe on their own so I know how do you put a value on that if you're $40000 you're $60000 you're a reporter and you're spending you know five hours a week, six hours a week for transcribing. Is that the value. How do we prove that? So, it was really difficult concurrently in our release form. We charge for the minutes the hours you upload. That will change as we add more. Features and more and more added value features to the transcriptions and that's coming in 2018.
[00:03:25] But you know when we look for models for pricing it was really brainteasers the closest we could get actually was your cell phone plan where you know you're remember the early days you bought minutes and you were always concerned you go over because they charge you a fortune. So, then the cell phone companies had unlimited minutes. Well that was a problem because they couldn't contain abuse. Then they created rollover minutes. Well the problem with that is they create liabilities because if your minutes go on month after month after month the phone companies discover they had huge viability on their books. So, then what they just done was well let's put the ceiling high enough that you're not likely to hit it unless you really are abusing. And so most of us as we text so much to most of us don't really worry about how much we talk on our phones anymore. And that's how they resolve that kind of gave us some guidance for us. But you know it's not completely the right. It's not it's not a direct parallel but it gave us some understanding of how pricing works on our consumption models. You know you talk about value pricing. That's definitely where we're going in 2018. You know we have a whole roadmap of innovation that is much more transparent. But you know at the early stages for a startup like this is consumption based a couple of lessons I want to draw out of what you said.
[00:04:42] Number one you admitted that it's a challenge. And one of the things that I try to encourage listeners to do on the show is to be a student of pricing developed pricing as a skill. And second you looked at other things in the market because there was nothing else to look at because you we're innovating in a brand-new space. But you also talked about how you realize what they had done talking about the cell phone companies what challenges they had run into and the fact that even you're moving away from that as you add new things to the platform. So, I think there's a lot of good lessons to draw out of that. So, let's back up. You summarize briefly what trend is but I want to give you an opportunity to really go more in depth so maybe let me ask it this way.
[00:05:26] What is the problem that solves credit offers pain relief I love that question. And the problem is this you take on a podcast like this and you know where we're going to talk for 20 30 40 minutes. You can put this on line and people can listen to it but if I say to you know hey I heard I heard this podcast and this guy was talking about cell phone pricing. And you then go and look at the filing his government gosh its 40 minutes I don't want to waste 40 minutes. I just want to hear his reference. So, there's no way to do that. There's no transcript. Most podcasts and if there is it's just the text below the audio file. What we do is we actually we created what we call the trinity editor. We married a text editor like Microsoft Word to an audio or video player so that we merged two functions into one. And it's an incredibly interesting. It was it was a really hard challenge to make it simple. But essentially Now once you've finished this and if you were to publish it using the Turing player you would then be able to go to this podcast search the word to sell her cell phone and immediately find all the references to it and say oh no that's interesting listen to it. Verify that the transcript is right and then you could time it. You could share it with it put it on social media. All these things are possible.
[00:06:54] Some are in development just to give the listeners a caution you don't want to get ahead of myself with expectations. So, some of the integrations of the social media we're building now. But the point is that the problem we solve is that in a world in which Cisco says that 84 percent of the traffic on the Internet is video or audio video. It will be by 2018. We have this problem of what's called dark data. When you put this broadcast. On your Web site and it's accessible to your listeners all it is an audio file. It's not searchable. It can't be searched through Google. You can't you know you couldn't put the words cell phone pricing value into google and come up with what I just said. That's a problem because most of the content on the Internet is in the form of a podcast like this videos on YouTube et cetera. So, what we've done with the trained editor is Mary that text to the audio so you can hear it and you can see it. You can follow it and you can optimize it through search engine optimization. If you decide to take it one step further with the tweet player or go live and publish it on your website as an interactive or really three-dimensional living transcript so. So, we really offer a workflow pain relief and an accessibility. Opportunity for a corporate audience. If you talk to journalists they'll tell you I hate transcribing over interviews but I go back I've got to go listen to this. It's the biggest pain. But we're also in an era when I started in television in the 1980s you did your TV story.
[00:08:30] Well nobody in TV print radio digital does just one format. Everybody's story goes out on Twitter on Facebook and Instagram it goes out as perhaps a small podcast snippet will go online. I write a story for it for free for digital. If you're at ABC News where I was. Some of it goes to radio goes to the ABC News local affiliates across America and there are ABC where I was there probably eight or 10 or 12 different places that want that same content at the very same time which is now none of that can happen till there's transcription and transcription has been done manually and it continues to be done manually. Freeman has changed that.
[00:09:13] So you talk about the concept of dark data. Let's focus on podcasts because that is the format for my show. But also, I have several friends in the space. So, you're right. Transcribing it's a pain when you do it yourself or you hire a human to do it. And so, having it machine automated gets you closer with the transcription on the Web site. You mentioned the advantages of kind of what I would call journalism or research. What are some of the other advantages for example for a podcast or doing transcriptions. Because I'm in groups on Facebook with podcasters all the time and they say who does transcriptions. What's the value of it. What are some other reasons they should be interested in providing that to their listeners.
[00:09:55] First of all for you as a pod Aster wouldn't that be useful if you could search your own archive of interviews and find references to this. I know I spoke to somebody about cell phone pricing know a couple of years back was that. You know as we build our medicine or over the Imagine the atom just put itself on and go through you know hundreds of interviews and say oh there was that guy. Jeff, I spoke to in 2017 and here's what he said. That's the kind of that's the kind of value is having access at your fingertips to recording content. Having to listen to it being able to just get to see the word play and hear it at the same time follow it by karaoke. So, there's that you know that's what we know. That's what when we talk about shedding light on dark data that's what I mean.