Yet Another New Note App: Reflect

I have not yet tried it but this seems to be another competitor in the Obsidian vs Roam etc. world.

Interesting to me on first glance - aside from the the usual backlinks and network graph - are:

  • Sync between Mac and iOS
  • API for integration with other apps
  • Web publishing option
  • High degree of security

Will be interesting to see how it evolves.

I am not sure how extensible/customizable it is beyond the API.

“End-to-end encryption” could be a draw for some folks as well.

Looks like they are trying to copy Obsidian and the functionality of its plugins, except my files would be somewhere else, not on my Mac. And apparently they don’t support plain text? Although I’m having trouble looking at their website getting clear answers on format and where my data would be stored.

Hard pass. :slightly_smiling_face:


Minor rant warning:

Once again, I’m struck by the cost. $15/month is, IMO, high for a note-taking app. Without getting into the pros and cons of subs generally (which have been rehearsed many times over, both here and elsewhere), I just find it extraordinary. I know Roam Research charges the same and appears to be doing OK, and maybe Reflect and others are looking at that and thinking “why not?”. And I know that maintaining a service costs money and the labourer is worth of his hire and the value’s in the mind of the customer and probably a bunch of other platitudes. But it’s taking notes, not some specialist, skilled function (yes, yes, taking good notes requires skill, but you know what I mean). And there are many, many excellent alternatives that are a lot cheaper and just as good.

It just seems unsustainable to me. I hope the Reflect guys survive and thrive, but I can’t help thinking that there’s a whiff of emperor’s new clothes about all this.



I agree the cost may be an issue - mostly because they have chosen only 1 tier. No free tier. No levels of paid tiers. Just 1 tier for everyone - which seems most odd to me.

I suspect the $15/month fee may be tied to the publishing feature. If that works well then the app can have business/professional uses where it is worth that.

But still it make no sense to force that on everyone no matter their use case.

Interesting. The founder, Alex MacCaw, is a bit famous but seems to lack imagination for his next startup.

You can’t have both true e2e encryption and plain text files in the filesystem. Obsidian doesn’t encrypt your local vault, just the sync service. This is encrypted locally and via sync with the same password. (Not saying you should prefer one approach over the other, just noting the fundamental incompatibility.)

At $15/mo this is also cheaper(!) than Obsidian Sync + Publish ($24/mo.) So its pricing makes it partly inaccessible and partly an appeal to value. The advantage they have is that past experiences with Obsidian, Roam, etc. are effectively free trials for Reflect since they teach the same concepts and feature sets.

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May I be judgmental? It’s like Obsidian and NotePlan had a baby, but one of the best genes possessed by both—the fact you own your notes—wasn’t passed down.


I do not want to get too OT on the discussion on Reflect, but there is another new note app : Tangent [NB. the link is not on https, hence flagged as not secured). It is currently on alpha only, no cost involved at this stage

this is their roadmap

[edit] : sorry, just realised that there is a thread on this forum already. Apologise for that

I don’t disagree in principle with any of what you say, but… if the App Store taught me anything is that money is relative. Remember when there was that “I Am Rich” app in the early days of the App Store? $1000 bucks for a misspelled piece of stupidity? They kicked it out of the store after one day and yet some people bought it. Some people buy $10k-diamond encrusted AirPod cases.

So: in an overcrowded field like note apps, where the majority are charging $1-$10/month, if you charge $15 you’re going to create the perception of prestige and high value. Some people are going to fall for it. Heck, some people may even feel better that they’re paying more than “everyone’s app” at $6 or $10. Surely, they may say, my $15/month app does / doesn’t (insert wished-for thing here: like, doesn’t sell my data, does ensure that my notes aren’t lost, etc…).

It’s not my field, but I think there are some psych/Econ studies that show that just by adding a higher tier option, you shift the mean higher because some people will buy it regardless and some others will feel less bad about spending $10 if $15 is the higher option, etc.

So it may be a cynical — but not stupid — move on their part, if they know how late to the note-taking party they are…

Here’s my favorite article on pricing strategies.

Camels and Rubber Duckies – Joel on Software


I love this article, although a bit long so I only skimmed the bottom half and may be missed a few things

Not sure Joel also mentioned a few relevant points that have influence on the pricing strategy

  1. brand value
  2. competition in the market
  3. regular license versus pro license to capture different target buyers
  4. incremental cost for making future upgrade attractive

I am sure that there more

Some good points here - thanks.

The problem with using subs in this “prestige” marketing context is that the payment is recurring. You need to remind me every month that I’m getting something worth paying for, or I’ll cancel. Of course there are lapsed users who never cancel for one reason or another, but your income stream is at risk unless you continue to demonstrate the value of the prestige purchase. I think that’s a hard thing to do in this space.

Roam addressed that by offering their 5-year believer plan for a big, discounted up-front payment. Believers who fell away still left their money in the pot for the reminder of the 5 years (Roam also offer generous discounts to some low-income groups).

Very neat article.
I was talking about something close to the demand curve but not quite. A basic business study that I’ve heard about repeatedly whereby if you have say 100 people choosing a t-shirt to buy, and there are 3 price options, they will distribute like this:

$10 t-shirt: 30 customers
$15 t-shirt: 40 customers
$20 t-shirt: 30 customers

But if you add another $25 option, it shifts the whole distribution up like so:

$10 t-shirt: 15 customers
$15 t-shirt: 35 customers
$20 t-shirt: 35 customers
$25 t-shirt: 15 customers

So you actually have more folks buying a $20 t-shirt in the second scenario just as a result of having added an option above it.
In other words, the argument that these people were making were

  1. a subset of customers want to buy “the best” most expensive option (rationally or irrationally)
  2. a large subset of customers feel comfortable buying the second best option, that is, they want to get a quality option but they don’t want to feel like they’re splashing out. If the top option is $20, they’ll buy the $15, but if the top option is $25, they’ll buy the $20.
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That makes sense but the trick is how ya gonna implement such a segmented pricing strategy without your customers noticing? :slightly_smiling_face: Over the long term?

In the case of Reflect, they chose to slot in at the higher end, confident that there will always be some pick up. I guess what I’m saying is that the arrival of $15/month note apps will have the effect of normalizing $10/month note apps and will make $5/month note apps look cheap and $1/month note apps will look downright suspicious.

I’m not saying any of this approvingly, just noting the consequences of Reflect’s price choices.

Price isn’t the issue with me and the Reflect software. I simply prefer Markdown support with my files stored on my Mac. As far as I can see, that is not Reflect’s approach. Obsidian already exists, so it’s all good. :slightly_smiling_face:

100% with you on that. Markdown files in a folder of my own choosing or else we’re not even talking!

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And I’ve only been playing with Obsidian so far because I like the devs and I think it is so cool how they have built the software. I’m still looking for a use case that works for me. I’m way down on the food chain on this one. I’m happy with a simple battle-tested Markdown editor and plain text files in the Finder. And I’m even happier to have found that a light touch from the EagleFiler app was a nice improvement.

This space is evolving rapidly. Cost aside, shifting notes from one app to another is not easy. Even when you own your data. I’m happy with Obsidian for now. I will wait out for a bit before exploring the next big thing.