Before we get into the nuts and bolts of what Business Insider’s, James Cook published, lets get one thing straight: if Cooks claims were true, Clozer would never have passed due diligence and completed funding lead by Kayar Ragahan and a group of international investors – we signed a 6 figure investment deal AFTER Business Insider published.
The unit economics of the internet make page views more important than the truth. This is how ‘Journalists’ like Cook get away with presenting misleading, sensationalist rubbish.
The amount of anger an article provokes is also an important factor. Anger is the most powerful predictor of virality. Judging from the 2,000 complete strangers (all men) who took the bait; devouring the article and sending me hate mail/ hate tweets/ hate comments that ranged from calling me names to threatening my life, he succeeded in creating anger.
1. Cook published ONE DAY after we brought back the shares from the former team. I’d call this a coincident if I didn’t know that everything in Cooks piece was leaked by a team I fired, for doing what he describes.
2. Cook has never met me, nor did he try to. His piece is ill researched, sloppy, cherry picked attempt at attacking me personally – lead by guys I fired.
Here’s a list of things James Cook didn’t write about me:
- I hold a law degree from the University of Warwick. My IQ at 16 was 156. I can’t find the paper to prove it. But I did take an IQ test online and it is 136.
- My first business was funded by Nesta and The Cabinet Office and publicly supported by The Cabinet Minister for Civil Sector. Google it…
- I was among the first investors in Crowdcube.
- I have been shortlisted for or won 25+ business awards. Including Great British Entrepreneur of the Year 2014. Management Today, top 30 under 30 etc, etc.
- I helped big banks scrub up their act by using skills to help charities. Read the piece in The Global Banking Review.
- I have helped hundreds of thousands of charities globally through my first businessgivewhatyouregoodat.co.uk.
- I’ve been in Forbes, Management Today, HR Review, The Guardian, The Times and spoken on BBC World News, at The House of Commons and around the world – sadly, no one has ever claimed I compare myself to Jesus.
- I love meditation – I’ve done a couple of 10-day silent, no food after noon type retreats. You can read my blog about the first one. I mention this because meditation doesn’t fit the profile of the ego manic, charlatan – who compares herself to Jesus.
Cook invested over 6 weeks calling everyone and anyone to say bad things about me. I cannot even imagine how Business Insider thought me and Clozer were a big enough story to warrant this kind of investment. So what did Cook find on me? He found a test result I don’t have a record of; and an investment not in my name.
Most of what he wrote was lies and slander, but some methods were questionable which is why I made internal changes. Shortly after he published I hot footed it to India to rectify the tech problems. The proof is in the pudding. I invite you to join 15,000 other companies using Clozer.
4 WEEKS BEFORE COOK PUBLISHED I WROTE THIS:
I started Clozer to bring the world ‘Uber of Sales’. Great sales people on-demand globally. An entrepreneurial dream.
The experience, however, has been quite different. When I returned from South America, I felt that I was born to build Clozer. Since I have worked 18 hour days, 7 days a week to build the site and user base. It has been validated by the endless demands from people wanting the service, the traction, the customers, the Clozers and the early press and actual deals clozing.
When you build something this fast, you face many battles. There was one big battle one, I didn’t see coming – that was with my team.
Overcoming struggles is nothing new for me. Having grown up on a council estate and been the only person in my family to receive a University degree – actually a high school education, I have spent my whole life with people closing doors in my face. The most recent and painful door that was closed was from hundreds of excited investors, who cold contacted us to invest. When they got under the hood of Clozer they wouldn’t back Clozer because of the team.
Clozer grew so quickly, I hired fast and I messed up. That is my fault and responsibility and no one else’s. Not even the team members, it was simply wrong people, in the wrong roles. I have been the one to pay for it (still trying to do that) and fix it.
On the day it all came to fruition I did an interview with BBC World News about the impending impact of Clozer. We had worked tirelessly up to this point to get Clozer into ship shape for the traffic. Unfortunately, when I left the studio I found many errors in the site, not least our testimonials page, which included wrong names and pictures. I also found, to my horror, that the signup didn’t work on mobile. I expressly told the team not to put anything live without my permission. They went against it. The new signup page for companies was never signed off by me, and I refused to pay the third party who had changed our previously correct page as it contained errors, that occurred from googling for peoples companies, rather than checking the correct information. As it was a third party, they didn’t have access to our database.
In the end, I had to part ways with the team. It was an extremely painful decision, but the right one for Clozer. The results have proved that. We have since remodelled the platform and started to deliver an average 400 matches a day. Clozers mission is to make each customer at least $50,000 in sales – if we don’t within 12 months we give the membership fee back. So team and execution are critical.
Whats more we have also been offered the investment we need to make Clozer everything it should be for our customers.
