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New Cloud App Consol Consolidates Key Productivity Functions Into One Framework With End-To-End Encryption

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Consol is for users who spend their workdays on a computer switching between multiple productivity apps. It aims to remove this necessity by coalescing productivity functions, such as note taking, task management, bookmarking and more, into one framework. Users define their own organization hierarchy with hashtags called workspaces (parent tags) and categories (child tags). This system, called Taggregation, establishes an always-visible method for users to quickly retrieve content and switch between projects. The company is a bootstrapped startup founded by three brothers who have experience working for Microsoft, Google and Blackbaud and running their own businesses in the fields of design, development and law. Below is our interview with Chevas Balloun from Consol:


Q: What’s Consol’s story?

A: Early in my career, before the first iPhone, I wrote training curriculum. This required gathering a lot of information and contacting a lot of people who were subject matter experts. It was the first time I felt overwhelmed with information in my job. The ad hoc methods I threw together to keep track of everything proved to be inadequate, so I began the search for an app to solve my problems.

​​Even back then there were a lot of free project management web apps. I tried all of them. The main frustration with each was that I always felt trapped in a single paradigm, like “this takes notes”, or “this keeps track of tasks”, or “this saves bookmarks”. I needed something that treated all different kinds of content equally, but it just didn’t exist. Eventually I settled on a note taking app to help me do my job. Still, I wrestled​​ with how the notes were organized. I found it difficult to find anything quickly.

I started thinking about what I wanted in a productivity tool and I started to make mental notes. I have always been a hobby artist and I’ve always been a visual person, so pretty soon I had a good idea of what such a tool would look like.​​ It was all in my head…for years.

A mentor once told me “Chevas, I’m a grower, but you’re a builder, that’s who you are.” As soon as he said that, I knew he was right. I put his words into my back pocket and kept them there for a decade.​​​

These experiences were the seeds planted deep in my bones that would eventually sprout into Consol.

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Q: How did Consol start?​

A: Years later, as a successful front end designer and graphic designer, I still struggled with the available productivity options despite the proliferation of devices and apps. This thought finally sunk in: “What I wanted didn’t exist and no one else was going to build it.” That day as I was sitting in my office being mad at my tools, right then and there, I starting writing the front end code for Consol. I knew how I wanted it to look and I knew exactly what I wanted it to do. I didn’t even have a scope written down, I just started coding. A few days later I showed it to my younger brother, Isaac, who is a web developer, and he agreed to help me build it.

We didn’t start off as entrepreneurs . We just wanted something really badly that didn’t exist. Eventually we realized we were building something much bigger than we anticipated. We recruited our older brother, O.Shane, who helps with business development and legal guidance. Fast forward and now here we are.

Q: What are your key features?

A: Consol consolidates key productivity functions into one framework. You can take notes, create task lists, add bookmarks, upload images, save blocks of code with syntax highlighting, and store contacts (with plans for more content types). Many of our projects involve all kinds of different content types. Consol organizes all these content types together, so when you are looking at a single project, you see everything you need. Content is organized by a two-tiered tagging system that is always visible, enabling fast retrieval of content and fast switching between projects.

You can send messages, chat, collaborate and send copies of content to other Consol users. Additionally, it supports end-to-end encryption for notes, code blocks, and images.

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( Click to enlarge )

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Q: What is your main goal at the moment?

A: We are a bootstrapped startup which means we’ve developed Consol alongside our day jobs. This has been challenging. Now that we’ve launched, our main goal is to attract enough users to enable us to focus on development full time. We have a long list of features on our road map we can’t wait to deploy.

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Q: How would you convince the reader to start using Consol?

​​A: Discover the power of Taggregation, which is what we call our organization system in Consol. All of our users we get feedback from love our organization. Sign up for a 30-day trial and commit to using it to keep track of your next work project. We’re confident you will have that “ah ha” moment that will make you love using it. Also, if you haven’t watched our promo video, definitely check that out.

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