It has been a wild ride so far. After our first big investment in the middle of 2019, we were able to hunker down on our most wanted feature:
The mobile app.
We’ve been building Memex and Memex Go with a vision of knowledge products where users are in full control of their data and attention, while still generating sustainable and rewarding profits for those who invest time or money in building valuable services.
Developing Memex as an open-source, offline-first and venture capital free product was a big challenge both economically and technologically.
We would have never made it without our courageous team, investors and grant givers, and all users that have supported us over the years with input, funding and enthusiasm. It wouldn’t have been possible, nor fun, without you ❤️
Along the way we have made many mistakes in not building the right things, dodged the bullet of going broke more than once, and were sometimes too rushed to build features reliably.
We hope this release sets us on course to become economically sustainable, organisationally stable and continuously improve Memex for you with useful and reliable features.
We added a myriad of improvements to its UI and UX, most notably
- an overhauled annotation system
- End2End encrypted sync with your mobile phone
for 2€/month or 20€/year
- Consistent design of dashboard & settings
- Improved behaviour of sidebar ribbon
More you find in our change log.
- Save, tag, add notes and sort websites into lists via the share-buttons in your browser, Twitter or Facebook app. You can save any content from apps that provide a url.
- Sync between Memex and Memex Go is end2end encrypted and all data is stored on your device by default.
We are pushing new updates on an almost daily basis now, with lots of exciting improvements in the making. Check our roadmap for updates and upcoming features.
7 reasons we are different from other tools
1. Offline-first products
In both Memex and Memex Go, all data is stored locally by default. You can access & edit your knowledge without an internet connection and unless you are syncing data, it never leaves your devices. This makes Memex one of the few knowledge products that you can use offline by default and that is built with data ownership and privacy by design.
2. End2End encrypted
If you decide to sync, your data is encrypted before it leaves one of your devices and decrypted on the other side. Only you, and your devices, know the keys. We use a library called TweetNaCL to provide the encryption functionality.
All code we developed is open-source, so you can both build your own versions of Memex or, in the future, self-host your syncing server.
4. No Venture Capital money, no shares, no profit maximisation, no Exit.
WorldBrain.io does sell tradable shares so the goal of our company does not become maximising shareholder profit or lock you into our services, but to provide great services to users. Instead we use an economic reward model called Steward Ownership. It prevents our company from ever being sold and rewards investors with a capped profit share. More information you find here.
The return cap enables us to have economic freedom to be more socially responsible, give you the freedom to migrate and integrate with other (competing) services and provide cheaper services to you. Unlike in classic investment models, lower profits of our company does not directly and significantly impact the total returns of investors. It only delay the time to return the money.
5. Your data and attention stays yours.
The existing models of Facebook & Google et. al. rely on millions in upfront Venture Capital funding to gain market share with free services that often only has one business model left at scale: Advertisement and/or Addiction. Both equally bad to our psyche, attention and productivity.
Because of our economic model (4) we don’t have to continuously grow or maximise profits to reward investors. Instead we have to focus on providing real services that people are willing to pay for — from the very start. It gives us the economic freedom to give you 100% data ownership and build systems that allow you to migrate and integrate more easily with other services.
6. We are cheaper than the rest
Good services don’t have to be expensive, nor free (and exploit your data in return). They can also just be cost-effective and cheap. With the offline-first architecture we don’t have any servers to permanently keep your data, and so we can drop the price to provide these services dramatically. This means with 2€/month for the current costs we can still become a profitable business. Not needing to extract and milk every € to reward investors, also enables us to continuously invest in our product and reduce the price further.
7. Decentralised — in a practical and user centric way
We don’t use a blockchain or a distributed database to provide decentralisation. Having an open system where you can chose where your data lives and how it is processed does the job too. This way we don’t have to take into account all the game-theoretic considerations of a trustless-trust system required to prevent cheating, fraud or exploitation. Instead, we can focus on providing you with an increasingly good product that serves your actual problems instead of trying to build a perfectly decentralised system that in the end fails to provide value because of constraints like scalability or UX. We can deploy decentralised components where they make in providing real-world-value. For example by making the syncing server self-hostable.
Where we want to go
We have big goals, but we rather stay small in size as a company. Instead of trying to dominate our market we want to empower a whole range of entrepreneurs, developers and users to build their own products from Memex, commercialise them to serve different use cases with similar features — and eventually collaborate in creating an interoperable ecosystem of knowledge tools.
We want to contribute to an ecosystem where people are fairly rewarded for the sweat and long hours they put in their projects company and want to provide a healthy place to work & live for our team, and are a net-positive contributor to the communities of our lives and beyond.
Steward Ownership as an economic model that empowers this kind of openness and social responsibility.
Let us know how we can make Memex better for you and drop by in our community forum.