Linquix is a browser extension that helps non-native English speakers improve their language skills with an on-site grammar checker and a customized, AI-driven language coach. In this interview, Founder and CEO Alex Lashkow explains how Linguix works and reveals his views on the state of AI-based tools content creation tools now and in the future.
What led you to start Linguix?
Linguix has always been about personal expression. It was born about 4 years ago when I relocated to the United States from Russia and started a content marketing agency where I worked with European startups who wanted to enter the US market.
My English was far from perfect. I had a team of native english-speaking editors and writers, but I realized that in order to manage my team I needed some software that would help me fix my mistakes and improve as a writer. So, I tried a bunch of grammar checkers that were on the market at the time, and although some of them were pretty good, the main problem for me was that they could not help me improve as a writer. I could see and accept their corrections, but at the end of the day, I continued to make the same mistakes over and over again. Eventually, I became dependent on those tools, so losing my internet connection or using a service where they were not available, like SMS, became a really stressful experience for me.
Language learning tools were also insufficient. They offer long term programs, but they don’t help you with specific, immediate tasks such as writing an email. Eventually, I decided to combine these two areas in one product and create a writing tool that would not only fix my mistakes but will also identify mistake patterns and offer tailored language training that would ultimately improve my writing and language skills.
Nowadays, Linguix consists of two main elements: a grammar checker, and a writing coach. Linguix is the only app on the market that combines these two elements in one product.
Our grammar checker can be embedded in multiple applications such as browser extensions, desktop publishers, Microsoft Office, and mobile keyboards.
Our writing coach is currently only available on our website, but will soon be incorporated into our mobile applications and Chrome extension. Whenever the tool finds patterns in your mistakes, it offers you tailored language training. You can then click the notification to go to the web application where you can access our gamified, personalized language training. Rather than learning the entire grammar of a language from scratch, you can just learn the topics that are most relevant to your current writing.
That’s basically the story behind Linguix. We are now pushing it and implementing new features under this mission. We have over 100,000 users and they seem to love it.
What makes Linguix unique?
Linguix was built for people like myself who are non-native English speakers, but need to use the language for their daily work. They may be living in an English-speaking country, working at an international company, or studying in a foreign country. The feature set of the product is very much a result of our focus on non-native English speakers.
We have productivity features that allow you to write faster and save time. For example, our Shortcuts feature is intended for repetitive writing tasks such as sending Linkedin intros or scheduling meetings. All you need to do is write your copy once and save it under a snippet of your choice. When entering those one-word snippets into a text box, they will expand into the text you saved to cut down up to 90% of the time you spend on typing.
We also have a feature called Word Definition that works not only when you type, but also when you read.
Our browser extension lets you check your writing, as well as other people’s writing, on millions of websites, and easily look up any word’s definition, without having to leave the website you’re on. We are also working on expanding our API right now so that third-party app developers can embed Linguix into their products.
Currently, we are focused on the English language, but we do plan to expand to other languages in the future.
Watch this video to see Linguix in action:
How does your freemium model work?
You can use Linguix for free on multiple browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. We offer the same product experience to both our free and premium users with some usage limitations on the free version. Before upgrading to premium, you can try any feature you like to understand whether it fits your needs.
For example, if you want to create multiple shortcuts or use them more often, the free version may not be enough, but you can easily upgrade to premium to get the full power of Linguix with no limitation whatsoever.
We do this because we don’t want to trick people into purchasing something that they do not need. This model lets you understand exactly how you will benefit from the premium version in your work, before you spend any money.
What is the role of AI in content writing and editing?
Right now, we see a huge shift towards AI in content creation. There are a bunch of applications that can rephrase, expand or shrink content, customize it for social media ads, or even create a fully AI-based copy using only keywords.
That said, I don’t think that these tools can replace humans entirely because you still need an editor to make sense of AI-based content. This is why we use AI to support human writing rather than replacing it. We have a paraphrasing engine that makes your writing more native and correct, but overall, we focus on helping people to write better, because we cannot expect AI-based tools to replace human writers at a decent quality level.
Which trends or technologies do you find interesting these days around your line of work?
The most exciting tool right now is Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT3), an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. There’s a whole breed of startups that are built upon GPT3 networks. Their trained AI models are very good for translation, grammar checking, and content creation. This approach can help to create tools that will be really useful and practical and deliver great results in three to five years from now.
How do you envision the future of content marketing?
I think it will be more fragmented and more tailored. The internet is full of content on multiple topics, and sometimes it’s hard to find a specific answer to what you are looking for. You can find loads of articles on any topic but they often lack the insights, facts, and useful information that you’re seeking. I think that will change because people are overwhelmed with the amount of content and information. To grab the viewer’s attention, people will need to create really useful and practical content that can be used to make real progress and provide real answers to people’s questions.
As a former journalist, I had to do a lot of fact-checking, but most people hardly understand the difference between fact and opinion. So, in this era of fake news, I think people will slowly develop skills to differentiate between true and fake information, and hopefully we will see some tools that may be able to help with that.
What is your number one tip for aspiring entrepreneurs?
My number one advice is to be prepared for problems. There will be thousands of them. There is no way you can close your eyes and expect the problems to go away. You can only succeed when you solve all of them.