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The Productivity App The I Use

You probably have fifteen tabs open: one for email, one for Slack, one for Google Docs, and so on, and on… But have you ever thought about where these “work tools” came from? Or why there are so many of them? To answer these questions, and to explain why Notion was created, we have to travel back in time.

As people flooded to factories during the Industrial Revolution, many tools were invented to ease the management overload. Typewriters replaced illegible handwriting. File cabinets stored more information than any clerk could remember (and also won the gold medal at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair!). Tools like these paved the way for offices as we know them today.

Fast forward to the 1950s, when computers came into the workplace. At first, they were lifeless, room-sized monsters that operated on paper and punch cards. They were used solely for number-crunching.

Then something magical happened in the 1970s! A generation of pioneers saw the computer as something far beyond a number-crunching machine. They dreamt a future where computers could amplify imagination (Alan Kay), augment intellect (Doug Engelbart), and expand our thoughts far beyond text on paper (Ted Nelson). A tool unlike anything we have seen before.

But things didn’t turn out that way. As the legend goes, when Steve Jobs “borrowed” the ideas behind personal computing from Xerox PARC, many subtle, but crucial, differences were lost.

👇 Click play and listen to the man himself.

And that’s where we are today: Google Docs made typewriters multiplayer. Dropbox brought file cabinets to the cloud. But conceptually, they evolved little beyond their Industrial Revolution ancestors. We duct-tape everything together with emails, copy/paste, and countless open tabs.

That’s where Notion comes in. They want to break away from today’s tools—and bring back some of the ideas of those early pioneers. As a first step, they are blending much of your workflow into an all-in-one workspace. Want a task list? A product roadmap? A design repository? They are now all in one place. You can even customise your own workspace from dozens of LEGO-style building blocks.

Hopefully you’ve gotten a good sense of why I use Notion. Challenging the status quo is not an easy task. Check out the product! Let me get you onboard! They need early adopters like us to start a movement.

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