postalk is a simple service of a card and a board. A user can put cards on a board, move cards freely and connect each board to create a network.
Kiyohiko Heima, co-founder and system developer of postalk, aims three essential points while developing its service; postalk has to be
- a space where is comfortable
- tool that fits in a user's hands as if postalk is a part of their body
- service that is open to any individual.
These are the reasons why postalk has minimal features rather than having tons of templates or color options. As a result of eliminating features as little as possible, postalk is introduced by varied customers, from Japanese IT startup companies to professors and students at universities.
The draft idea of postalk came from a struggle that Yohei Kawano, founder and CEO of postalk, and Heima had in their previous workplace.
Working in a Japanese IT startup, they both found difficulties in online communication. “ Since communication flows linearly in existing chat tools like slack, misunderstandings in a team were very common as the amount of chats increased. ” Kawano said.
He also mentioned that “existing chat tools are in chronological order and the topic in the discussion cannot be moved back and forth. I thought this was a problem because discussions can often go off-topic. If we could move the topics of discussion afterwards, not only we could clarify the points but also realize what we have misunderstood. ”
These difficulties that they encountered have formed the current postalk, which visualizes linear and chronological communication in two-dimension.
The system of postalk is strongly inspired by Japanese intellectual production methods such as KJ and Kozane technique.
Kozane technique is a procedure of organizing information using small pieces of paper referred to as ‘Kozane’, introduced by Japanese anthropologist Tadao Umesada.
KJ technique, invested by and named after Japanese ethnographist Jiro Kawakita, derived from Kozane technique and now became one of the most-known brainstorming methods.
The important parts of the two techniques are to move and order small pieces of ideas and sentences in order to establish a bigger picture of thoughts and discussions . By incorporating two techniques into its system, postalk can also be used as a brainstorming whiteboard both for individuals and groups.
While other tools such as Miro and Notion that are often used for brainstorming offer thousands of templates, symbols and color options, the features of postalk are only two letter sizes with some color and alignment options. These may sound like disadvantages, but Kawano does not believe so.
“As a user, having too many options makes me think which option I should use. However, the most essential part is WHAT I think.” By providing minimal features, postalk helps a user to concentrate on the content of their idea and conduct a productive brainstorming.
postalk does not belong with categories of existing chat tools nor online whiteboard platforms. postalk aims to fit in between them in order to reach wider markets and establish a position as a global niche service.