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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:23 am
Posts: 3
Home Schooled: No
Hello all,

My name is Ian and I'm new to this forum. I wanted to introduce you all to Prepd, a business I started that has been building software for the speech and debate community for the past 2.5 years.

Have you heard of or used Prepd before? If so, please let me know what you think! Any and all feedback is most appreciated.

For those who haven't heard of Prepd (pronounced "prepped," as in "prepared'), our applications help extempers and congressional debaters research, practice, and compete. Over 300 schools have joined Prepd. Moreover, nearly 8,000 students have saved over 1.3 million research articles.

To learn more about Prepd, please visit the following sites:
Prepd - www.prepd.in
Extemp - www.prepd.in/extemp
Congress - www.prepd.in/congress
Dashboard - www.prepd.in/dashboard

There are also a couple of demo videos:
Extemp - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leI2kAwOAl0
Congress - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k663HHoELrI

At a high-level, Prepd's Extemp app allows you to do the following:
- Easily save articles from any news site
- Organize articles into folders and sub-folders
- Look at the raw text version of each article
- Highlight important article content
- Search through all articles at once (content and titles)
- Upload PDFs
- Conveniently organizing files with a "Round" feature, for while you are in competition
- Much more!

Prepd's Congress app allows you to:
- Save tournament dockets and bills to an account
- Upload pre-written material (e.g., speeches, outlines, briefs) for individual bills
- Conveniently organize files while you are competing with the "Round" feature
- Access a useful parliamentary procedure guide
- Track precedence and recency

The Dashboard allows you to:
- Study team wide analytics and filing trends (including filing activity, publication sources, and word clouds for topic areas)
- Download user activity reports as Excel files to easily assign grades
- Monitor user activity with individual user profiles
- Change application settings
- Manage billing, account status, and more

Prepd runs exclusively on Google Chrome. You can access our web applications for Extemp, Congress, and the Dashboard via Chrome. Additionally, we've built three Chrome extensions - the Article Catcher, for saving articles from any website, and Offline Apps for Extemp and Congress - as well as an iPad app for Extemp.

You can purchase an individual account, or a team account that allows you to collaborate with all of the members on your team. Our prices are competitive with those of file sharing technologies like Dropbox and Evernote. With Prepd, a 20 user team, for example, would pay $275 for the school year, or just $13.75 per student.

Please let me know what you think of Prepd! The more feedback, the better. I'm happy to explain any decisions we made with the product and shed light on where we'd like to go in the future. There are 6 of us who are working full time to make Prepd the ultimate technology for speech and debate.

If you'd like to create a Free One account, simply visit dashboard.prepd.in/#/signup on Chrome. It will take one minute to create an account, and is absolutely free to get started.

Best,
-Ian


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:47 pm
Posts: 1364
Home Schooled: Yes
Location: H*wL*tt P*ck*rd muffins
Prepd is a decent service, however for extemp I believe that it takes a lot more work than most extempers are willing/able to put into their preparation. Having to manually add and file every single article that you pull can be a drag and is more a throwback to paper extemp days than anything else. This was only compounded by the fact that the app for prepd ran pretty slow on my computer (which is by no means some chintzy computer) which increased the effort you had to put into preparation. The cost is another factor, if your club isn't well-funded than the $275 (for the lowest level mind you) will be very hard hitting. I also found that searching for articles in the prepd system was difficult and rarely gave me what I wanted. (this could have been updated by now though)

All in all, when you compare it to the programs on the market that automatically download articles for a much lower price (like Extemp Genie for $25 a person) the effort that you'll put in with prepd doesn't seem worth it. Heh, it isn't even that hard to build a program. My brother graduated with a computer science degree and after seeing Extemp Genie I asked him if he had the ability to create a similar program and he built one in 30 minutes that rivaled Extemp Genie.

However, if you like doing a lot of work and you read a ton of articles online and you want a relatively quick way of saving any articles that you like, then Prepd is definitely for you.

_________________
-Joshua
08-09 | Half-Timer | Verdict | R8
09-10 | Timer | Verdict | R8
10-11 | Folkert/Folkert | Verdict | R8
11-12 | Folkert/Light | Verdict | R8
12-13 | Folkert/Light | Verdict | R8
13-14 | Folkert/Light | Verdict | R8
14-15 | Folkert/Porter | Arx Axiom | R8
15-16 | Doto/Folkert | Verdict | R8


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:23 am
Posts: 3
Home Schooled: No
Hello Hammy,

Thanks for the feedback. When did you at last take a look at Prepd? Some of your comments - such as speed and search functions - have improved considerably over time. We're now into the third generation of Prepd's Extemp software and those are components we've seriously worked to address, although certainly there's always more work to be done.

Regarding speed, it takes a moment to load Prepd initially because it synchronizes everything upfront. This means that once the app does load, everything appears instantly. So we've basically traded loading throughout the app, for a single loading experience at the very beginning. That said, we have identified some architectural improvements that we can make and are working towards.

Regarding search, in our second generation product we introduced "Smart Search," which searches through all your files irrespective of the folders and sub-folders they are in, and then returns results based on relevancy (i.e., number of key word matches, highlights, date the article was published, etc.). We've gotten positive feedback about this search feature but, again, we can always improve the algorithm for it.

Regarding the article filing ability, yes, I recognize it takes more time to file articles individually. When we first evaluated the market problem, the feedback we got from coaches is that they did not like auto-filing software because it enabled students to compete without having to do any work with the files. The most dedicated extempers will still read articles, of course. But pretty much every coach I had spoken with was strongly opposed to auto-filing because it undermines a key educational element of the activity; for casual extempers, even just reading headlines while they file is a useful way to build up their knowledge base. This is sort of a philosophical difference in product. Nobody likes doing a lot of work but how do you become great at anything without putting in effort? The top extempers do work at managing their files and in the process they enrich their knowledge base and are more prepared for competition. Prepd is for prepared debate squads.

Finally, regarding pricing, you are incorrect to say that $275 is the lowest price. The absolute lowest price is $125 which is for a 5 person team. Per user, that's $25 a year. On a per user level, Prepd gets cheaper the larger the team becomes. So the highest price point for Prepd matches the cost of Extemp Genie. And it can get as low as $4 per user for very large programs. We call this Responsive Pricing. To learn more about Prepd's pricing, visit www.prepd.in, navigate to pricing, and then launch the Responsive Pricing Calculator.

Aside from auto-filing, are there any other major features you would like to see Prepd have?


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