Transform Your Meetings, with Hackpad

Transform Your Meetings, with Hackpad

I've been using Hackpad for a few months and I absolutely love it. Hackpad is a collaborative editing tool similar to Google Docs, and yet very different (and in many ways better) at the same time. Fred Wilson had a great writeup of Hackpad here. He said:

"I love Hackpad. And it's strange because most of what Hackpad does, Google Docs does. And I really like Google Docs. I use Google Docs dozens of times a day. But there is something about Hackpad that I like better than Google Docs for massively open online realtime document creation."

If you want to try using Hackpad, you can open a pad that I created just for this blog post. Feel free to add content to it, edit it, etc.

My primary use of Hackpad is to take collaborative notes in every meeting I participate in. The first thing I'll do when I walk into a meeting is add the other people in the room as Hackapd contributors to the pad I make for the meeting. That way, anyone who wants to can take notes in a central place, and edit each other's notes. It's super powerful -- feels magical even to have a "whole is greater than sum of the parts" note taking experience, where others fill in stuff you missed, etc.

So how is Hackpad better than Google Docs? Well, there's actually a Hackpad that addresses that question! But the two reasons I love it are because a) you can see on the left-hand side who wrote what text, and b) because it's super lightweight and easy to spool up a pad on a moment's notice.

A big difference between Hackpad and Gdocs is how Hackpad handles comments, which are made inline to the text vs. being a separate callout section in Gdocs:

So while Gdocs' handling of comments is much more robust, the difference typifies the two approaches -- Hackpad's is simple & lightweight, Google's is more cumbersome but more powerful.

Lastly, the Hackpad team is super responsive and they're really innovating quickly, so kudos to them for being passionate about making a quality product.

You can sign up and create your own Hackpad workspace at Here are two videos about how to use Hackpad.

Learn the basics of Hackpad in 9 minutes:

And here's 3 more minutes of advanced Hackpad tips:

If you want to play around with the pad I used to make these videos, you can! It's right here.