Is ANSWR for Product Managers? Hell YES!!!

Yes, we spend a ton of time searching just like our engineering buddies, and we suffer the same challenges of repeat and useless searching. A product manager needs to be on the forefront of the information and content sharing cycle; we track new ideas, new technology, new competitors, new markets, and our own product feedback everyday. We can’t do our jobs without the Internet and the amazing amount of content that it makes available every day. All that information can be overwhelming to manage and consume and I never want to miss anything that could make my product better!

ANSWR is my enabler; it feeds my organization and research compulsion. Allowing me to tag, collect, organize and retrieve information at a moment’s notice. I can easily call up companies I am following or look at my internal research on competitors via our team wiki all in one place. And for someone who is constantly in Google, having that info at my fingertips is amazing. Allow me to easily add to my ANSWR Tag Collections as I find new content ?!?– EVEN BETTER!

Top 3 Ways I Use ANSWR:

1. ORGANIZE MY RESEARCH!

ANSWR helps me see all of my content in one place. I am prone to crazy organization and list making, so I love that I can find my vast collection of competitive and new tech research in one place.

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2. GETS ME THERE FASTER!

Hashtags! I love hashtags! I can be in Google searching and quickly hashtag in the search box and bam my compulsively organized content pops right up in the browser. I FREAKIN love that!!!   Did I mention Right In My Search Browser!!!

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3. LETS ME SHARE MY COMPULSION WITH OTHERS!

With the addition of the ANSWR Chat Bot, I can share my content and hashtag collections with other’s on my team – so we can be chatting and discussing the latest “hot” technology and I can quickly push my research bonanza to them.

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So don’t let the software engineering for teams deter all you product managers out there – ANSWR Loves Us too! Download a free trial and check out how much ANSWR can help you and your team.

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Is ANSWR for Product Managers? Hell YES!!!

Tangled up in code

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Ever read a blog post and, suddenly, as Bob Dylan put it, “every one of those words rang true and burned like glowing coal, pouring off of every page like it was written in my soul from me to you—”?

In a recent post on Code Ahoy, Umer Mansoor asked the question, “Do experienced programmers use Google frequently?” The answer for us — just like Umer — was a resounding yes. Because we are more than guilty. In fact, when he noted that, today, “Google is an essential part of their software development toolkit” we were just about jumping out of our seats.

Why, you may ask? Because, he goes on to write:

“A big reason to use Google is that it is hard to remember all those minor details and nuances especially when you are programming in multiple languages and using dozens of frameworks.”

We’d actually take that one step further. We often find ourselves so tangled up in details and code snippets that we can’t remember the work we did on a project just a few weeks prior. In fact, scenarios like this were one of the main drivers that led us to develop ANSWR.

Have you ever used Google to find your own code?

Lots of people use Google every day. In fact, it’s an essential part of their jobs. But the more you Google code, grab what you need, and get back to work, the harder it is to find that code again when you need it later.

We’ve built ANSWR to be a lightweight Google plug-in that is far more than a simple browser extension. It actually turns Google into a collaboration platform.

Imagine this: You’re locked onto your computer screen, heavily caffeinated and cranking out code when, all of a sudden, you need a quick code snippet to keep you going. You Google it, search, search, search and find it. Then—with one click of the ANSWR icon in your browser bar—you can tag it, highlight it and even annotate it for future use.

Weeks later, you’re working on another problem and need that exact same block of code. You Google it once and it pops right to the top of your search results. Right there in your ANSWRs, like burning coal, pouring off the web page from you to you. And right below it are a bunch of other helpful and related links that your teammates have found since you were last there.

Less searching. More finding. And lots of actual, real-life collaboration along with it…so right back to coding you can go.

 

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Tangled up in code

Making search suck a little less every single day

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We all do different jobs, but lots of those jobs have one thing in common. Every day, millions of us get to work, fire up our computers and, inevitably, we open up Google and start searching.

Now, Google’s awesome. It’s lean, has an efficient interface and is mind-bogglingly powerful. But all that power can actually start to work against you at some point. Ask anyone on a dev team. Or a product support tech. Or anybody who has to do repetitive search over and over and over again. I bet you’ll quickly come to the same conclusion we did…searching seriously sucks.

It sucks time. It sucks resources. It’s practically sucks money right out of your organization.

