A good friend of mine is so committed in his friendships and interactions with others that he refuses to perform multiple tasks when conversing. Always present in the moment, he even has difficulty taking notes in academic lectures, afraid he might miss the next important idea being discussed. Last week I spoke with Mark Cromack, founder of Cogi, and during our brief time together, he showed me proof that my friend’s problems are now just worries of the past.

Mark has been working on this application with his business partner in Santa Barbara, California, since 2008. The pair initially met as opposing businessmen attempting to set up a partnership between their previous companies. After that affair, the two reconnected and decided to move forward with the vision that is Cogi. And now Cogi has spread its arms all the way to Fargo by partnering with NDSU’s Center of Excellence program.

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I met with Mark only through the confines of Skype in what I expected to be a 15-minute, sound-bite-oriented conversation. Yet his passion for Cogi excited me to a level so that 45 minutes had passed before I realized I had taken up so much of his time. His passion for the product is truly unmatched. For this reason, I know he will be proud of the ensuing review, the fruits of a conversation that most likely took up the brunt of his lunch hour.

This free app has been described by some as “DVR for meetings,” and simply acts as a sound recording device with a continuous cache. There is beauty in that design: when the app is running, a simple tap on your phone will archive the past 15 seconds – more or less, according to user preference – and continue recording until you tap it again. The relevance of this concept is profound for many settings. No more missed ideas in important meetings. Falling asleep during your professor’s monotonous lectures? I know the feeling.

After jolting out of that semi-sleep state, a quick tap on your phone will capture the snippets you missed. Think about it. The future playback of a crucial meeting is no longer a bona fide waste of time – you only record parts of the conversation you initially deemed important. Cut out the chitchat and moments of silence; you can listen to the key nuggets and move on with your life. As Mark says, Cogi is the next evolutionary step in productivity.

Those little details in meetings that always seem to slip away are now shackled to your notes, thanks to the team at Cogi. And Mark isn’t finished. Cogi, although always on the market as a free app, will soon have a premium version available to willing users. Some of the advanced features include capturing important parts of phone calls as well as high quality transcription of those segments. Your focus can remain exclusively on the call, not on notes. That’s right; you may never use a pencil again. Check out a preview of Cogi Pro here. I predict we will soon be scoffing at the days of archaic scribes, via both legal pads and even computer.

Cogi 2The Cogi team is constantly updating the app with new features and increased usability, and Mark is excited to bring it to market in order to receive feedback from the source with the most expertise: customers. Download the free Android version of Cogi now to redefine your note-taking experience, and be on the lookout for Cogi Pro and the iPhone app to be released in the near future.

Emerging Prairie is looking forward to hearing more good things come from Mark and the rest of his team. In the meantime, we now have an efficient way to capture all of the ideas that get lost in conversation.

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Matt Gantz