SpinVox – An Amazing Free Voice-Text Transcription Service You Can Use From Your Mobile Phone

I was out walking the dog the other day and found myself in the middle of a muddy field miles away from the dry, warm comfort of home trying to keep track of Jess (my collie) as she scurried around looking for sticks to be thrown.

It was early evening, the sun had gone down, it was cold and so I was wrapped up in multiple layers barely recognisable under so much clothing.

Because it was dark, keeping track of Jess was easy because she had one of those flashing blue and red lights on her collar.

When a dog needs to be walked twice a day in and in winter that means two walks in complete darkness on some days you go through these collar lights quite quickly and so on this day we had a brand new one.

I think we must have changed brands recently because this flashing blue and red light was illuminating pretty much half of Oxfordshire.

I half expected to arrive back home to find the Royal Air Force Police on my doorstep to complain about ruining the night vision of their pilots as they fly overhead in their helicopters!

So it was whilst watching Jess adding to the local lighting footprint (undoubtedly being track by some foreign power’s spy satellite) that my mobile phone went off.

It was now a race against time to remove the gloves, unzip my waterproof coat, unzip my fleece jacket, undo the zip on my walking trousers’ pocket, fumble in the pocket to retrieve my phone from my hankerchief, keys and loose change, before the phone switched to voicemail.

After much cursing and cavorting I found the phone, dragged it out, spilt the rest of the contents of my pocket onto the muddy field and dropped my gloves in a puddle.

Fortunately I managed to catch the caller before they were subjected to my daily voicemail message which sometimes only needs a powerpoint presentation to be a fully fledged seminar on why I can’t answer the phone right now.

It turned out to be my buddy John Cremer who uses improvisational techniques when working with clients. He also runs The Mayday Players who are an impressive and highly entertaining improvisational theatre company.

Now John and I have been working together on a project with the Academy of Chief Executives which we completed on Monday (we co-facilitated their most recent Speaker Showcase event on Monday) but when John phoned, we were still going through the preparations for the event.

“Michael, it is John….I have got a great idea for something we can do on Monday and I am in the car right now and want to tell you before I forget”

“Why don’t you write it down?” I asked

“Because I am in the car and don’t have a pen and I know you will remember it…”

Now John and I are completely different people and when it comes to thinking, we work at completely different ends of the spectrum. John is totally right brain dominant and even chaos is far too organised and structured for him whereas I am very logical and systematic in the way I think.

The man is utterly brilliant at what he does but trying to get him to focus at all on anything for longer than a nanosecond is like trying make a pig sing – the results aren’t very good and you will only upset the pig!

The laughs we have had as we have seen the utter conflict and confusion in our individual styles as they have come together on this project have been frequent.

So John told me what it was and I made a mental note of it but I said to John “Have you ever heard of SpinVox?”

“Spinvox….?” He said

And then there was a short pause…..

“No…never heard of that?”

Had I been with him I am sure that I would have seen his eyes glaze over, roll over into the back of their sockets and see him wither into a “too much information” overload state – it is sort of like the thinking equivalent of the foetal position.

“Yes SpinVox.” I said “It is a free service that allows you to dictate short voice messages that are immediately transcribed into text for you and emailed directly to you. If you had been signed up for it, you could have phoned in, recorded what you wanted to remember and have the text sent to you via email”

It still seemed like too much for John to take in without me being there to draw pictures, so I put together the video you will see at the top of this post to explain just how easy it is to sign up and use and if you prefer to read more about it, then do read on.

What is SpinVox?

SpinVox is an impressive box of tricks that creates a very easy to use and convenient way of capturing those ideas that come to mind that we want to capture but often don’t have the means to write them down.

Kenny Harris, one of the brilliant speakers from the Professional Speakers Association, recommends that you always carry around a small notebook and pen to capture those ideas that come to mind and since hearing that from him a couple of years ago I have always done that.

It is something I now also recommend, and still do, but there have been occasions, for whatever reason, when I have found myself with something I absolutely must make a note of but have neglected to carry said notebook and pen with me.

Then whilst working with a client about a year ago, they recommended that I try SpinVox out…and I am glad I did.

They have a number of paid for services such as the voicemail to text conversion, but their memo function where you can ring in a short message on your mobile phone and have it transcribed is absolutely free.

How do you sign up for SpinVox?

This is extremely simple.

All you need to do is go to www.Spinvox.com and follow the prompts from the “Get SpinVox” Link at the top of the page (see below) and follow the selections for “Memo” or go direct to sign up page, select your country and “memo” and press submit.

SpinVox is available in the UK, US/Canada, France, Germany and Spain in the native languages for those countries.

You will need to give them your mobile phone number together with your e mail address and after clicking on a confirmation e mail, you are all set to go

How do you use SpinVox?

Once you are set up, it is extremely easy.

I recommend you programme the SpinVox telephone number (sent to you in the confirmation e mail) into one of your speed-dial options so you can access it with a single press of a key.

Here is all you need to do:

Your amazing flash of inspiration comes to mind
You dial in to the SpinVox system
You say what you want to capture
You check your e mail inbox next time you log in.
It really is as simple as that.

What Could You Use SpinVox For?

I am sure there must be dozens of things you could use SpinVox for, but here are just three to get you started that initially I have found the most useful:

To capture those reminders of things you must do at some point in the future.
To dictate short e mail messages that you can later cut and paste when you send the email
To capture those brilliant flashes of inspiration that come to you when you are furthest away from the nearest pencil
So if you want to have the peace of mind to know those little things that come to mind that you need to remember are going to be captured and stored where you know you definitely will retrieve them then simple sign up for SpinVox at www.Spinvox.com and start using it immediately.

When you start benefitting from this, make sure you come back and add a comment to this post to let me know how you are using it and what value you are getting from it.

++++++STOP PRESS++++++

Yesterday I worked with a client’s senior management team and recommended Spinvox to them. Less than two hours later, here is the email I got from one of them:

Hi Michael,

Have used it twice already whilst in the car and can tell that it will change the way I keep my to-do list, as I can simply flag and task the email when I return to the office.

I think it will also save the admin team some time as they don’t have to take the call, write down a note, and be distracted themselves.

I can’t believe they don’t charge for it!

Best regards,


[NOTE – It appears that since this post was written, Spinvox has been bought out by Nuance and no longer exists]