Thank you for your above note about the Agenda development team and your future direction!
While I always seem to be looking for the latest GTD, productivity, or note-taking app, there are some apps that execute so well on very fundamental principles such as Things for GTD and projects/tasks. For this reason, the Things app has become a strong part of my daily workflow and productivity tooling for the last 7 years or so.
After using Agenda for the past few months and just now moving more of my notes and content into it from other apps, I know that Agenda is in the category of apps that gets the fundamentals just right. This is also clear from your talk linked above where you outlined the problem that Agenda was solving for you and how you iterated on that quickly with users towards the initial release.
I stumbled upon Agenda a few months ago when I was trying to make sense of notes that I had in Bear and Ulysses (and in Google Docs and Evernote many years ago) but just wasn’t finding myself using those apps often or working with the notes/content in a meaningful way. Then I found Agenda and tried it out, and it immediately resonated with me and made sense where it could fit into my daily workflow.
I work in a customer-facing software engineering position, so Agenda immediately made sense for certain notes that I have that are tied to specific dates or people (meetings, 1:1s, customer calls, travel/events). For people that work with dozens of different systems in the same day, it is very pleasant to open Agenda and make a new note in just the right place without having mental friction about how to organize that note for future or past meetings or for future reference.
I have mostly been using Agenda for these types of meeting and date-based notes for the past few months, and am now starting to bring in other types of notes and references in, and it is very pleasant to work with all of these types of notes in categories and projects.
Regarding your past work and products, I used Papers for ~6 years during my undergraduate and graduate research and studies. Papers was easily one of the top 3 most important tools that got me through graduate school and kept me extremely organized along the way. I had about 5,000 scientific journal papers organized by research topic in Papers, which was invaluable for keeping up with and reading new papers and ultimately for writing and referencing those articles in my own thesis and dissertation. Other students and even professors often wondered how I was able to keep track of so much new research and pull up relevant research papers on any topic so quickly.
After using Agenda, I see that it applies the same fundamental principles to everything related to notes, dates, and people, am I’m excited to apply it far beyond the scope of what Papers did for me in terms of organizing research papers. It means I can stop chasing different implementations of note-taking apps or waiting on the “silver bullet” new feature and just get back to work, getting things done, and getting real.
Regarding your statement on not expanding your development team or chasing VC funding or IPOs, I have worked at companies that have chased the funding and growth path that you mentioned. I can definitely relate to the effects of “more overhead, less transparency, and less approachability” that you mentioned, and I know from experience that it always has negative impacts on the quality of the software, the morale and happiness of the employees, and ultimately the relationship with and experience by your users. This approach also tends to attract even more of a negative user and employee base over time, which creates a viscous cycle that usually does not end well.
I have also worked at other companies that choose to focus on the long-term sustainability of their ecosystem, quality of their tools, staying connected to their users in day-to-day interactions, and retaining happy employees along the way. As a very satisfied user of your software as well as an employee of a software/product company, I applaud you and your team for intentionally taking the more impactful, sustainable, and human-friendly route in your approach with Agenda and communicating it out very publicly.
It was a big selling point for me when I learned that @mekentosj from Papers and the other members of the development team were behind Agenda, and reading posts like this further ensures me that this is the right tool for me in the long run with the right team backing it. I am confident that by sticking to the principles that you outlined, you will have many more happy users and fans to come.
All of that to say, thank you for being so transparent about the current and future states of your development team, company culture, and product timelines.
I look forward to contributing to the Agenda efforts using some of the methods that you outlined. And I look forward to being an Agenda Premium user for a very long time to make sense of all of my notes and expanding its use to track and improve on many different aspects of my professional and personal life.