1 year to send a Satellite in the air 🛰
1 year ago I met with @tiboel , founder of eFounders, and we decided to launch Slite, the note app for teams. It’s been an incredible journey, here is a quick retrospective on the challenges we tackled so far.
When I first met Thibaud, I remember at some point we started frantically talking about the awesomeness of notes. We ended up showing each other our phones’ screens covered with note apps. On my end, I was weirdly using 4 of them:
- OneNote, for todos
- Evernote, for passwords
- Apple Notes to store information from various courses & meetings
- And eventually, Google Keep to hold all my ideas for new projects. (Actually, among all the buzzwords, the AI-powered messenger bots & other blockchain-based AR SDKs, there were several note-related ideas 😉)
We immediately connected because we were both note-addicts: notes are a no-brainer when you have to write down information & retrieve it. But none of the above note apps were designed for teams — that’s why we started NoteX with a simple vision: bring the power of notes to teams.
Very early on, we felt NoteX was a Satellite 🛰 to your team, gravitating around it, helping it store and retrieve information — that’s how we came up with the name Slite ✨.
Slite’s purpose is very clear: bring transparency and accessibility to your team’s knowledge through notes, much like Slack brought transparency to your communication with chat.
Our 1st challenge: build the right team for the job
At Slite, we hold a common passion for incredibly crafted products. In a year we built a team with exactly the right product and technical leads, and Slite itself is actually the best proof of that.
Challenge #2 Design our first product, especially our 2 core features
- a light but powerful collaborative editor, & it takes way more time than you’d think. To give you an idea, we already committed on it more than 110 times, sketched around 60 versions of it, and tested about 5 fonts in production.
- a way to discover and organize as a team. Think of your Drive, and you’ll know the huge pain we are dealing with here: nobody knows which docs have been updated or where they’re located. A few months and loads of iterations later, we have a first take on this.
Challenge #3 Build for the future
As one of our teammates Pierre detailed in a previous article, in just a year we managed to kick-off Slite with Firebase (a developer tool from Google), iterate incredibly fast thanks to it, and eventually switch entirely to our own back-end. After a year, we have an incredible product without technical debt.
Over the years, I’ve developed something of a love/hate relationship with Firebase.medium.com
Eventually confront Slite to real-life use cases
4 months ago, we launched in private beta and quickly built a pool of about 60 pilots, giving us awesome feedback (Thanks to all of them, with a special mention to ABTasty, Spendesk, HireSweet & HostnFly 🙌 🤗).
Our first objective was pretty simple: we wanted to prove Slite could replace Google Docs in teams. It actually did way more. Our pilots don’t only use Slite to write meeting minutes and blog articles. We realized Slite is the one-stop solution to capture a team's knowledge. All the information that matters is shared in Slite, whether it’s processes, how-tos, onboarding documents, roadmaps, specs, templates or day-to-day learnings.
We actually wrote about our vision of what constitutes your team's knowledge a few days ago:
This Satellite is ready to launch
Today, Slite is already used daily by teams of up to 120 people, improving the way they work and placing transparency at the heart of their workflow. Although we’re only at 3% of what we want to achieve, we already see Slite’s huge added-value for our pilots and know it’s time to bring it to more teams!
That’s why we’ll be opening Slite more publicly in just a few weeks 💪 If you want to be a part of it, and let notes redefine the way you work as a team, request an early access for your team 🚀 🤗 !