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The Curse of Smart People
How many times have you met someone who is hypersmart but can't seem to remember anything? They forget appointments, wince painfully when trying to remember something and can't even find their car keys. The human brain is bad at remembering, and smart people tend to be even worse at remembering things because they insist on using their brains for everything!
The Solution
Stop trying to cram all the information in the world into your head! Start writing notes. See how fast you can get to 100 notes. 1000 notes. 10,000 notes. So the next time you try to remember something and all your brain gives you is a slice of Swiss cheese, just search!
Avoid Productivity Overkill
Productivity geeks and productivity businesses tend to overdo it when they come up with a solution to a problem. Intricate databases and naming schemes, multidimensional prioritizing, and dozens of features that pretty much guarantee that you will never use that service. Part of the genius of Animist Notes is that it is as simple as possible: adding notes, and search notes.
It's So Obvious...
Why hasn't anyone else done this? I'm sure there are plenty of people out there with private blogs doing something similar. But few businesses would provide this service because they don't see the money. They believe that:
  • Desktop applications are private, Web applications are public.
  • The only way to make money on the Web is through advertising.
  • Only public user content matters.
  • Number of users is more important than quality of service.
I disagree with all of these assumptions. I'm creating Animist Notes because:
  • It's a killer app.
  • It's a service *I* really want to use.
  • It's a critical piece of the larger Animist vision.
  • It has the potential for emergent behavior — I'm curious how other people might use it.
History Lesson
I'm a productivity geek; I like using and creating technologies (anything from index cards to elaborate online applications) to increase my capacity for achievement while reducing time and effort. I've gone through several evolutionary stages of taking and organizing notes about everything in my life, from paper and pen to personal databases to wikis. Private wikis were a step up, but still required too much overhead and didn't scale gracefully.

My first project with Animist was a blogging system (not public yet, but being used for the Animist Blog and my personal blog.) I had started to use private blogs for keeping notes, because blog posts were effortless to add and search. As I started creating new blogs for new projects, it dawned on me that I didn't need a bunch of separate blogs to keep track of my notes: I just needed one big pile of notes with a fast entry interface and a smart search box. The idea was even more revolutionary (and simpler) than yet another blogging system, so Animist Notes became my #1 project.

Notes are Better than Bookmarks
I've always loved the idea of Web page bookmarks, but I noticed that I rarely use it much. Part of this is because despite all this time the interfaces for adding, editing and recalling bookmarks in Web browsers are still clunky. is even clunkier. Also, I realized that when I want to find an old bookmark I'm actually in a "search" frame of mind, not the "browse" frame of mind that a hierarchy of bookmarks supports.

To really support bookmark searching, bookmarks need annotations: a note — in your own words — about what the page contains and why it's useful to you. This is inherently supported by Animist Notes, making Animist Notes also an ideal replacement for your personal bookmarking system.