Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Top 10 Stories of 2014: 4. The Serotek Saga

We're winding down our countdown of the top 10 biggest and most influential stories of 2014 on Blind Bargains. This year's panel included Jeff Bishop, J.J. Meddaugh, Jamie Pauls, Alena Roberts, and Joe Steinkamp. Next up, a very active story on social media.

The assistive technology landscape is changing. What worked in our industry 20, 10, or even 5 years ago will likely need to be reexamined today. Serotek is a company we've long respected for their willingness to try new things and think outside the box. While some screen readers were charging $100 a year or more for updates, Serotek decided to eschew the SMA entirely. Meanwhile, their affordable scanning solution was roughly a quarter of the price of alternatives such as OpenBook and Kurzweil 1000.

Given this aforementioned need to adapt to the times, changing directions and needing to part ways with staff members is not a surprise. But what made this a story was the way the PR train got away from Serotek. 5 members tweeted their resignations on a Friday afternoon, the majority of their staff at the time. While we can debate the semantics of what really went down, something must have happened to elicit such a response. It took a full 48 hours for Serotek to release a response to the "resignations", and by this time, the story had spiraled out of control.

If there's anything to be learned from this situation, it's that you always need to be in control of your own brand. When many of the most public faces of your company all walk at once, something is amiss. And with the rampant nature of Twitter speculation, things can get out of hand quickly.

We're not sure what Serotek has in store for the future, but given their past history, we can bet it'll be something unique and different. Whether or not their decision to change directions was the right one will play out over time. It'll definitely be an interesting story to follow in 2015.

The top 3 is next. Stay tuned.

Category: Articles

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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.

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