It’s an awful feeling to begin a major term paper or book by staring at a blank screen and succumbing to a case of writer’s block. Kent Sisco may have come up with a solution.
Operating under the theory that writer’s block has more to do with the tools being used, Cisco and his family have developed a new software program called Speare. It incorporates texting concepts into a word document, creating what Sisco calls a hybrid word processor geared toward this generation of writers.
Part of the inspiration came from observing what is happening in society. People are texting on their phones at a dizzying rate, putting more thoughts and ideas into words than ever before. Why is it they don’t seem to get writer’s block while texting?
You have students who say they hate writing, but they are texting all the time.
Kent Sisco, CEO or Ribozum.
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“You have students who say they hate writing, but they are texting all the time,” Sisco said.
Sisco calls the program a hybrid word processor because it reminds him of what is done with a hybrid car. Thoughts and ideas placed on the side of the document can be quickly converted into an outline or even into narrative form, much like electricity is converted to kinetic energy to power a car.
One common way of using the program is to put down your ideas using a smartphone, then convert those thoughts into an outline on the same document, using either a phone or a computer. That makes going to the library to take notes or researching online much easier.
The software program is currently in the pre-sale phase, with about 1,000 subscribers using it for free. Later this month, the company is planning to start charging a monthly subscription of around $9.
One goal for Sisco is to grow into a Lynden-based technology company that employs people locally. The company name is Ribozum and is mostly a family business, with Sisco’s wife, three sons and his daughter-in-law involved in it.
Ribozum also has one non-family employee, Nate Roberson. Sisco is a former Microsoft software engineer who moved to Lynden 18 years ago from Bellevue.
The company has produced one other software called QuizScan, which generates quizzes and tests for teachers.
The company’s big focus right now is marketing Speare. Sisco said they plan on making presentations of the product to schools.
“I initially thought this would only be for authors, but it is really meeting a need for students,” said Sisco, pointing out that a key part of writing term papers is getting information researched and organized. “The teachers we’ve talked to are very enthusiastic.”