Interview 14 - Nick Mohnacky

Nick is the founder of bnotes, the first company I interviewed at Start-Up Grind San Francisco. Since the age of seventeen, Nick has resided in West Palm Beach, Florida. In 2006 after leaving Palm Beach Atlantic University, a 25-year-old Nick started his first company in advertisement and marketing. Through this first venture Nick began to understand how crucial communication is for success, stating: “What I’ve always seen overtime is that communication is the Achilles of everything we do. Not just business, but in relationships period.” Living out of his GMC cargo van, Nick began to realize that there is no cohesive process for implementing an idea or thought at scale. “What is the simplest most fundamental communication element of doing business? It’s an idea. It’s a thought.” Through this examination the idea for bnotes arose.

Version 1.0 of bnotes launched in May of 2018 to the app store. To begin using the app you sign up to the workplace where you can then begin creating channels. Nick used an example of a channel he created called ‘travel’. Channels are essentially categories or topics, so when Nick travels, he puts notes of the places he’s been in this channel where his employees and peers can then go and see what he has written and add their own notes to his channel. When it comes to companies or business, depending how large the company, it can be divvied up into different segments for let’s say, the marketing team, the recruitment team, and the financial team.

Where bnotes is today, who would benefit from your app the most?

“Eventually we want to tackle enterprise, but where bnotes is today I believe small businesses can get the most out of it.” Nick said a business with more than five people on their team would benefit more because you start to pay attention to process at that point.

To be a good leader, what attributes must one possess? Do you think a more horizontal hierarchy would work better than a vertical one for your company?

“With certainty, focusing on team instead of employees is essential. In order to do that two things must exist. One, you have to have a collective belief of the vision, and two, you have to have trust.” Nick stated that the app as well as the company share very horizontal attributes. By doing this, Nick says it allows for egos to get out of the way.

How do you see millennials? Do you believe in the myths about them?

“Firstly, I think it is very important to not have any predispositions. I think it has a lot to do with showing up and ensuring people show up to their fullest potential. It’s less about how did the meeting go, and more about understanding what are their actions.”

What is the technology of tomorrow?

“It’s collective intelligence (CI). What that means is that the parts are greater than the sum of the whole.”

“A lot of people talk about AI and Blockchain, and these are pieces of the puzzle, but CI is where the human race is going. That is allowing for group intelligence and knowledge transfer to exist and be amplified, and then pairing that with machine intelligence and computing – that is CI.”

After chatting a little bit more and explaining what I was doing, Nick said that my journey is actually CI, for which I agreed. Nick along with the other members of his bnotes team were a pleasure to meet with and if it sounds like something that could help you or a company you know of, let them know about the app.

Nick and I outside a Coffee Shop downtown Redwood City for Start-up Grind San Francisco