I have been meaning to jump into this conversation, so here goes…I would not apologize @cannibalflea and I am with you and @Oshyan in this discussion. @webinit that is a cool set up you have, but tech savvy or not, but setting up something like that takes way too much time and mental capacity I think, when we should be able to get it natively and in a way we can set up without what is essentially coding inside the tool. It seems you’ve found a way to use Fibery to solve a duplication issue you had in off the shelf solutions. I agree with Oshyan here though:
You are capable enough, and have enough time, to configure Fibery to suite a variety of specific use cases. I feel like a lot of users are doing the same. But on a more basic level, to help serve needs of a team managing work and communicating, we need things like Reminders to get that done effectively. I am happy with the base functions that Fibery has that are simply brilliant and non-existent in the rest of the market like references, deep relations, Entity customization, even the UI I think is very good. But as we are saying, a lot of the stuff we need could be handled by extensions, such as “Due Date” type of Date option - perhaps Extension?, and that would greatly help my team get more from Fibery.
Exactly this. I can’t claim to really know what Fibery’s adoption problem is, and growth is hard, I get it. But there is definitely a market awareness problem, and rarely have I seen greater misalignment between the actual quality and capability of a product and its actual visibility and reach in the market. Amazing Marvin is another tool that comes to mind in that respect, and ironically it too has some UI/UX/ease of use problems from extreme power and flexibility. But it’s got other challenges going on too, ones that I don’t think Fibery has.
The thing that’s interesting here though is that most of what Fibery team talks about in terms of growth seems to be about “How do we show people Fibery’s value quickly, once they try the tool.” That’s obviously super important, but something is stopping Fibery from being in the conversation in the first place as much as it should be. Something is keeping people from even becoming aware of Fibery, and that to me is the greater problem. I know various marketing efforts have been tried and failed, so it’s not like the team is not trying to grow its reach, but I do wonder if the wrong tack is being taken there. Many of the other more successful tools have relied heavily on word of mouth, in some form, user-driven marketing. And I suspect the issue for Fibery is in part that it’s an “oddball” tool that’s a bit hard to recommend to most people at this point due to it being yes, super powerful, but also well… just feeling a bit clunky in some fundamental ways.
Anyway, I know the team is aware of this, to be sure. But for me a focus on these baseline functions, the things fundamental to our work, seems a likely source of potential growth and increased adoption. What I come back to is that Fibery is amazing for setting all this fancy stuff up, but once you do that, and/or as a “regular” (non-admin) user, you still come back to a lot of the same basic activities and user patterns as most other tools, just based on an extremely flexible system that may involve a bunch of fancy stuff behind the scenes. But in the end it’s mostly represented to the user in ways that are extremely similar to the user as other tools. The way people interact with the system comes down to similar basic stuff. And when some major part of that interaction is way worse than the more visible tools in the space, it surely has a notable effect.
For me this comes a lot down to notifications and how I keep track of and interact with my work and changes to it. The experience there is… pretty bad. I hate to say it, I love Fibery, you all know I’m a Fibery booster But unless I’m missing some better way of doing things, notifications through automations are just a terrible experience. Mostly it comes down to a bunch of unnecessary and seemingly non-customizable aspects of automation-driven notifications. Since automations are the way to notify on e.g. due dates, and all automations seem to have “Automations” prefixed, then every notification has that, which is… well, almost completely useless and unnecessary. Likewise I should be able to determine myself whether the database name (in my case “Task”) is included in the notification, and whether my email address and indeed the Fibery logo are included (currently they’re the first thing I see in email notifications). I get why these things are there, at least by default, and yes there are absolutely situations where you’d want the DB name to be included. But not every situation, to be sure.
It all just feels really clunky. And the thing is, a lot of that seems pretty easy to fix. None of this is complicated, “advanced” stuff. That’s not what I, at least, am wanting. I actually want simple, “clean” notifications. As it is every single one is so filled with boilerplate of the same info each time, my eyes just glaze over looking at my email or in-app notifications. This is what I see in my in-app notifications:
Same prefix (“Automations”), same icon, etc. It’s just mind-numbing. You’d think an app like Fibery, based on customization, would let you turn off some of that boilerplate (and maybe it does and I just don’t know how, but if that’s the case, then it needs to be made more obvious).
