“Imagine one product that you can mould into any tool you like. When you talk to Ivan Zhao, he’ll make one thing abundantly clear: product designers should stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us. The following series of podcast conversations will give you an inside view of how Notion works. Notion is for notes, tasks, wikis, and databases. Since you joined do you think the idea has shifted at all? “I actually downloaded the software and used it for the first time just 15 minutes before my interview with Akshay (Kothari), but ended up joining the support team to start with,” David tells me. 2 Best Ways to Enable or Disable Windows 10 Firewall Notifications Top 8 Fixes for Action Center Not Opening in Windows 10 But as founders and investors themselves would agree, startups cannot scale or even exist without team members who believe in the mission and nourish the journeys with their amazing skills and passion. Ivan has 2 jobs listed on their profile. I had sold my previous company and I … Notion started as a personal project for Ivan Zhao in the final year of his college, and went on to become a product, then a company today. “We’ve been so amazed by the number of students who are not only using Notion, but building their own tools that we could have never imagined,” Notion co-founder and CEO Ivan Zhao … “It’s like if you studied physics in high school and college and you didn’t know who Newton is. Akshay Kothari, the former head of LinkedIn India and co-founder of Pulse, became an early angel investor in Notion much before joining the company in the summer of 2018. We have 2 people in marketing and 2 people in sales. So let’s say Excel or Google Sheets is something that you want to use, you can just embed that inside Notion. And that’s the secret sauce at Notion–the tech team continues to focus on the building blocks whereas the marketing team focuses on packaging to provide value to the end users,” he adds. Please do not reproduce without the expressed written consent of Ivan Zhao. Can you disguise this new creation you have into a better version of Evernote or Trello?”. Notion a singular tool that handles all your work outside email and Slack. Akshay Kothari: [Notion co-founders Ivan Zhao and Simon Last] started Notion six years ago and that’s when I invested. More in Internet and Social. A designer by training, Ivan founded the company in 2016 to make it possible for everyone in the world to create the tools they need without knowing how to code. The journey of Notion, from just being an idea and a personal project to surviving early failures, and finally becoming a product that continues to evolve with its users, is a masterclass in building a company. Its founders, Ivan Zhao and Simon Last, had built their app on a suboptimal tech stack, and it crashed constantly.Their angel investment money dwindling, they faced a brutal choice: Fire their fledgling team of 4 and start over, or run out of cash. Become a better person, a better friend, and a better student. “Lot of Notion in the early days got modeled based on Smalltalk from Xerox Parc…end users could modify the tools as they used it. Camille Ricketts combines great storytelling with marketing and user experience like a rare few. Dr. Bryan Norton is a Professor of Philosophy in the School of Public Policy. They built a general purpose database that you can link and do other things with. To give you some background, our goal with Notion is to create the general purpose work tool for a post-file, post-MS Office world. 1,502 Followers, 1,039 Following, 170 Posts - See Instagram photos and videos from Ivan Zhao (@ivanhzhao) “Engineers at Notion only built the building blocks; they didn’t try to build a wiki, a project management software. He had evaluated the landscape of collaborative productivity tools at that time, and made an educated guess about what the future had in store. A note back then from Notion founder Ivan Zhao: “Notion wants to challenge this status quo of ‘software as silos.’ For the 1.0 release, we are bundling real-time documents, wiki-like organization, and lightweight tasks into a unified tool that can handle pretty much all your team's knowledge needs – … I’m the only one among them who can code. Over the next few years, Camille followed Notion’s journey closely before finally joining the company. Why Notion exists: Ivan Zhao For Ivan, who studied cognitive science in college with a minor in fine arts, Notion started as a personal project and it’s something he’s been at over the past decade. He received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Michigan in 1970, specializing in the philosophy of science and conceptual change in, and across, scientific disciplines. Notion Labs Chief Executive Ivan Zhao describes the product