You can imagine then, my horror to receive an email from a journalist claiming Clozer is the worst company in the world. Before I say anything else. I want to share words from one of our first companies to cloze deals.
Jo has her own B2B Research business. Jo was contacted by James Cook, Journalist from Business Insider insinuating that Clozer is some kind of elaborate scam. This is what Jo said to James:
thank you for your note and interest in my involvement with Clozer.
I did indeed endorse Clozer – well spotted!
I have been really impressed by this innovative Austrian start-up and believe that they are changing the game for SMEs, who cannot justify engaging a full-time salesforce.
My business is market research from a qualitative b2b perspective and I engage Clozer to identify leads and present my services on my behalf in meetings.
Happy to talk more – just let me know.
She forwarded me the e-mail.
I believe many more happy customers have reported similar results and 5 have contacted me to say they continue to use Clozer. As James misquoted me on Twitter by saying ‘sacked the entire team’. I just sacked 3 people, I am unsure of his inclination to report fairly so I include a screenshot of our admin system –https://www.dropbox.com/s/i8f38kktww0fq9m/Screenshot%202016-04-08%2015.42.30.png?dl=0 .
Over 100,000 companies are registered and the remaining team (me, virtual assistants, a couple of stellar advisors and two outsourced tech teams) are working around the clock to bring sales to companies who have entrusted us with that task. And its happening. You can see deals and Clozers joining and integrating when you’re inside the system – a little bell goes off. Just create an account and you’ll see the green popups.
James also questioned our verification, telling me he created a fake Clozer profile to access our system. This is my reply:
‘You have not had any deal matches, which means you are an inactive Clozer and not counted as verified Clozer, and therefore are not a ‘Clozer’.’
Twitter endured a similar battle with fake profiles. No one is exempt. 4 weeks ago I put in a strict manual approval for any ‘Clozer’ attempting to ‘work a deal’. We are manually verifying our Clozers with tests and reference checks.
Unfortunately, this backlog of admin is causing many issues. It is simply taking time and has been a core reason why many paying customers haven’t been yet matched. And why we have made many apologies.
It is also why we are recruiting now directly for every new customer to have their first 5 Clozers based on an in-depth on-boarding form. We use paid LinkedIn and Facebook ads for this.
All testimonials on our site can be contacted. And who I might add, intend to use Clozer into the future. Robi Rahman has made deals through it and he said this: ‘For a young company such as us, Clozer has opened a world of opportunities to reach out to clients and successfully secure deals for our company’. Alas, a few words of praise do not make up for the early issues we have faced.
I am the first to acknowledge that the first experiences of Clozer for 90% of our paying customers have not been the ‘on-demand sales professionals’ we must deliver. However, in 4 weeks we got the system to making 400 matches a day. Delivering value to entrepreneurs who would never be able to achieve results without Clozer.
As a way of apologising, we have gifted all our clients with a free Clozer membership for another year (extra $499). In the meantime, we are limiting the flow of new companies and ensuring we have the effective technology to deliver sales.
We also have a team of assistants actively looking for the right Clozers and a great development team, as well as stellar advisors, working to make Clozer what it should be – high calibre sales professionals on-demand globally.
There is one bit of darkness, in the beginning, we incentivised users to access the top paying deals by sharing Clozer. This has now been removed as created some undesirable results.To further muddy the waters, the links James sent could only be from our former team. I checked with our tech team and there is now way to find that page without getting a direct link. I didn’t even know it was still live.
As every investor said no because of the team, coupled with the apocalyptic events post-BBC, there is clearly ‘bad blood’ and unfortunately legal disputes between us. The software was so poorly executed, that I have been publicly condemned for it. We have since made drastic and welcome changes.
I started Clozer to deliver on a real need – great sales people. The demand for Clozer is overwhelming. I have learnt a very tough lesson. Adopt a slower pace to ensure smoother execution. A hard but vital lesson, that I am sure will improve Clozer for all its users.
We have thousands of companies depending on us to cloze their deals. And cloze we will. With or without a sensationalist news headline about a one-pager and some misplaced stock imagery that was never approved. This has been a very lengthy and ugly test. I and the remaining team continue to be dedicated to providing the best sales people on-demand and remunerating those who can perform. With over 430m unemployed, Clozer has a philanthropic role to play in helping people earn a living.
To further legitimise our aims to make the world a better place we will put 50% of profits this year into the foundation to gift other struggling entrepreneurs a leg up. GoClozer.com/foundation.
Life is an act of service. I intend to give the best I can. And have learnt the hardest lesson: team is everything. Thank you to those that continue to believe in Clozer, use it and invest in delivering for every paying client who has entrusted us with their business.
Thank you to all who have sent me messages of support, encouragement and respect. I am truly grateful.