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 54   0  

Struggled with forgetting a foreign language (e.g. high school Spanish)? We are the founders of FlipWord, a startup that lets you learn and practice while web browsing. Just raised over 50k through equity crowdfunding. AMA!

Short bio: We built FlipWord to make learning a language integrate into daily routines, rather than dedicating time to a class or app (Rosetta Stone/Duolingo). It automatically replaces a few selected English words on the web with their foreign equivalent based on an analysis of your language level, progress, and page content, as well as adding occasional small quizzes. All it takes to learn is mousing over the flipped words while reading, to see tiny lessons. Most people lose all progress quickly after a class or using an app, something we are designing for to prevent people from forgetting to continue. Our site is https://flipword.co, try it out! We’re also excited that we recently opened a new round of funding in conjunction with Republic, allowing anyone over 18 to invest for >$20. If you’re curious, link is https://republic.co/flipword. We've gained a lot of experience analyzing how people learn or fail to, and creating a startup. Excited to share our experience! AMA!

Proof: https://twitter.com/flipwordapp/status/854699699369984000

 8   0  

what have you guys tried, or thought of, regarding a business model?

it looks like the plan is currently to go the "freemium" route, but what are some other ways you think you could generate revenue?

And with that, what are some common ways of generating revenue you think wouldn't work for flipword, and why?

 11   0  

We're currently working on a subscription model that builds motivation and rewards those who commit themselves to learn. User's will get a refund for each day they meet a minimum daily goal, becoming completely free if met consistently.

We don't think the Duolingo approach of doing site translation would work. It didn't work for them, and they are reeling, trying to quickly pivot. We also have no plans to charge up front like Rosetta Stone, because we are building a product that is useful, rather than charging based on expectations (which aren't met).

 2   0  

Do you log sites users visit? That's potentially profitable.

 5   0  

While we could easily do that, we are currently very strict on protecting user privacy. We believe we can provide enough direct user value that users or businesses and organizations would be willing to pay directly. That said, we aren't afraid of experimentation and exploration.

 1   0  

That's good. Do you delete logs after each session?

 1   0  

The server never knows what site a user is on or the majority of its content. Only events and details directly related to the extension

 5   0  

I've just downloaded this (good exposure!) and so far it looks pretty cool. Is there any fancy technique to ensuring the word you replace is used in the right context? Is there any way to provide feedback data on-the-spot and say "no, I think this is used in the wrong context" to the app?

 7   0  

We have built out own custom NLP and language libraries. You can flip a setting from the popup menu, which enables you to report any bad word replacement directly from the page. Please report all the bugs! :)

 3   0  

Does this make adding new languages hard? Sounds interesting though! Where are you guys based?

 6   0  

Thanks to a bunch of research and contributors around the world, we've created a universal language model which works fairly consistently across languages. Since we've already done all the upfront work to build the model, adding the base features for a new language can be done in relatively short order.

 5   0  

Just installed, it seems pretty great. Are you planning on adding more languages?

Which ones are coming up next?

 2   0  

Thanks! Yeah, Russian and Portuguese are on the top of the list :)

 4   0  

Is this equity investment or rewards-based investment?

 4   0  

Equity (with bonus rewards). It only became a legal option in May of 2016.

 4   0  

Very cool idea. Can you give an idea on how much progress I could make if I use the extension every day? Like where will I be after 3 months or 1 year?

 3   0  

In its current form, you will mainly make progress learning vocabulary (this will be changing soon). An analysis we did last year showed that a year on the platform would result in recognizability around 750-1500 words spending a total of about ~1-3 minutes of passive focus per day. We do not have figures for recall and have added new features that would change that result. With more active time, these numbers could improve significantly

 3   0  

Super cool extension! I'm really curious as to how the extension "knows" how much of a language you've learned. How do you measure that? Are you thinking of putting some machine learning mechanism in the extension to gauge language learning better?

