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Published:December 22nd, 2006 12:58 EST

Judyth Piazza gets up close and personal with Mark McCrohon, Founder of DocCop.com

By Nancy Lee Wolfe (HR Development/Content Manager)

Hi, Mark.  It`s a pleasure to have you on the show.

Thanks very much for having me, Judy.  It`s a great honor to be on your show.

Well, you`ve developed a very exciting product.  Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Yes, DOC Cop is a plagiarism protection tool that enables you to upload files and scan those file against one another for instances of plagiarism.

And what was your inspiration behind developing this product?

I worked in a university and I saw a need for the product?  I knew that there were other plagiarism protection tools out there.  But many people " many colleagues that I worked with " were concerned that these other plagiarism tools take ownership of the documents and take copyright of the document.

So I wanted to develop a tool that didn`t do that so that it enabled people to safely upload the document, have them scanned, give them a report and then I delete or destroy all of the document so that people can be confident that the documents aren`t going off into another place or won`t come up again later on.

I started off really trying to push the product to academics in universities and higher secondary schools.  But I`ve also seen that the product is also useful to people like publishers and editors and even writers because the product has the ability to scan very large documents such as novels and books very quickly.  You can check very large documents before publishing and see if there are any instances of plagiarism in those documents.

Who were some of your mentors who have helped you along the way?

Good question. I`ve had exposure to many academic friends and colleagues and they`ve all kind of thought that this was a great idea.  So they`ve said to me that I should go ahead and develop it because there is a real need for this tool.

If I think personally I always just kind of use my grandfather as a good example because he was a great putter-er and a lot of ideas come to him when he was puttering in the garden or in his shed.  So I kind of do a lot of that myself to clear my mind a find solutions to problems.  So I often spend a couple of days in the garden or in the shed and then I find these solutions to certain problems in the program.  So, I use him as a good example.

Well you`ve been very successful at what you do.  What key quality do you believe that all successful people share?

I think if you`re going to try and do something, you`re going to have to take a risk.  You can`t just maintain the status quo in your life.  So you`re going to have to take a well-considered risk.

And you`re going to have to be passionate about the thing that you do.  That`s so important because if you`re not passionate about it the very first time you get a rejection or something you`re going to give up.

So you`re going to have to be passionate and I`d also say, almost obsessive about it in a positive way.  Again because you`re going to face a lot of rejection and if you`re not obsessive about the thing that you`re doing and passionate about it, the first time you receive some rejection you`ll just give up.  So I think you have to be passionate and obsessive.

Well when you`re passionate and you love what you do, it doesn`t feel like work.

Oh, absolutely, absolutely!  Although you really have to be prepared if you`re going to do something out of the ordinary " you`re going to have to move out of your comfort zone because you`re going to end up having to work in different areas that you don`t expect.  So you can`t think that you`re going to be always working in the area that you like.

For instance, talking to you today on the radio (laughing) is not something I do often; so, it`s really out of my comfort zone.  But once you create a product or do something you`re going to have to step up and work outside of your comfort zone and be able to talk to the media or do things that you wouldn`t normally do.

I`m glad you said that because I`ve had to step out of my comfort zone in a lot of different situations.  People don`t realize that, when they develop something or start their own business, that you have to be the liaison of that business.

Oh, absolutely.  Yea, absolutely.  I mean, I " a year ago or two years ago I would much rather be sitting in a room or just writing code or something (laughing) but I had to step up and be able to talk to people like yourself.

If a young person were to approach you today and say that they wanted to follow their dream or their passion, what advice would you give them?

Well, I think you really have to find, as I said before, find an area that you are really passionate about and really follow your dream in that area.  It`s no good trying to do something in an area that you`re not passionate about because you will just give up too easily.

I`m also always conscious of trying to leave a very positive mark on the world.  I mean, life is very short; so, I always used the time factor that we`re all given as a means of motivating me to do things.  Because I " I really -- when I leave the earth, I really want to leave a positive thing behind.

So, I always used the short amount of time that we have as a motivator to really get on with things.  So I`m always trying to do three or four things at a time or even more (laughing) and I am just motivated by the fact that we have a short amount of time and we need to get on with things very quickly and try and leave a positive mark on the earth.

Tell us about your background.

My background is basically just been to university " done a few years at university, done a few years of other product study.  I worked in the area of computer programming in the educational area " and that`s where I got the idea for Doc Cop.  Because I was able to see that there was a lot of collusion taking place in " among students in academic institutions and people weren`t really sure what to do about it.

I was able to write some small programs that were able to detect that collusion and therefore able to see that, yes, there was a lot of collusion and there needed to be something done about it.

People weren`t sure what to do about it.  Once they saw that like 20% of students were working together and things like that they really just didn`t want to come down too hard on all of those students.  But they really needed to see the extent of the problem and so that`s why I developed Doc Cop.

Well, I think it will be a great product for a lot news organization, as well.

Absolutely, yes ".I`m sorry, Judy, I didn`t really hear that question.

I just said it`s going to be a great product for news organization.

Oh, I hope so, too.  Yes, I`ve noted lately in the newspapers there are a lot of writers and editors tackling the plagiarism issue so I hope that news organizations will be able to use this tool to discern instances of plagiarism maybe before going to print or maybe using the tool after issues have arisen to determine if there was plagiarism in those articles or documents that were written.

I was watching the news this morning and they were talking about plagiarism within news organizations.

Ah, absolutely, yes, there seems to be so much of it lately.  And I wanted to say that Doc Cop doesn`t try to be the judge.  All it really does is just try to find the instance of plagiarism amongst documents and I`ll really leave the judging whether or not plagiarism has occurred up to somebody else.  I just really see it as an engine that can help people to determine if plagiarism did occur but won`t actually make any judgments -- just show you the facts.

Can you tell our listeners how they can find out more about you and your new product?

Well, okay.  Doc Cop is on the web 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  And it`s at www.doccop.com.

Mark it`s been a pleasure to have you on the show today and I hope that you`ll come back.

Ah, thanks for having me on American Perspective.  If you ever need an Australian perspective on American Perspective, please let me know.  (laugh)

To Listen to the Audio version:  http://www.thesop.org/article.php?id=3580