Three months ago, we decided to pivot.
We had set out to build a modern version of a wiki to help engineers share knowledge better. But after some time, we realized that we weren’t serving our users’ real workflows. We were building for an idyllic version of knowledge sharing that no one really followed.
So we decided to do some more user research. We discovered something fascinating. While engineers didn’t post to wikis as often as we wanted to believe, they write tons of private notes.
Engineers start by jotting things down in Apple Notes (or similar). Then they often copy-paste notes from their Apple Notes into other tools in order to organize and share. Apple Notes, Google Keep, and raw text files give the best jot-down experience, but they fall short for organizing and collaborating. …
According to legend, Thomas Holley invented the first legal pad in 1888.
At the time, he was working at a paper mill in Massachusetts. He had the idea to stitch together the leftover paper and sell it as a cheaper notepad.
Holley then went off to start a business making these substandard pads. …
We started Bytebase with the belief that the note-taking systems we rely on are too formal. When it comes to writing notes, the first order of business is to just get it down.
Too often, friction gets in the way of jotting notes down. Obstacles might come from the shortcomings of our note-taking tool, or from the rules of the note-taking methodology we’re trying to adhere to. Each obstacle makes it a little less likely that we write something down that we’ll wish we had later.
It is tempting to imagine what an optimal practice might look like, whether it’s note-taking or something else. We envision a dream scenario, like pristine notes, or the physique of a Greek god. Then we construct an elaborate plan for achieving that outcome. We set out with the intention of following through, but we lack the determination and commitment to do the (always underestimated) work required to put it in practice. …