January 28, 2016
The way people share ideas has changed significantly over the past decade. Pencil, which launched its beta on Product Hunt, is a new blogging platform that uses slideshows with animated GIFs and images in the background to share a story. This 3-month-old startup has attracted best-selling authors, investors, and founders to its alpha test. There are many startup and business-related stories in its unique format, such as interviews with famous entrepreneurs (like the founders of LinkedIn and Foursquare) and posts about tech careers, life goals, and startup lessons.
But wait, another blogging site? With sites and tools like Medium, Facebook Notes, and Ghost, how many ways are there to share thoughts now? The creators of Pencil, Sydney Liu and Ryan Choi, believe that they’ve built a blogging platform that fits with how this upcoming generation thinks.
“We initially built this for our own use. I had a list in a notepad of ideas I wanted to write about, but I always find myself too busy to spend the time to write full-length blog posts. I’ve shared most of those ideas on Pencil already because the creation experience is simple. Plus, the visual, digestable format allows my friends to actually read them,” explained Liu.
Existing blogging platforms typically have similar reading experiences, with blocks of text for the story and sometimes some supporting images or videos. Pencil is innovating on the entire format – stories on Pencil are composed of slides with character count limits, making the stories easy to digest. Particularly on mobile, each story is fun to consume; just swipe through the story. With engaging visuals in an easy to understand format, Pencil has made a format that’s easier to consume than a typical article.
Creating a post was simple as well. I just outlined my story, searched for images on their built-in animated GIF library from Giphy, and I was done. The entire process was fast and put a smile on my face, much faster than writing my normal essays and blog posts.
The founders believe that this new creation process along with its unique format makes Pencil special. It has been growing initially through the startup community and they plan to expand into other communities soon.
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