For the last 8 months, I have been conceptualizing and building a new software project called Speak. With it, users can upload and analyze their text, audio, and video content to get personalized insights and recommendations to help them connect more deeply with who they are communicating with.

The original idea came to me after I got hired to do a talk last year. It was a short timeline, in front of a lot of people, and on a complex topic. As I started to write, create and practice the speech, I was unsure if I had put together a good presentation that would connect with the audience. I started to crave getting some feedback. But, on my search, I found there weren't any good solutions: Toastmasters can be quite rigid, family and friends can be biased, and posting online can ruin the surprise (plus you also risk getting roasted in the comments).

I began to see a gap in not just preparing for speeches but in speech-driven communication in general. We communicate every day. It is a cornerstone of success for us in both our professional and interpersonal lives yet, there are almost no tools out there to help us communicate better.

I started to put together some possible solutions. The first one was a peer review system where a user could upload their talk and then get feedback from online reviewers. But, connecting two sides (a multi-sided market) is a notoriously difficult task. We worried about fulfillment, quality control and reviewer credibility/expertise. So, myself, along with my team and some great supporters started to look at solutions with technology.

There has been an amazing rise in voice technology. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have helped us make significant progress in speech-to-text, natural language processing and sentiment analysis technology. We are now capable of taking almost any speech-driven content and providing a whole new layer of analysis to it (I think of it as another level of awareness). With Speak, we can identify multiple speakers and provide each one with an analysis including a transcript, keywords, and more than that, tone and personality.

Our goal is to help our users understand how their audience perceives them. Do you come off intellectual and confident or angry and uncooperative? These perceptions shape our lives. Speak helps with deep insights to help users tailor their message and make sure they are communicating effectively.

Speak is still in its early stages but has potential. I am excited to explore that potential with our first outside investment through the Western Accelerator Program. The money and resources open the doors to bringing Speak to the world. In the next few months, along with my work at SixFive, we will be developing and launching Speak.

If you know anyone who would be interested in Speak, please feel encouraged to connect us. Speak has the capability to help people and organizations create, record, transcribe, analyze, and search through almost anything. Whether it is phone calls, meetings, and speeches or emails, sales copy and blog posts, we've designed Speak from the ground up to help users communicate better and be more successful.

I'm looking forward to an awesome first quarter of 2019 and sharing lots of exciting news with you. Thank you to everyone who has helped us get this far to date. We couldn't have validated the product and raised the money without you. To a great year ahead!

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