TechFaster: Hi there. I’m Andrew Thompson, the editor of TechFaster. Today I’m joined by Alex Schiff, the co-founder of Fetchnotes. Hey Alex, how are you doing?
Alex Schiff: Good. How about yourself?
TechFaster: Good. Can you just start us off with a little intro to Fetchnotes?
Alex Schiff: Sure. So I’m Alex Schiff. I’m the founder and CEO of Fetchnotes where we make productivity as simple as writing a tweet. It’s a really easy way to keep track of the things that you need and want to do like ideas, to do lists, shopping lists, quotes, books to read. But what makes us really unique is that we don’t just store this information, we actually help you get it done too.
TechFaster: Cool. In my just very limited use, I signed up and started using it the other day, but I found that it’s much, much cleaner than Evernote and it’s just overall much easier to use. Was that one of the goals?
Alex Schiff: So let’s say like Evernote and us have very different use cases for the most part in the sense that like Evernote is very much like that, like your meeting minutes, class notes, agendas, they’re trying to be like the final resting spot for all of your memories. Whereas we’re much more about what’s on my plate right now, like what are the things I need to do, the books I want to read, the people I want to meet in this place. It’s kind of the analogy between sticky notes versus a full-fledged notebook.
TechFaster: Fair enough. You said you help users get things done. How does Fetchnotes do that?
Alex Schiff: We just released a couple of features in this vein and it’s where we’re really going in the short and medium and long term around actually going to the next step from to do to it’d be done in the sense that when you write down a book you want to read, we actually go out and find it for you. You say a piece of music that you want to listen to, we show you where you can find it or a YouTube video that your friend sends you that you want to save for later, we’ll let you play it from directly within the application. We don’t want to just build a better way to keep track of your thoughts, we want to build a smarter way and we just started releasing some of those features in that vein and you’re going to see a lot more of that coming down the pipeline.
TechFaster: Cool. On a lighter note here, I saw something about a test email that you guys sent out? It was supposed to be internal but it got sent to every subscriber?
Alex Schiff: That was – let’s see. The one year anniversary of bitchgate, this error, was last week and I hope your readers don’t mind me swearing a little bit. But yeah, when we were actually still in school at the University of Michigan, we sent out a test email that said, I think it was like ‘this is my test, bitches’ and yeah, we learned that you should not swear in things that you think are just going to other people on your team when you’re testing things. What most people don’t know about that actually is that we sent out, like we had an original email that we were trying to send out and it got sent out with no formatting, like I didn’t know that I had to put the HTML line breaks in it. And so it just got sent out as one massive blob. And so we kept on getting all these emails back from people saying it’s like “Oh, I just got this email. Did you mean to send it like this? It’s just this giant block of text.”
He was like okay, we’re going to test the line breaks to make sure that they’re working and that’s why it appeared in three separate lines and accentuated the final word for lack of a better term and yeah, that is the story of how that happened. I thought he was just sending it to me and he meant to send it just to me, but somehow it like auto completed the URL that it wasn’t on his local server. I don’t remember exactly what happened. I just know that I saw in my email inbox like Fetchnotes test, thinking that he had just sent a regular test email out. I’m like come on man. He sent out a test email to 3,000 people, then I opened the email and I see what it actually says and I’m just like no, no, God no.
TechFaster: But it looks like the response ended up being pretty good. Was it?
Alex Schiff: Yeah. It was really surprising. I’ve got to say, it was one of those lessons in entrepreneurship of crisis management and also just like learning the weird ways that people respond to things, because we were freaking out. We were just so apologetic to people and everyone, every message that we got from people were just like “Oh, I’m so glad to know that there are real people behind this product” or it’s like “Oh no, it’s okay. I swear all the time too” or some of my favorite ones were like “No problem, ****ers’ things like that and yeah, it was – I’ve got to say, we got 500 or so inbound messages, tweets, Facebook comments, emails and the like and maybe five of them were negative and I felt horrible about it. I felt terrible, but when all was said and done, only five people were like and I apologized profusely to them but it kind of tells you how people react to things like that if you admit when you screw up.
TechFaster: That’s pretty interesting. So what’s next for you guys? Do you have any new features you’re going to be rolling out soon?
Alex Schiff: Yeah. So what I started talking about, actually helping you get things done, that’s going to be a big focus over the next six months as well as how our users are sharing with each other and how they’re sharing with people outside the product too. There’s a lot of work that we want to do in making Fetchnotes a really easy way, not just to keep track of things for yourself, but to make it better for using in groups with other or just one or one with other people because what we found was as soon as we started releasing sharing was that husbands and wives were using it between each other like mad. People that live together like housemates or roommates, people in small workgroups, not like enterprise type of people, but a small team or especially like a law office or like a real estate office, consultancy, people that have very free flowing type of professions where there’s a lot of different projects or cases and that’s going to be one of the big focuses over the next several months is making that outstanding.
TechFaster: Well, that about wraps it up. Do you have any closing comments or anything you want to leave us with?
Alex Schiff: Just that Fetchnotes is available in the App Store, the Google Play store, on the web and we also have a Chrome extension too and I hope you guys check it out and give us your feedback.
TechFaster: Great. Thanks a lot for sitting down with me today.
Alex Schiff: Thank you.