Last Updated on April 13, 2011 by New-Startups Team
Rocketr is a place for ideas, notes, collaboration and conversations to occur. With the use of online notebooks, users can set up a place where various editors (people who write in the notebook) can post notes relating to a topic of the creators choice. These virtual notebooks can be made public, through which anyone can follow and add their own notes or be held private, to be viewed by only privileged individuals.
Users are given a very simple and easy to use interface, from which new notebooks can be added, controlled, edited and maintained, with the type and number of notebooks that users can create limited only by imagination. From creating notebooks about fun and entertainment (such as quotes that mean something to you) to more serious work related issues (such as gaining feedback about an internal application – Take a look at the Rocketr Feedback Notebook), Rocketr gives you a place to obtain a quick and efficient collaborative note-taking and brainstorming outlet..
The Rocketr team was founded by Jet Cooper (the Design Lead and a top tier UX/UI agency in Toronto) with Technical Lead undertaken by Jennifer Fong-Adwent. . The Product Lead and Conceptualizer of the project was Andrew Peek (@drupeek), whom we had the pleasure of asking a few questions about this collaborative note-taking application.
Q: Who made Rocketr possible?
Andrew: The Rocketr team was founded by Jet Cooper’s Andrew Peek (Product Lead and Conceptualizer of Rocketr), and Jennifer Fong-Adwent (Technical Lead). Each party made initial investments in an attempt to launch the product to market quickly and with dedicated focus.
Q: What is Rocketr and its key features, in other words: what should someone know about Rocketr?
In Rocketr there are public and private notebooks – but a user can add an unlimited number of editors to any notebook. Editors are the people who write in the notebook – they’re the ones who’s notepads sync up. Each notebook can have a different list of editors. Some notebooks are fun and entertaining and others are work-related – a safe haven for a team’s ideas. Public notebooks can be followed by anyone – private notebook cannot.
Q: What makes Rocketr so impressive?
Groups are making their way into the social web. Currently, Group SMS is a growing phenomenon. Group-based note-taking allows people to sync their notepads through the cloud and share thoughts as they happen. Where it differs from email is in the dynamics of the system. Whereas email implicitly suggests urgency, priority and to-dos (things that tend to kill ideas prematurely), Rocketr is about conversations around notes (which is how ideas get explored).
Q: Why should someone use Rocketr? What need does it fulfill?
Innovation happens in a given moment. An idea strikes and the first thing we want to do is write it down. The problem is that the “capturing” process is separated from the “sharing” process which means that the idea has to sit idle for a while on a disconnected notepad. From there, while there is some chance that it eventually becomes formalized in an email chain, it is no guarantee. That’s a long time to wait for an idea to gain momentum. We thought people should be able to capture and share all at the same time.
Q: What made you want to create Rocketr?
I’m a firm believer in the notion that ideas are born when people connect. They are born in coffee shops, after work or in the in-between moments of a meeting. I was frustrated that these moments couldn’t continue for longer. Rocketr was an acknowledgement that there wasn’t a tool built for letting the idea pick up momentum.
Q: How do you see this application transforming in the near future?
We’ve seen that people really enjoy making public notebooks of their bookmarks. For example, I have a “Spoken Word Collection” notebook that is public, but that keeps all my favourite clips on spoken word. This is a common use case – we call it contextual bookmarking because you are saving something you’ve found with a theme in mind.
We also think there’s a good chance people want to use their notepad to move notes around. Nobody wants to think too hard about taking notes, but some notes are just meant to wind up in different places. For example, a “to-do” should probably end up in a task management solution somehow. That’s something we’re investigating as well.
Q: As a key member of #LeanCoffeeTO, how does Rocketr fit into the model of a “lean” application?
We built Rocketr using agile and customer development principles. As a result, we were able to bring the private beta to market after 99 days – that was a big accomplishment with a small team. The members of LeanCoffeeTO really helped us get there – they are our early adopters and testers – and they never mince their words!
Lean Coffee Toronto (#LeanCoffeeTO) is a peer group for startup founders. We identify, discuss and action more efficient ways of conducting business while reducing waste. An entrepreneurial ‘lean’. Lean Coffee Toronto Meetings are done through MeetUp.com
Q: Anything else you wish to say about Rocketr?
The open sourcing of ideas (which we support through public notebooks) is an interesting thing to think about… it has serious potential to change the way we think about how ideas come to life on a global scale.
Q: Finally, what’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who is trying to get a new startup off the ground?
Focus. The Rocketr team is a dedicated team. From morning to night we think about the vision, the product and the path forward. The only way to make better decisions is to focus on only one thing.
If you wish to read more about the Rocketr story, you can do so by visiting the Jet Cooper Blog. The following is how they broke up the production process of Rocketr:
1. How To Find A Technical Co-Founder
2. Structuring Experiments
3. Pitch Sooner, Pivot Faster
4. Finding The “Minimum in MVP”
5. UI As A Self-Moderating Mechanism
6. What Does A Business Co-Founder Do?
The story is also summarized quite beautifully in their How to Build a Product in 99 Days blog post. Below is the iPhone Paper Prototype which was kindly shared by the Jet Cooper team.