I initially came up with the idea to start superlative inc. during my senior year in college. I had been pursuing a career in pharmacy but quickly decided that it wasn't for me given my talents in other areas. I eventually graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics.
I initially got into stenography by teaching myself Gregg Shorthand, a form of pen shorthand that was widely used in the United States before the computer age by court reporters and office secretaries who would take dictation and later type out the stenographic notes. I wanted to give myself an edge over my classmates who seemed to retain much more lecture material than I could.
During my time at UW, I witnessed a CART provider in one of my classes. I remember on the first day of classes, the professor's words popping up on a projected screen as fast as he spoke them. At first I thought it was some kind of highly advanced speech-recognition software. But alas, when I took a closer look, I noticed that a woman typing on a funny-looking keyboard was the one responsible for the nearly perfect captions of the teacher's speech.
After a little investigation, I found out that the system was a form of shorthand not unlike Gregg. But because it was digital, the translation of the shorthand symbols back into English could be completely automatized, translated in real time by a computer. Immediately intrigued, I went home and researched the equipment and software required to write computerized stenography and I quickly realized that all the equipment was way too expensive for a mildly-interested hobbyist such as myself.
While researching on various steno-related websites, I came across Plover, a project whose goal it was to develop free and open-source stenographic software for the masses. Back then it was still in its early stages, but I got in contact with the founder of the project, Mirabai Knight, who is also a CART provider.
After a little while, the first build of Plover was released and as soon as I started experimenting with it, writing rudimentary chords, and making the words pop up on the screen. I was hooked. This happened during a particularly tough time in my academic career as I was struggling in almost all my classes feeling psychologically, emotionally, and physically drained because of them. Feeling the ever-increasing futility of trying to pursue a career in the hard sciences, I send an email asking Mirabai for some details as to what it is like being a CART provider (hours, wage, training time, equipment). When I found out that one could make a very decent wage as a CART provider/shorthand reporter, I immediately switched majors and began my teaching myself to become a realtime stenographer.