A story we admire
We can't begin to talk about Notion without talking about their history...
Who created Notion?
Notion started in 2013 in San Francisco. Here's one of the rare photos of Ivan Zhao on the left and Simon Last on the right, the people behind the Notion tool.
These two developers had a futuristic vision of computer software. Being inspired by Steve Jobs and others, they wanted to create their innovation that would change the world of work. Their idea: create a simple application that would bring together all the management and organization tools. That's how Notion was born. For two years, they will start developing Notion.
In the beginning, the product was not stable, and it did not find its audience. To make up for it all, they were running out of money and had almost no budget to continue developing Notion.
In 2015, they made a crazy decision that would become the best choice for Notion. The two founders, chose to move to Kyoto. A place they did not know and a language that was not their own. It was a decision that would completely change their lives. And it is this kind of choice that we admire at Noxcod.
It wasn't just the fact that they were doing something eccentric that blew us away in their work. But they were so confident in their product that they dared to drop everything and put their last dollar into developing Notion. Ambition and confidence are values we share at Noxcod and Notion's story inspire us.
For a year, they worked hard. And in 2016, they released the 1.0 of Notion! The tool explodes, 1 million users with only word-of-mouth communication.
In 2018, Notion 2.0 appeared with a new feature : the addition of databases. A plus that allowed them to become more known.
In April 2020, Notion raises 50 million dollars and is valued at 2 billion. Consequent progress, allowed them to come back to San Francisco and to open other subsidiaries, like in Dublin or New York.
Today, Notion is still developing in various countries and can no longer be considered a human-sized company.
What is Notion?
Notion is an application available on Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS. Notion is an all-in-one tool. It is your task manager, your calendar, your database, your movie, and your TV show list. It helps you to manage your professional and private life. It is your personal assistant at all times.
It helps you, and with proper use can boost your productivity. It allows you to design your personalized and adaptable workspace as you wish
Notion can be used in many ways, it can be :
- a note-taking application ;
- a writing application;
- a management tool for your shopping lists;
- a project management tool;
- a wiki;
- a tool for managing your personal finances;
- an asynchronous communication tool;
- a file transfer app;
- a spreadsheet ;
- a CRM ;
- a documentation tool ;
- a shared knowledge base;
- a personalized database;
- an intranet ;
- a CMS.
We can even do all of these at the same time.
Fully customizable pages
Notion evolves as a page. A page is a place where you can write everything, invent everything and build your workspace. Pages are free and can be shared, built, and reinvented. Your pages can look like anything you want.
How do we use Notion?
Notion is the extension of all the brains of the Noxcod team. It is at the same time our task manager, our database, our wiki, and our writing tool.
We manage our tasks with a very useful Kanban board to follow our work throughout the year. It allows us to know what we still have to do and to supervise the tasks of each employee at a glance.
Database and Wiki
The databases allow us to gather all the information for the good functioning of Noxcod. We have databases for everything: one for the tools we use, one for the tools to test, another one to list all our old projects... All these databases allow us to follow our evolution in the long term and define new objectives to better target our clientele and stay on the lookout at any time.
Notion is the ideal writing tool to write our blog articles and our posts on social networks.
What is really practical with Notion and what makes the difference between a Google Doc or a Word is the ease of editing. When we write an article, we want to be able to make fast changes. With Notion, by learning two or three keyboard shortcuts, we save a lot of time. You can also rearrange the layout of your sentences with a simple mouse movement.
Although it can do much more, we are still at the beginning of its use. But Notion is very useful to gather our ideas and share them quickly.
The price is a motivation to convince us to buy one product. Notion understands it very well and can be used for free. The options for the free package are of course limited, but it still allows us to use the product almost completely. And if you want to use Notion without limit, the amounts remain affordable :
The prices are quite affordable and make the tool very accessible to many people. Compared to tools like Coda ($10) or Evernote ($7.99) Notion is very competitive.
The advantages of using Notion
The first advantage of Notion is its infinite customization. It is completely free to use and allows you to approach your work in any way you want. The typography, the colors, the theme and the whole aesthetic of Notion can be shaped as you wish.
The great thing about Notion is that there is no structure. The application is very flexible and adapts to your way of working. It is you who creates your tool (personal or professional) and not the platform.
Easy to use
The tool is so simple that in a few hours of use and with 2 / 3 keyboard shortcuts, you can master the basics of the platform. Notion is like a new generation of Google Docs. Despite the simplicity of google tools, Notion managed to design a more instinctive platform.
When you create your Notion account, you are immediately directed to a page with a Getting Started Guide that takes 10 minutes to read and gets you up to speed on all the basics. On the left, you have a template that fits your choice of package (team or personal).
The Notion community is very active. This is a real plus to understand how to use and develop your workspace with peace of mind. If you have a problem, you can get help or an answer in a very short time.
Sharing a page between collaborators has never been easier. In seconds, you can upload any page you want. You can share with individual teammates, with groups, outside your team, and even publish to the web. Their permission options allow you to better manage collaboration (restrict, extend, restore, stop). All these options make teamwork much easier.
APIs are a real plus for Notion, they are developing more and more. You can connect hundreds of software with Notion, like Figma, without necessarily knowing how to code. With software like Make or Zapier, you can add functionalities. The interest of APIs is that they allow you to connect all your data in Notion databases, pages or blocks. Unfortunately, they still need some improvements to simplify their integration, but it's always a plus to be able to customize your Notion account.
The disadvantages of using Notion
The databases lack a bit of evolution
Databases are for us one of the main drawbacks of Notion. Less evolved than on Airtable or Coda, they are the weak point of Notion. What is missing in Notion are the data types.
They are not as developed as on Airtable, for example, the rating would be very interesting to implement. Or simply put more options for numerical databases. They are currently too limited and do not allow precise calculations.
An option to add a simple button, a graph, or to be able to just select a column in the databases would make Notion an incomparable tool and even more powerful than it already is.
Maybe too infinite and too customizable
Customization can also be a drawback. Notion is so customizable and infinite that you can easily get lost by making too many pages for example. Our advice to avoid getting lost is to take care of the structure, it is essential from the beginning. The best is to test your preferences, to find small and nice integrations, a simple and structured theme that makes you want to organize your tool.
Notion is a totally free and manageable product as we wish. It is the basis of our internal communication and allows us to advance in our steps while storing data. It is a real plus for the future of NoxCod because it will allow us to gather our processes, and our work habits and facilitate the transmission of data to future Noxcoders in a few clicks.