About 2 years ago, while thinking “now what?” during one of my barren periods when things were not turning out too good, I stumbled upon an idea I thought was not only useful, but also has good commercial viability. The pitch was “Microsoft track changes meets Google docs”. I named it WriteRack .
Because of my diluted grammar and proficiency in typos, I need(ed) a simple way to draft a blogpost and share it with people to help me proof read.it thout needing to download anything, they would make their edits on any device and then “send it” back to me. I would then accept or reject suggested changes. It would be easier than the present “send as an attachment” method which makes it quite cumbersome for both the writer and the proofreader. I co opted a brilliant developer Seyi and we tried getting a proof of concept ready. As these things go, it never saw the light of day.
It remained at the back of my mind.
When a chap called Loren announced on HN that he was building PenFlip, a GitHub for writers, I got excited only to find out it had not launched. Somewhere in the comments though, I came across another attempt called Draft. Sadly, it was quite cumbersome and did not focus on proofreading so I abandoned it.
Today, while perambulating around one of BusinessInsider’s slide shows, I got to come across Poetica, the current project of Twitter’s first CTO, Blaine. It is a much better execution of what I had envisaged a couple of years earlier. The on boarding is absolutely stunning. I would love to have markdown formatting support at the moment though.
Being a proofreading app is great but there is something better.
I believe strongly that there is a huge opportunity of being both the marketplace and platform for proofreading.
How I thought and still think it should work is this
- Proofreaders register on the site and state their specialty, language and proofreading rate. They could pay a token sum monthly to be listed as a proof reader.
- Those in need of proofreading would then upload their text, go through the proof readers and invite a proof reader to their document.
- The proofreader accepts, money is taken from the writer and kept in escrow.
- Once the job’s done, money (less platform commission) is transferred to the proofreader and the proofreader is rated by the writer.
I think this is both useful and commercially viable. According to a random report I came across, the proofreading market size is quite big . However I do not really need external research to remember how much the Chinese students were willing to pay for proof readers while I was at Warwick. Of course this can be deployed in enterprise settings such as publishing houses, law firms and academic settings.
Of course this is all theory until it is put into practice.
Best of luck to the guys at Poetica and every other person tackling this problem.
PS: Dear Poetica overlords, my 3 invites are finished 🙁
Special thanks to Seyi (whom I attempted WriteRack with) and Zainab for helping me proofread using Poetica.