There's been a bit of "controversy" this past week in SpinVox world. Like some silly season feeding frenzy, egged on by a cheerleadership of malcontents, the hack pack descended on the pride of Marlow making outrageous claims about the Spinvox business, and SpinVox management. Unsurprisingly, the SpinVox team who, groaning under a slew of industry awards received in recent weeks, are rather busy managing the rapid growth of a profoundly successful business have had some unwelcome extra work to do in responding to the media circus.
I think there's a lesson or two in this story for Entrepreneur Country - www.entrepreneurcountry.net. Sometimes businesses fail, and sometimes they have middling success. Sometimes founders swing for the fences, and they hit the ball way the hell out of the ball park. Spinvox is a turbo-charged, over-the-top success story of which the UK should be enormously proud. I've seen many, many VC-backed mobile data companies go nowhere. SpinVox has sold into some of the toughest customers globally successfully – 28 telecommunications carriers announced at the last count with more waiting in the wings. It rather takes my breath away. They have honestly exceeded my expectations, and I'm so thrilled to have equity in the firm.
However, and this is what everyone in Entrepreneur Country needs to know, it ain't always pretty. If you have SpinVox level of ambition sometimes people can't stand the heat, and are either asked to get out of the kitchen, or leave the building entirely. Rather than just getting on with their lives sometimes those people nurse grudges then say things which - sometimes - are simply not true to soothe themselves when they see that the firm they left continues to go from strength to strength without them.
Sometimes suppliers aren't up to the job either and they have to go. Sometimes in the middle of a recession customers don't pay on time, and yes, sometimes employees are even asked to make choices. It's all part of being in Entrepreneur Country.
It's not always fun, but it is always hard work, but no one ever said that building a billion pound, game-changing global leader would be a walk in the park ..
That’s the reason I set up Entrepreneur Country - to move the bar in many ways, but one of the chief reasons was to let the mass of society into the world of being an entrepreneur.
And where better to start than SpinVox. Ok, if you hadn’t guessed already, I admit it, I'm a total fan of co-founder and CEO Christina Domecq. I love her impatience, her warmth and generosity, her sense of humour [she so totally doesn't take her self too seriously], her ferociously hard work ethic, her high expectations of herself first, and of others as well, her search for excellence, and her driiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive. I love her driven team - Bob, Phil, Rob, Jonathan, Adam, Daniel, Simon, Leslie, Jane, Nicki, I could go on - they are some of the best in the business. I adore the fact that as a 32 year old woman, she's playing with the big boys and winning. God I love that so much. SpinVox is a breakthrough on many levels. No one else has sold voice technology as a managed service to carriers and their rate of innovation is staggering. They have strong IP, and a great business proposition, but more than that SpinVox is the first major technology success story out of Europe founded and led by a woman. You’ve got to love that too. Go girl!
We owe our entrepreneurs in the UK to be rooting for them when they go global, not pissing at them from outside the tent. Those of you who have a slightly cynical streak to you, who just neeeeeeeed to be negative about something or someone - go find some real failures to pounce on - there are plenty of them [can provide a list] - but when you are confronted with excellence, leadership, entrepreneurship which has created a new category of communications, not to mention substantial employment and is a global hit out of the UK - either get behind it, or go home. At least watch carefully, you might learn something. It’s only the small-minded, insecure or jealous who would pull someone down who is the biggest and best example this country has had for a very long time of how to lead the team, and how to build an incredibly valuable company from a simple, smart idea.
The fact of the matter is that those who are world class technology and business leaders rate SpinVox and Christina Domecq enormously and are beating a path to her door. And that's a great place to be.