Why we built dumpstr.io

Or, “It’s an elephant! no, it’s a bird, no! wait! it’s an elephant… with wings…? #@&%”


dumpstr is feed for thoughts

We’ve built dumpstr to accommodate those in-between bits of your knowledge — thoughts, ideas, decisions, brain dumps, info-pieces, tiny-documents, side-notes, or in short: TIDBITS.
dumpstr doesn’t encourage organizing, just write without thinking about tagging or “foldering”, save, and use a clever search engine later.

The problem

I use Simplenote, Gmail, Keep, Drive, Dropbox, to do lists (and even tried to use Evernote, several times). It’s a good common setup that works for most tasks. But while working and collaborating on numerous projects, I felt that important knowledge gets lost and does not quite fit into my setup. For me, that knowledge scope was mostly — thoughts, ideas, decisions, brain dumps, info-pieces, tiny-documents, side-notes, or just TIDBITS.

When starting to work on dumpstr, we weren’t sure what was the right way to go about this, so we decided to try and mash different combos up and see if we come up with something that works.

Dump it into dumpstr

We knew we wanted an environment that allows an individual to work but is also fit for collaborating because that was our case. We wanted it to be simple and feel familiar. Zero-organization was something that threw a lot in the conversation.
Notepad (Windows) was an inspiration as one of the best drafting canvas ever (for you too?) — no formatting, no bullshit. And we also had this obsession with presenting the data in a form of an infinite feed — we just felt it’d be a cool temporal perspective on knowledge (not very scientific, we know).

So we defined our MVP: notepad + zero-organization philosophy, wrapped inside a lean and clean feed with awesome search on top. We bootstrapped it in a month, because we really wanted to start using it. We called it dumpstr to emphasize the idea of dumping things into it without much consideration.

What we ended up with was like a private Twitter without the ‘140’ limitation. We think it’s cool.

zero-organization saving

dumpstr does not encourage organizing. We believe that NOT organizing your information does not mean you shouldn’t be able to find what you want. Think about Gmail, I use it for almost a decade now and never actively organized anything. A decade, and still I find everything.

In dumpstr, after you’re done writing, you can choose who would be able to see it (much like email), and save, thus substantially reducing the time spent on saving — finding a folder, creating a folder, tagging, giving permissions, etc.


Search dumpstr like you search your own mind

dumpstr supports text search (quotation marks and ‘-’ for negation is supported) and it does it well. But that’s just the beginning. We’ve threw in some experimental features to support more contextual use cases. Every bit of information has anchors that could lead you to related information:

The location pin (on the right) allows you to search for more information from around that geographical location. While clicking on time references (on the left) bring up more information from around that time. These serve as intuitive ways to search for things. Search dumpstr like you search your own mind.

Another cool feature is all your recent search terms become links to allow a more wiki-like navigation.

We plan on making the search even better with time and we have plenty of ideas, and are excited to hear yours (geek alert — regex works).

dumpstr may seem like a darn good note taking web app. But it is much more than that. We’re looking to grow a community of users that are interested in pursuing the dumpstr idea(l); if you’re interested just head on to dumpstr.io and sign up for an invite.

Have a good one!