In the startup world, beginnings can sneak up on you. What one thinks is the beginning may actually be a prelude. PollQ’s beta launch is definitely its beginning. But PollQ had a prelude in the form of a different problem we were trying to solve.
We are ardent believers in the power and necessity of education. We’re also passionate about technology, having sharpened our skills on bits and bytes for several years. In our experience as students, and later as technologists and parents, we’ve seen the how technology and learning have come together and how they now grow and morph. With the advent of chatbots, we saw the opportunity to help students manage some of the basics of participating in a class. This was CourseQ - PollQ’s prelude.
We created a simple chatbot that scraped basic information from class syllabi and made it available via chat. Things like office hours, what materials were necessary, what homework was coming due and when, was all available by texting the system. The system worked quite well and we had moderate success onboarding professors and schools, some of whom actually paid us.
In the process of talking to professors, however, we learned of a different pain point. Professors saw some value in the chatbot, but many gravitated towards the polling module built into CourseQ, asking us more in depth questions as to its capability. It took us the better part of a year to consolidate feedback from our CourseQ users, weeding out “nice to haves” from “must haves.” In that data was this apparently unmet need for better polling tools.
Polling is a crowded space with plenty of competitors; we’re aware. And yet, our users were searching for something better, something easier. And so PollQ was born and we shifted our attention. We focused on creating a polling tool that takes about a minute to create and share a poll, and only seconds to participate in one.
In a world set upon by technology and apps and devices, creating something simple, small, and easy is a much harder task. The sentiment we heard from our users was that in a space like education, the technology, the apps, and devices should not get in the way of learning. Today, this is our core belief that inspires us to build and refine PollQ.
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