Today I’m excited to announce the launch of the productivity app my co-founder Ada and I have been building over the last 2 years. Meet Notejoy, a better way to organize team docs.
Why tackle document collaboration?
It’s amazing how in our personal lives we can easily search the world’s information in a split second yet we transition back to a world of tribal knowledge when we enter the workplace. We are far more likely to ask our boss or a tenured employee for information than we are to be able to successfully search our team’s docs, wikis, email, or any other archive. When a new team member joins the team, instead of sending them to a rich repository of resources to help them get started, we waste countless hours of other people’s valuable time in meetings getting them up-to-speed. And then when a team member decides to move on, we end up equally worrying about the un-captured knowledge that walks out the door with them as much as their lost future productivity. We rely so heavily on the oral tradition to get everyone on the same page: meetings, All Hands, stand-ups, and so much more. A recent study from McKinsey found that information workers spend about 20% of their workday searching for and retrieving information. That’s an entire day of the week lost to such unproductive tasks.
I felt this pain of team collaboration first-hand most recently leading the LinkedIn Sales Navigator team. As we quickly scaled the organization to nearly 500 folks, I found myself spending an increasing part of my day focused on team collaboration, communication, and alignment. I worked incredibly hard at keeping the entire team on the same page, whether it was developing detailed onboarding guides for new team members, painstakingly keeping our Sales Navigator wiki up-to-date, or the extensive preparation I put into our monthly All Hands. And despite all of these efforts, I found that when I chatted with various members of the team, they never felt they had all the information they needed to be most successful in their role.
We ultimately came to the realization that our document collaboration tools were largely failing us. And it’s not surprising, given how old these tools are: Microsoft Word was launched in 1983 — 34 years ago! — and even Google Docs is 11 years old this February. Even more archaic is the folder system, a metaphor stolen from the physical way we used to organize files in folders and cabinets, which is still the primary way we organize all of our digital documents today.
We thought there had to be a better way.
Notejoy moves beyond the folder with Team Libraries
Notejoy rethinks document collaboration from the ground up to fit the needs of the modern workplace. It starts with moving beyond the folder metaphor with team libraries. A team library is a shared space for any size team. They are like Slack channels for documents. Each team library is shared with a specific set of people: say the entire company, a specific team, or a project. When you add a new note to a team library, it is automatically shared with the entire team. No wasting time on setting permissions. Or worrying about having to give access to everyone on the team. Just create and it’s automatically shared.
In addition, instead of just seeing the contents of team libraries alphabetically or chronologically, team libraries enable a variety of smarter views to help you find the most relevant notes quickly.
- Library overviews: When you first enter a library, we take you to the overview, which shows you the most popular notes, recently edited notes, and allows curators to pin the notes that they deem are most important to the top. This works great for both new team members looking to get the gist of a library and existing team members looking to catch up on the latest.
- Author profiles: We also allow you to go to an author’s profile to see all their most popular work as well as what they have been recently working on. I would have loved to be able to tell new team members to check out all the profiles of their colleagues when they first joined my team at LinkedIn, helping to contextualize captured knowledge around specific team members.
- Recent view: To help you be as productive as possible, we always start your session in the Recent view, enabling you to quickly return to what you were most recently working on.
Notejoy’s lightning fast search helps you find exactly what you need
Search is at the heart of finding information in Notejoy. Type in your search term and you’ll get lightning fast search results, complete with a preview pane to quickly scroll through results and your search term highlighted throughout each note.
Compare this to your prior search experience in say Google Docs. You type your search team, see a list of document titles, start slowly loading each of the documents in separate tabs. And even when you get into the doc, your search term isn’t highlighted. It’s no wonder that people rarely attempt to use Google Docs to search for anything other than the documents they already know exist. In contrast, our beta users have called searching in Notejoy “a real pleasure.”
Notejoy unifies the conversation around a document with Chatter
It turns out most of the work in this day and age is no longer in the original authoring of a document, but instead in the socializing, iterating, and feedback process from various stakeholders. To date this process has been a mess, since we rely on so many tools beyond document collaboration to facilitate this, including email, Slack, and in-person meetings. This results in the entire conversation around a document being bifurcated and painful to follow.
Notejoy enables you to unify the entire conversation around a note with Chatter. You can bring people into a note by simply @mentioning them. They’ll receive a notification across their desired channels (email, mobile, or Slack). You’ll also be notified whenever anyone views your note, so you know exactly who’s engaged with it. Chatter also enables people to leave light-weight feedback through reactions, giving you a quick thumbs up, for example, if they are onboard. Reviewers can also provide specific feedback on parts of your note with highlight comments. It even enables full note-level threaded discussions, enabling people to contribute overall thoughts on the note. With Notejoy, the conversation is no longer in multiple places. It can happen all inside Chatter, speeding up the process of getting everyone on the same page as well as providing a historical archive of the decision-making behind the final work.
Notejoy is already making a difference
Our dream for Notejoy is not just to help you save that 20% of time wasted today on finding and retrieving information. But we fundamentally believe that significantly reducing the friction to sharing, organizing, and finding information in the workplace can enable entirely new scenarios for sharing knowledge and ultimately unlocking organizational potential. What can we enable when we move well beyond the current state of tribal knowledge to a future with open access to the collective working memory of colleagues?
What’s been amazing is starting to see this vision already taking shape amongst the hundreds of beta users who’ve been using Notejoy over the last 9 months. Take Kinnek, a NYC startup focused on simplifying B2B purchasing. They have hundreds of notes in Notejoy spanning all of their departments. But one of the scenarios that emerged specifically in Notejoy is the sharing of SQL queries. Kinnek aims to empower anyone in the organization to discover their own data insights. Yet the level of SQL skills around the organization vary. So they started sharing their SQL queries with each other in a Notejoy library. People would share queries and what they did and others would thumbs up them, give them feedback, and contribute their own. The library has become a popular way to learn SQL within the organization. Could they have done this is any other tool? Maybe. But the reduction in friction to sharing made it finally easy enough to be worth doing. Karthik Sridharan, the CEO of Kinnek, put it best: “Every time I see people contributing to Notejoy, I get the feeling that we’re building our company’s long-term strategic assets.”
Or take Alan Wang Realty, a top Bay Area realty firm. Notejoy has become a repository of their best performing email templates for engaging with clients at every step of the client relationship process, giving their team of five real estate agents an edge over typical brokers.
Or Avalow, a fully-managed organic garden service in Sonoma County. They are using Notejoy to document key decisions at every turn in scaling their business, enabling them to quickly revisit decisions or allowing new team members to have context on the company’s strategy. Jeremy Nusser, co-founder of Avalow, describes it best: “Notejoy is the only tool I’ve seen that allows us to capture a strategic discussion quickly, easily, and be able to find it later. It’s no longer a lost hallway conversation or Slack message.”
None of these docs existed before in Google Docs, wikis, or anywhere else, making us hopeful of what we can unlock with frictionless sharing.
Try Notejoy today
There is so much more we could tell you about Notejoy. For example, the rich integrations with Slack, Google Drive, and Microsoft Office, enabling a seamless workflow with your existing tools. Or our apps that help you take Notejoy wherever you go, including Web, Mac, Windows, and iOS. Even drag & drop image galleries, to do lists, and keyboard shortcuts to give you that extra bit of productivity. But instead of going on, we’d encourage you to see for yourself: