How we Build Pandexio
Our mission is to bring out the best, highest-value thinking from your people. We take on that responsibility in everything we do.
Focus of our features & innovation
We built Pandexio because existing software was not supporting fundamental learning processes such as active reading and critical thinking. Everyone was printing to read at an alarming rate, sticky notes and highlighters were hitting all-time sales highs, all because our electronic alternatives were failing us. In order to keep the processing of electronic documents within an electronic environment, we are committed to delivering software that supports the cognitive processes humans execute to learn, think and form new knowledge.
Active reading and critical thinking are core skills that make us valuable as knowledge workers, and the better we can execute them the more value we add to the knowledge enterprise. Creating Smartsnips is a good start. They allow us to capture the needles from the haystack, and covers much of our active reading needs. That is just the beginning of how we make sense out of information we perceive as important. There is a ton more value that we can add as we interpret, critically think, form points of view, and ultimately form conclusions that support business decisions we make or that others make based on what we present to them. We often use the below knowledge pyramid diagram to convey this concept (at a high-level).
Given the sheer quantity of information and speed of change that characterize our knowledge economy, we need to become far more efficient and effective at capturing and applying what we know. And further, we need to move beyond being reliant on just our knowledge, and become much more skilled at leveraging the knowledge of our co-workers and beyond.
As ironic as it sounds, our brain is often the worst place to store our knowledge. It is amazing at processing information – the world’s greatest supercomputer cannot compare. It is abysmal at storage/retrieval – the cheapest go-phone is more reliable at storing and retrieving three phone numbers than the average human. The human brain operates on a use-it-or-lose it basis, whereas, comparatively speaking, computers have zero-decay memory of unlimited capacity. As a result, we are committed to Pandexio serving as an electronic brain for all stuff you and your co-workers have learned that is likely to fade-away if left between your ears.
As your electronic brain, you need to be able to access it when you need it, and retrieve what you need fast. Additionally, getting stuff into your electronic brain can’t be hard – to the contrary, it needs to be as convenient and available as possible, require the minimal number of clicks and steps, and be built into wherever you already consume content. Another saying at Pandexio is that we “go to where the documents live” as opposed to requiring users to upload them into Pandexio. This is a big driver of why we embed into enterprise applications that employees already use, as many as possible as fast as possible, right at the point where they click on documents to read them. Or goal is for Pandexio to be as ubiquitous as possible, wherever content is consumed, including directly in the browser.
And we know we need to take this a lot further. Ideally, when you have a need for intelligence or expertise on something, you don’t have to go anywhere or do anything. The enterprise system you are operating in is smart enough to know your context, and bring Smartsnip content to you. For example, if you are a salesperson looking at a Salesforce.com opportunity record related to a jet ski manufacturer, you should automatically see the most applicable human intelligence that exists in your company about the relevant pain points and needs for jet ski manufacturers and why your product can best address them. The below diagram shows an illustration of our accessibility goals over time.
Our commitment to quality starts with the Smartsnip object itself, which is self-referencing. Every Smartsnip embeds the source document into the Smartsnip. Click on the “see in source” button and the document viewer will re-launch the source document, rotated to the exact page and snip-spot – in less than a second. No footnotes to create or lookup – that folly is eliminated entirely.
As Pandexio users work their way up the knowledge pyramid, everything is similarly linked together, creating drill-down layers of information. In the same way that Smartsnips link to supporting source documents, Hyperpoints link to supporting Smartsnips. From a product standpoint, this is not easy to do – we have to manage sophisticated, multi-level information objects and their associated access rights in a scalable way that is intuitive to end-users. We have taken on these technical challenges in order that Pandexio content can maintain the highest credibility and business decisions can be based on facts, evidence and verifiable thought-processes. All those who rely on Pandexio content can drill-down to the level of detail they need to verify, assess quality and examine context. A big chunk of our IP portfolio is devoted to this aspect of Pandexio.
Another aspect of quality lies in our ability to surface the highest-value Smartsnip content. In the same way that Google has excelled at surfacing the most relevant web content in their search results, we seek to do the same with knowledge derived from content. And this extends beyond the knowledge, to the best and brightest thinkers in your organization who can generate it. For far too long, the best thinkers within the organization have been hidden. Employees who are extremely knowledgeable, yet may not toot their own horn and often go unrecognized with their talents under-utilized. We are committed to exposing both the best thinking and the best thinkers.
We’re process people. Our favorite sport is to dissect the information processes we’ve all been wrestling with for decades. It’s what led to Pandexio (original video here). Sometimes what we have found is so horribly inefficient we have shot non-serious, semi-humorous videos to poke fun at it all (footnotes, document attachments, etc.).
We list the steps and count the clicks as we build product. We are committed to streamlining the most fundamental processes related to active reading, learning and thinking.
We are also on a mission to see that knowledge creation, transfer and application gets respected and treated as a process. We are now a knowledge economy. If the United States of America is to remain globally competitive in the knowledge era, we need to apply the same process-based principles to knowledge work that drove us to world economic leadership in the industrial era. We have built our own maturity model to guide this process.
Pandexio was built with laser focus on a singular information object: the Smartsnip. They are dead-simple to create, with a familiar-feeling process, just like annotation. Zero-learning curve.
Smartsnips represent atomic units of knowledge: one excerpt of content, from one source document, the essence of which is captured in one assertion (snip title) by one user. Using them to learn, process thoughts, form opinions and draw conclusions should be as easy as working with Legos.
We recognize that every feature has a cost. They can add up over time, in a cumulative and stealth fashion. At Pandexio, our approach is not to pack as many features into our product as we can. To the contrary, it is to add only those truly necessary to get the job done.
Users have three options for storing stuff they know: (1) memorize it into their heads; (2) store it in documents or sticky notes; or (3) capture it in Smartsnips stored and re-accessed in Pandexio.
Since Pandexio is designed to be your electronic brain – it needs to be fast and responsive. It also needs to be elastically scalable and highly available.