{ Technology Changes - Values Don't }

Four Corners / Fairfax
interviews OutScribe
about ATO power abuse


Firstly, we must apologise that in our previous newsletter the unsubscribe link at the bottom was not working. So if you've previously tried, please do so again and this time it will work.

In the last edition, we shared that OutScribe has enjoyed good growth every year except 2017. Last year, the Australian Taxation Office conducted an audit of our business model (not our taxation commitments, which are all up to date). It's quite a story and the final chapter is still to be written so we will outline in detail that story in another newsletter. In light of the serious impact that the ATO actions have had, we've decided to be part of a 4 Corners report conducted by Adele Ferguson, which will be airing on Monday, 9th April at 8.30pm (AEST) on ABC and later on iView.

It may be unusual for a business to take the bold step and invite clients into the inner sanctum but we value your business and faith in us. So, let us introduce you to the people that make up OutScribe and handle your valuable audio/video recordings.

Check out the preview
Coordination Talent

OutScribe is a purely online business, which means that we have home offices. We don’t commute, we don’t pay office building rents, we don’t car pool. We do wear ugg boots, have a close relationship with the kettle or coffee machine and enjoy our natural surroundings.


When you upload your audio files Annette or Raelene then assign that work to freelance contractors who transcribe it for you. The contractors are all Australian residents who also operate their small businesses from home offices. Now whether they wear ugg boots or not I can’t say, but what I can say is that all dealings with client data is secure and processes are adhered to. (read our confidentiality statement) This business model is not unique to OutScribe but is industry wide. It’s a beautiful thing – small business supporting micro business, contributing to the Australian economy.

Annette will be opening up her office to you (and the rest of the country!) next Monday in the ABC 4 Corners report, but in the meantime come down the hallway to meet Raelene.

Raelene works part time and loves surrounding herself with colour and beauty. She also loves the Queensland humidity, but hey, no one is perfect. After arming herself with a bottomless cup of coffee for the day, she is ready to take your calls and process your audio/video files, although odd techie glitches that pop up now and then are handballed to Brendan, our hairy↓ IT guru.

  Tech Cave  

We've convinced our in-house techie to share what a typical day looks like for him and he's agreed to temporarily take off his tin foil hat, open the blinds and give us a look at OutScribe from the inside. 

I have a secret, my speling is terrible and my grammar are attrocious?

There, I came clean and said it right up front.  It therefore goes without saying that I'm not allowed anywhere near the transcription work. My talents lie elsewhere. Confine me to a dimly lit room with a PC, an internet connection and you won't hear any complaints.

From OutScribe's inception my role was the technical development of the company.  For me this also means nurturing the technical mindset and culture of OutScribe and its contractors.  Security has always been a high priority. For example, we've never emailed transcripts to clients even though that was standard practice in 2005. Un-encrypted emails can simply not be considered secure, and astonishingly some companies continue this practice even now.

To the rescue

Often I'll work with the audio recordings too, which is very much my forte. At age 16 I left home and headed to Sydney to embark on a career of audio engineering. I transitioned into full-time IT twenty years ago but I've continued to remain very active in sound, most frequently in the form of red-wine enhanced (see my latest wine-philistine review) listening sessions with my beloved 1970's British speakers.  There's ongoing work on how SteamBot handles audio files but more often than not I get hands-on.  Sometimes we'll receive problematic and difficult to hear recordings due to poor recording set-ups or conditions, resulting in a poor quality transcript or in the worst cases, no transcript at all! This can be devastating because it's usually impossible to repeat an interview.  It's at these times I put on my super hero cape and come to the rescue. I'll often be able to reduce unwanted noise and bring out more vocal clarity so we can produce a transcript from something that was previously unintelligible.


One of my roles is to support and maintain our custom built transcription platform that we affectionately refer to as SteamBot. We're currently mid-way through a significant update which will make way for some great improvements, including a full rewrite of our web interface, which I'm particularly excited about.  We developed SteamBot to accommodate a wide variety of client needs so under the bonnet there's a lot of complex features and presenting these while ensuring things stay intuitive for clients is a challenge.  Most features like the notification systems, work-flow handling, editorial and approval processes, account and invoice management go unnoticed (well, unless I break them!). These are all essential features in delivering a smooth service but go unnoticed when doing their job well.  So working on a new user interface is an engaging change and I'm sure will be really appreciated by clients when it's done.

The Equinix Sy4 data centre

Sydney's Equinix SY4 data centre which provides OutScribe with extensive interconnection and redundancy

Another of my daily tasks is to monitor and manage our IT systems.  Good security doesn't occur without constant vigilance and close monitoring.  We use a range of tools to this end; backups, nightly updates, real time intrusion detection and prevention tools and of course physical server security.  Our server is located in Australia, which is vital.  Overseas hosting is far cheaper but as soon as your files leave Australia you've also lost the legal protections and privacy standards we enjoy in Australia.  OutScribe uses the Equinix SY4 data centre located in Sydney which provide us premium hosting features:

  • 24/7 onsite security personnel
  • Biometric fingerprint security
  • 24x7 CCTV recordings
  • UPS and Diesel backup generators
  • Direct cross connectivity into multiple 1st tier internet providers
  • Cooling Redundancy

I feel so fortunate to be able to work every day in a role that combines all of my passions and get paid for it.  I work with some very talented people that are committed to achieving quality results and it shows. We constantly get messages of appreciation from clients and mostly thanks to their personal recommendations OutScribe has seen constant growth year after year.

Thank you for making it possible and supporting OutScribe.