Prepd – software that helps extemporaneous speakers research, practice, and compete – was founded in April, 2013. Thus far, nearly 300 debate programs have adopted the application. Over 1 million articles have been uploaded. With all of Prepd’s progress, it seems fitting that Prepd is now supporting a second debate event. I caught up with Prepd’s founder, Ian Panchèvre, to learn more about Prepd’s new product for Congressional Debate.
Logan Scisco (LS): Congrats on reaching your second birthday. It sounds like Prepd is growing quickly.
Ian Panchèvre (IP): Thanks Logan! It’s surreal to reflect on where we were two years ago. In June of 2013, we had an alpha version of the Article Catcher, and that was about it. Now we have a feature rich product suite for Extemp: the web application, the Offline App, the Article Catcher, and an iPad app.
And now, of course, we’ve jumped into Congressional Debate. Earlier in the year, we released a free mobile app for tracking precedence and recency. The app – Precedence – is available for iPhone and Android devices. We got some great feedback from our users, in terms of what was working and what wasn’t. That feedback ultimately pushed us to build Congress, a standalone product for a separate debate event.
LS: Tell me more about Prepd’s new Congress app.
IP: Prepd for Congress maximizes the productivity of congressional debaters. Tournament docekts and bills are pre-loaded in the app, and can be saved to your account. Then, you can upload speeches and evidence to specific bills, keeping all your material organized. During a competition, you can create a “Round” to access relevant bills and research and to easily track precedence and recency. Prepd Congress also comes with a built-in parliamentary procedure guide.
(Editor’s note: watch the demo video to see a quick tour of the Congress app).
LS: I’m hearing different things – Prepd for Congress, Prepd Congress, Congress – what’s the app called, exactly?
IP: Ha, that’s a really good question. I’m not sure yet. Obviously the name of the app needs to include “Congress” and perhaps some variation of Prepd. As far as branding goes, this is new territory for us; in the past “Prepd” and the Extemp application were synonymous. I don’t know what makes more sense – calling the app simply Congress, or Prepd for Congress, for example – nor can I say which name connects best with our user base. We’ll run a survey, figure it out, and finalize a new naming convention by the end of the summer.
LS: Why Congress, as opposed to some other speech and debate event?
IP: Among our customers, there’s a lot of overlap in terms of programs that support both extemp and congress. From that perspective, an app for congress likely offers the greatest value add to existing Prepd users. Also, from a technical perspective, the vision we have for this application is pretty straightforward.
LS: Are any other products in the pipeline?
IP: We’re staying focused on near-term goals and tasks, taking things one step at a time. There’s still plenty of work we can do for Prepd’s Extemp app. Now that we’re supporting a second debate event, there is lots of work to be done there as well. But whatever direction we go in, we’re determined to make sure our progress is user-driven. Whatever coaches and debaters find useful, we’ll find a way to build.
LS: How do school’s get started with Prepd’s Congress app?
IP: I thought you’d never ask! Visit prepd.in/congress to learn more about the app. If you are an existing Prepd user, you can log in with your email and password at congress.prepd.in. Congress will be available for free to all of our existing customers. If you don’t have a Prepd account, you can create a free trial account and then log into the Congress app.