The bit rate of writing

Posted on April 9, 2021. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I’ve been thinking a lot about new online note taking interfaces and document creation more broadly.  It feels like knowledge management systems like Roam and Notion have applied bidirectional linking and a more defined data structure to 1.0 online editors like Google Docs or Quip.  That’s a clear advance, but there’s more that can be done.  Knowledge management systems provide potentially a 10x experience in terms of discovery and recall of your documents, but don’t really innovate around creation of documents. Yes, Notion advances on embedded content within a document, interactive functionality within a document, and provides some out of the box formatting templates which all are helpful, but no online editor makes it easier for me to actually create the content.  The writer in these tools is doing 100% of the work associated with document creation, but there’s clear surface area for programatic assistance in that effort.  The bit rate of writing (or the speed with which a thought moves from your head into a document) has remained roughly constant from the advent of word processing, through its migration to web based editors, and has further persisted through the recent evolution toward knowledge management software.  I believe there’s an opportunity to increase that bit rate significantly.  One vector, that I’m less interested in within this specific context, is GPT-3 and programatic generation of text.  In my most intimate and intentional writing contexts, that breaks my intent model, but it does pose the promise of increasing the bit rate of writing.  Another, is what Beam is pushing on.  Without giving away too many details, Dom, Seb, and the team at Beam are circling what I believe to be a step function increase in the bit rate of online document creation.  Oh, and of course, it’s inclusive of every previous advance mentioned, with an aesthetic and ease that surpasses many of the most penetrated tools people use today.  It’s a really exciting effort. If you’re interested in learning more, I keep a spreadsheet of “early access requests” that I’m happy to add you to:

Disclosure: Pace is an investor in Beam…obviously biased.

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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)


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