Quip’ing on Quip

Quip, new collaboration

A clever, witty remark often prompted by the occasion

I don’t have anything clever or witty to say, and I have been holding back on talking about the new Quip experiences, which comes to mobile and the Web out of the gate in impressive form.

As soon as Bret Taylor rode away from Facebook to team up with the equally awesome Kevin Gibbs, I was keen to learn what they were working on. They have been beavering away for quite some time, and we now see that it isn’t that they didn’t know what they wanted to work on, but they wanted to put out a pretty darn polished MVP.

I have to admit that part of me was hoping that they were working on the cure for cancer, or a new education startup, but as soon as I got passed that I was interested to learn more about Quip.

I am experimenting a lot with productivity tools, and currently dislike the myriad of tools that I use (Asana, Evernote, Google Docs, and the list keeps going!).

My first impression of Quip was that it was “another (interesting) Word Processor” but I am now a little more hopeful that it could potentially eat in to the number of tools that I use.

For example, I use Evernote even though I find that it ironically has an awful editor, and the collaboration isn’t there. How many times have I had the following internal monologue:

“Should I put this on Google Drive so I can collaborate with it? Or just throw it into Evernote where I can most easily get it offline? Or maybe just a markdown doc in Dropbox?”

And, then I cry a lil inside.

In general, Evernote is my “scan documents => index” tool of choice due to the OCR recognition.

Dropbox is where I sync my world, from work assets to my dotfiles, Documents folders, and my media. Basically everything I can get away with.

Asana is where I plan life. I have a “Raw Thoughts” project which basically acts as my clearing house / journal. From there I have task lists for life and work. I have separate projects for people too (use the convention of “@Their Name” because I have one for everyone, not just people in the Asana system). Here I track notes about people, tasks that relate to them, and it gets more detailed for given relationships (e.g. Direct Reports have goals, 1:1 notes, etc). I also have folders in Evernote for people where I can place scanned in docs and the like.

Google Drive documents are for real-time collaboration. This gets fluffy when you want to transition the state between collaborative and not.

With Quip, I may be able to merge Google Drive and Evernote? I was actually thinking about going in another direction and merge to Google Drive since it can be a Dropbox and everything else.

As we see a lot of these services move “up the stack” I begin to see silo’s appearing:

  • In Mailbox you have a “save to dropbox” option
  • In Gmail you have a “save to gdrive” option

I don’t think it is great for customers to have to use IFTTT to make computing work for them.

Quip Implementation

Back to Quip for a second. I am really impressed with some of the details, such as:

  • The web based version is impressive: I looked into the DOM and even the thumbnails of content are just HTML elements. The animations and performance are top notch. Load a fairly large document and boom it is there for you. This could be good enough to Fluid.app-arize and use locally. The UI is a lil “looks like an iPad app on the Web”, but still very nice.
  • The signup flow is smart and simple. You just start with an email and it knows how best to continue.

A very solid MVP indeed, and I wish the best to the entire kick arse team that is behind it.

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