as “the next generation of Microsoft Office,” which is a little hyperbolic and a lot ambitious. It serves as an all-in-one workspace for note-taking, task management, and project management. Startups that do well (or perhaps even don’t do so well) are mostly analysed through the lens of their founders and investors. Fast forward to my first couple years in college and I was determined to change myself from high school. But that wasn’t enough for Notion to become a product that users love, and pay for. But Notion’s users help the company navigate all that really well. But the notion still lingered. Give me a snapshot of where the team is now. I had sold my previous company and I had this newfound money that I didn’t know what to do with. I invested in Notion, so that’s my connection. I think Slack is one of those enterprise tools that people at companies actually like. Listen to this episode with Akshay to learn more about operating challenges at Notion, pricing the product and an inside view of everything that makes and runs Notion. And that’s where Notion breaks away from the existing “productivity tools” including Evernote and others. It was started by Ivan Zhao, and is headquartered in San Francisco. Great products are built on ideologies and insane beliefs of their founders who are outliers. When you get to hundreds of people what tends to happens is that some person or some team tends to have a preference for a specific tool. It’s still a really small engineering team. We were kind of in research mode for many years trying to uncover what the market needs were. Listen to this conversation with Camille to learn more about Notion’s content marketing playbook, managing perception, engaging with the communities, and so on. Work collaboration startup Notion cozies up to Silicon Valley’s top accelerators. She now leads a team of 7 marketers at Notion, which has around 50 employees. Ivan Zhao learned to code as a kid trying to model video games He studied programming in elementary school. For sub-100 businesses, you actually don’t need another tool. Akshay Kothari: [Notion co-founders Ivan Zhao and Simon Last] started Notion six years ago and that’s when I invested. Notion is a collaboration platform with modified markdown support that integrates kanban boards, tasks, wikis, and databases. But the company delayed it amid a surge in … Over the last year and a half, the company has grown extremely fast. I wanted to build a software that gave people more than just a document or a web page,” he tells me. We’re starting to have a sales and marketing team. You can embed things easily. Notion started in 2012 as Canopy Technologies. Listen to this conversation with Ivan to learn more about why Notion exists, what are the First Principles shaping its future, and Ivan’s own learnings in transforming from a designer-coder to an entrepreneur. Hi, I am Ivan Zhao, cofounder/designer of Notion – a unified tool for docs, wikis, and tasks.We just launched the 1.0 a couple weeks ago, which you can play with the web/Mac app at notion.so (and we are hiring!. More in Windows. They care about getting their problems solved. I’m the only one among them who can code. Ontario College of Art and Design University User Experience Design and Development, UX Design Certificate SEP 2020. If you somehow navigate the mysterious path to reach the Notion HQ at 1:00 PM PST on a Friday, you would find an empty office with two golden poodles and a mutt running around. When she joined Notion last year, the team had only 10 members. I wrote about the company’s partnership with some of tech’s top accelerators and venture capital firms last month. Ivan Zhao is Co-founder and CEO of Notion, the all-in-one workspace for notes, documents, wikis, projects, and collaboration. Founded by Chris Prucha, Ivan Zhao, Jessica Lam, and Simon Last in 2016, Notion is backed by investors that include Elad Gil, Felicis Ventures, First Round Capital, Sequoia Capital, and Thibaud Elziere and is headquartered in San Francisco, California. Not in the near term. Camille first met Ivan, the Notion founder, in 2015 when First Round Capital invested in the company. Are those needs universal for big and small teams? One of Notion’s biggest strengths is also one of its biggest challenges, which is that it’s an incredibly flexible product. Ivan Zhao reflects on the thinking behind Notion Chuck Frey April 20, 2019 Interviews Ivan Zhao, the founder of Notion, has created a tool that is remarkably unique: It helps users gain clarity and be more productive in their work – yet each one can design … Notion had previously been valued at $800 million. For a lot of these other tools, we just have to use it, not because we love it but because that that’s what exists. The app blends everyday work apps into one. So, no interest in building a chat or video chat product? We try to take that spirit in the modern sense.”