Matthew Turner, founder of digital telecoms company Audacious tells us why being born deaf led him to ensure others did not have the same isolation.
What do you currently do?
I founded the core Audacious concept, what I call ‘a hearing aid in the sky’ back in December 2007. The aim was to create a technology agnostic platform that allows people with hearing loss or needs to communicate with ease across society by improving speech intelligibility and call clarity over the telecoms network.
The Audacious brand is a unique combination of digital technology that bridges the gap between hearing (audiology) and voice (telecommunications) that for the first time globally allows a personalised call to be delivered over and through the phone that is uniquely tailored to that individuals bespoke hearing loss or needs.
As Group CEO, I see my role more as strategic, to challenge the status quo, on advise on key recruitment issues and act as a kind of ‘ambassador’; this is to ensure the vision of the core Goshawk technology (which lies behind the Audacious service offering) becomes the global standard in the way we can transform voice clarity for those who need it over the telecoms network. It is to give those who have hearing loss or needs or not, a voice to share and to be heard with so to communicate on a global platform.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
I was born deaf; my early childhood was spent in silence and I got by through second-guessing, making a fool of myself through countless misunderstandings and lip reading ! I struggled daily to use any telephone especially the mobile phone which, once it became the ubiquitous fifth element in our modern lives, I found myself increasing isolated such that it was a struggle to speak to my children, the ones I cared for, work colleagues and call centres!
As they say, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and in my case it was the desire to understand and communicate better and at ease over the modern telecoms network that led to the Audacious technology.
What defines your way of doing business?
It has to be fun, not too easy (otherwise it would be boring) and with a sustainable purpose but underpinned by core team values of integrity, transparency and an honest realism of what each individual can bring to the journey, why and is it relevant for that time in question.
It is a tremendous feeling when we notice or hear someone who could not or struggled to use the mobile phone, suddenly see a light come on in their eyes as they realise, ’hey I can do this’ and the fear of using the phone fades away. This desire to improve the way we all communicate lies at the heart of the way Audacious does business. It’s the human touch but in speech mode.
Who do you admire?
There is no one single person that I admire ahead of many inspirational figures. Among them would be Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela for their courage in communicating that the rights of the individual must be heard and transcend that of the national conscience; or Winston Churchill whose inspiration borne out of a difficult childhood and political life provided the global leadership when many lacked the vision needed for success ahead of adversity; or more recently David Attenborough whose concern over our planet earth reminds us it, like us , is unique and we must treasure it less we lose our own identity.
What would I tell my younger self?
As much I would like to have done so, it would be to try and live up to the phase from the song ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ since being positive is a core skill and strength I wished I had understood and worked on far earlier than I did. But it’s never too late to learn …
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
The road to success (however it may be perceived) depends on being honest with yourself, your capabilities to deliver a product or service you believe in and an attitude of constructive, critical yet positive perseverance. It is critical to work with people whose skill set adds value to the business beyond oneself and learn how to manage that interface beyond personal prejudices!