So long, Journal

Over the past few years, we have had in-depth hundreds of conversations with the 10,000s users who tried Journal.

This is a post on the hard-earned learnings from that, and what we're doing about it.

Undeserved by productivity tools

The folks most underserved by productivity tools are people who can't keep track of their stuff because it's everywhere but hate the act of organizing. 

Bulleted list, user frustrations and anxieties

Why is this the case?

Most productivity tools are made by people who love the process of getting organized. No surprise that most of these tools are optimized for other people who also love organizing.

Feed people vegetables

A lot of us want the fruits of organizing, not the process. We don't want to do manual labor because it's tedious for us. But just because you don't like gardening, doesn't mean you shouldn't have fresh vegetables!

Bulleted list, user interview quotes

Journal always had these folks in mind, but we never optimized the product for them. We tried to appeal to everyone, including those who love organizing.

Narrowing our focus

What we've learned is a lesson that everyone in startups tries to teach you, but it took years for the lesson to sink in: it's much better to serve a smaller group incredibly well rather than a lot of people somewhat well.

Bulleted list, job titles, jobs to be done

So, in 2021, we're going to lean on our superpowers and focus on a group that we think has been underserved: creative professionals who hate organizing that do tons of research and collaborate with others, like Product, Marketing, and Design folks.

Learning into our superpower

Our team's superpower is thinking about automation and utilizing machine learning when it comes to content, so we'll be automating away from your life some of the manual labor you put in now to organize and prepare.

We will provide you the value that comes from keeping your ideas organized - without all the manual work. Journal will automatically organize all your content (emails, articles, tweets, newsletters, documents, etc.) and make it ready to resurface when you need it.

Bulleted list, key tools

There are already great solutions for folks who enjoy watching hour-long videos on how to create their own super system for productivity using Roam or Notion. 

The new product we’re building will be for the rest of us…

Those of us who just want a tool that shows us what we need to know, and helps us quickly get back to things without pre-organizing.

For us, our ideas and content are most important, not the system we've set up for that content.

Building the future

We don't know for sure if we'll be able to help the people who need it most, but I do know that they find existing systems painful to maintain. Some fight through that pain. Others choose not to use them but live with that nagging feeling that they've forgotten something.

So, if you feel like you're wasting time and energy trying to stay organized, we can help. And, we could use your help too.

We will share more about our journey as we solve these problems over the coming months, all the good and all the bad. We hope our learnings help you on whatever journey you're on too.

This piece was originally posted on Twitter.

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