A better way to work
Adam Nathan
CEO of Almanac
Play Video
I started Almanac because work is broken.
Do you remember how you felt on your first day of work?
I remember walking into Apple's gleaming HQ in 2013, being greeted under Lyft's pink mustache-inspired welcome desk, grabbing a spare seat in Varo's small, lively coworking space—and the optimism, ambition, and eagerness I had to make an impact.
But then something funny happened: like clockwork, that optimism was replaced by frustration over how much work didn't feel like work at all: tracking notifications like whack a mole, sitting in unproductive meetings, following up on requests I made.
Forget about making an impact—I wasn't even able to cross off simple to dos.
At first, I thought it was me. But as I talked to friends and colleagues, I realized everyone felt this way.
We all wanted a way to cut through the bullshit—but without one, people's initial frustrations gave way to ambivalence and burnout.
Too many of the smartest people I know told me they didn't know why they were working so hard at all. Some quit their jobs and have taken themselves out of the game entirely.
These stories illuminate the Modern Work Crisis affecting knowledge workers everywhere.
This crisis spans industries and geographies; studies show that dysfunction and burnout have pervaded every role and team that collaborates primarily online.
And the root cause is simple: where we work has changed, but how we work has not.
If you're a knowledge worker, you're likely working on the internet. Even if you go into an office, you're writing, chatting, and meeting online.
Which means you can work from anywhere, anytime: from downtown, your home, or a tropical island; before your morning workout, after your kids go to bed, or on the weekend.
But we're still collaborating—getting feedback, making decisions, and sharing knowledge—as if we're all in an office from 9 to 5. We're using approaches that are 70 years old and are fundamentally at odds with working across time zones, geographies, and multiple channels of communication.
Like trying to paddle a canoe on land, this mismatch between context and process is making teams dysfunctional, slowing down innovation, and handicapping our best people.
Thankfully, we've been here before.
In the 1990s, personal computers started to populate offices, and the pace of work became much faster for most teams—except one.
Software developers were stuck using a collaborative methodology called "waterfall," where one team's work couldn't start until another's finished—leading to years-long projects that were instantly outdated at launch. The Space Shuttle famously had technology that was 20+ years old on its first flight.
As a result, developers were quitting in droves, "IT" was relegated to a back office function, and the US was losing to the process innovations of Japanese firms like Sony and Toyota.
In response, 20 engineers gathered in Snowbird, Utah to codify a new way of building software in the age of the PC. They called it Agile.
Agile wasn't a tool, but a methodology for getting stuff done.
Its principles reignited developers' passions, unlocked huge savings for companies, and made engineering teams the centers of excellence and innovation that drive our global economy today.
I believe we need a similar revolution for knowledge work. That's why I founded Almanac.
I knew we didn't need another tool that makes false promises around "saving time" but just adds to the chaos.
So, we started by talking to our heroes—professionals who have mastered collaboration on the internet—to understand how they've broken free from old norms.
Over the past 4 years, we've talked to more than 5,000 experts from leading companies like Stripe, Netflix, Amazon, and many more.
We summarized their insights into principles and 50+ proven tactics that represent a whole new way to work online.
We call it the Modern Work Method.
And we built a collaboration platform that enables distributed teams to embrace how the best teams work on the internet without even thinking about it.
Almanac revolutionizes how your team manages projects, makes revisions and suggestions on work, and establishes a clear feedback and approvals process. Our early users have called it everything from "Github for docs" to a "buzzsaw through the bullshit of office culture."
But more than anything, we hope the Modern Work Method and Almanac represent a call to arms: to make work on the internet productive again.
You deserve processes and tools that help you push the ball forward, instead of wasting all your time sifting through notifications.
You deserve to wake up as excited as you did on your first day of a new job, and to end every week feeling like you got great work done.
We hope Almanac, and what your team builds with it, move us closer to that kind of internet.
Let's get to work.
Next: The Modern Work Crisis