Curt Allen, founder of Folio Corporation, and former CEO of MyFamily.com (chiefly responsible for our raising $90.5 million in venture capital) is at it again. (He’s also my brother and is responsible for getting me into electronic publishing and the computer industry 16 years ago–and I’m darn proud of him!)
His latest company, Agilix, is just 2 years old, is already profitable, and has just landed $4.35 million in venture capital in its effort to grow more aggressively and dramatically impact education worldwide. Agilix has the best team of software developers that I have ever seen–including most of the original Folio team–and they are churning out software products at a faster pace than you would think possible.
I still use Curt’s original software, Folio VIEWs, to maintain my personal knowledge-base, my storehouse of intellectual capital. I have more than 140 megabytes of content which I have typed or pasted into my personal infobase. I can instantly retrieve virtually anything from this infobase, including minutes from thousands of meetings I have attended and phone conversations which I have had. It is not overstating things to say I am addicted to Folio and consider my facility with it as one of the primary factors in my business success. (Maybe second only to the support of my awesome wife!)
Agilix is now selling a product called GoBinder which is designed for students and teachers as a repository of personal knowledge. In a classic viral marketing move, every educator in the world is being offered a free copy of GoBinder.
For the average person, the GoBinder software is far easier to use as a repository than Folio VIEWS. Anything you read online, any materials your teachers provide you with, any handouts you get from class, any web page or PDF file that you view, you can easily and permanently save into your GoBinder. You can add personal notes (if you own a Tablet PC) to any document. And then you can search and find everything instantly when you need it.
Agilix already has strategic partnerships with FranklinCovey, Microsoft, Blackboard, and many companies in higher education. This team is going to make a huge impact on how students and teachers manage, store and retrieve important information–something so fundamental to learning, but so often neglected.
I loved college, but one of my greatest regrets is that I can remember almost nothing of what I learned there. I know I took a lot of notes and I took a lot of tests, and I read a lot of books and only sold a very few back to the Bookstore when I was very poor. But I have almost no memory of the specific content that I learned in college. There is no way that I can instantly retrieve lecture notes from my honors Political Science professor David Magelby. I can’t review what Dr. Stan Taylor taught me about obtrusive and unobtrusive surveying techniques and statistical relevancy of polls.
What Agilix will do is insure that the tens of thousands of dollars that college students pay for college will result in a personal knowledge base that they can benefit from during their entire lifetime.
Like my 140 megabyte infobase that I started in 1990, which I consider one of my greatest assets, students who get addicted to GoBinder will experience the benefits of having a “near-photographic memory”.
Remember, “the faintest ink is sharper than the keenest memory”.
Imagine having instant access to hundreds of thousands of pages you have read and web pages you have viewed, overlaid with notes you have taken to remind you of what you thought when you first read them. And imagine being able to search for either your notes or the original text. Now imagine being able to share knowledge bases and notes with students and teachers. It’s not quite a mind-meld, but the collaboration and knowledge sharing possibilities are astounding.
To me, Agilix has the potential to unlock the power of memory for millions of its customers and thereby increase human productivity by an order of magnitude.
A great 19th century leader foresaw the need for preserving records and he counselled as follows:
“there is, or was, a vast knowledge, of infinite importance, which is now lost. What was the cause of this? It came in consequence of slothfulness, or a neglect to appoint a man to occupy a few moments in writing . . .”
You watch, and you will see amazing things from this company in the coming months and years.