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If you’ve ever had trouble keeping track of all the rules and intricacies of the English language, you should be comforted to know that you’re not the only one. You may feel even better when you find out that there’s a web app developed just for you to help students, writers, or even serious-business emailers fix some of the most common mistakes in their compositions.

Grammarly offers a service that will check your compositions for common mistakes including spelling errors, vocabulary choices, grammar usage, and more. Users can even download a Microsoft Office plugin that will integrate Grammarly functionality directly into the software. According to Grammarly CEO Brad Hoover, more than 3 million users worldwide currently use the English grammar platform.

We sat down with Hoover, who talked with us about the origins of the grammar service and how learning from failure can be critical to a company’s success.

What is the inspiration behind Grammarly?

In 2008, serial entrepreneurs Max Lytvyn and Alex Shevchenko had just sold MyDropBox to Blackboard, Inc. However, their team was not a part of the acquisition deal. Understanding that the team was the foundation to MyDropBox's success, Max and Alex decided to keep them on -- and gave them one year and to work together to solve the most interesting problem of which they could think.

Grammar rules can be confusing to many people and are constantly evolving. Max and Alex decided to create an easy way for students, professionals, job seekers, and English language learners to improve their English writing and writing skills.

Today, Grammarly's goal is to help more than two billion native and non-native English language speakers worldwide (including hundreds of millions of English language learners in economically emerging regions in Asia, India, and Latin America) by providing an always-available, online tool for them to learn and perfect their written English.

When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I started a neighborhood lawn mowing business when I was 6 years old. It taught me the value of hard work, dedication, and sales – three critical ingredients to start-up success.

What is the most difficult thing you’ve had to do as an entrepreneur?

As an employee, progression is easily measured by promotions, raises, and other external validation. As an entrepreneur, you must often judge progress against amorphous metrics without external validation.

This takes faith and courage, especially in the early stages. Of course, failure is part of the trial and error that comes with most start-up successes, and developing the right attitude towards failure is critical – it is a learning opportunity to never make the same mistake twice.

What was the first job you ever had?

Out of undergrad, I worked with McKinsey as a business analyst, which taught me the importance of problem solving, clear communication, and prioritization, among other things. As importantly, I made some incredible friends at McKinsey and in each subsequent stage of my career. Accomplishing something great takes time and commitment, so coworkers are foundational to an enjoyable and successful journey.

If you could have one super power, which would you pick?

Flying, as it would make frequent travel much easier.

If you could add any person to your team right now, who would you choose?

We look for candidates who are passionate about helping students and professionals improve their English writing, and about working at Grammarly. Our current openings are available on our website.

What does 2013 have in store for Grammarly?

One of the innovative products we recently introduced is the Grammarly Plug-in for Microsoft Office. This integrates Grammarly’s core grammar checking engine with Microsoft Word and Outlook. As a result, writers can now incorporate Grammarly’s industry-leading spell-, grammar-, and plagiarism-checking technology into their Microsoft Office suite.

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