And yes, some other apps like Notion have some of these problems too, but A: Notion’s task management is widely considered to not be great, so it’s not exactly a benchmark to aspire to and B: even Notion has notable advantages over Fibery, e.g. Inbox, Following, and All views, and a way to dismiss a notification. Unless I’m blind, Fibery doesn’t even have that. The sheer fact that you cannot clear notifications is a major indicator that Fibery’s notifications approach is broken. It exposes a fundamental misunderstanding (or perhaps more likely just a lack of prioritization) of how a lot of people feel interacting with something like that in an app. People want to process and get to “Inbox Zero”! It viscerally feels bad to open your notifications and see them all still sitting there. Yes, you can “mark as read”, but that’s not the same thing.
You’re absolutely right @Chr1sG that Fibery is better than even some industry-leading tools in certain respects. Search is one of them, at least in some (important) respects and I wouldn’t call that out as a “fundamental usability problem” personally, at the moment. I find notifications handling to be far more egregious, along with a few other core/key issues like how due dates and reminders are handled. I am not suggesting that Fibery needs to become “easy and simple” like some other tools, only that there are certain key areas where usability and ease of use matter a lot more IMO. And I hope we can see some notable improvement in those areas sooner than later, because I think they may be important to Fibery’s near-term and long-term growth and adoption.
It will not. Feel free to come back here and say “I told you so” in 6 months if you see a massive spike in adoption, I will be more than happy to eat my over-confident prediction!
True, and yet false. Here’s why:
What do Miro and ClickUp and Fibery and Figma and Google Docs and so many other tools have in common? Notifications! You gotta get 'em right, or at least not aggressively wrong (Fibery is sadly a bit closer to that than “right” IMO).
The same is true more narrowly - but still quite broadly and importantly - in the realm of “reminders and tasks”. And there are probably a few other things I’d call sort of “core competencies” or “basic features” that you arguably have to get right to be a major player, i.e. to get quick and large-scale adoption. Or, if you don’t get those core competencies right, you have to excel so much in some other area, an area that either has little competition or that you have such a huge advantage in, and that has mass adoption potential (hint: advanced “no code” like Fibery doesn’t, by itself; an app-building version of DALL-E 2 would), that you gain users that way. These are of course broad maxims with plenty of exceptions, but I do think they are broadly true. “Table stakes” is a term for a reason (though there is plenty of disagreement on what constitutes those stakes in any given product area).
No, it still is (or at least was until recently). See ClickUp vs. Fibery article you linked to previously. (although they have put out a new search-focused release since I did that comparison; but search in ClickUp was awful for a long time before that, at the least). Fibery’s search is quite basic, it just works quickly and does what it does do very effectively. But still quite basic. The amusing part is that ClickUp’s search seemed so much more powerful, but fell down on the basics, which made it (in my tests) essentially unusable. So while it is perhaps a bit of a hollow victory in some sense, Fibery still won there, and to me the fact that the ClickUp actual product experience was like that for so long means that Fibery’s win was meaningful despite being based on “just working in a very basic way”. That will win over “fancy but broken” any day.
Having said all that, I want to reiterate: I love Fibery, I love the team, and I love the product, and I especially love the vision. I have spent the last 15 or so years doing pretty deep personal PKM and task/project management across a variety of tools. When I pick a tool for some particular function, I spend quite a while considering and testing it. I picked Fibery for my real estate business a couple of years ago and have no regrets vs. other options at the time like Notion or ClickUp or Coda. And now I am literally on the verge of beginning a huge project to unify my own personal PKM + task/project management within Fibery, coming from multiple other tools, i.e. I am going “all in” on Fibery. For me this is a big vote of confidence, and you know I’ve looked at most of the other relevant possible tools for this (including being an Obsidian user for the last 1+ years and being very familiar with its entire, incredible plugin ecosystem). Fibery’s interrelations and other benefits won out over the security of “local first” and flexibility of a well-supported plugin ecosystem. So yeah, I dig Fibery, and everything I am saying here is because I love it and I see it getting so much less love from the broader potential market than I think it deserves.
You’re right that only time will tell, but I have personally spoken to many customers (and potential customers-to-be) who have said that Fibery needs forms before they would fully adopt, in just the same way that HereBeBeasties said that the poor notifications made them (nearly) not buy the product.
So should I listen to them or him?
Anyway, it was just an example, and I don’t actually expect a massive spike solely because of forms, but then again, I wouldn’t expect a massive change in activation/adoption/retention if notifications were incrementally improved
Agreed. But notifications aren’t the reason why people use Miro/Figma/Google Docs I don’t think. And notifications won’t be the reason why people use Fibery.
