Taji Ramblings – Oct. '09

Been tough trying to find the time to blog these days. My advertising day job is demanding allot so I don’t have much time to research let alone write out articles about things that grab my attention. Here are a few issues that have been on my mind lately… I thought I’d share them for the heck of it:

1. The Move
For those who don’t know yet. My family and I are moving from our current apartment to a bigger place about 15 km outside of Cairo. That should take place on Halloween (we don’t celebrate Samhain the festival of the dead). New place is nice.. quiet and clean … I hope that neighborhood stays that way cause I am honestly sick of the city. Egypt doesn’t have professional moving companies that will help pack your stuff for you and ship it to the new area. You basically hire a company that has a truck and they hire moving workers (according to the amount of furniture involved) then you agree on a day and pray to God that everything goes smoothly.

2. The Laptop
In a previous post I had mentioned that I was in the process of shopping for a Laptop. I finally settled on a model that had all the specifications that I was interested in. The only hangup for me was that by the time I got around to deciding what model would best suit my needs the laptop was out of stock at the local Tech Mart. Anyway as Allah (God to those who don’t speak arabic) would have it he had a better plan for me. I found out that a friend of mine from the mosque worked for Fujitsu and he would get an employee discount if he bought anything from them. Long story short I ended up paying about 22% less for the laptop than I expected.

3. Work Pressure
Been working on a project for an agricultural company in Egypt (saudi owned) that was the middle east dealer for John Deere. I have been putting in so many hours on this project that I can safely equip your farm for you from Pivot Irrigation systems all the way to JD Tractors and Combines.

4. Symantics
I recently saw a blog post from the folks at Voices.com through their Voxdaily blog. I saw this chart included in the post and I honestly didnt know what to make of it.

Why does this chart confuse me? Look closely… they’re saying British English / Australian English and American English are all different languages… not different Dialects of the same language. Yes I’m sure that in some area’s of Australia the english they speak has so mutated that it would make little sense to the untrained ear. But seriously calling australian another language. (shakes his head).

5. Making connections
Recently I’ve been getting allot of mail from Voice Over Business professionals. I’d like to share a few names with you guys and maybe promote their services (why not.. I’m a nice guy):

  • Karen Commins contacted me recently telling me that she ran her own blog and would like to be listed in the Taji’s Voice Directory under the blog section. You can access her blog here . Ms. Commins hails from Atlanta Georgia where my father when to Unversity.
  • A nice Italian VO artist contacted me recently and wanted me to translate and record something for him. The budget was low and I informed him that his budget would only cover the translation… Since I don’t do translation (I outsource it) I told him the news and never heard from him again.
  • A gentleman by the name of Thorsten contacted me about correcting the name of his VO casting company http://www.voiceconcept.net . Voiceconcept is based in spain.
  • A gentleman by the name of Arturo Blay contacted me recently regarding adding me to his new Voice Casting company as the Arabian Voice (the correct term is Arabic but i don’t mind Arabian… kinda glamorous) his new company is called “Voz en Off”. I will add the company to the directory list once they launch their service.

6. Google Adwords / Adsense
I dunno how successful advertising with google adwords was… but I think a few of the clients who recently contacted might have gotten wind of me through that system. Since I opted for the prepaid option of advertising with them and since my funds with them have run out… My advert is no longer circulated using their ad network. As for Adsense. That system is ridiculously hard to control … so I removed it from most of my other websites.

Thats it for now… Just a few things that have been taking up precious real estate in my head. Also I included pictures in this post for those of my readers who like pretty colors.

Thanks for reading.



  1. Glad you noticed the voices.com pie chart palooza. It was taken from their Client Experience Report Fall 2009:


    According to the very first slide, there’s a $10.2 billion Worldwide Market. Three questions:

    -How did voices.com come up with that number?
    -US or Canadian dollars?
    -10.2 billion per quarter, year, decade?

    But wait… there’s more.

    The report was based on the answers from 170 respondents. Is this a representative sample? Unless we know the size of the client base, there’s no way of telling. I used to work for one of the largest market research companies in the world, and I am still involved in a number of projects. Numbers only mean anything, if they are based on a representative sample and if they were produced by an independent market research company.

    Voices.com asked their clients the following question:

    “How long have you been using Voices.com to seek voice talent services?”

    The answer blew me away:

    74% less than three months
    12% 6-12 months
    9% 1-2 years
    5% longer than two years

    Voices.com has been in business since 2003. In other words: in the six years of operation, almost three quarters of the clients surveyed, have been with them less for than 90 days. What does that tell you?

    I think we can all agree that for a company, one of the measures of success, is the number of returning customers. Getting new clients in the door is fantastic, but once they’re in, you want to keep ’em there. If they’re not sticking around, you want to know why and fix it. Every business owner knows that it takes way more time and money to get a new account, than to retain it.

    According to the same rapport, 77% of the clients find voices.com easy to use, and 74% indicated that they use voices.com exclusively to seek talent.

    So… if these folks are so happy with the service, why can’t voices.com keep these satisfied customers on board?

    Of course this question was not asked, or the answers were not made public.

    Why are you bringing these things up here and not with the folks at “voices”, you might ask? Well, I did, actually. I added my observations in the “comment section” of the report, and they were never published.

    Instead you’ll find responses such as “Great job. Good work. Keep it up. Useful information. I applaud your efforts in presenting these statistics.”

    On a different note: this month marks Monty Python’s 40th anniversary. Pie, anyone?

  2. That’s the nice thing about running your own blog. You can pick and choose what comments you’d prefer published. Nice and easy way to silence the voice of dissatisfaction and disidance.

    Good on ya Strikwerda

  3. As if we couldn’t or wouldn’t publish our thoughts anywhere else…

    My blog readers don’t have to agree with me. In fact, I’d like them to challenge me and open up a dialogue…. as long as things stay civilized, constructive and hopefully entertaining!

    Good luck with your move, by the way. Supposedly, Cairo has as many citizens as the entire Kingdom of The Netherlands… perhaps even more. It must be hard to escape the crowds and find a quiet place to record.

    Speaking of quiet… how much noise does your new laptop make?

  4. Population of cairo is around 20 million (it fluctuates between that and 13 million because of the influx of workers that travel to the city daily). The place I’m going is about 15 km outside of cairo. Not far enough to be inaccessible but far enough so that I can escape the crowds. Its a gated community so they have lots of parks and grassy areas for the kids to play.

    Laptop doesnt make any noise that I can hear… it comes with a variable fan setting whereby I can tell it to lower the speed of the fan if I need to lower the noise even more. This of course puts the CPU in danger of overheating so its not recommended for 4 hour takes.

    Move is going somewhat smoothly. We’re moving the little things bit by bit and the moving company comes end of month for the big last haul. I hope it goes smoothly and scratch free.

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