How we work at GoodNotes

Nov 21, 2019 · 4 min read

Our work culture is a reflection of our core values and beliefs. These guide us in everything we do from the way we work, to how we make decisions and most importantly in what we want our company to stand for.

Writing everything down

The prevailing value across our company is evidence-based written communication. Everything we do here at GoodNotes is written and evidence-based. These two practices are inter-connected; writing everything down is a necessary step for our evidence-based decision making.

Although it might not be very common to take the time to write anymore, we believe it is an important practice to develop. It gives you the opportunity to pause, organize and process your thoughts without involving emotions which is something that can happen when you are interacting face to face with others. And potentially it allows us to make better decisions.

That being said, we realize that this is something that takes time to get used to. Some team members are not used to writing down their ideas, or they might not be able to express their thoughts very clearly right from the start. It definitely is something that we are all learning together and takes practice.

Writing things down allows us to base all our communication and basically everything we do in evidence. It is a practice that is implemented across all our teams. For instance, when it comes to hiring and evaluating interviews, we make sure to support our statements with specific examples.

We expect this practice to be implemented even during brainstorming sessions or when we are working on something specific. We state the pros and cons, the information we have at hand and then evaluate the direction we want to take.

Another benefit to written communication is that it helps us propagate the knowledge across the company and refer back to it if needed.

Best ideas win

Evidence-based communication allows us to determine what is the best idea. When we are looking at different possibilities, directions of where we can go, the best idea is the one that is supported by data, facts…on evidence.

This doesn’t mean that there is no room for mistakes. The meaning of ‘best’ itself can change and is fluid. The important thing is that if we fail, we can try again. Our organization and every team member is learning. We are doing things that we have never done before, which is why you need to be open-minded and be able to listen to different opinions.

Our work environment

At GoodNotes we like to think of ourselves as a professional sports team. This means that we encourage each other and are constantly striving for improvement. Once a person joins the team we do our best for them to shine and use our resources and time to help them along the way.

We want every single person in our company to pull their weight because all of us here want to do impactful work while having a meaningful relationship with each other. We hold each other to very high standards while being respectful and caring for one another. You will find that many of us are friends outside of work and really enjoy hanging out.

Our work environment complements family life. In other words, our company itself is not a family, but we do everything to support our employees to be great family members.

How? We believe in working smarter and more productively — not harder. Employees are given autonomy right from the beginning and are encouraged to take ownership of their work and time. With provide our colleagues with the right balance between autonomy and accountability.

Maker at Heart

What makes GoodNotes different from other companies is that everyone in our team is a maker. Each person in our office has either built their own product or have run their own companies. This makes for a talented group of people!

During the hiring process, we look for people who are ‘makers at heart’. From an engineering perspective for example, we want candidates that have projects or products they have built during their personal time, outside of work.

Why? Because we want passionate people. People who can view their time at GoodNotes not as their job, but their passion. It makes a huge difference in the team and work culture in general.

In addition, we also look for people who are able to understand complex problems and come up with feasible solutions to them. We want people who are able to get the bigger picture and are driven by vision and passion.

To conclude

Our culture is very unique and not easy to come by, especially in Hong Kong. GoodNotes offers the freedom and excitement of startups, but not the downside of having to worry about whether the light will get shut down tomorrow.

While working here you will soon realize that we are not looking to impress investors and we are not in this for short-term gain. We are optimizing for the long term, for the years ahead, even if that means that certain projects can take one or two years.

What we are doing is optimizing for improvement and in building products that are always better, not different.

Want to be part of this elite team make something people love? Check out our openings here!


Written by


We’re the makers of GoodNotes for iOS and Mac. We help people to leave paper behind, take digital handwritten notes, and annotate and manage their documents.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade