An end, and a beginning

August 2023
a letter from the departing leader

Dear thoughtful people,

I’ve been working on Muse for four years. In that time our team has built a one-of-a-kind thinking tool and the world’s first large-scale local-first sync system. We’ve published over 100 hours of podcast discussions about technology, design, and philosophy. And we’ve grown a brand and a community that are very special. I’m proud to have helped create all this.

Today we’re sharing some difficult news: despite all of the above, we did not manage to make Muse into a sustainable business. Therefore I and most of the team are departing. My longtime colleague Adam Wulf will continue to develop Muse as a solo entrepreneur.

A silver lining for current customers is that Wulf will be getting back to basics and refocusing development work on the needs of individuals. Read his letter about what’s ahead for Muse below.

But let me also try to explain the hard truth here about why the current arrangement wasn’t working.

Muse was born at the research lab Ink & Switch. Our vision was part of the lab’s overall mission to improve productivity software and creative computing. Longtime listeners of our podcast will know that we didn’t want to go fully into the world of venture-funded startups, since we believed that would create incentives that might steer us away from these ideals and core mission.

Thus we sought a middle ground: combining parts of a bootstrapped/customer-funded business with investment-backed startup. Unfortunately, this middle ground didn’t work financially in the long run. This transition to a fully customer-funded business with a much smaller team gets Muse out of this middle ground and makes sustainability possible.

There’s lots to unpack here and I hope to offer a full retrospective later on. But for the coming month, I and the rest of the team will be working on a handoff to Adam Wulf and prepping for the exciting things he has in store for you. Please give him your support (emotional and financial) to help make this transition a smooth one.

I’m sad to leave the day-to-day of working with this great team and on this product I love so much (although I’ll continue as an advisor and podcast host). I and the rest of the departing team want to give a huge thanks to all the users, customers, and listeners who have made this experience one of the best in our professional lives. It’s been a pleasure to serve you. ❤️

Happy musing,
Adam Wiggins
with Julia, Mark, Lennart, Linda, and Henry

a letter from the incoming leader

Hello Muse thinkers!

While today brings big changes, I want to reassure you that this is a new chapter in the same book. Muse is here to stay and is focused on you.

Muse is your personal space for deep thinking, bringing your ideas together, resting with your thoughts, and finding new connections. This is exactly the Muse I’m committed to and focused on. I’m ready to continue growing and maintaining this beloved tool for years to come.

A bit more about me: I’ve been a software engineer with Muse for 3 years, and have worked on every aspect of the product. I’m also an entrepreneur, starting and selling my first company shortly after college. I’m most at home building well-crafted, purposeful, productivity software. In every place that I’ve worked, it’s the customers and community that make the work rewarding. Muse holds a very special place in my heart, and I’m committed to making Muse the best place for unstructured thinking.

In just a few days, we’ll open up the Muse 3 beta in the Backstage Pass for all members. We have many improvements, including live collaboration, that I can’t wait for you to experience. Buy a membership to get a sneak peek and give feedback.

The community is the most important piece of Muse, and I’m looking forward to building Muse alongside each of you. Come join the conversation and make your voice heard! I’m excited to hear your questions, suggestions, features, and more. Our customers play a crucial role in helping prioritize fixes and features, and your voice is important now more than ever.

Thanks everyone! I’m eager to continue this journey with you.

Adam Wulf