Saturday, January 31, 2015

QUIP: A revolutionary tool for creating and sharing notes

When I was 5 years old, my school teacher would often bark as those of us who hated writing: the shortest pen is better than the longest memory. Now unless you are Elon Musk OR Gustavo - the CEO of an Internet of Things start-up I recently worked with, this is definitely true for you. More than two decades later, I proudly tell my friends and anyone who cares to listen: QUIP is better than the longest memory AND QUIP is the best note-taking app and basic word processor on the market. Before I talk about QUIP, here’s a brief history of my experience with notepads, word processors and dumb electronic post-it-notes.

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For more than a decade, I carried a notepad and a pen on my person, just to be able to quickly capture random inspirations, flashes of brilliance and momentary ideas that I felt could potentially become the seed for the next billion dollar venture. After all, we are regularly bombarded with legends of successful founders who discovered great ideas in one of such random moments. For example, Kravis Kalanick and Garrett Camp were reported to have first thought about Uber on a cold night in Paris in 2008, when they couldn't find a cab. I’m sure they must have somehow documented their first thoughts before following up on it to co-found Uber together. Therefore, notes are great as they help us articulate and document ideas that could potentially change the world as we know it.
However, there’s a couple of problems with physical notepads. They can get lost and you may be unable to retrieve them when you desperately need them. You are also compelled to get a new one every once in a while after blank pages are exhausted. Sadly, old notepads are often filed and forgotten in dusty home and office libraries. What this means is that many good ideas get filed away, and lost – forever!

There are of course electronic alternatives to notepads. They are called Word Processors. There’s a good number of them today, including offline and online ones. The problem with powerful full-feature word processors like MS Word or Google Docs is that you mostly use them when you want to create presentable documents, not when you need to capture ideas.  You hardly think MS Word or Google Docs when you want to quickly capture that magical inspiration running through your head, or some experience you need to quickly document. Today, there are also quite a number of offline and online notepads and electronic post-it-notes that are available but these have limitations as well. You can only access most of them on specific devices or platforms that they are optimized for. These note-taking platforms are also not optimized for collaboration and easy retrieval. Worse still, they all look boring and uninteresting.

Here comes QUIP to the rescue! QUIP is an awesome multi-platform note-taking tool that has restored coolness, simplicity and accessibility to note taking and collaboration. QUIP creates a social network around your notes, and allows you to work with others to quickly give an idea traction. The great thing about QUIP is it’s not just a cool basic word processor. It’s a simple collaborative tool that allows you to quickly take notes on ANY internet enabled device, access those notes from ANY device and still have the flexibility to share those notes with anyone in both your personal and professional circles. It takes just 2 clicks to create a new note, and it takes only one to retrieve it no matter how long ago you created it. It’s also very easy to share notes with friends, family members and team mates. The beautiful aspect of sharing notes is that every time you update a shared note, everyone you previously shared that note with receives an unobtrusive notification. Despite delivering this extraordinary level of flexibility with notes, QUIP still manages to place security and privacy completely in your hands. You can remove and grant access to notes as you please. The in-app photography feature allows you to take pictures with your mobile phone and store them within your notes. QUIP also includes a chat functionality that allows you to send messages to your QUIP friends and collaborators. Even better, the app allows you to upload existing notes and word documents from Dropbox, Google Drive, EVERNOTE and Box.

For a multi-platform user like me who uses MAC, PC, Android and IOS, QUIP gives me seamless access and an unrivaled user experience by being platform agnostic. The interface is really well optimized on all devices and platforms, and still surprisingly homogenous in appearance. Notes are displayed in a refreshing notice-board style within the browser/app, while the left pane contains a timeline of updates to notes in your repository. The interface on Android and IOS is really beautiful and intuitive. The total user experience is truly remarkable. The mobile app displays your notes in a compelling way that simplifies identification and retrieval. Titles are written in a large bold font making it easy to identify and retrieve previous notes. The first few lines of existing notes are also visible – giving you the opportunity to preview content before actually opening the note. QUIP is undoubtedly set to take the electronic notes and basic word processing industry by storm, just the same way Google redefined online search.

Because of QUIP, I don’t ever have to worry about capturing my genius ideas or sharing my personal notes anymore. However, I’d like a few more features. First, I’d like the engineers at QUIP to create an offline storage feature similar to that of Dropbox. I’d like to be able to create new notes in an offline browser and still be able to retrieve them even if I close the browser before internet connectivity is restored. Second, I’d like to see a simple drawing tool that allows me to make a few sketches here and there. A picture is what a thousand words, so I’d like to be able to sketch my own images on the note canvass. That’s about it.

If you haven’t, you should absolutely try QUIP today. Your note-taking life would never be the same again!