SpokenLayer: now hear this

Here’s what happens when I explain SpokenLayer to most people:

“SpokenLayer turns blog posts into audio.”
“You mean they transcribe audio?”
“No. They do the opposite.”
“Why would anybody take perfectly good text that Google can see and turn it into audio? Is this just for blind people?”

Good questions. The best answer I’ve seen is that at some point all of us are effectively blind. Driving a car, jogging, walking a dog. There are so many situations where your ears are free, but your hands and eyes aren’t.

What if you could listen to a TechCrunch post while you’re working in another browser tab or working in Photoshop? What if you could select a bunch of stories and “listen later” the same way Instapaper, Pocket and Readability let you read later?

That’s what Will Mayo is building.

Posts published on sites that use SpokenLayer are immediately converted into audio using high quality text-to-speech. Then SpokenLayer has a system for either uploading your own author audio like I do or tapping into a marketplace of professional voice talent. Because this system is a factory for converting content coming from many sources from one format into another, he’s working with one of my old Crowd Fusion developers and has built out his site on Crowd Fusion.

That’s a good reason for me to be excited about advising SpokenLayer, but the real reason I like SpokenLayer is that Will is passionate about a very interesting, wide-open space that isn’t already crowded with a bunch of other entrepreneurs.

And I love their tagline:

“Listen. You’re too busy to read.”