I write this recognizing that it sounds crazy to say that Notion, one of the hottest, most high profile startups might be underrated. I’ve been thinking about my experience using Notion and I am beginning to think I underestimated how much of my workflow Notion could devour. The more I use Notion, the more I see it as an existential threat to just about every cloud-based collaboration tool I use.
My path to using Notion was not smooth. I tried it once for myself and quit – it felt like a tool that could do so much and replace so many tools that I didn’t know what to do with it – it was a powerful tool with too many use cases. So I quit using it. I tried a second time and got a bit further and then I quit again. The third time was the charm. The big unlock for me was seeing someone do something in Notion (a cool-looking table with filters and tags) that I couldn’t figure out how to easily recreate in another tool. That’s when the light bulb went on for me. I went back and tried to document my step-by-step path to doing way more in Notion:
Step 1: Use Notion for private note taking, single player use case
Step 2: Use Notion as an alternative to Evernote web clipping
Step 3: Use Notion as a replacement for Google Docs / Quip
Step 4: Pause – Let’s not move too much to Notion just yet
Step 5: Start creating and sharing Notion pages in lieu of GDocs
Step 6: Move some business processes from Asana to Notion
Step 7: Move most default shared document creation to Notion
The only thing that seems immune to the Notion migration for me is Airtable. Airtable is an incredibly powerful tool for doing database-style queries and it is the foundation for how we store and manage portfolio company data. I don’t currently envision moving most of my Airtable workflows to Notion, but I reserve the right to change my mind.
I still don’t feel like I am fully taking advantage of everything that Notion can do. Some of my shortcuts and formatting is still clunky and unsure. Formulas and other functions are not as intuitive as I’d like. And every day I feel like I learn something new about what Notion does well. But it’s still the first tool I’ve used in a long time that feels like it could really replace the fragmented set of tools that I use for creation and collaboration.