. “Notion became a tool for them to stay connected and document all the places she grew up in.”. At college, he majored in cognitive science, minored in … In fact, COO Akshay Kothari says the startup has “never felt like if we had more money we could grow faster.”. The event in the Student Success Center is free and open to the public. In terms of the original idea, we were thinking about how people who didn’t know how to code could build things like tools and software that were really useful. We have many more decades to work on it.”, Before I did this series of conversations to learn more about Notion, I thought the product users are mostly engineering teams or corporates who have complex use cases. “A lot of my friends are artists. Add some soft serve gelato to that. Where does your story begin with Notion? He … In those situations, Notion plays well with other tools. David Tibbitts below shares an amazing case study of a lady who used Notion to share her Tunasian recipes to train her mother. Having launched a no-code tool, Zhao was confident his vision of the future was the one that would come to pass. What are the barriers for satisfying the customers with 100+ employees. We’re 9 engineers, we don’t have any product managers, and we’re 2 designers. And then last year we launched databases and that was the 2.0 version, which kind of seemed like an inflection point, where now you could not only have your notes and your wiki, but also manage your tasks, manage your projects, manage candidates and recruiting, all in a single tool. In its own words, Notion was built to bring together many of the tools/functionality we use at work to one place, reducing the number of … That was the pivot to focusing on notes, wikis and tasks, because that’s actually something that every team needs. Notion COO Akshay Kothari (Photo: Notion). This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Ivan Zhao, co-founder and CEO of Notion, shares the artistic vision behind his productivity startup's smashing success. People are very curious about this small company and how it is run, so here’s more from my recent interview with COO Akshay Kothari in which we discussed the hyped startup’s philosophy of staying small and some of the challenges it may have ahead with this brand of thinking as competitors are raising massive sums. Camille, a former journalist with WSJ and Venturebeat, worked as a communications manager at Tesla among other assignments before joining First Round Capital to set up its amazing storytelling platform, The Review. Ivan Zhao, co-founder of Notion, found himself in this exact position in 2015. Notion challenges this status quo by giving everyone the building blocks of productivity — notes, docs, tasks, databases — and the flexibility to combine them in new, creative ways. Zhao returns to the Sam Nunn School, where he obtained his PhD, to discuss motives and perceptions regarding the ongoing offense defense competition between the U.S. and China. The entire team would not be far though, just shy of a mile away sitting at Barzotto and eating Extra-Long Noodles pasta over a glass of sparkling white wine. “It’s like if you studied physics in high school and college … Notion was founded by Ivan Zhao. If you would have been part of the tech community you would have definitely run into Notion at one point or the other. A lot of users suffer from “the white canvas syndrome.”. Notion is a note-taking and collaboration application for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases. W hen you talk to Ivan Zhao, he’ll make one thing abundantly clear: product designers should stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us. For the first 100 people you can actually do a lot with Notion. RED Academy User Experience Design Certificate JAN 2017 - APR 2017. Notion has intended to make the personal plan free since last year, said Ivan Zhao, Notion’s CEO. Shape By Alexa von Tobel , Founder and … We launched about two years ago; 1.0 was just notes that you could take and a wiki so that you could collaborate with people. “People don’t care about everybody building their own tools. For Ivan, who studied cognitive science in college with a minor in fine arts, Notion started as a personal project and it’s something he’s been at over the past decade. I guess the only realization has been that not everyone wakes up wanting to build software, but everyone wakes to solve problems. “A lot of companies offer user incentives, from cash rewards to Amazon gift cards, but we are really lucky to have users who keep telling us what they want next in the product,” he says. I joined about a year ago, there were about 10 