The other day, I was chatting with a good friend of mine.
And he told me this story:
He was sitting in a meeting with his boss, everything’s going great. Ideas are flowing, there’s a great vibe and energy in the room. And then the boss says — “hey, could you pull up that document?”
And my friend gets that “stomach drop” feeling — “Uhh… yeah… one sec. I have it right here, I think.”
He opens his laptop and starts frantically looking for the file. Is it in Google Drive? Dropbox? Maybe Quip? Wait, what team was that doc for? What folder? Did he create it or did someone else? Did he ever drop it in Slack or an email?
At first the boss waited patiently. No big deal, this will only take a minute.
You know that “nervous typing” feeling you get when you’re looking for something on your computer while someone is watching? And how that feeling makes your typing so much worse, like you’re using a computer for the very first time? That’s what my friend felt.
He checks Google Drive. Nothing.
The company wiki. Nothing.
By now, he’s opened 10 of the wrong documents and starts drowning in browser tabs which slow him down even more. The vibe in the room completely changed. Instead of energy and optimism, it’s ground to an awkward halt.
Out of desperation, my friend starts Slacking people hoping they’re available instead of having one of those fake green dots that says they’re available but won’t respond for several hours.
None of the people on Slack respond.
Time for the last card. My friend turns to someone else that’s in the SAME meeting and asks “hey, it’s not coming up for me. Do you know where it is?”” By this point, the boss definitely has that “you’re wasting my time” look on their face.
Finally, out of cosmic mercy, someone sends him the document.But my friend didn’t feel relief at that point, he felt anxious. – What did the boss think? What does the team think? How did this impact the perception of him and his work?
I’ve been there too.
A great productive meeting grinds to a halt because I couldn’t find a document. Or a decision is about to get made, we can’t find that one piece of information, and we make a guess so we can just keep moving. Or I try to communicate a critical point and can’t rely on a document to help.
This isn’t something that happens once a year. Or even once a month. We all struggle to find documents every single day.
Our documents are everywhere. When we need our documents the most, we have to go on wild goose chases to find them. We constantly waste time trying to find documents instead of doing our jobs.
Our documents are spread across more apps than we can count. The sales team prefers to use Powerpoint and PDF. Marketing uses Keynote and Dropbox. Product does everything in Notion. And the rest of the company works in G Suite. Except the CEO, who likes Microsoft. Everyone just uses whatever tools they like the most. Which makes it nearly impossible to find anything.
Half the time when someone on the team shares a document with us, we can’t find it. As soon as we close it, the document goes into a black abyss forever. Try as we might, we can’t find it when we search in the apps we think it may have been created in.
To make matters even worse, we link to our documents from countless apps. There’s Slack, Trello, GitHub, Asana and tons of others. All this linking from so many apps and we still can’t find the documents that we need. We waste so much time searching for documents that we consider hiring someone full-time just to keep everything organized.
If we happen to be the most organized person on the team, we’re screwed. Suddenly everyone is asking us where documents are. Even for their own documents!!
What do we all do at this point? – Create a company wiki!
Finally, we’ll get one location, everyone will put their stuff there, and we’ll all know where everything is!
Congratulations! We’ve just given ourselves yet another job to do: Chief Document Organization Officer. A job we’ll never get praise for. We’re officially in charge of that wiki page, which also makes us responsible for folder hierarchy and document naming. Except no one follows the rules or even looks at the wiki we created. It’s madness. All over something as simple as documents. The wiki doesn’t stay organized, people still ping us for documents, and we’ve now created another place that we all have to look to find our documents.
I wish this is where it stopped. But it gets worse.
Maybe we’re lucky enough to be a part of a growing company. Suddenly our CEO decides to switch from G Suite to Microsoft and from Dropbox to Box to be more “Enterprise.” But no one listens. Entire divisions go rogue. People still use whatever apps they want. No one even wants to say what apps they are working in since everyone is breaking the rules. Documents are suddenly secret. It’s pandemonium and no one can find anything. Security is non-existent.
What was the point of consolidating apps in the first place? Things are way more scattered and so much less secure.
And we haven’t even gotten to the biggest problem that all this causes.
Every single moment that we spend searching for a document wastes our precious time. It adds up. The company is less productive because people can’t find the documents they need.
I’ve spent at least 20 minutes every day trying to find the right documents. 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, that’s over 80 hours a year just looking for documents.
Two weeks wasted for each full-time employee.
This is why we’re building Nira.
Everyone has this problem. Every single person I talk to about this problem nods their head in agreement. Then they tell me all about how this problem impacts them and their teams, every day. The thousands of survey respondents we’ve heard from have reinforced the scale and depth of the problem.
The problem is getting worse. This document shit show isn’t slowing down. There are more apps coming out every day. Plus, document apps are vertically expanding to become all-in-one tools. Like Dropbox Paper or Notion. Anyone in your company can choose to create a document in a new app, and now, your company is using yet another one. As new apps come out, teams love to try them and then abandon the apps when they don’t fit their needs. There are so many documents spread across so many apps and it’s impossible to keep track of.
No one has solved the problem. People have tried. There are plenty of document search tools that landed in the graveyard or search tools that only focus on a very specific customer segment of the market. No one has cracked it yet.
Imagine having access to all your documents in one place. Find documents the second that you need them. Without asking anyone. Without going through app after app to find what you need. No embarassing snafus. No wasted time. You know where to find everything. You can relax and get your work done. You never worry about finding a document again.
Suddenly your team is working like a well-oiled machine and everyone is just a little bit happier. You have more time to devote to the things that matter. You even get promoted for being so organized and on top of your work.
All your document problems, gone forever.