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  • Photo of Asgeir Hoem
“Tana makes me feel dumb”

2022 was a huge year for Tana. We doubled the team, and transitioned from a stealth prototype used by a handful of people to an early access release with a vibrant community of 6,000 people around it.

  • “It feels quite cluttered and overwhelming”
  • “I don't see myself switching to this”
  • “Building this UI will be as difficult as cold fusion”
  • “Tana makes me feel dumb”
  • “Remember, I'm not a nerd”

The initial feedback was brutally honest

These were only some of the things we heard as we were starting to dip our toes into the market with Tana one year ago, even if it was mostly with selected individuals and friends of friends.

It was sometimes like a punch in the face, but looking back, we shouldn't have been that surprised. After all, it didn't exactly feel like 2022 software:

In the first version of Tana (codenamed Noteboat), we focused solely on mechanics, and it showed.

Luckily, some people got it (you!)

Despite the retro look of that screenshot, all the core concepts were there: the supertags, the search nodes, the way you can create structured content in a near-plain-text writing experience, and the everything-is-a-node philosophy that is part of why Tana is so powerful.

The small group of people that really grokked Tana in late 2021 confirmed our belief that we're onto something really good.

We spent the first half of 2022 doing only this 👇

  1. Do a one-on-one onboarding with a person that should find Tana really useful
  2. Learn where they stumble
  3. Go fix it
  4. Do it again

We ran hundreds of these loops, with a goal to open up for a wider audience in Q3. We refined the interface, simplified the terminology, wrote documentation and help content, built some new functionality, and removed features that we saw would be premature to include in the initial release.

On the 30th of September, we pressed the button.

Look at the timestamp. We did launch in Q3, with hours to spare!

Tana is now out there!

…and it feels fantastic! The reception has been overwhelming. Our waiting list immediately exploded, and the interest has not slowed down. We are hugely grateful for each and every one who has helped us get to this point (and we apologise to those of you still waiting for your invite — we're working our asses off to get to you!).

We've seen Tana used by university professors for planning out entire research programs, runners for tracking their progression, podcasters for managing their production schedules, engineering teams for planning tasks and meetings, and tons of interesting personal use cases.

Ourselves, we use it for everything we do, from strategic planning and hiring to project management, usability testing and drafting this very blog post.

Some highlights from 2022

  • We grew the Tana community from 100 to close to 6,000 members, with activity around the clock. You people are awesome!
  • We strengthened the team with some excellent people! Welcome Erlend, Odin, Seb, Stian, Kim Joar, Rob, Fei, Matt 🥳
  • We saw numerous Tana tutorials pop up, recorded in at least five languages (without any participation from us!).
  • We stopped making people feel dumb!

This is what we're now hearing

So, we'll be spending 2023 at the beach 🏝

This post might sound like we believe we made it, that we're done here. Not even close! We have been involved in enough software projects to know that — even though we have reached some critical milestones — we still have a looong way to go.

We have proven that Tana can add tremendous value in a wide range of use cases, but our ambitions are sky high, and so are our standards for Tana as a product and a company. We still have a lot in store.

In 2023, we will continue to do exactly what we have been doing: talking to users to learn what works and what doesn't work, go fix it, and try again.

Thanks for being here, and happy new year!

All the best,
Team 🌊 Tana