Helping Others Become Better Writers Through Technology
Like many great startups, Linguix was built as a solution for founder Alex Lashkov’s own problem. As a non-native English speaker newly relocated to the United States, Lashkov found that writing assistance programs were not offering the type of support he needed in order to improve his writing skills. “For more than 10 years of my career, I [have been] a marketer. After relocating to the US four years ago, I decided to launch a boutique content marketing agency here in Miami. So, I needed to produce lots of content in English myself and manage a team of native-speaking content creators.” Lashkov explains, “My language skills were far from perfect, though. This is why I decided to find software that could help me with my content and writing skills. I’ve tried [the] Hemingway App, Grammarly, and a bunch of other solutions.”
What he found from this experience was the writing assistants available to him weren’t actually training him to be better at writing. Instead, simply supplying corrections for writing errors he would continue to make. “These tools could correct mistakes I made, but they did not prevent me from making the same mistake again and again,” he says. “I just typed and clicked “accept” for all corrections and [made] no actual progress with my language and writing skills.”
In order to combat this issue, Lashkov developed a solution of his own: Linguix. Built for non-native English speakers specifically, Linguix doesn’t simply correct grammar like other writing assistants. The tool generates personalized language training sessions based on the user’s unique writing mistakes and patterns. Through the personalized approach, users are able to make faster progress and become stronger writers.
As it turns out, this wasn’t a problem that was isolated to Lashkov alone. It took only a year for the startup to grow its user base from one subscriber to over 100,000 and rising. The first 100 customers were acquired primarily through content marketing and the startup’s launch on Product Hunt.
The Biggest Lesson: Prioritize the Product
With experience in the marketing world, Lashkov had a background that supports launching a startup and gaining necessary traction. However, a lesson the founder learned early on wasn’t about an effective marketing strategy, it was based on the foundation of the company itself — its primary product. “The biggest lesson was that marketing can do nothing without the product. The product should push people to pay for it by being cool, useful, and delivering value. Also, you can spend hours on crafting your website and landing [page] copy, but unless the user can't easily understand the feature and how to use it, nobody will pay for it (or even start using it).”
The focus on building a product that consumers want to use isn’t exclusive to the early stages of the startup. As Lashkov noted, building a great product is a constant state of improvement and optimization: “We are running internal satisfaction surveys and we count the average satisfaction number as four out of five. [Last month] after the series of improvements made to the tool, these metrics were at their highest level in history.”
Fortunately, this constant state of growth and improvement isn’t just a fact of operating Linguix for Lashkov, it is a source of motivation to keep his entrepreneurial journey going, “I just want to see how far we can go with the product; it evolves and surprises me like a baby. This is the best motivation.”