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The idea for Skritter was formed at around 3 AM in a dorm room in Beijing. It was Nick's first visit to China, and he was leaving in four hours. He was sick, sleep deprived, and mulling over how little Chinese he knew. One of his friends had stayed up all night playing a Nintendo DS game perhaps called "Trauma Center: Under the Knife". Basically the player performs surgery in ninja-infested combat situations.
But it was the way the game was played that interested Nick. Players used a stylus to draw incisions on the screen. Now, if only that kind of writing could be applied to learning Chinese characters.
Back in the states, Nick recruited George (the roommate) and Scott (the friend) to join him in his crazy endeavor. The trio have been working on Skritter since June 2008, adding the fine teammates you see on the right along the way.
Check out what a Beijing dorm room fever dream has created and learn Chinese characters and Japanese characters the Skritter way!
Actually, we've been asked that question quite a lot, so we've made this handy little graphic to explain it visually:
Skritter is a focused learning tool. We don't want Skritter to teach every aspect of Chinese and Japanese. We want Skritter to help you learn and remember Chinese and Japanese characters better than anything else. We've done a lot of math to optimize your learning rate while letting you study anything--you learn the words that are important to you, as fast as possible. And we won't stop making Skritter better until Chinese and Japanese are easier than French.
We have a very simple company philosophy: keep costs low, listen to customers, and release early and often. We operate Skritter from our apartment, we use money like Scrooge McDuck, we update the site several times a week, we try new features as soon they're just usable, and we listen and respond personally to customer comments and problems. We love what we do, and we are fortunate enough to be doing what we love.
Nick Winter codes the iOS & ActionScript, learns from users, and speaks Chinese.
Scott Erickson does iOS and Django dev and speaks a little Japanese.
George Saines manages the website and marketing, and he 懂一点中文。
Evan will answer all your questions and tends to our Chinese dictionary.
Jeremy responds to queries and is our Japanese guru.
Jake is a master's student in Taiwan and contributes to our blog.