3-Things Weekly - Softr, Reflect, and ENS Domains - November 28th, 2021

3-Things Weekly - Softr, Reflect, and ENS Domains
Softr.io, ENS.domains, Reflect.app

Hey all!  Here's the latest "3-Things Weekly," an exclusive letter about 3 companies, ideas, communities, or people that are on my mind.

TL;DR: Here's 3 companies and ideas that I'm excited about right now

  1. Softr.io - Build powerful applications on top of Airtable
  2. ENS Domains - Decentralized naming for wallets, websites, and more
  3. Reflect.app - A better notetaking experience


What is it?

Softr is a way to build full-stack web apps from Airtable. I first heard about this idea over a year ago. I had a chance to catch up with the CEO last week, Mariam Hakobyan, and I was blown away. I felt like I was seeing something as fundamental as WordPress which enabled people to build blogs and websites in the past. Except now people can build full-blown applications without coding. Check out a few use cases from their website:

Use cases for Softr.

Why am I excited?

The idea that anyone can build a website, a SaaS platform, or an internal metrics dashboard simply by updating an Airtable (or Spreadsheet) is a big one.

It's basically making building powerful software apps as simple as updating a spreadsheet. The opportunities this unlocks for a typical business user with no knowledge of building software are massive.

This is possible because Airtable (and products like it) made building a database feel as simple as updating a spreadsheet. Every software product is built on a database, now that anyone can create and build a database, Softr enables everyone to build any software application they want on top of it.

I can't wait to use it more and see what others build.

Where could this go in the future?

Imagine if Google Sheets and Excel could power any software application. As Softr expands beyond Airtable and spreadsheets get more advanced, I feel like anyone who uses a computer could be able to build apps. It's hard to even comprehend what would happen if every person in the world who knows how to use a spreadsheet could overnight start building their own software applications. That's over 2 billion people in the world who overnight would be able to build powerful applications and software businesses. 🤯

Disclosure: Logos Labs is an investor in Softr. If you want to invest in great startups with us, join our fund as an LP here.

The rest of this is available to subscribers only.


ENS Domain App

What is it?

ENS is basically DNS for web3. It's a decentralized naming service for wallets, websites, and more. ENS routes domain names to wallet addresses much like DNS routes domain names to IP addresses.

It's not actually a company, it's owned and operated as a DAO. (To learn more about DAOs (Decentralized Asset Organizations) here's the rabbit hole from a16z, don't have time for that today lol)

If you've been watching Twitter recently, you will come across .eth domain names in people's Twitter handles. You might get confused when you try to visit shanemac.eth and you can't find the website. That's because it works with exchanges and wallets, not browsers like Chrome (yet).

Let's say you wanted to send me some ETH for this awesome blog post. Here's what ENS allows you to do:

Showing shanemac.eth resolving to my public wallet address on Coinbase

ENS Domain names allow you to share a simple address for people to send ETH or any Ethereum related Token or NFT. Most clients support and recognize ENS domain names that autofill the wallet address like shown above on Coinbase.

It looks like wallets (Rainbow, Metamask, Coinbase Wallet, etc) could be the future of identity and ENS could play a major role in routing and connecting all of the wallets in the future. Try it for yourself...

  1. Open up your preferred wallet or exchange (Coinbase, Metamask, Rainbow, etc) - GIF above is showing Coinbase.com
  2. Type in an ENS supported domain like shanemac.eth into the "To:" field
  3. The domain name, shanemac.eth, automatically routes to my ETH public wallet address because it knows I'm sending an Ethereum supported Token. My public address is: 0xa64af7F78DE39A238Ecd4ffF7D6D410DBACe2dF0

What's cool is that it actually works for standard DNS names too. With a little more work, you can add your personal website (shanemac.com) to your ENS account and that will route to your correct wallet address as well.

The future of digital ownership and assets now routes through one simple name.

Why am I excited?

This could be as fundamental as URLs, social handles, and email addresses are to the internet today. Except that instead of being the name to route to your website or social media profile, its' the name you use to send/receive assets and money online.

Head over to https://ens.domains/ and launch the app to purchase your domain name. This will involve gas fees so it could be a little pricey and the gas could cost more than the domain name.

ENS recently launched its token for governance. The token already has a market cap of over $1b. Here's the breakdown of how ENS is owned after their recent token launch:

Anyone can buy the Token for ENS on Coinbase. With less than 500k domain names registered, I wonder if owning part of ENS today could be like owning stock in Instagram or Twitter when they only had 500k users or imagine owning a part of the organization that owned all .com addresses in the world when there were only half a million registered URLs.

Where could this go in the future?

Wallets are quickly becoming the identity and status layer of web3. In the past, you rented your username and audience from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social networks. Your followers are not your followers, your content is subject the centralized authority and rules.

Wallets introduce a new concept: an identity and record of what you own. If social media was about follower counts, wallets are about the assets you own that are visible to the world.