But I agree that they could be the reason why some people don’t use Fibery.
The question for me is: how many people are driven away by Fibery’s bad notifications (who would adopt Fibery if they were improved) versus the number of people who would adopt Fibery if only it had XYZ feature/improvement?
I just don’t know what the ‘quality vs demand’ curve looks like for any given feature. It sounds as though you (and others) think that there is a bit of a step (aka table stakes) that Fibery is on the wrong side of when it comes to notifications.
Because better notifications = not better something else.
By the way, although this discussion has revolved around the term notifications, I suspect that it is interwoven with chat functionality, so it would be interesting to untangle them.
I mean, maybe for some users, notification is just about knowing that stuff has happened (this task’s state was updated) but for others, maybe notifications needs only to be a layer on top of in-app dialog/communication…
Another long discussion, no doubt!
Well, certainly both. Without more data it’s hard to say what the “network value” of those customers would be vs. others. What I can say, though, is that there are a lot of e.g. dev tracking or project management tools that do not have form view, and yet are extremely successful. So clearly it is not “table stakes” in the sense that I am referring to here. It’s also obviously not a “foundational” or “basic” (core) feature/function in the same way that notifications are, much as some segment of the customer base might “require” it.
And all that may not really be the most important basis on which to choose priority between these (more on that in a moment).
That’s quite fair, it would be a long game there. It takes time for Fibery’s reputation and word of mouth to change in the community. Right now it has a reputation for being powerful but complicated. If tomorrow Fibery became “DALL-E 2 but for work management”, it’d still take a while to change that perception. And while more people will probably take a look at Fibery as they become aware that it now has a form view (once that’s released), they may still be stopped by the poor notifications, which are likely to be an important feature for more people than form view.
No, but perhaps they will be the reason some set of people stop using it (or never properly adopt it), and more importantly the reason that those people do not recommend it to their 10 friends (network effects), etc. It may be the missing “table stakes” that makes some meta-reviewer who is deciding what 5 products to compare in a “no code” round-up decide to leave Fibery out and put something else instead. In other words it may be a notable reason that Fibery fails to gain traction, which almost inevitably starts with impressing and passing the “basic tests” of some smaller set of potential users. If nothing else it gives a visceral impression of lack of polish and attention to “the basics” (even if that’s not a fair assessment).
For me it is not (happy to elaborate/have that discussion), and while I do consider chat massively important, it’s also a huge feature to implement (as we have recently discussed here in the forums). To me notifications are comparatively a “small” dev task, which I think is the other major reason that for me they should be prioritized over e.g. form view.
HereBeBeasties articulated this as well:
I.e. effort vs. benefit. Current Fibery notifications are not good, we can all agree. How much work would it be to improve notifications vs. implementing form view? I suspect the latter is a lot more work. I could be wrong. But I base that on the fact that, at least for me, notifications are bad in some major but seemingly easily correctable ways. Just implementing this short list would help massively (HereBeBeasties seems to have a different idea of what needs to be done):
Make optional/configurable all the “boilerplate”/extra context parts of email and in-app notifications (e.g. “automations” [what triggered the notification] prefix, database name, etc)
Make notifications more noticeable in the app, maybe even some kind of easily dismissable pop-up when they trigger or the user first visits when there are new notifications
Make notifications deletable/dismissable in the app
Those few, simple things would for me be a huge improvement in usability, as simple as they are (or seem to me). They turn notifications from a mish-mosh graveyard dumping ground of “stuff” that I don’t want to look at (and thus is largely useless) into at least a reasonably useful place to understand what’s happening, what I maybe have to work on, etc.
There are probably a number of other relatively small tweaks I could suggest, like “bundling” of notifications into a single email/notification, e.g. “Good morning, these are the tasks due today!” (yes, you could do this with some automation work, but looping over a reference Collection is non-trivial, and this gets back to the “this is too much work for a basic, useful thing” issue). But you could start with a, what, 2 week sprint to take care of that list of 3? I could be way off in my time estimate, but hopefully not. Give it another 2-3 weeks to implement “watcher” and you’re in a pretty good place. And I can almost guarantee you a longer bug fixing and tweaking cycle on Form View vs. notification work.
But look, I don’t want to sound like a backseat-dev-managing a-hole here. I don’t know everything going on inside Fibery, and you have a great team. You guys do know what you’re doing. These are not easy choices to make, whether you’re “right” with a choice can take a long time to become clear, if it ever even does (often there are no “right” choices, just different outcomes that may not be clearly better than others). This is the choice I would make, and with everything I can see from the outside, and as a user, this appears to be an obvious focus for a ~30 day chunk of work soon. But there are 10s of reasons I could be wrong.
I’ve cut some posts from another thread to focus more on a specific theme — lack if task/work management features in Fibery. Here are my thoughts:
I do agree that Fibery lacks many such features and I do think that most of them should be built-in, it will reduce complexity of workarounds.
We do focus on Work Management cases and lack of such features impede Fibery adoption.
It’s hard to decide about priorities In general, we have 5 areas where serious effort should be applied:
Visionary and unstructured information handling: Blocks and all related.
Complete all major use cases and add missing features to make fibery good enough as all-in-one tool for the whole product company. Here we have many missing features, like proper email integration, forms, better timeline view, etc.
Improve collaboration & work management functionality (Notifications, focus on My Work, comments, etc)
Getting started improvements. For example, we should give power users more tools to onboard teams (space description, view description, tooltips for fields, handle left menu complexity, etc)
Growth and scale. Here we need per-entity permissions, SOC 2 certification, etc.
As you see, there are many areas where we need to apply product development effort, but we have resources to focus on 3 (maybe 4th as a back burner). Now we are thinking what to exclude (or hire more people).
For what it’s worth, if it were me, I’d start at the beginning of your funnel.
Please the first time user first. Whatever they need for a soft landing and beautiful uptake experience. In doing this, you will please the existing users also, while lowering the barrier to entry for new customers.
Get new customers feeling the ease and value sooner. The new customers will then have plenty to play with, learn and keep themselves busy with until they learn enough to start wanting more.
To me, this would seem to mean starting with points 2, 3 and 4. I would say 2 and 3, with 4 coming after that.
Where there are not simple reminders available (which it seems everyone expects), entity level permissions seems to be a luxury feature to develop.
One a side note, speaking about new users, one thing I remember in Smartsheet years ago was wherever there was a little (i) icon inside the app, you could click it and a short YouTube video would open right there in the app and show you how that particular feature works. It was like having someone right there to ask. It was a really nice experience. I was always surprised other software programs didn’t do such an obvious thing to make for a simple and beautiful new user experience. It wasn’t a walk through for a new user, it was just if you wanted to click a particular (i) for a particular feature or button. Small and non-intrusive.
I would start with 4.
The product can already do wonders, but it’s really hard to get people onboard. They quickly face quite a lot of complexity.
It could be improvements that seem silly at first, and yet would smoothen the adoption of any user, like :
handle left menu complexity : definitely. Ex: a way to easily pick icons for the side menu, or be able to have a color background on the side menu, or put folders in bold/bigger, or lighten the font of non-used items (by user !), or whatever makes it not look like a list of 40 items (very hard to apprehend)
descriptions : definitely. To be able to write a quick process / guideline on how each view is supposed to be used or maintained
having a start screen / dashboard which show all the views we’ve already consulted, ranked by usage, or whatever makes it easier to return to the 90% of things we always use, but not via favorites which just make the side menu / list on the left even longer (and/or maybe with manual picks by the power user)
— this could be by app, so instead of facing a database when we click on the app name in the side menu, we face a final-user-friendly screen, and there is just a little button somewhere to manage the database
permissions but on the view or folder level, for the power user to unhide complexity progressively, along the final user journey
maybe add a “global favorites” kind of menu/bar, for instance at the top of screen (which could collapse/uncollapse), so that the power user can show immediate value for any user by proposing the most useful resources accessible in one click
hide all the power user features for some users, like being able to filter views etc.
These are really just random ideas, probably not very good, but definitely onboarding other users remains a challenge, and the tool is already quite powerful, so I would start with that.
As a freelancer, I don’t need teams, collaboration, scale, permissions, etc. I need the basic use cases (Item 2).
One of the things I am loving about Fibery is that I can use it as a one-person shop - I can turn off all those fields that have no meaning to me (Assignee! Created By! Etc!). It’s not constantly asking me to invite people or forcing me into a team situation.
I just want to organize my work - I have “many lines in the water” in this modern gig economy, and it’s hard to manage all of them. Fibery is the first tool I’ve tried that lets me do that in a way that makes sense - for example, I need to do marketing for both my artistic practice and my Etsy shop. So I can have a Marketing space and manage my efforts there across all my businesses/concerns. I haven’t found another tool that lets me set things up this way.
Sure, I would like to see a few more things - reminders, better timeline, etc - but Fibery’s biggest selling point for me is that it does not make assumptions about how I want to organize my work. That’s brilliant.
Yes - I still think that “polish” and “ease of use” might be the main issues for Fibery’s market penetration - but these hopefully will get addressed, eventually. Fibery already has a steep enough learning curve, without issues like these making it harder.
A good example of what I mean by “lack of polish” is the seeming randomness of how keyboard navigation is handled in different areas. There are (still) at least half a dozen places in the Fibery UI where keyboard navigation seems broken/inconsistent/illogical/frustrating… If I was not a patient person, this would have driven me off long ago, just because it’s so grating - it’s a big cognitive load that impedes quicker learning of the whole system. There are quite a lot of “keyboard first” users like myself in the world!
This is an amazing goal. It is also a very, very ambitious and long-term one. Low-hanging fruit is arguably a better focus if there is a compelling case that it will drive adoption which would bring in more money which gives you more time/resources to focus on this genuinely difficult and long-term goal.
This is an interesting one because I’m pretty sure you define it in semi-specific but not fully articulated ways. You say “all-in-one tool for whole product company”, but what functions/app types exactly? I don’t think you mean to replicate e.g. Figma, right? Or ConvertKit or other email/marketing solutions? Or website platforms/CMSs? There are probably dozens of tools that I am fairly sure you don’t intend to handle “good enough” to fill the need for a typical product company. You may well have articulated more specifically what those areas of functionality are that you do focus on (“work management” is the best I have seen, still quite vague, and also seems arguably narrower than some of the things you want to implement). But I think it’s worth pointing out that exactly what falls into this category, what tools are necessary/important, varies by company, and also perhaps worse, the needed level of “good” to be “enough” is different per-company! This makes it rather a “fuzzy” and thus challenging thing to do. I guess you aim for the 80% case of covering 80% of some potential users in some chosen company category(ies), but still it all feels a bit nebulous to me. Feature creep waiting to happen.
Being able to focus on 3 is actually pretty good! Impressive with the current team size, especially. And of course increasing the team will not necessarily (or perhaps likely) increase your capacity in the near-term, at least in my experience. You would hire say 2-3 new developers, increasing your dev team by, what, 20%? Maybe 4-6 months from now they are able to contribute all at the same level as developers, right? And then maybe you can handle 4-5 areas at once. Growing the team is a tough challenge in itself.
100% this. Heck, 200%! I believe this is one of the major differences between Fibery and other, more successful tools (Airtable, ClickUp, Notion…). Fibery for the most part does not have a really low bar to some immediate sense of utility, except for a minority of people, IMO. For many other tools like those I mentioned, the initial experience is easy enough, it’s quick enough to get to a place where the tool is providing real value, and that makes it “sticky” enough that people keep using it. Even if they’re initially only using it for one thing, it does that thing well enough, and then they have time and incentive to discover the other things it does well, even if they take more effort.
This is I think what Notion did really well. Doing complex stuff in Notion is actually genuinely terrible, but the easy stuff is really easy (and pretty!), and that’s what hooks people. Their model is almost entirely based around hooking people for solo use first (hence the generous free tier) and then people wanting to bring that into the workplace because they already like and are experienced with it. And hey, it’s the “easiest way to do internal wiki” and it’s cheap, so why not? And that’s how they got 10s of millions of users and some increasingly big customers.
I agree, but also just want to point out that it depends on what customers you’re targeting. Enterprise is where the real money is, without needing massive customer volume. Some businesses can successfully just go straight for Enterprise, and in those cases it may be the best business call. I’m not sure if Fibery has that luxury (and that of course has not been its approach thus far). So I would agree that this makes it sensible to delay entity-level permissions longer and focus on the less challenging market to crack (IMO). But it’s an important point that this feature does arguably have a higher potential real-dollar value due to the customers it might attract.
Dev Time vs. Impact
What I also keep coming back to is the sense that a lot of the stuff in 3 and 4 may be simpler/easier and potentially faster to develop (fewer unknowns vs. 1, less breadth than 2, less challenging problems than 5), thus possibly gaining tangible, meaningful benefits for the highly critical new user case with less dev time/effort than making similar levels of “meaningful progress” in other areas. Of course I’m not sure if my assumptions here are true, so please give me a reality check if necessary @mdubakov ! But I base this belief partly on the approach of tackling what seem like genuinely “low hanging fruit” problems, things like Space Descriptions and other non-admin Space View stuff, or some of what I already referenced above, which really do not seem so hard to do. Again I am a non-dev, and of course I have no idea of Fibery’s architecture, so I could be way off base here. But if I’m right, then this should be a major factor in the consideration, IMO: how easily/quickly/“cheaply” you can make some beneficial changes in each domain.
Finally, I think this comment sums up a lot of what I fear is the adoption challenge for many new Fibery users:
I think that applies to much more than just the specific keyboard user case here. The “lack of polish” has a significant effect on “cognitive load”, it makes Fibery “feel” less good to work with, plain and simple. Ironically it is the “feel” of both Obsidian and Notion that has convinced me to leave them both behind in favor of Fibery more recently, but I am an unusual case.
Having said all that, I’ll just reiterate: making dev priority choices is hard, there is no real “right” answer, etc. And also yes I love many of the things Fibery has chosen to implement, some of which I might have chosen against at the time, but am still glad are there now (panels nav might be one of those, really loving it now, not perfect, but definitely a big improvement over what was).
I have some more specific thoughts on the whole Notifications feature area that I’ll post separately and link here, I think.
This is a great point. Of late I don’t have time to document specific issues as I used to, that takes a lot of time and often they are ignored in here - sorry, but I just think things like New UI for Expanded “Open as View” has limited width? or Board > Columns > Reported object count is incorrect should at least get a response from the team, but those appear to be bugs nobody will address since they are sitting there dormant for months, which demotivates me to spend time like I used to mentioning them in here…but I experience daily a myriad of keyboard issues and funny formatting, and I too like @Matt_Blais am keyboard first! Some of this stuff is also already documented in here but not addressed as well, such as
there is no response to that, and daily when I create an entity inline, I have to reach for the mouse, when I create the entity with the cmd + K dialog, I don’t have to!
And as far as a general response to @mdubakov and the list of missing things in Fibery, @Oshyan you are making great points and although my voice around here is sometimes not appreciated, I don’t think Fibery could do anything more useful to increase market adoption than implement the work management stuff such as you suggest below:
In addition to issues with comments, notifications, lack of mobile platform, and other basic stuff on most competitors, the lack of an easy way to get reminded of what tasks are on your plate is a biggie. I truly believe that people WILL come to Fibery if it polishes some of this stuff, because you will instantly have comments, for example, that will beat everybody else’s. In no apps I’m aware of can you reference another entity inside a comment, which is a game changer when trying to get accountability in a team. But until we get things like the ability to just “heart” or “star” a comment to show that you read it - which is standard in just about every app I’ve seen - or other basics like threaded comments so you can respond to a certain comment, commenting in Fibery will seem awkward and unpolished to anybody trying to adopt it. Which gets back to this very, very true statement that I urge the Fibery team to think about with some foresight because you might not have people mentioning this in a way you can measure.
And I deeply believe, based on my experience, my team’s, and those who I have recommended Fibery to, that what @Oshyan is saying here below is more true than you can imagine, and in my opinion holding Fibery back more than anything:
I just wanted to add to this thread one last example of how Fibery gets lost to the larger market. This was before you joined @Oshyan so not sure you saw this, but there was a big review of Fibery on KeepProductive.com by Francesco D’Alessio in early 2020. Francesco is one of the most influential writers/bloggers around productivity software. Here it is:
I actually personally corresponded with him at the time, promoting Fibery - although I think he was going to review it anyway. But I wanted to share some of the emails we traded (I hope this is ok with Francesco should he ever come around and look at this community )
He also ranked Fibery #2 in this article from early 2020 in hottest apps, alongside stalwarts like Notion and Superhuman.
There are things here I wanted to mention for the context of why I wanted to post this:
I think it’s very interesting to read how more of a “generalist,” granted a very influential one like Francesco, characterizes Fibery - the comparisons to Coda, etc.