Here at ANSWR, we spend our time thinking about ways to make search suck a little less every single day. To get rid of the frustration of re-Googling that piece of code you found just the other week. To end the inefficiencies of constantly re-Slacking, re-chatting, re-sending a link again and again. To avoid shaving the sacred yak every time you start a new project, burning hour after hour doing anything and everything except that one task that you started out…wait, what I was I typing?

That accidental sage Homer Simpson once said, “Every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain.” These days, any coder will tell you that they can totally relate. The pressure to deliver more, to move faster, to push it live is unrelenting—and leaves us wondering, where’s that API documentation again?

At ANSWR, we’re here to make it easy for you to capture, share and re-use search results. We harness that awesome power of Google, and then let teams tag, highlight and annotate their best search discoveries with a single click. We take that knowledge, throw in a little machine learning and data magic, and make it possible to instantly share crowdsourced content every time someone else on your team does a similar search.

Right now, we’re piloting with folks in the software and tech support industries and they love what they can do with ANSWR. Maybe you will too.

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Making search suck a little less every single day

ANSWR BOT ACTIVATE…

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Form of—an All-Knowing Search AI that has the right answers for my teammates as we are working out problems in chat. The ANSWR bot learns in real-time, offering up suggestions and top-rated tagged content, making pithy statements about Boston weather, traffic and how much longer Deflategate will go on (forever… it goes on FOREVER!). The ANSWR BOT is a knowledge superhero, freeing us up from mindlessly re-Googling queries and plodding through endless bookmark lists.

Okay, so maybe that version of the ANSWR bot is a little ways off. But we do have an alpha version built for HipChat that is being used by our engineering team as they constantly share information via chat. We love the freedom it gives us to share tagged content and pass beloved links and sites easily between one another. And even though the current version of the ANSWR bot is in its infancy, it’s already enhancing our team’s search and share capabilities. We believe that as we add more key features, the bot will be a must have tool for software teams.

We know the world is crazy for bots and so are we!

We are weeks away from launching an Early Adopter Program for the ANSWR Bot, and we’d love to have you join us in beta testing our AI. If you are a HipChat user, enjoy playing with new tech and are looking to make search suck less for your team, send an email our way (answrbot@answr.com) and join the fun!

Coming soon, search by hashtags, tag a chat conversation, global bot domination… Get excited! We are!

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ANSWR BOT ACTIVATE…

ANSWR For Teams

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We’re proud to announce the public availability of ANSWR for teams beta!

We all spend a lot of time using Google to research technology solutions, search for code snippets and sift through the recommendations that we find. Even the simple searches for syntax or setup steps can often cause us to waste more time yak shaving than we intended. We know the answer is out there and someone on the team probably has already looked for it, we just don’t know who or where they found it. So I search and you search and we all search.

And it sucks.

Until ANSWR. And now it’s free for small teams!

Here’s how:

  1. Add the ANSWR extension to Chrome and upload any or all of your useful bookmarks
  2. Then with only one click, use ANSWR to bookmark, hashtag and annotate answers, sites and pages.
  3. ANSWR instantly makes these finds available to you and your team and puts them in the place you already are – at the top of the Google search results.

There is so much more to the platform but those are basics that make ANSWR so valuable and easy to use.

At ANSWR we eat our own dogfood and it has made our whole team faster & has made everyone smarter by turning search into a team based knowledge sharing tool. That said, we’re still a small team and would love to help other teams get faster while learning from your expertise and feedback.

Get started, it’s easy:

  • Download ANSWR now and use it for yourself and with your team
  • Share it with your friends who you think could benefit
  • Please let us know what you like and what you don’t or what features you’d like to see next – feedback@answr.com
  • Learn about new features here – Like Firefox support or HipChat and Slack integrations of your knowledge (coming soon!)

So jump on the beta. It helps our team every day and I believe it will really help you.

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ANSWR For Teams

Information Lives In Many Formats

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You’ve probably heard the story of the blind men and the elephant. If you haven’t, it goes something like this: A group of blind men were asked to determine what an elephant was. So they each put their hands on the elephant and described it. The man with his hand on its flank said it was a wall. The man with his hand on the trunk said it was a snake. The man with his hand on its leg said it was a tree. The story ends in an admonition that “Though each was partly in the right…all were in the wrong!”

