That time my app, Better Notes, blew up in China by mistake

Better Notes taking off in China

Better Notes, my new iOS app, is in what I’m calling an “open beta”—it’s out, on the store, and I’m really working to refine it and learn from users before I put much effort into marketing.

It’s a small, polished version of what I hope to grow it into—capture your thoughts quickly, organize them with #hashtags inline, attach photos and screenshots as easily as you can in iMessage (so they’re searchable now!), and pin and remind yourself about the urgent stuff.

The plan: I’ll be slowly building and releasing features for it over the coming months and years (yes, years).

So I haven’t spent much time on marketing, and the app isn’t translated into any language other than English.

Which. Is why I was really surprised to open up my analytics and see this:

Better Notes taking off in China

A huge, huge spike in users from China.

Who are these people? How did they find this app that I’ve been quietly working on in the shadows? Are they some kind of appBots?

Nope. They’re real. And they came from this guy:

Better Notes taking off in China

Who said this:

Better Notes taking off in China

Which, I think translates to: we used to like some other app. But this is our favorite notes app now.

Which is. Really, really cool.

And what’s cooler—he totally gets it, everything I was going for with Better Notes. The speed, the flexibility, the simplicity. When I was building the app, Natalija and I would talk about it like a “social network for yourself.”

Here’s what homme said:

Better Notes taking off in China

Which, Google Translate says:

it suddenly feel more and more like a special Better Notes “local version of microblogging.” There hashtag, image preview, and in chronological order. So if you really use it, after all, a brain-hole wide open usage Brain-hole wide open usage are the words I should have been using in the first place.

Here’s the full review—it’s just awesome:

And, if you’re not from China (because pretty much everyone there already knows about Better Notes), check out the app for your own brain-hole wide open usage.

There’s a link at, or you can just get it on the app store.

On my list this weekend—translating Better Notes for our new Chinese users. Any Chinese friends want to look over a beta for me? :)