The term “Note taking” may soon fade into obscurity, thanks to revolutionary new voice-first team collaboration and transcription software from Otter.ai, a disruptive Silicon Valley startup. Otter Voice Notes uses AI-powered speech recognition, speaker separation and keyword-based search technology to enable business professionals, journalists and students to capture spoken information with a high degree of precision and accuracy in real time. The technology makes voice conversations from meetings, interviews, virtual events and lectures instantly accessible and actionable.
We recently interviewed VP of Corporate Relations Mari Mineta Clapp about the success the company has had working with Waters Agency to raise awareness for its Zoom integration, which became an instant differentiator during the COVID-19 pandemic, and her plans for continued engagement with the agency. (And, yes, we used Otter Voice Notes to capture the conversation!)
Q. What was the impetus behind developing Otter Voice Notes?
Mineta Clapp: The collaboration software and SaaS technology behind Otter Voice Notes was the vision of Sam Liang, who led the locations team at Google, which developed the blue dot on the Google map, the only app shown by Steve Jobs when he demoed the iPhone on stage at the Apple WWDC in 2007. Sam is a serial entrepreneur who saw the need for capturing conversations and all the great information that’s spoken at events, lectures, business conversations. Existing transcription services were inadequate to capture spoken conversations verbatim, and Sam knew that they were missing important data and ideas people shared in conversations. David Cheriton, a renowned angel investor and former PhD advisor to Sam at Stanford, who provided the initial capital to Larry Page and Sergey Brin to start Google, recognized the opportunity for Sam’s idea.
Q. When did you start working with Waters?
Mineta Clapp: We enlisted their help in April this year, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have an integration with Zoom, which became especially relevant once everyone was sheltering in place and working remotely. Suddenly, all meetings were taking place via video calls, students were distance learning and companies were holding virtual events. Imagine being a college student listening to a lecture on the screen several hours a day? It’s difficult and exhausting to concentrate and take notes while the lecture is happening. Business professionals attending online meetings and journalists conducting interviews over video have the same issue. We wanted to get the word out about our growth and how critical our technology was for remote workers. So we engaged with Waters Agency for a specific project: to secure coverage and raise awareness around our Zoom integration and its relevance during the pandemic.
Q. Why were you looking for a PR agency?
Mineta Clapp: Our technology had already been featured in top-tier publications like the New York Times, WSJ, TechCrunch, but we wanted fresh, high-level business, CIO, and broadcast contacts to get the word out. We needed an agency who had high-caliber contacts, an understanding of enterprise collaboration software, and was passionate and persistent enough to get their attention. We also needed them to work fast.
Q. What were the results of the engagement with Waters Agency?
Q. What do you like most about working with Waters Agency?
Mineta Clapp: What I love about Waters Agency is they’re as passionate about our product as we are, which is very hard to find. The team really listens to our goals. They have excellent contacts, a strong understanding of what journalists need and how to build a solid story, and they don’t give up. They really saw the value in our offering and were able to communicate it effectively.
Q. What differentiates Waters Agency from other PR agencies?
Mineta Clapp: A big differentiator is that everybody on the team is senior-level. During my career, I worked for one of the largest PR firms in the U.S. for ten years, and we launched the tech giants — Apple, Intel, Genentech and more. It’s not about having a big-name PR firm; it’s who’s working on your account that matters. With Waters Agency, you’re not paying for a 22-year old fresh college graduate to manage 80% of your account work.. Every individual on the team is experienced and has an impressive network of press contacts. This is a very seasoned team of PR professionals and writers who understand technology and bring a tremendous amount of knowledge and passion to their work.
Q. Is there an example of a time when they really came through for you?
Mineta Clapp: When we made the Zoom announcement, Waters was instrumental in getting us the attention of mainstream media. People knew us as a company who had the highest quality AI transcription, but the team at Waters helped us communicate the remote work story and make it relevant for the current environment. Additionally, Waters has global reach, so they can target the most appropriate journalist.
Otter’s technology is used by a wide spectrum of businesses and individuals across industries for remote work and enterprise collaboration in large global multi-national companies and by professional services and consulting firms. It’s also being used by PhD researchers, professors and students, as well as by national daily newspaper journalists, broadcasters and leading technology and industry publications. The technology is also perfect for businesses holding virtual events, and for those with disabilities that require accommodations.
Q. How do you see your engagement with Waters Agency moving forward?
Mineta Clapp: Waters Agency delivered tremendous value on a project basis in a short period of time, and we were impressed across the board. Given the results we had with our initial engagement, it was an easy decision to retain them for ongoing services. We look forward to working with them to continue our strong momentum in the U.S. and expand our global reach.