Memo's mission is to 'reclaim focus in a distracted world'.
The ability to focus is now one of the most valuable skills in our economy. We can achieve amazing things when we focus but so much technology is designed to win our attention.
Broken focus stops us from doing, learning and achieving fulfilment each day. It damages our well-being and productivity while owners of the distracting tech profit from our attention.
Memo's mission is to help you reclaim focus and reduce damaging distractions. The future of work is fulfillingly productive and kind to our mental well-being.
Today Memo is putting distraction free focus into communication. Email and messaging apps are among the most distracting technologies around but they are essential to work. This paradox makes communication tools the best way to have the biggest impact on focus. It's time to re-imaging email and instant messaging.
Re-imagining communication to help us reclaim focus
Memo is an alternative to email and instant messaging that re-thinks digital communication to put you in control. It works in familiar ways but we have questioned every element asking how communication can be improved.
The key to making communication less distracting is to value quality over quantity. High quality communication gets more done with less. It values fewer longform messages over a greater number of low-value exchanges.
These are the attributes of high quality communication that we are developing into Memo:
Memo helps you control how and when you receive your messages. This allows you to better assign focussed communication time during your day. You will no-longer be at the mercy of an inbox pinging you whenever it is convenient for the sender.
Memo makes actioning things as easy as possible by recognising when people are asking you questions. Processing your communication should be swift, simple and satisfying.
Well-structured communication is more easily navigated, referenced and contextualised.
Your conversations are private. Applications that read your emails do so because they want to distract you with advertising. This is against everything we are tring to achieve with Memo.
Whichever side of the privacy debate you fall, Memo chooses not to take part in that eco-system and therefore has no reason at all to be remotely interested in your private messages.
The only time we read your emails is when you send one to us!
Well-being is essential for achieving focus and we believe communication should enhance your well-being not damage it.
So often you hear of people overwhelmed by too much email or unable to catch-up on thousands of instant messages. Memo is the antidote.
Sustainable business model
Critical to respecting your attention is to build a tool that serves you and only you. Memo's sole aim is to provide value to its customers by helping them reclaim focus.
We do not let advertisers extract value from your data. Websites that sell your attention optmise for keeping you engaged for longer. This is not consistent with Memo's mission.
To make this work, Memo needs sustainable funding. Therefore, teams pay to use Memo allowing us to ensure we do not allow any other kind of value extraction. Personal accounts are free.
With any goal, we need to understand whether we are genuinely making a positive difference and achieving our mission.
Most apps report on metrics such as 'messages sent' or 'time spent in-app' (the underlying assumption being that more is better) but with Memo we need to optimise for the least amount of time spent in-app.
We want you to use Memo less but get more value out of the time you do spend using it.
We measure two things in Memo. First, we count the number of sessions each user has in a day - two good sessions a day communicating is perfect. If people are checking Memo 40 times a day we are probably failing to help anyone reclaim focus.
Secondly we measure the raw number of conversations started using Memo. If people choose to start conversations here we assume Memo's features add enough value that conversations are always better in Memo than out of it. All of our usage data is anonymised and aggregated to give us a broad understanding of these values so we can focus on delivering Memo's mission Getting Involved
Everyone is invited to use Memo.
Memo is an open system that works similar to email. You can write to anyone that has an email address. Unlike some messaging tools, you don't have to set up a team or invite people - just start writing.
Memo is free to read and receive messages sent by paying customers. All of Memo's interactive features are available in every conversation so everyone benefits.
If you would like to use Memo, please let us know by writing to us here: sendmemo.app/team.
Peter and I would like to acknowledge Cal Newport and his excellent book Deep Work.
It is an inspiring and practical read and it has informed some of our opinions about the importance of focus in today's economy. You can buy Deep Work, Rules for Focussed Success in a Distracted World at calnewport.com. We also recommend his book Digital Minimalism.