There Are Many More of You Than Before, Welcome!

Photograph of a crowd of people in a large crosswalk

Photograph by Brian Merrill

Hello. Thanks to a generous mention from The Verge, over the weekend the number of Aboard users crossed the threshold from hundreds into thousands. Welcome! We appreciate all the feedback.

Allow me to re-introduce ourselves (for those who’ve been us with a while, skip ahead).

Questions Quickly Answered

  • What’s the point of Aboard? To make it very easy for individuals and small groups to manage data of all kinds in their web browsers and on mobile devices. 
  • Who founded it? Two old Internet hands—Paul Ford and Richard Ziade (I’m Paul) along with a seasoned, proven leadership team and employees all over the world.
  • Why? Because we used to run an agency and people kept asking us to solve their data and communication problems, so we decided to make something way, way more general to help way, way more people.
  • What’s next? We started with basic web data and chat/commenting, running in the browser. Now we’ll move to other kinds of data and collaboration on web and mobile.
  • And is there a mobile app? Yes, it’s almost ready for iOS and Android will follow. Send an email to hello@aboard.com if you’d like to be added to TestFlight.
  • Don’t other things do things like this? It’s great to have options.
  • It says you use AI. How? To extract structured data from web pages.
  • What will you charge? We’re figuring that out. We’d love to know why you pay for software. Send us an email at hello@aboard.com.
  • What are the terms of service? Normal things you’d expect.
  • What is your content policy? We worked to make it super-readable, take a look.
  • What about privacy? Same.
  • I want to delete my account! All good, please file a ticket.
  • I want to unsubscribe! Right down below, as always.
  • I want a job. Great!
  • I have thoughts. Send us an email at hello@aboard.com.
  • I found a bug. We are grateful. Send us an email or file a ticket.

On Stacks and Tags

People often ask about the difference between stacks and tags. I’ll give you an example.

My wife and I have 11-year-old twins and like most parents we limit their screen time. They can watch an hour of TV together in the evenings if they can agree on what to watch.

Instead of coming to consensus and taking the long view, this often leads to absolute chaos and stomping spreading across multiple rooms. So I’m using Aboard to manage the process.

  • I’ve used the Chrome plugin and added a lot of cards for TV shows that we’ve watched in the past and some that we’ve discussed. (This is all totally real, sadly, but I did change my kids names below to take the screenshot.)
  • Then I made four stacks: “Watched”, “To Watch”, “Fought Over”, and “In Discussion.” The idea here is simple: A TV show can really only be in one of these stacks at a time. One thing goes in one stack. It’s kind of like a folder.
  • Then I invited my family. Have they all accepted the invitation? No they have not. They’re a little tired of me talking about Aboard all the time. Also school is starting. But once they do they can add TV shows themselves.
  • Then I added some tags. I tagged cards with names. A card can have multiple tags.
  • When everyone tags a card then we can move it to the “To Watch” stack, and then when people are looking for TV to watch that they won’t fight over, they can check Aboard.

If this seems ridiculous to you, you might not have 11 year old twins in the age of streaming media. This is a way to bring transparency and expectations management to an unbelievable complicated, often hostile set of negotiations.

To summarize:

  • Stacks: Bring order to cards. One stack at a time.
  • Tags: Connect cards to each other—across stacks. One card, many tags.

In a few minutes I had a system for managing a frustrating process that has caused friction and difficulty for well over a year. Isn’t that what software is all about?