On one hand, people are nervous to share what they own, which makes sense. Many people in web3 have different wallets for different purposes. You could have a "flex" wallet that holds your NFTs and tokens that give you access to a community you're a part of, then have a wallet address that no one knows about which holds your BTC. Many people believe you will have different wallet addresses for different purposes much like you have different social media accounts and different bank accounts for different reasons today.

On the other hand, being able to share publicly the NFTs you hold, the Tokens you own, and what you're voting on, can help you discover and interact with people in completely new ways. The future of events and invites to cool shit could very well be based on the types of NFTs and Tokens you own. If you own a Bored Ape today, they are hosting some of the best concerts and events around the country for the community.

This could also change marketing and community. If you want to reach people who are interested in Bored Apes, you can see every wallet address that owns a Bored Ape and Airdrop (fancy term for sending someone an NFT or Token) them your latest NFT or Token for your new project. This will change marketing and community building as we know it. (but that's for another post)

Digital ownership and wallets are about to change identity and status online in ways we can't even comprehend, ENS is at the core of how everyone will be found and discovered in this new world.

The leader of ENS, Brantly, has been doing great Twitter Spaces every week and is worth a follow here: https://twitter.com/BrantlyMillegan - he's worth following and listening to. He's got me sold.

If you buy your ENS name, let me know. I'd love to send you something :)

Disclosure: I personally own ENS Tokens and I'm planning to buy a lot more.


Screenshot of my Reflect

What is it?

A note-taking tool built for how we think. IMHO, it's a much more user-friendly and well-designed version of what Roam Research introduced to the world a couple of years ago.

There are 2 fundamental things that make this idea of taking notes unique and powerful:

  1. Today view. The entire experience is designed around a "today" view. It's a single daily note that connects everything you write to any other thought or note. This allows you to just write what's on your mind and add [[brackets]] around any topic that will automatically connect it to all other thoughts about that topic. That creates a two-way link. Every note shows all [[topics]] that mention that note.
  2. Two-way links. The ability to write notes as we think and use [[double brackets]] to backlink to any other note is a powerful concept. Basically, instead of thinking about how to file, organize, and structure all of your ideas and thoughts, you simply write everything on your mind daily and add [[brackets]] around any idea, person, place, tag, etc. That creates a link between all thoughts that include that [[bracket]] with a backlink. Here's an illustration below of how it works:
Double brackets create connections between thoughts.
The network of my thoughts.

This may seem simple and almost non-obvious but once you experience it, it really does change how you think about remembering things. It also builds a network of connections between what would otherwise feel like disconnected thoughts.

I've always believed that connecting dots that are seemingly disconnected is where some of the best ideas happen.

Why I am excited?

Roam was a cool concept and I understood the power of backlinking notes but it always felt like an engineering tool for engineers to use. Reflect feels more like a consumer app for a business user. A nice mac app, mobile app, and calendar integration make it feel like a simple user experience I want in a notes app.

Here are a few other things about Reflect:

Where could this go in the future?

My best days start with taking notes and adding [[todos]] to my master to-do list.

Reflect is built with an OpenAPI first and foremost. This means people can build ideas and connections on top of Reflect to enable more and more use cases.

The team at Reflect has already added features for personal CRM & calendar integration, I think this can go so much further.

Imagine a future where anything you type in Reflect can instantly update and send information to any other application... A few examples of that could be...

  • When I type [[Person's name]] it could automatically update my company CRM system. Reflect already has Personal CRM features built-in that automatically look up info about people and companies based on their email addresses.
  • If I type [[Date]] on a [[Todo]] it could automatically set a reminder to send an email in Gmail and log it on a task management platform I use at work
  • Send money via ENS on-chain: Imagine I said "Send (3 ETH) to [[shanemac.eth]] and this was connected to my Rainbow wallet. There's a future where the notes you take become the actions you want to happen in the world instantly - a little far out, but this is stuff that gets me excited about the future. The [[dropwdown]] menu just connects to all other apps and services you use.
  • Proactive ideas: Imagine in the future based on how I think, it can start to show me connected ideas that I might have never thought were actually connected. Helping connect the disconnected thoughts could be where machine learning clusters could make people discover magic in their own ideas that were hidden in plain sight.

Those are just a few of the cool ways Reflect could be used in the future.

Bonus this week: If you're interested in NFTs, it's looking like Chain Runners could be a very viable project. I've bought 6 so far, probably gonna buy more. You should know that anyone who owns this NFT has a strong bias to promote and pump this so take that for what you will... That said, it feels like early Cryptopunks and some of the same people are involved.

Here's a great thread about what makes this project unique:

Here are some smart people sharing how they are thinking about this NFT Project:

Here's the leaderboard of owners:

Please say hi anytime, just hit reply, and feel free to forward this email to anyone who you think would be interested in learning about new companies and ideas I'm interested in. Also, feel free to share http://blog.shanemac.com on social networks if you like what you're reading.

Talk soon,

Shane Mac

*Disclaimer: This is not investment advice and I will always disclose if we are an investor. Have a great week.

Subscribe to Shane Mac

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson