Craft - The Origin Story

Every product has it's story - and we're happy to share ours. Hear the details behind the inception of Craft from Balint Orosz, Founder and CEO of Craft.


Software that makes you feel great while using it

I've always been a visual-first individual. I believe this comes from my early education; from the age of 3-5 I lived in the US with my family, attending a special kindergarten which focused on foreign-language pupils. It followed the Montessori style of education, with lots of creative exercises, drawing and crafts. While I've never been strong at any of these skills, I've always admired them.

I started coding at the age of 12, but from the start I didn't really focus on what the software did, but how it felt while using it. From the start, I've been creating animations and UX paradigms, all with the goal of making the software feel more professional and delightful to use.

With the first money I made, I bought a Mac and it represented for me the ultimate sophistication of software and hardware. Using it made me feel great. I felt good every day opening up that laptop and using the beautiful interface. I tried other platforms, but they never felt as good as the Mac.

While for most individuals, how software made you feel wasn't very important, for me it was different. I was spending most of my waking hours in front of a computer, so how software made me feel had a huge impact on how I felt myself.

The tools we use, shape us

I'm a big believer that our surroundings form us, and either charge us up with energy, or suck the energy from us. Form and function can come hand-in-hand. Alone, either becomes frustrating, but if you strike the right balance the result is a tool both empowering you with capabilities and filling you with delight. This is true of physical and digital tools.The right desk chair will both serve you well from a functional point of view and fill you with admiration of its form every time you touch it. All those small but important decisions made by the designers make it so great to use.

This is also true for digital tools. Software which frustrates you, no matter how powerful it is, will limit your ability with its constant distractions and frustrations. Instead of amplifying you, it distracts and limits you.

In many ways, I refuse to use software which I feel frustrates me or sucks my energy. I have quite a short attention span and become frustrated very easily. If I am frustrated, the quality of my work/interactions suffers. So for me, the statement above is exponentially true.

Our digital output is our digital identity

Just as with the clothes we wear or the car we drive, our digital output becomes an expression of ourselves. People also judge by looks in our digital world; how well content is structured, how fine the aesthetics and visuals are. These all amplify or detract from your message and identity. Great tools help you amplify your message, instead of detracting from it.

Writing & Friction

The more I've progressed in my career – and the more the whole industry changed – the more important async and written communication has become. However, the tools available to do this were extremely frustrating to use, specifically for my 'on the go' lifestyle. They were also horrible when it came to expressing my digital identity.

There's just tremendous noise in modern text editors, and the output – despite the significant customization capabilities in these tools – is very hard to control.

I was both frustrated by the process of collecting, expressing and sharing my thoughts. I was constantly distracted, often feeling like I was fighting a sluggish, complex tool, bloated with unnecessary features for my needs. And at the same time, I felt extremely unsatisfied with how the output represented me as an author.

This friction was at its highest on touch devices, where we're used to tools which are flawlessly executed by the best engineers in the world, like Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. Comparing our d2d tools to these just made it painfully clear how bad existing solutions actually are.

Complexity & Power

For a while I thought too much complexity was the main issue and that tools needed to be more single-purpose, so I started using minimal tools which were very limited. While getting started in these tools was easier, the frustrations started popping up very quickly, the lack of capabilities quickly became blockers, and I couldn't continue to use these tools after a certain level of depth and complexity, which I hit quite soon.

So I understood there is a reason for complexity, but it has to be adaptive, and only visible when needed, instead of constantly distracting you.

Enter Craft

I knew I needed to have a tool which would empower me and fill me with joy every time I use it. Something that's both very simple to get started with, but goes very deep in terms of capabilities. A tool which would generate the output I am proud to associate my digital identity with.

For me, Craft is this tool.

It's a tool I can rely on wherever I am and whenever I need it. It helps me focus on the task at hand. I am proud to share a Craft note or document with anyone, it can represent my digital identity in a way I am happy for it to be viewed.

Craft's structuring capabilities of pages, cards and toggles, allow me to use different organizational methods and enable me to write longer documents of five pages or more, in a way I feel I am in control of and lets me see what I'm doing, more easily.

The core thing that differentiates Craft for me from other modern productivity tools, is that I love to use it.Other tools might be functional, but they are frustrating. That's what we see in our community feedback as well; people feel the attention to detail and the love we've put into building Craft.

Because Craft exists, I no longer start the day with apprehension, dreading where I will be spending most of my working day. I am now energized and excited for a day of thinking, writing and communicating in Craft. I love spending my day in Craft.

In other words, the "how" is just as important for me as the "what", and solving this problem is probably one of the key drivers behind why I started working on Craft.

Balint @ Craft

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