Did you know that we think at the speed of around 1400 words per minute (wpm) but can only read about 200 wpm? What makes up the difference of over a thousand words? Distractions! That not-so-good picture of you on your friend’s Facebook, the pile of unwashed clothes back home, evening plans with Ms. What’s-her-name, that article you were supposed to publish yesterday…dear God!
As a writer, I have three precious possessions: my mind, my fingers and my eyes. Of the three, the eyes have an expiry date; it’s constantly wearing out. Yet I can not do what I do without constantly reading and chomping data. So I’ve got to ration out my on-screen time and get the job done faster. I’ve dabbled with speed reading and found it to be an inelegant solution – it is not just about reading faster but retaining the information longer and being more productive. The market needed a better implementation and UseClark promises exactly that. Basically, speed reading is to UseClark what eating eggs is to having muscles like the Wolverine!
Masters of the Mind
“Based on 10 years of experience in neuro-psychology, we’ve developed a document reader that helps you absorb and remember information much faster”, that is how founder Mark Tigchelaar describes UseClark. Mark has personally trained over 70,000 people in speed reading and memory training, written 4 books on the topic and is involved with multiple science-ey TV programs.
But before he set out to improve people’s lives with UseClark, Mark struggled with dyslexia. His frustration with reading and remembering led him to create his own technique, simply called The 8 Brain Principle. Based on that, he conducts training workshops for universities and organizations as well as open sessions for the public, “The training company gave us the insight that a lot of people wanted software that makes reading from screens more comfortable. At the same time, by running the training company, it slowed the growth down a bit, at least in the beginning”.
Helping Mark with business side of things is CPO and co-founder Oscar de Bos and a dedicated team of 15.
Simple Steps for Increased Productivity
While Mark can be contacted for a personal workshop for your organization, most of us can simply use the Chrome browser extension and get the benefits of the carefully researched productivity enhancing features right from the web browser. As mentioned earlier, UseClark differs from speed reading extensions as it offers a “Save to Summary” option, which is essentially a highlighting cum note taking feature. The summary remain on the page as highlights even after closing the browser. The text-only summary can be printed or saved as pdf and it really saves time when referencing the article later since you don’t have to load the page and go through it again. But the most magical feature of UseClark is called X-ray.
All of us are guilty of skimming materials that we were instructed to “go through carefully” and while it sometime works, it’s far from a good practice. Explains Mark, “We found that most of us read too slow to read-it-all. Add deadlines and distractions to the mix and the effect is that most of us only skim information or skip entire articles”. X-ray attempts to enhance the basic human tendency to gloss over stuff by automagically recognizing the important parts of the article and subtly blurring the rest. Remember, all this is still happening inside your browser with just a single click! It really has to be experienced to believe how good it is (I tried X-ray on my own articles and it was pretty accurate in recognizing the gist of it). There is a demo page where you can try out all this without installing anything. An iPad app is also in the making.
My eyes are already so much happy! But you’ll get the real benefits of the software when you combine it with the 8 principles.
Days of Future Fast!
UseClark is poised to get a major push for a global release. Teaming up with IP distributors SMCOV, they are set to launch in 80 countries targeting businesses with a subscription model that includes training and a document reader much like the popular Adobe Acrobat Reader, “Our goal is to be bigger, better, and faster than Acrobat Reader”, says Mark with a charismatic smile full of intent and ambition.
UseClark is free for students and highly recommend by yours truly! Visit their website for more details about UseClark, Brain Principle an dates of Mark’s open training sessions: