The who, what, and why of Bear

The who, what, and why of Bear

This is our declaration of intent for Bear, our approach to building it, and our commitment to standards and privacy.

About three years ago, we started working on Bear to scratch a few itches around the office. Now, it’s exploded into a full-time job with millions of users around the world. Bear has succeeded far beyond any of us had hoped, and we are incredibly grateful to our fantastic community.

Seriously, thank you.

We’d like to explain who we are as a company and our approach to building Bear. No, this won’t involve big feature reveals; it’s a look behind the curtain of how we work and our long-term intentions for Bear and your data.

We’re a small, independent company

We are Shiny Frog, a small company founded by three developer-designers and friends in Parma, Italy. Like many indie developers, we’ve built a few apps over the past decade of, well… let’s say, “varying success.” Bear has been a surprise, breakout hit, and we are incredibly humbled and grateful.

We like being indie developers, and we’ve never taken outside investment. Basically, our main source of income as a company is now Bear Pro. We want to build the Bear that we want and that you like enough to use and tell all your friends. In other words: the only people we answer to is you.

However, this also means that Bear might evolve differently than products from other companies.

We aren’t going on hiring sprees or moving into increasingly extravagant office spaces with on-site masseuses and Segways. While we have hired a couple more people to help build Bear, we want to stay lean, and we want to keep Bear lean, too.

We have plenty of features and improvements on our roadmap, and we always want to hear your feedback. But some things might simply take more time for us to build than the large tech companies. There might even be some features we decide are not a good fit for Bear — we don’t want it to be everything to everyone. We want Bear to be Bear.

When we make those decisions, we’ll try to be as transparent as possible, as soon as possible, so you can decide whether Bear is the right fit for your needs.

We’re here to stay

We could make a grand statement that we plan to be here for decades to come. We’d certainly like to be. But we can say this: we love Bear, and there is a lot we want to build for it.

That said, one of our core values is that: if we fall off the face of the planet some day (unlikely since it’s, y’know, round), your Bear notes are still in good hands — yours.

Your data is free to go

Whether or not you’ll be able to use Bear next year or next century, we strongly believe that your data is your data. Bear is built on standards — we don’t believe in lock-in.

Bear notes are created in Markdown or TextBundle format (depending on their contents), and you can export them to a wide variety of portable file types including plain text, rich text, PDF, HTML, TextBundle, ePub, and more. Plus, you can do this on any device — Mac, iPad, or even iPhone (well, not Apple Watch… yet?).

Under the hood, Bear’s database is in SQLite format. This makes it easy for you to extract and export your data even if you don’t have Bear installed. Like we said: lock-in just isn’t in our nature.

Private by default

Bear is also private by default. We can’t see any personal information, how many notes you have, what is in your notes, or the tags you use. The only thing we collect, in the unlikely case that Bear crashes, is an anonymous log of the crash. For science.

This might mean Bear can’t power a machine-learning artificial super-intelligence that eventually leads to SkyNet, but… do you really want to be responsible for the Terminators? Yeah, neither do we.

Now, back to writing

To summarize: we love making great software for you. We don’t take outside funding and don’t want to. You’re the boss (within reason, of course). Bear is private by default. Your data is always free to go, yet we’d love if you join us on this journey to make Bear the best place for your notes and prose.