The Problem With Craft

There’s a relatively new iOS and Mac note taking app called Craft. It’s absolutely beautiful, a joy to use, and loaded with clever touches that show its developers are trying very hard to make a fun and useful app.

I’ve used it for a few days. The live collaboration is great and a solid alternative to Google Docs. The forward-slash command to access a keyboard-navigable set of menus is brilliant.

I really really like it. I want to keep using it, but I won’t.

The company behind Craft has no discernible business model other than selling subscriptions to Craft’s more advanced users. Their website says nothing about who they are, who’s on their team, or who’s providing funding for development.

Your documents live in Craft’s own storage and syncing service. You can opt out and store your documents elsewhere, but then you lose access to their collaboration features. Data isn’t encrypted end-to-end, meaning Craft’s dev team could theoretically view your documents. They could monetize your data by scraping it for personal information a la Google. If their databases are ever compromised, your notes could end up exposed for anyone to read.

Since your data lives on their servers, they could pull an Evernote and stop allowing easy exporting to other formats, locking you into their platform against your will right before taking away other features and/or raising prices.

Your notes are one Our Incredible Journey email away from becoming the property of a bigger company that might do who knows what with them.

Maybe I’ve been burned too many times by trusting apps that eventually shifted business models and tried to run away with or sell my data, but Craft’s choices, like rolling their own storage system, make me super nervous. As lovely as the app is, I can’t trust it.

UPDATE 2021-03-08

Because I can’t seem to let this go, I did a little digging.

The Craft press kit mentions a person named Viktor Pali, so I Googled him. I found his LinkedIn page, which also links to the Craft company page. Based in Budapest, they appear to employ at least 13 people, 8 of which are developers.

Also on their LinkedIn page is a CruchBase profile showing that they’ve taken venture capital from a London-based firm called InReach Ventures. The amount isn’t available, but it’s worth noting that InReach has itself also taken VC funding to build an AI platform.

We never disclosed it, but we actually raised more capital to be able to keep pushing the innovation envelop of our technology platform.

A VC firm funded a VC firm that funded a note taking app. Too many people involved with Craft are expecting an exit at some point. Caveat emptor.