Introducing Annotote

Today’s media doesn’t meet consumer wants & needs. So here’s a better way to listen, watch, and read.

Before I get started, our Kickstarter ends on Tuesday, and we go home with nothing if we don’t reach at least 100% funding. We need one, last, desperate push before the campaign’s over.

We’ve poured our hearts and souls into this, and we could really use your support. Again, this expires on Tuesday, so please go to our page and select “Back this project” as soon as you can. Once you’ve contributed, please share this with your friends and colleagues to spread the word.

It’s pretty exciting to be an early adopter of an app like Annotote. We want this to exist — this needs to exist — so we’re doing everything we can to get the Kickstarter to its goal (and we hope you do too).

What is Annotote?

Annotote is a productivity app with three core features: summarization, annotation, and the network. To illustrate how it works, pretend there’s a New York Times article you want to read online…

First off, if you don’t want to spend time reading the whole article, Annotote automatically provides a summary so you can get straight to the point.

Second, the annotation feature lets you highlight and take notes on the article. Annotote saves these annotations for you, so you have them for future reference and can share them with friends, family, and colleagues.

Finally, there’s the network, which lets you follow other users — like your friends or even thought leaders — so you can see what they’re reading, along with their highlights and notes.

The app is organized in three separate streams: Me, Follows, and Top. The Me Stream is your personal library, storing all the text, images, audio, and videos you’ve annotated. The Follows Stream shows all the public annotations by users you’ve chosen to follow. Lastly, the Top Stream finds content for you to enjoy based upon your interests, and of course everything is already summarized for you!

Annotote works with any type of media — not just articles, but audio and video too. When you browse through any media on the app, it’s already highlighted for you, so you can enjoy a short summary instead of wasting time with all the fluff. You can seamlessly annotate anything for yourself too. Or, at the tap of a button, you can see the notes and highlights left behind by someone you follow.

The idea is that you shouldn’t waste everything you read, watch, or listen to — and you definitely shouldn’t waste your time. Annotote saves the content worth keeping, and it saves you a ton of time!

It’s an elegant solution — one man’s highlights are another man’s summary — which enables powerful facilitation of your entire digital consumer experience — from content discovery to consumption to retention to sharing.

What’s the problem?

The process of enjoying good content is way harder than it should be, with unnecessary frictions making it needlessly time-consuming to find, finish, retain, or apply the media that’s actually valuable to each of us.

So, we improvise to cope: our attention span is down to 8.25 seconds; 81% of us skim everything we read; we only finish 9% of the content that we start; then, we forget 90% of that knowledge within a few days!

Suffice to say, the media product in the marketplace today doesn’t meet consumers’ wants and needs.

Throughout history, the media business was predicated on scarcity. There were huge barriers to entry, like expensive printing presses and distribution infrastructure. So, if you could afford the startup costs of a newspaper business, your reward was an effective monopoly: one newspaper and hundreds-of-thousands of subscribers.

Accordingly, when the product was scarce, the balance-of-power always lay in the hands of producers. However, today, the internet has eliminated the barriers to entry, and now anyone can produce and distribute content. In this age of abundance, the balance-of-power has shifted to consumers.

Yet, content consumers still have to waste way too much of their time to get way too little value out of their experience. Innovations like blogging and social media have improved how content is produced, but nothing has made it easier or better to consume.

Why this solution?

When I read, I add highlights and notes to distinguish what’s important from what’s not. It turns out that a lot of other people do the same thing too: 80% of us highlight content; 55% of us comment; and 78% of us read those comments.

Those are fantastic means of retaining the value in content — for memory or future reference. But, when you think of all those consumers out there doing all of this, you realize that the way we read, watch, and listen to media is really inefficient, because our efforts are all redundant.

If you want to watch a 60-minute video, there’s no way to finish it in less than 60-minutes. So, millions of people spend all that time watching the same lecture on YouTube. Think of all the redundant the man-hours invested in that one video!

Annotote gives those consumers a way to annotate that lecture — saving the most valuable quotes and notes. By crowdsourcing contributors’ annotations, Annotote forms a consensus as to what the highlights of that lecture are, reducing the full 60-minutes into a 2-minute summary, for example.

This is the same way Wikipedia maintains collaborative articles and Yelp crowdsources business ratings: Annotote harnesses the annotations that people are already compelled to make on all sorts of content, then distills them into a short summary for everyone to enjoy. That perfect complement facilitates an otherwise inefficient digital consumer experience.

Annotote finds the right content for you to enjoy; it provides a personalized summary of that content to help your consumption; it lets you annotate it to improve your retention; and it lets you follow other users to share in the knowledge.

This is a single destination for all of your media wants and needs. Want to enjoy good content? Annotote is where you go for all the signal with none of the noise. Want to save valuable insights? Annotote is where you go to leave your mark.

Again, our Kickstarter expires on Tuesday, $10k or bust, so please go to our page and select “Back this project” as soon as you can: