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My name is Dan Trevino. I was born in California, raised in Texas, and currently living in Portland, OR. I’ve been a technologist my whole life, and have held jobs across the spectrum as a developer, system administrator, support manager, and product manager. I am the founder of NoteRiot, an easy to use note taking tool that provides enhanced privacy and security for your data by leveraging the Blockstack platform. NoteRiot is currently a full-time side project. By that I mean, like many indie makers, my side project takes up a lot of the time outside of my day job.

In addition to privacy and security, NoteRiot focuses on ensuring data-ownership and data-portability. User data is encrypted on the client and never accessible by NoteRiot in any way. The application cannot “analyze” your data to send you relevant ads, like Google products,  nor do we charge you for additional functionality, ala Evernote. There are additional features that make NoteRiot more than ‘just’ a note-taking app.

Creating privacy-first products

NoteRiot was built with the belief that developers should be building applications that respect user’s privacy and data ownership rights. I firmly believe that providing everyday applications that people want to use is the way to get there. There will not be one ‘killer app’ that makes everyone decide that privacy should be the default expectation. The trigger will be an ecosystem of applications that provide privacy and security, while also enabling data independence, identity independence, and data portability. NoteRiot is part of that ecosystem.

I’ve always been passionate about technologies that enable individual liberty. Privacy is a key part of individual sovereignty, and legacy Internet corporations are killing that by accessing and analyzing our personal data, monetizing it, and in most cases, providing it to the governments of the world without our knowledge.  Shoshana Zuboff makes a more eloquent statement of the problems in her book “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism“, it’s a must read.

Indie makers have a unique ability to enable radical change to the status quo. This doesn’t happen behind corporate firewalls. It’s extremely rare.  There is an oft-mangled quote from Theodore Parker which condenses to “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Well, the arc of the moral universe is being skewed away from justice by the current tech industry. Facebook’s experiments with news feeds being a prime example. Being indie is a wonderful opportunity to move that arc in a better direction by building tools that cater to users first, instead of ad agencies or those who would profit from political manipulation. The arc of the moral universe does not bend on its own.

Using Blockstack

When we talk about the Blockstack platform software development kit (SDK), NoteRiot doesn’t happen without it. Blockstack makes it super easy to provide all of the benefits of cloud-based applications with Bitcoin level security and strong identity. In terms of Blockstack, the Public Benefit Corp… I recently tweeted that I cannot think of a better partner or ecosystem than Blockstack, and I stand behind that.

The amount of support they have provided in terms of enabling user feedback, the development feedback, the availability of engineers to answer questions, and just general encouragement has been invaluable.

Focus on user needs

NoteRiot is getting good reviews overall. It’s so new, but I’m seeing week-over-week growth in terms of raw accesses, and we’ve been at the top of the list of Blockstack-based apps usability for the past two months in a row. That is a big focus for me.

The key is to focus on user needs in other document-centric areas and provide more utility. NoteRiot is intended to be a document source that allows you to view and manage documents in many different ways, as a note, as a presentation, a blog post, etc. Give it a try!

This article was made possible by Blockstack.

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