Roam is Evernote back… in 2009

Potentially a better Evernote replacement than Notion

Roam Research has been on everyone’s minds in the last few weeks, and if you haven’t heard about it yet –

Yesterday, the platform even went down due to the traffic surge from Thomas Frank, a productivity YouTuber, and his guide to using the snazzy new note-taking tool and how it works in practice.

Roam’s rise to attention actually came as a surprise to me. Hidden beneath Notion’s hype, Roam found a niche with a set of users – not needing the overly powerful databases in Notion but a balance between Notion and Evernote, for personal note-taking.

The magic with Roam is all in the linked references. Inside Roam, you can build relationships between each of your notes. Connecting them makes recall, searching, and discovery so much more insightful – and something Evernote could have developed years ago.

👨🏻‍💻 Evernote Level Hype

Taking about Evernote, Roam reminds me a lot of Evernote in the first few years. With Evernote, there was plenty of hype around the application for a range of reasons – the first was the nature of the tool’s accessibility and feature sets.

For many at the time, there wasn’t an effective note-taking solution, so the features Evernote presented in their smooth web app, document capture, and the rise of GTD presented a solution.

Roam has captured the same attention and whilst early days is giving off the same vibes Evernote was in its foundation years.

🎩 Roam Cult

The second element that brings back Evernote revolution memories is the CEO and the community behind the Roam rise.

Their CEO, Conor White-Sullivan is an active tweeter, always has an ear out to feedback, and assesses the situation very well to keep his community updated. This actually reminds me of how Phil Libin was in his approach to community – but in much more modern times.

The community is something else. The #RoamCult as they liked to be called is a friendly, geek-like clan that has produced so many wild and wonderful ways to use Roam in a variety of daily note-taking use cases.

Much like the beginnings of the Evernote community, the vitality of set-ups and tours has become a thing of Twitter joy – with people sharing methods and processes to managing their Roam that have inspired many and brings together the community.

One thing I’m shocked with is that new users are understanding Roam faster than they understand Notion – the nature of the networked thought, once grasped is a lot easier to process for the average note-taker than Notion’s many and functional databases.

With this combination of founding community and rapid development, despite some lagging server speeds, it has definitely inspired a new rise to fame that Roam is seeing right now, very much Evernote like in 2009.

📒 Dynalist Undercut

One of the questions I’ve asked myself for many weeks now, is, surely, a tool like Dynalist, Bear, or Workflowy could introduce the networked thought concept into their system.

We’ve seen tools like Bear in the past produce #hashtag note-booking, which is similar in nature but doesn’t go anywhere near as far as Roam does with the referencing and graph overviews.

This would surely undercut the Roam tool, boy, even Evernote introducing a feature like this would gain them plenty of attention.

But the magic Roam offers is this concept and values from day one. Users who sign up now this is the primary selling point and can build their workflows in the same way the mind works.

🧰 Mobile & Offline

So, what’s next for the platform?

It looks like they are pushing for the following:

  • Mobile Development – an iOS and Android application – so people can make and take notes on the go with Roam
  • Offline Access – so that when the issues of the servers persist, there’s a way to capture your data (and not have to manually store it)
  • Better Servers – they seem to be always addressing the speed of the servers on Twitter and something on their mind
  • New $15 Pricing – the pricing has been announced, it’ll be $15 per month for the average joes and $7.50 per month for students/academics.

After much thought, with the hype of Notion – Roam could actually be the Evernote replacement we’ve been looking for, and not the all-in-one workspace Notion that could become the dashboard tool for teams and those looking to combine project management + life dashboards.

An exciting few months ahead for Roam Research.

Subscribe here on Medium or over on YouTube, check out the latest video below 🙏🏼

👨🏻‍💻 Host of Keep Productive — talking about the future of productivity software here on Medium 👋🏻

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store