How we built an app to fix our own meeting fatigue

We’re not building a generic notes app. We’re also not building an app for everyone. We are building a product that reduces the cognitive load for people with lots of meetings. Something that enables people with lots of context switching to ensure they don’t miss follow-ups. Something that makes relevant information immediately accessible. We care about being on point in our meetings. This means clearing away all the clutter and noise to help us be prepared and focused.

The idea for Witful started when I was managing a large team of people. I believe one-on-one meetings are a crucial part of being an effective manager, and I take lots of notes in my one-on-ones. I like to track what is happening with my coworkers and reports because it allows me to better support them. As I was managing larger and larger teams across diverse products and projects, I noticed how difficult it was to keep this all organized and feel in touch with my teams.

When we started Real Kinetic, I focused on the administrative tasks of starting and running a consulting business in addition to being responsible for our business development and sales. I quickly realized that the same need existed in these roles. I was in several meetings with various attorneys and accountants each week. I was on calls with multiple clients and sales prospects daily. I was on calls with our team internally. I was constantly switching contexts, jumping from one meeting to the next.

Then, in an effort to develop leads and grow our client base, I started developing relationships with investors and other networkers. This added a new level of complexity to my note organization because I wanted to associate notes from these calls with that person, but also with other clients. I tried every note-taking solution on the market and none met my needs.

After a lot of fruitless searching for the right solution, I began sketching mockups on my whiteboard. These sketches quickly evolved into code, resulting in a simple prototype that let me play with the idea. It was immediately obvious that it was something worth pursuing.

In early 2019, we decided to have Alex dedicate time to build out the prototype. He translated the rough prototype into a usable product by the end of August 2019. Mike, Tyler, Nick, and myself started using Witful in our day-to-day consulting work. The value of our idea was clear, and we started getting excited. I showed Witful to my wife who was responsible for project management and managing client relationships at a software development consulting group. In her role managing a large number of client and internal relationships, the value of the product was even more apparent. After a couple weeks of using it, she came home and told me, “I no longer stress missing follow-ups because they’re just there.”

We decided to invest in developing the product and hired Coury to accelerate development. Through the fall, Coury and I worked to build and deploy features that helped us, as actual users, do our real jobs more efficiently. 

We have continued to both add and remove features as we iterate on the product. We are constantly finding that some features seem like clear and certain must-haves, but after they have been implemented everyone uses it for a day and then never again. We realized smart organization, intelligent layout, intuitive user experience, and search are far more important than one-off home run features.

What has been most exciting for me is seeing how seemingly minor additions, revisions, and touches have been the most impactful to the experience.

We’re real users of our product and we’re excited to share it with you. We are hopeful that Witful can improve your work and restore sanity to your day as it has for us. Our vision for Witful is to build the product that lets you be brilliant at what you do.

 

 

– Robert