How learning React led me to create an app used by 10K people

Published on Oct 29, 2018 in Side-projects

A couple of months ago, for fun and for a challenge, I set for myself the goal of learning React and the serverless architecture.

Luckily for me, the Serverless Stack came to my rescue. 

The Serverless Stack tutorial is designed to teach you what is Serverless (and AWS Lambda in particular) and guides you through the creation of a simple note-taking app. Frank Wang (@fanjiewang) & Jay V (@jayair) have done an amazing job in creating a step-by-step tutorial that is easy to follow, clear and rich in explanation.

But now I digress.
I've had an idea for a long time of a free, minimalist, no login required, note-taking app.

Why free, minimalist and open?
I'm not sure, but I do know that I've often found myself in the need of taking a quick note − like copying a snippet of code, making a grocery list or just dumping some quick thoughts − and being frustrated that I had to create a new Google doc, change the sharing settings, etc.

I wanted something quick and by "quick" I mean open-write-save-share quick.

So I figured that if I needed something like this surely I couldn't be the only one?
So I asked around if other people had the same problem, did my research and after weeks of customer development started coding straight away.

After 2 days it was ready. I called it QuickNote*

What is QuickNote?

quicknote homepage screenshot

QuickNote is a free, no-login-required, do-whatever-you-want and some-other-hyphenated-word note-taking app.

You can create notes - that can contain links, images, lists or snippets of code - on the fly and share them with your colleagues or friends in seconds.

As one guy has said on Product Hunt:

It is the digital equivalent to scraping a piece of paper to pass something really quick.

You can use it for whatever you want, but here are some ideas:

Launch and initial reaction

On September 28 I launched it on Product Hunt with modest success. 

product hunt comment about quicknote

product hunt comment about quicknote

Since launching, over 30,000 quick notes have been created by over 10,000 people. An average of ~1,000 a day. The most active country is China. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that QuickNote is an anonymous service.

One of the main feature requests was a Chrome extension so that people could take notes from any tab.

On the 28th of October, I published the Official Chrome extension which I personally love because it makes taking notes from any tab ridiculously easy, which is exactly what I wanted in the first place.

quicknote chrome extension example.

quicknote chrome extension example

QuickNote is now my de-facto way to take notes or even create a draft for blog posts (like this one).

I'm not sure what will happen in the future or how people will use it but frankly, I don't care.
I created QuickNote for myself and I love it. I have no plans to monetize it nor make it a "serious" project. QuickNote is hosted on AWS S3 and uses AWS Lambda as backend which means it would cost pennies even if it scaled to millions of people using it every month.

PS: If you have used QuickNote in any cool/different way, please let me know!

* Creativity is not really my second name but they say descriptive names are a good thing right?


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