Career Advice
August 28, 2020

Working Smarter With GoodNotes

When founder, Steven Chan, was constantly frustrated at being unable to take efficient notes on his iPad, he decided to hatch his own solution with the creation of the GoodNotes app.


When founder, Steven Chan, was constantly frustrated at being unable to take efficient notes on his iPad, he decided to hatch his own solution with the creation of the GoodNotes app. Little did he know at the time, he would go on to help millions of other global users to take digital, customisable and handwritten notes on their iPads and iPhones.

Since its conception, GoodNotes has expanded to include a diverse and talented team where everyone is a ‘maker’ who works ‘smarter, not harder’. Along with being featured in Apple’s iPad Pro marketing materials, GoodNotes regularly receives ‘love letters’ from its customers that are a tribute to the team’s talent and dedication to the success of the app.

A Company Culture That Grooves Together

So, what makes the culture at GoodNotes unique? Well, the team describes it as a ‘flat, open and transparent’ environment that kind of feels like they’re all grooving together like in a jazz band. Once you become a team member, it’s like being on a ‘well protected, happy little island’ where you don’t want to leave. This has a lot to do with the fact everyone is friendly and open minded and there is a lot of mutual trust between colleagues. It’s not surprising then that individuals feel empowered by the company’s transparency and accountability and take pride in working alongside a team of talented and similarly driven people in order to protect their culture. Team members not only work, but eat and play together too. This is facilitated by their impressive amenities along with a coffee, music, board game and buffer week culture that allows for plenty of bonding and down time. A highlight for many new employees is the realisation of just how flat the structure is and the fact that within the first month you may even own a piece of GoodNotes. Plenty of memories have been made with this millennial team at launches, Christmas parties, overseas trips and random events like eating frogs together or learning the guitar. It’s always fast-paced, exciting and who doesn’t want to be guaranteed a life changing adventure on their career path?

Steven Chan and friends

A Team of Makers at Heart

When it comes to hiring new talent, it’s no secret GoodNotes looks for the best. Employees need to be constantly on the ball and get things done first and foremost. They like to attract pi-shaped talents that are ‘makers at heart’. Being open-minded and being a fast learner will definitely be to your advantage. It makes sense the team should consist of great communicators both written and verbal who are likely to be successful future leaders. In turn, GoodNotes aids in the career development of new talent by giving them exposure to areas outside of their hired position and doesn’t limit them to their work title. Rather than setting hard goals, employees are given flexibility, resources, and autonomy to ‘drive their own career path’. What’s more, what’s unique is that at GoodNotes, everyone on the team has a regular scheduled breakfast with Steven, the founder, in order to talk about how things are going. This allows personal goals to be discussed and how the company can expedite these.

Along with working for one of Hong Kong’s best startups, there are so many more benefits to working here. From company sponsored meals and activities to team offsites and paid conference visits…there are so many motivating factors the team is grateful for. GoodNotes also provides something that is rarely found in Hong Kong: a healthy work/life balance. This means working hours are flexible, your environment is flat and adaptable, you have the opportunity to wear multiple hats and you’re presented with a competitive salary to top it all off.

Find Your True North

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty…what advice does the team have for those of you interested in joining GoodNotes/or who are about to join:

Have a true north. Find your Ikigai. Be confident when voicing your opinion and know the company places a lot of value on different opinions and outlooks. If they do hire you, it is because they truly believe in your strengths and you should feel self-assured about your talents. Be open-minded and adventurous and don’t worry too much about fitting in. Just know that it’s a great, chilled out team of innovators and makers, so if you resonate with this, you’ll do just fine.

If this start-up sounds right up your alley, check out more about the GoodNotes app and the opportunities that could be awaiting you, here!


Written by
Wani Azahar

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