Author Archives: Tomomi Sasaki

Update on Cojiro


*taps microphone, dust falls to the floor….

It’s been quite a while since our last post but things are chugging along and we’re happy to share the news. (And also happy to see that fellow projects are also still live and well! Hi Juan!)

First, a re-acquaintance of the problem that Cojiro aims to solve.

A typical flow for writing a GV article is something like this –

  1. Decide on a topic
  2. Hunt for good links – blog posts, tweets, videos, images
  3. Assess, prioritize, and order those links into a cohesive storyline
  4. Translate snippets from 3.
  5. Write the article

Normally, this is done by one person (the Author) with the occasional help with 2. and 4. from their language/regional GV community via mailing lists and Facebook groups.

We asked ourselves: Is there a better way for non-Authors – and even non-GVers! – to contribute with steps 2 through 4? And if that exists, wouldn’t that form of collaborative storywriting help validate and build interest in a story before it’s even written? That would motivate both GV writers and our audience!

That was the original motivation and also where we left off the last time we shared on this blog.

However, we kept running into the same wall – our idea was too complicated for non-GV friends to understand. As any GVer who’s had trouble explaining the flow of content and division of labor between GV English and the Lingua sites knows, it’s just a very big idea to wrap one’s head around.

It was never our intention to build an internal GV tool though.

As such, much of the work in the past year has been about reframing the service concept. How does one explain cross-lingual content discovery and community building in layman’s terms? And get them excited about it?! This required nailing down the service ideas without depending on the GV context… and this was very difficult, even painful at times.

Cojiro is a platform to share and talk about awesome things on the Internet regardless of its language, with other people who are interested in the same things as you.

We’re a few steps away from launching a sandbox site with the redefined MVP (minimum viable product) feature set, one that we believe works with a broader context. More on that soon.

Sidenote: Cojiro differs in nature from other Innovation projects in that it’s about building tools as opposed to content. This isn’t something we really knew how to do before this project started and sometimes it felt like we’d bitten off more than we could chew.

Channeling a grandiose vision into software specs – and software that we could build and maintain, at that – has proved to be quite an adventure. During this time, Chris has become an awesome engineer and I’ve gotten a ton of experience designing digital products through other channels.

If any GVer reading this post has an idea for a tool that they want to build, feel free reach out to us, even if you aren’t going to do the development yourself. We’d love to share insight from this project – all the good stuff we learned the hard way.