The moral of the story is that different perspectives, while they may appear to be contradictory, often contain an element of truth in them. That moral is true in most aspects of our lives, but it’s particularly true in the world of search and discovery.

If you look at the history of data discovery and retrieval in the internet age, we see a similar problem to the one the blind men faced. In the 90s we all kept massive lists of bookmarks. The Web Portals and primitive search engines available were sprawling curated lists of useful websites. Unfortunately, while curation solved part of the problem, the sheer volume of data and the onerous discovery process made curation ineffective.

In the 2000s the search engine came of age and we were flooded by information. We stopped keeping bookmarks and relied on searching for everything. This methodology was actually ok if the answer was in the first few results…but if you had to go to the 5th result, the 10th result, or the 20th result, you wasted more and more time digging through results for the right answer. While that’s annoying, it’s not the most vexing aspect of search-engine-based information discovery. The cost of reproduction is. Let’s say you had to dig through nine results before you found the one that worked for you. Next month when you have that same problem you’re going to have dig through all nine again. Three months from now? All nine again. A year from now? All nine again. The amount of time wasted just keeps compounding. So whether it’s the first time you’re solving a problem or the 50th — you spend the same amount of time finding the solution.

In the 2010s we started adding hashtags to everything. While metadata was always important on the web, the inclusion of hashtags was a revolutionary step in the amount of user-submitted metadata. It gave us a much more accurate picture of the world. It let us tag things with personally, temporally, or locality-relevant hashtags. Now user-driven information could be annotated to content to help enhance discovery.

Hand-curated, automatically shared.

Here at ANSWR we’ve always argued that hand-curated content is the best content — but only when it is supported by searching. Without combining searching and curating hand in hand you risk drowning in available information. We feel so strongly about this that last week at ANSWR we rolled out some changes to integrate all of these methods of information discovery. We now let our users instantly import their bookmarks and add an unlimited custom hashtags to a curation. So all of those bookmarks you’ve been curating for years? They’re now instantly available to your team — precisely when they need them: when they’re searching for them. You can also now use hashtags to add metadata to pages and instantly create filterable lists.

We added these features because we believe that everyone finds information differently and that in order to truly be the next generation curation and discovery platform we have to make the best use of ALL available methods of information discovery. After all, the last thing we’d want would be to be anything like the elephant that didn’t matter. You know, irrelephant.

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Information Lives In Many Formats

Search Sucks

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For those of us in the tech industry, who rely heavily on the internet to do our jobs, having all of the world’s information at our fingertips can be both empowering and disarming at the same time.

Whether we’re talking about software developers with a coding problem or support engineers with hardware issues, our first stop is the Internet and most likely a Google search. From there we bounce between different sites, scroll through forums and retool our queries in an effort to identify the best answer for the problem at hand.

Each of these search missions seems to take frustratingly longer than it should and is often made up of many queries and results strung together to find just one answer. Then, just like us, our teammates consistently embark on the same or similar time consuming search missions in an effort to find those solutions again at a later date. Let’s face it, search sucks but repetitive search sucks interminably more.

When one person on your team finds the answer, everyone should have it.

I have tried many different techniques to avoid relentlessly banging my face on my keyboard in frustration when I can’t find the elusive piece of content that I ran into on the internet a few weeks ago. They all eventually become unwieldy.

Seriously, how many bookmarks can one person have and maintain? I’ve also turned to internal wikis and various knowledge systems to keep track of important information and share it with my teams but they all seem to go stale rather quickly, requiring an inordinate amount of care and feeding.

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All curation grows until it requires search. All search grows until it requires curation.” — Benedict Evans

Curate, Annotate, Share

The key principal of taking the time to curate information is to avoid that frustration and to make finding the answers faster a second, third and fourth time. It’s also to keep your teammates from doing the same by sharing pertinent information with them in a seamless way.

All of my half-measures and attempted solutions just shifted the problem from one system to another and so on. Ideally, I’d be able to mark a useful piece of content, make a few notes on it, share it with my team and never think about it again until I or one of my teammates need to access it.

At ANSWR we were built upon this principal and feel that we have the solution. Browser based, one click sharing and annotation of valuable information, seamlessly integrated into how you already work. We save you and your team time and a few broken keyboards.

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Search Sucks