Going Deep With Mem.ai

I have spent time deep diving into Mem.ai, which is described as a "self-organizing workspace for teams". I don't have a team. However, I do need a self-organizing workspace. I was not impressed at first. The interface is sparse. There is no...

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I have spent time deep diving into Mem.ai, which is described as a "self-organizing workspace for teams". I don't have a team. However, I do need a self-organizing workspace. I was not impressed at first. The interface is sparse. There is no big bank of menus to access. And the AI doesn't appear to do much.

Mem.ai Logo

Except that my first impression was wrong. The AI requires content to work with so that it can find and link related content. The end result is that the more you use it, the more useful it becomes.

The first thing I had to learn is that the first line of each note is the title of the note. You can then use that title to link to the note from other notes. The Mem experience for cross-linking notes is so much easier than with Evernote. There are fewer keystrokes and keyboard combinations needed with Mem.

Another important thing to learn about Mem is that it helps to build templates for things that you will be writing frequently. There are a few prebuilt templates you can use that speeds up your writing experience. The great advantage of Mem is that those shortcuts are not contained within the app itself. Those shortcuts are available on other apps and windows via the Mem Spotlight.

The Mem Spotlight feature is an incredible feature currently only available on Mac. With a key combination, Command + Shift + Space, you can pull up the Spotlight within any window. Then, you can use this bidirectionally to grab information or to export information. If you are writing an email and have some pre-formatted text you want to include, Spotlight makes it easy to locate that text and insert it into the email. Or, if you have already written an email and think it could improved, you can highlight the passage, invoke Spotlight, and ask the Mem X AI to rewrite it. You never have to exit out of your email client.

Mem Writing Robots

That brings us to Mem X, the upgraded version of Mem that brings the power of Artificial Intelligence to your desktop. The AI works in the background to find and highlight existing notes that are similar to your open note. With Mem X, it also works as a writing assistant.

You can use the AI to search for information for your writing project. However, there's always the possibility of getting inaccurate information. You'll still have to do your own research to verify. But at least you'll already have a start to your writing project. The AI can also outline and draft your writing, saving you time. It is well known that good writers are rewriters. Therefore, an AI created draft can serve as a scaffold on which to build.

Some Drawbacks

Of course, the Mem X experience is not all roses. You will get 50 Smart Action credits when you subscribe. There are plans to make additional credits available as a monthly subscription. In the meantime, you will have to buy additional credits in lots of 250, 500, or 1000. You can cheat a little by going to Chat GPT to do the grunt work in order to save on your credits. But, this does not leverage your existing work in Mem. The advantage of using the Mem X AI is that it will use the information you are collecting to tailor responses that are relevant to you. It can also theoretically learn your writing style.

Having to pay for Smart Credits on Mem is not that bad. If you compare it to Jasper.ai, for example, the cost is rather reasonable. Although, if you're a professional writer, you may be better off coughing up the money for Jasper.

Another drawback is that you won't be replacing other tools such as Evernote. Mem has storage limits, which are extremely generous for plain text. However, if you plan on using it to store files, 100 GB won't get you too far.

I mentioned the drawback that the Mem Spotlight is only available on the Mac desktop. Hopefully Windows users will get an equivalent tool soon. And, of course, it's also not available on mobile apps.

My Take

I think Mem's vision of a self-organizing workspace is on the mark. I can't opine on its usefulness for teams as I haven't anybody else collaborating with me on it. It's like a bridge that connects your knowledge to your other productivity apps. It brings what would otherwise be siloed information to whatever application you are using. I think that in time Mem will continue to prove its worth as my knowledge base grows. But, I also think that others will try to emulate what Mem is doing. Once the genie is out of the bottle, good luck putting it back.