I also wanted to point out that Francesco seemed to have a good head of steam about Fibery, reviewing it at the same time as Roam, then wanting to do a comparison with AirTable, but he has not mentioned it since! He even gave Marvin an initial review, then a showdown video vs. ClickUp. So that makes me wonder why he lost interest…if you look at his channel on Youtube, over 250k followers, he repeatedly returns to apps he looks at initially for updates later, but has not come back to Fibery in over 2 years. So to your point, Keep Productive is a forum where Fibery could be continuing to have a presence, and thus keep the market aware of it, but somehow it dropped out of the radar there…
Hope this is interesting content to support some of what you’re talking about @Oshyan !
Yeah, I’m pretty familiar with Francesco and Keep Productive. Quite honestly, while I found his content valuable for a while, I eventually realized it’s often quite shallow except on the few apps he determines are his favorites, or perhaps just get him the most clicks, which would be a bit of a self-fulfilling thing, hah (i.e. Notion, Craft, ToDoist). Maybe that’s inevitable, but I was more interested in someone with a truly broad and “unbiased” perspective. Kind of how I fancy myself. Even though I’m a big Fibery fan (and user) I’m still pretty critical of it. And I regularly look at other apps with a genuine interest in how they stand out, are they better not just for my use cases but those of others, etc.
Anyway, I was going to go into my thoughts on Keep Productive a bit more, but it’s not really useful. My own feelings on that are largely irrelevant to your very valid core point. You are right that Francesco, as a still-fairly-popular productivity YouTuber, not ever returning to talk about Fibery (so far) is definitely another important indicator that Fibery is for some reason not being considered as much as it “should”. It doesn’t tell us why, sadly (maybe someone should ask him!), but it’s definitely more evidence of it being true.
Unfortunately too, Francesco’s video is the most popular Fibery video on YouTube by a long shot! The next most popular is one from Fibery team itself, with half the views. And judging by the very few Likes and, well, the content of that video, I suspect the view count might even be that high for not particularly favorable reasons.
So yeah, we know there’s a problem, Fibery team knows it too, of course. Is the lack of “work management features” a core part of the problem? Perhaps yes, but it’s really hard to say how much of a part it plays. Judging by Francesco’s fairly blasé reaction to Fibery’s multiple features that Notion did not have at the time (Notion being an app he was hyped about then and, despite “leaving” at some point in the last year, he continues to post about more regularly than almost any other app), I think there is something else more powerful going on…
But as far a what Fibery team can actually do to affect the problem, fixing the work management stuff might well make an outsized impact. There are plenty of other things outside of their control, or that least have been quite difficult to make progress on (i.e. marketing, referencing the numerous marketing efforts and partners they have tried in the past 2 years).
I have probably said this already recently, but from my perspective as a PKM/project management tool enthusiast, seldom have I seen a greater misalignment between the capabilities, quality, and innovation of a tool, and its real visibility in the broader market. Which is a real shame.
I like such discussions
The Fibery traction problem is not a product problem mainly, but a positioning/niche problem. Usually a successful product does at least one thing exceptionally well. Let’s take some Fibery competitors:
Notion. Very cool block-based wiki that lead to many popular use cases. Databases were added latter and were quite pivotal for Notion success, but wiki is still the strongest use case.
ClickUp. Task management works really well in it. Much better than in any direct competitor (maybe Asana is comparable).
Coda. Very powerful interactive documents. Coda has moderate success IMHO, so it will be interesting to see how they will penetrate the market.
Airtable. Powerful database-specific cases. If you need to collect/handle data then Airtable works better than all the tools above.
Fibery. ? I think current Fibery power is in connections (connected databases, connections between databases and text). We try to connect many processes together. However, it will be hard for us to compete in a general market, so we are trying to focus on product companies. This demands a good marketing effort to clearly set Fibery value for product companies and get enough leads to grow. We do have a good solution with a very strong retention, but growth is harder. We still did not find a scalable channel to increase leads quantity.
So no, I don’t think any feature or even area done right will significantly increase Fibery growth. It’s a gradual process of polishing, implementing top requests from our target customers, improving getting started, etc.
I agree with your evaluation that no update is likely to significantly increase Fibery’s growth.
However, I do believe that once Fibery is mature and polished, a repositioning (+ maybe rebranding) could really significantly increase revenue by not just gradually increasing market share, but entering or even creating a new market and aggressively (heavy and correct marketing) pulling customers out of various markets.
You might focus on product companies for now, but the potential is SO much bigger in my opinion. But one step at a time