people at the beginning of this year and now we’re close to 30. So there are about 10 people that are building the product, and 10 people on community and support teams, something that we’ve invested very heavily in. Ivan, the founder of Notion, talks about computing visionary Alan Kay and the Xerox Parc Lab as the source of inspiration for building Notion. Building on that, one of the things we haven’t done is we don’t do synchronous communication so we’ve stayed away from that because I feel like people like using Slack. With 30 people, we pretty much run the entire company, except for using Slack for internal communication and Intercom for external communication like talking to customers. But much of what Ivan Allen College is today was unimaginable in the late 1980s when President John Crecine proposed a controversial notion: raising the profile of liberal arts at an engineering school and creating a college devoted solely to such work. Personal computing has been around for nearly half a century and the software of today isn’t a lot different from the 70s. Everything else is actually on Notion, like our application tracking system for recruiting inside Notion, our sales CRM is in Notion, our wiki obviously is, our project management as well — no, we don’t use Jira. In fact, Akshay even tried hiring Ivan during 2013 while he was still building Pulse, the startup acquired by LinkedIn. -Ivan Zhao. Listen to this conversation with David to learn more about how Notion listens to its users and engages with the communities to keep evolving the future of its product. As you will learn from conversations below, Notion’s users are quite diverse, and are solving many everyday problems using the product. The company was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California. Philip Schmidt – 2018-2019 Irene López – 2018-2019 Pietro Crovari – 2018-2018 Min-Young Chang – 2018-2018 Robin Quillivic, Ecole Centrale De Lille – October 2017-April 2018 Kaya De Barbaro – 2015-2017 Junyu Chen – July 2012-September 2012 Thomas Ploetz – 2011-2012 Jong Choi – 2010-2011 Agata Rozga – 2010-present Tom Robertson – 2006-2009 Rosa Arriaga – 2006-present Lamar Gardere – June 2005-January 2006 Annie Jacobs – January 2001-September 2002 Thomas O’Connell – May 200… Mr. Zhao started Notion after graduating from the University of British Columbia and working at Inkling, a document-sharing start-up in San Francisco. “A lot of my friends are artists. How to Listen to Spotify Offline on Mobile and Windows 10 3 Ways How Google Photos Will Count Against Google Drive Storage The company, centered around an app that helps non-developers build collaboration tools, has more than one million users and has scaled its product quickly despite having a team of just 27. Ivan Zhao Business Development Officer at Southern Cross Education Institute & North Melbourne Grammar College Melbourne, Australia 39 connections The fund-raising was completed in 36 hours last week after the virus pushed Ivan Zhao, Notion’s founder and chief executive, and Akshay Kothari, Notion’s chief operating officer, to rethink their previous position of … The app can be accessed via most web browsers. In 2015, productivity tool Notion nearly died. Additional listening: How Zoho works and How Angellist works, Outliers S05 E05 Ivan Zhao: How Notion Works, Outliers S05 E06 Akshay Kothari: How Notion Works, Outliers S05 E07 Camille Ricketts: How Notion Works, Outliers S05 E08 David Tibbitts: How Notion Works. The company claims to be an all-in-one workspace for note-taking, knowledge and data management, project and task management. Notion was founded by Ivan Zhao. This is how the notion was pitched. That all rounds up to about 27 which is where we are now. David Tibbitts has watched Notion’s user communities take birth and evolve over the years. On Slack, you can’t actually collaborate on a project… Notion has become a place where you can actually do a lot of your work alongside the synchronous communication. The idea of Notion isn’t just to offer a tool that users can apply to solve their problems, but to allow them to build their own versions of Notion and keep solving their existing and future problems. So Notion becomes this kind of central nervous system for all of the work that people are doing. In this podcast he shares some of the most amazing used cases for Notion that make Notion what it is. Work tools startup Notion, which recently reached a reported $800 million valuation, isn’t on the verge of a big SoftBank round. View Ivan Zhao’s profile on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional community. “I don’t know of many companies that are being built the way Notion is being built,” Akshay tells me in this podcast. 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