Alex Payne is a writer based in Portland, Oregon.

since 2001, has served as his online home.

Advising Simperium

I’ve been impressed with Simplenote since I first installed it. It has everything you want out of a good iOS app: simplicity, reliability, frequent updates, plentiful options for desktop integration, and just enough going on under the hood to keep power users happy. I recommend Simplenote at every opportunity, and I even wrote a backup utility that inspired their official backup solution.

This past summer, I got to meet Fred and Mike, the guys behind Simplenote. Their company is called Simperium, and their ambitions run far beyond selling subscriptions to premium features for Simplenote. Indeed, Simplenote is just a demo – albeit an incredibly useful demo – for the sync platform that Simperium is working on.

Dropbox is the clear leader in syncing raw bits today. They do a great job at it. The latest version of Simplenote supports syncing to Dropbox because it’s so darn useful. That said, Dropbox isn’t a solution for the problem of syncing structured documents. You can build that extra sync layer, but isn’t easy, particularly if you’re a developer who’s never built a sync solution before. The beleaguered developers at Cultured Code know all too well that this is a hard problem. Right now, sync is a problem that’s getting solved by developers over and over again in slightly different ways; some better, some worse.

What Simperium will eventually offer is an easy-to-use platform for building apps that sync. I’m happy to announce that I’m now an advisor to and a (very minor) investor in Simperium. I haven’t worked on sync systems, but I am hoping that I can provide some insight to the Simperium team on building a developer platform and scaling out their backend systems.

If you’re a Simplenote user, expect the app to get better and better. If you’re developing an app that needs to sync, Simperium is building a platform you’ll want to use. If you rely on apps that sync, you’ll be using Simperium-powered tools before you know it. Fred, Mike, and their team are up to great things, and I feel privileged to be able to support them as best I can as they take their company to the next level.

Be sure to check out the latest release of Simplenote, which features the aforementioned Dropbox sync capability along with the ability to treat notes as lists, slick sharing and tagging, and more.

Following Up On What Technology Values

Solving The Hacker News Problem