Peer into the future of Simplenote w/ Dan Roundhill

In this episode, Matt Mederios is winding down the December holiday season with this interview with Dan Roundhill. Dan is a mobile engineer for Automattic and is the project lead on Simplenote a note-taking product which Matt uses and highly recommends. Automattic acquired Simperium and Simplenote in 2013. Dan shares the ins and outs of Simplenote and discusses upcoming features and what may be added in future releases.

Listen to this episode:


What you will learn from this Episode:

  •  Simplenote started out as a very basic notes app that provided a user a simple and easy way to take notes on a tablet or phone. (3:07)
  • Simplenote developed into an app that allowed you to sync across your devices so that you could take notes on any device and work anywhere. The product is stable across platforms. (3:34)
  • Automattic has made several acquisitions and has many products that are not heavily advertised in the WordPress ecosystem. (ex: Simplenote, Cloudup, Lean Domain Search, Gravatar, and Videopress). (4:58)
  • After the acquisition for Simplenote was made by Automattic, the focus has been on the app to get more traction with a wider audience. (6:27)
  • Dan Roundhill is leading the Simplenote team internally for Automattic. (6:51)
  • There is a new Simplenote app that was released for Windows and Linux that is built on React using Electron. (7:07)
  • You can publish a note using Simplenote that shows up with a tiny url and is an easy way to share your note on the web. (9:09)
  • There is a great support team of Happiness Engineers that gathers feedback from the app store and emails and prioritizes the requests. (11:38)

Features and User Requests:

  • Simplenote is used internally by Automattic and the request has been to sync this with WordPress. (7:59)
  • Most features have bubbled up internally from users within Automattic with the requests that people want. (8:20)
  • The team works from an upvoted list of features such as easily formatting text and support for images. (12:14)
  • Simplenote’s premium version was retired with sending a note to an email and Dropbox sync. (12:31)
  • Automattic may be looking to add value to users with Simplenote by having it linked closely to Cloudup. (13:58)
  • There has been another big push for folders from external users but the code has to be added to all the apps when synching. (14:52)
  • Folder based tags would be a great feature because many users like to organize things using these across platforms. (15:14)
  • The Native MAC OS app has fallen behind on the feature list because of speed and native sharing capabilities. (16:49)
  • Simplenote is scheduled for a catch-up release and then premium features such as markdown support. (18:00)
  • The marketing team is a pretty new team at Automattic and they are responsible for the content of Simplenote. (23:15)
  • The apps are now open-sourced at Automattic through Github and you can add and contribute for many platforms. (29:18)

Episode Resources:

Cloudup  – allows users to store files in the cloud, synchronize files across devices, and share files.
Lean Domain Search – allows you to find a great available domain name for your site in seconds.
Gravatar – is a globally recognized avatar that follows you from site to site.
VideoPress – allows you to upload videos to your WordPress site.
Bear for taking notes
Markdown Editing
John Saddington

To Stay in Touch with Dan:
Dan on Twitter
Dan’s blog
Simplenote on Twitter

To stay connected with the Matt Report, head on over to

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