Brad Hoover is the CEO of Grammarly. For those who are unfamiliar, Grammarly is an online service that helps interested individuals with their grammar, thus enabling them to communicate in a more effective and efficient manner than otherwise possible. It is interesting to note that Grammarly has existed for about a decade's time but has managed to become more and more prominent in recent years.
1. Graduated From Cornell University
Education-wise, Hoover went to Cornell University. It is interesting to note that said school was founded in the mid 19th century with the intent of teaching as well as making other contributions in all subjects rather than a small selection of subjects, which was very unusual for its time. On the whole, it seems safe to say that this approach has more than paid off for Cornell University, as shown by how it can claim dozens of Nobel laureates.
2. Studied Operations Research
In school, Hoover studied two subjects. One of these two subjects was operations research, which is the field that specializes in making better decisions through the use of advanced analysis. Since it is sometimes considered to be a branch of applied mathematics, it should come as no surprise to learn that this advanced analysis is very numerical in nature.
3. Studied Industrial Engineering
Operations research has a lot of overlap with other fields, with an excellent example being industrial engineering. In short, industrial engineering is focused on systems rather than the components that see use in those systems. Generally speaking, it is considered to be one of the fields of engineering that came into existence during the Industrial Revolution, seeing as how that was when a number of new technologies such as the flying shuttle and the spinning jenny resulted in the mechanization of much more traditional processes.
4. Has Been Involved with Grammarly For a Long Time
Hoover hasn't been with Grammarly since the start. However, he has been with Grammarly for a very long time, which in turn, means that he has had a huge amount of influence over its course. For those who are curious, Hoover joined up in January of 2011 as the CEO, meaning that he is closing in on a full decade as the head of the tech company.
5. Head of an International Tech Company
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Grammarly is headquartered in San Francisco over in the state of California. However, it can claim to have an international presence, seeing as how it has three other offices. One of the three offices is still situated in the United States. However, one of the other two offices is situated in Vancouver, Canada, while the last one is situated in Kyiv. For those who could use a refresher, Kyiv would be the capital of Ukraine, which might be more familiar to interested individuals under the alternate transliteration of Kiev. This is unsurprising because that is where Grammarly started up.
6. Runs a Low-Key Tech Company
There are some tech companies that are very bombastic by nature. In contrast, there are other tech companies that are much more low-key. Grammarly is an excellent example of the latter. Something that can be seen in how the tech company adopted a slow but steady pace while building up its user base rather than opt for the kind of explosive growth that is preferred by a lot of other tech companies out there. Even now, Grammarly remains rather low-key by nature, as shown by its marketing.
7. Does Believe in a Higher Calling
Having said that, Hoover does seem to believe in a higher calling for his tech company. In short, communication is what enables people to connect with one another. However, a wide range of problems can creep into communications, thus complicating matters by distorting the meaning. Grammarly helps people communicate better by being clearer about what it is that they are actually trying to say, thus making for more effective and more efficient communication than otherwise possible.
8. Heads Up an AI Company
It can be said that Grammarly is an AI company. This is because it has been focused on two important topics in AI since the start of its existence. First, Grammarly is very focused on natural language processing, which is meant to help computers understand human languages so that they can make use of them. In the absence of natural language processing, Grammarly would not be capable of providing its fundamental service because it wouldn't understand the text that is fed into it. Second, Grammarly is very interested in machine learning, which can be summed by computers improving themselves by learning from their experiences. This is critical because it saves humans the need to program everything into computers, thus enabling faster improvements than ever before. Machine learning isn't true AI of the sort seen in science fiction, but it is a definite step towards that direction.
9. Very Focused on Hiring Engineers
Even now, Grammarly remains focused on improving its product offerings. As a result, it has been hiring more and more engineers, which makes sense because it couldn't improve the processes that make its services possible without the expertise and experience of those engineers. Having said this, what is particularly interesting is the rate of Grammarly's hiring, which suggests that it could be preparing for growth spurts in the times to come.
10. Took Some Time to Launch a Freemium Product
Initially, Hoover and the rest of Grammarly's leadership had a paid product that started out in academia before spreading into other segments of potential customers. Said product did quite well, so much so that there were times when they saw bigger surges of interest than what they were prepared to handle. In time, they started wondering whether they should launch a free version or not because of the implications for their existing revenue stream. On the one hand, a free version could threaten it by encouraging some of their clients to downgrade to the free version. Furthermore, the Grammarly leadership wasn't particularly enthused by the idea of making a free version profitable via advertising and the like, thus further complicating matters. On the other hand, a free version was potentially useful for expansion by convincing interested individuals to give it a try before proceeding further, thus resulting in what winded up as a freemium model.
Written by Allen Lee
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