 3   0  

We have built a collection of complex analysis methods that take into account when you 'likely' read content, interact with words, complete quizzes, and quite a few other things, all of which are aggregated by an AI that acts like a personal tutor planning what to teach next.

 2   0  

Have you considered reaching out to indigenous language educators to bring this new technique to dying languages?

 2   0  

We have considered this, but we have limited resources as it is building a few major languages. If you know anyone that would be interested to volunteer their time and bilingualism, please reach out to us on our website contact form, or here.

 2   0  

Hey! I was wondering how you plan to develop the extension in the future? What would be your dream version of it?

Also thank you, this is a great idea! I've downloaded it and shared with my brother and sister - we've all spent time in spanish speaking countries but obviously had our skills drop off back at home. It's great that I can maintain some level of spanish without having to devote extra time to it.

 3   0  

Thank you! Glad that you like it :D Hope you enjoy using it. Please let us know if you have any feedback.

FlipWord is starting as the backbone for language learning. When people forget to study, they will still retain their skills and learn a little. When they have time and motivation to focus, they can quickly advance knowing it won't be wasted. We definitely don't believe FlipWord is the only way to study.

For language learning specifically, our mission is to give people the power of universal understanding. We believe that a world full of (at-minimum) bilinguals is one with less conflict and more co-operation. Removing the barrier of at least one language and the insights it's culture carries can help create countless opportunities for global progress. We are driven to develop the platform which enables this because we know that learning a language is much more than speaking new words, it is connecting to the greater human understanding.

In the long run, this will extend far beyond language acquisition. We believe we can do memory modelling and retention prediction at a great level, augmenting the retrievable memory and learning capacity of humans. For learning expanding knowledge of history, understanding of calculus, learning video editing, and becoming truly fluent in a language will require little effort beyond your daily routine. Learning will be handled across web, desktop, mobile, Kindle, Echo/Google Home, and any other major platform throughout daily life, in passive and some dedicated active apps.

Humanity wastes an unfathomable amount of time learning to our own forgetfulness. We believe we can capture learnings and enable memory persistence, as well as more general memories of people and events. We've got a long way to go, but are progressing towards it

 1   0  

What I am actually saying is that I've used both programs the op included in this if you've tried these mine is better. What I want is for op to tell me why this will keep my attention while the others did not. My mom is German and speaks it all the time, I was an asshole and never learned any of it I would love to but I get distracted and discouraged easily by the other programs. Also I ask if any studies have been done because I frequently see crowdfunding campaigns fail to deliver.

 2   0  

FlipWord never requires you to decide to study. It integrates foreign words into your native browsing, rather than forcing you to spend time in a closed environment. Other tools can never solve the problem of dropoff the way we are poised to. Persistence decides success. There is still more work to do; we are early into development and have a lot more improvements possible.

 2   0  

Seems like I would just turn this off like any of the ones you've mentioned, what makes you so sure I would keep this in my browser? Have you done any studies?

 7   0  

Hey Nuggrodamus! We have analyzed usage data from previous users and found that people stick with the tool far longer. In addition, an independent Stanford researcher is in the progress of running a study. We're excited to see the results :D

 1   0  

Would have loved to invest; then it said only for US citizens. How does one try it out? Is it ready?

 1   0  

It is actually open to anyone outside the U.S. as well. You just have to send the payment via a wire transfer which is detailed when you make it to that step in the process.

To try it out, just visit flipword.co on your desktop, sign-up, and install directly.

 1   0  

Excellent idea!
Question: How would you use it to actually learn a new language from scratch? Is it possible? Would you recommend anything to complement that kind of learning?

 1   0  

Currently, it focuses on building the basis of important vocab, audio recognition, fairly basic grammar, and enjoyable native videos. The capabilities will be increasing quickly, something though is better than perfect. While FlipWord isn't quite a full-skill method, it will be in the future.

That said, we fully believe that getting started and maintaining motivation are the two hardest steps. Tools that dive into detailed grammar, speaking with others, and generating sentences would be a great way to augment FlipWord, and we hope you do use them!