Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Using quizzes to train your brain as an L1 cache for recalling people

Today, we launched quizzes at Noteleaf, where Noteleaf generates quizzes about people based on the notes you've taken of them. You can either start it from the web, or Noteleaf will email you a quiz every week. You can change the setting to 'every day', or if your memory is perfect you can set it to 'never'.

Quizzes came about from feedback and our own experiences. Usually, we have time to look people up on Noteleaf before we go and talk to them. However, there are times where we're expected to remember people on the spot, especially when we just run into them. In these cases, we can't take the time to look up people on our devices--until we have bio-implants with an interface to the web that is.

While we don't have bio-implants, we realized that we could use our brains as sort of a cache. It just needs a little bit of nudging for recall, and that's where quizzes come in. It's a fun way to review the things that you've written and use that to strengthen your brain cache.

As basic as it is, it's actually pretty fun to take the quizzes, especially if you have a lot of notes. Alex Trebec, eat your heart out.

It had meant to be a short quick feature that we pumped out, but it ended up taking more than twice the amount of time. In hindsight, the estimation was right. Quizzes didn't take that long at all--maybe two or three days. But what we didn't take into account was all the infrastructure that goes with it. The background processing jobs. The cron script setups. The mixpanel analytics. The copy.

So next time that you're doing estimation, take those things into account as well. 


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