The Productivity App That Won the Pandemic
In uncertain times, we all want a sense of control
In April 2020, as many businesses were shutting down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Notion was booming.
Although the expansive note-taking app had been around since 2013, the company’s founders and investors apparently understood that the way we work would suddenly see a drastic change as the coronavirus spread across the country. Notion founder and CEO Ivan Zhao raised $50 million, pushing the company’s value to $2 billion.
The gamble on the part of Zhao and his investors was a good one. Notion’s user base has more than quadrupled since 2019. In August, Zhao told Protocol that each week was its biggest ever in terms of growth.
In a world that feels truly out of control, millions of people have turned to their Notion accounts to restore some order. Astronomical stress, daily Zoom meetings, and virtual cocktail parties make it feel as if we need more help than ever to keep on track of it all — even if many of us barely leave our homes.
Notion is unique in that it allows users to include a wide variety of online content, from tweets to images to graphs, that many other note-taking apps make difficult or impossible to include in a document. In a way, Notion is almost like a productivity Minecraft: an expansive space to create (almost) whatever you want and need to organize information.
Sarah Holder, a reporter based in San Francisco, says she started 2021 feeling very “discombobulated and unfocused,” so she turned to Notion for help.
When we feel bad, we naturally look for ways to identify and fix the problem.
“I was constantly making to-do lists in notebooks or note apps or many different random programs,” she says. “I decided to try Notion to organize my thoughts, and I love that you can make lots of different kinds of to-do lists and put little emojis on them.” She assigned telephone emojis to indicate scheduled phone calls, for example; finished stories garner whale emojis; and a completed run is marked on her calendar with a runner emoji.