I got a governement grant to build a social impact app with scale-up potential in my field *(not medicine, law, or foreign languages). Due to Covid upsets I have only TWO MONTHS to work out the best way to do that.
Preliminary work done, content rights obtained with LICENSING FEES due.
My colleagues tend to be smart luddites, unfamiliar with SR and Anki, most will be daunted by the learning curve, are iphones users, won’t study on the desktop. Their soft hearts make them likely to share decks (bad for the publisher) and busy schedules make them less likely to maintain daily practice. So…I need a mobile solution which is simple and satisfying. Functionality required already exists in Anki, but I need to be able to pay the licensing fees. What’s the way forward?
SELL THE DECK: Ask users to download anki and subscribe to your deck somehow from your website. Spend grant money on marketing, motivating, and training users on Anki, and hope they see the light and put in the effort. Use subscription model to cover licensing fees.
UNIVERSAL BUTLER: Upload deck to existing website with a universal butler, offer grant funds to founder to ensure functionality is prioritised immediately-
CUSTOM BUTLER: Hire programmer to create cutome Anki Butler to make users more likely to engage (with content built in to avoid license issues with publisher).
Please help me help the world…
Which option do you choose and why?
What other options do you see?
THANK YOU FOR YOUR EXPERTISE and advice. And for everyone who makes this ship sail every day I am so grateful for your hard work, and hope to ‘pay it forward’ with my efforts on this project aimed to benefit everyone.
The decks have to be unencrypted to load into Anki and if they are unencrypted, they can be shared. Another company did this, but it took a couple years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to basically create a new program based on the Anki engine.
What company are you referring to?
It seems you’re attacking two distinct problems at once. Licensed content and engagement. Maybe two post would help more.
15K what? If you don’t give the currency, I’d suspect that’s dollar and US Government, as it seems the most common case were I see people assuming that the information is obvious.
What’s the problem with selling content? There are tons of website where people can buy files, and it would not be different. Unless of course the publisher requires DRM. In which case the question is what protection do they want; because it’s (almost?) impossible to have really 100% certainty protection with DRM. The fact that this app is under AGPL is going to make things even harder as you can’t just obfuscate code without breaking the law.
I am a maintainer of AnkiDroid by the way. If your interest extends to android app, let me know. I’m really sure we could figure out a way to use some thousand of dollars to improve the app. If you care about the first user experience, then the most obvious first task would be to do user studies and document exactly how people discover the app and onboard; while it can be done by volunteer, paying people for their time and for accepting to be recorded help.
Can you say more about the “based on the Anki engine,” part? I’m familiar with Fluent Forever and don’t recall hearing anything about them actually using Anki on the backend. Is that true?
Interesting, but looks a bit more like Duolingo with spaced repetition than Anki. And I feel a bit of schadenfreude that the only example on their site is not even correct German.
That was my understanding of what they were doing. But I could be wrong since I do not have inside information.
Thanks for your engagement, everyone, I appreciate your taking time to share your thoughts. I like very much your idea of using the grant to fund Anki developers building a better front end, Arthur, but I don’t think I have sufficient funds to do that with both AnkDroid and AnkiMobile? (The grant is not from the US, but I exchanged the figure into USD - assuming as you did that that might be assumed by the group, forgot to note that, sorry.) I assume I would also need to wait for the creative team of both apps to reach consensus that the changes I would like to see make sense for all users. And I doubt I have time for that…in addition, the concern around protecting copyright is also there, as you suggest. Or have publishers not had a problem with their material being shared in Anki decks, generally?
Each user create their own deck. People sharing decks on ankiweb should declare they have the right to do so and it’s not a copyright infringement. People sharing deck outside are probably not of anki concerns, for the same reason that people sharing PDF can do it without it involving adobe.
AnkiMoble and AnkiDroid are separated team, even if Damien sometime help us. Indeed, if you must affect both devices at once, that’ll be really hard, as we never ever tried to get parity or coordinate. AnkiDroid tries to get the most important features from Anki and that’s it.
Furthermore, AnkiMobile is closed source while we (ankidroid) are free. This mean that we have plenty of developers who want to work on it, and I’m sure that we could find plenty of people willing to spend some time on improving ankidroid during a month or two for those amount.
Can you give us the condition that your grant must satisfy? It would help us a lot help you spend it. Because otherwise, we are just stuck guessing what would be okay here, and that’s losing time. If you must have spent it in 60 days, it’s even more a shame.
Do you mean in the licensing contract?
But from what you say, it is sounding like a coordination issue to update both platforms’ front ends, unfortunately. And most of my colleagues seem to use iphone (although I use android).
I mean whatever you have as information you can share. What would be an acceptable way to spend this money according to you or to your contract?
Good question, Arthur, the answer depends in part on the cost of development, which alone could of course easily exceed the funds provided. The hope is to find an elegant development solution so the funds can in part help cover marketing and licensing fees in addition to the other associated costs. I’m working for nothing and will spend considerable savings of my own on the project, so mimimizing my losses would be a bonus, if possible. Did you have another elegant solution in mind? I liked your idea of using it to improve Anki, but for the reasons stated, it doesn’t seem feasible.