I’ve decided to not renew my Notion subscription after being a customer for 4-5 years now. I consider myself to be a pro user of the Notion app and have been a huge proponent of the product in general since they launched. It was a great alternative to incumbents at the time like Evernote and SimpleNote or even Google Docs. But what allowed Notion to move so fast early on has now crippled its ability to continue tacking on features.
Notion’s desktop client is built using Electron or some flavor of a JS-as-a-desktop app tool that allows the devs working on the product to move at the speed of producing web features. For most web app, you don’t have thousands of documents or rows of data to work with, especially formatted rows, and this has recently caused problems for Notion. Enough that Notion has made great efforts to work tirelessly on this. But this is not the reason I’m leaving Notion, it was one of the pain points that’s easy to point out.
I’m leaving Notion mainly due to its closed ecosystem of keeping everything in proprietary formats and allowing embeds of other things but still being mostly closed. Notion’s not the first do this, I believe Web 2.0 is just full of examples of this. The lack of openness leads to no real collaboration or sharing of content between multiple types of editing software, whether I want to use Notion’s nice looking UI for editing a database table and then actually exporting that to something like Excel or exporting a legible markdown file. All this is somewhat possible but it feels not so great. Especially editing of database rows.
A good example of just how bad markdown editing is this exported view of my Travel page from my Notion workspace, everything is illegible from a human point of view, see screenshot below:
Even worse is the fact that the workspace is unusable in any other software like logseq, vim, obsidian, or even a file browser.
Below is the graph from loqseq when I pulled in the Notion workspace:
It’s impossible to make sense of this graph since everything has insanely long names and the relations don’t make much sense.
I’m hoping to use Obsidian as my primary tool for things at work and logseq as my personal digital mind. Why the separation? I like having my work stuff completely separate from personal stuff to avoid any important and non-public information from leaking anywhere. Even leaking between my personal and work computer, that would not be okay in any case.
I will have to start over on logseq to organize my digital mind but I hope that the effort is worth it.
On paying for software
I am a strong believer of paying for good software, this is why even though I had decreased my use of Notion over the last year to once in awhile, I decided to continue paying for it but recently the $48/year is not really worth its cost anymore to me and I’m going to move that to other software I use daily or benefit from daily.