Just last week, Notion announced they’ve acquired Cron, a calendar for professionals and teams. While the Cron team has stated that the product will remain available as a standalone desktop app for the foreseeable future, there are a few potentially huge upgrades that may be coming to Notion as a result.
What is Cron?
If you haven’t used or heard of Cron, you’re not alone. The desktop released in beta in late 2021, and has been available by invite only.
There are a few key features that set Cron apart from other calendar apps, and they’re squarely focused on teams, how they schedule meetings, and gaining better visibility into everyone’s availability.
For example, there’s a Share Availability button, which allows you to copy a URL, paste it (into Slack for example), and have a teammate or collaborator schedule some time for a meeting.
Cron is also optimized for the Zoom era, making joining meetings via video link seamless, acknowledging this is becoming status quo for meetings.
The calendar also has some nifty keyboard shortcuts (think a leaner Superhuman for calendars), that makes actions like creating, deleting, or rescheduling meetings a lot faster.
Setting aside features, what drew Notion to Cron was also the aesthetics.
Ivan Zhao, Founder of Notion said this about is experience using Cron:
“ Last year I switched to Cron for my calendaring and was so impressed by the craft behind this product. I’m super excited to see Notion and Cron come together to bridge synchronous and asynchronous work, and help people collaborate more easily on whatever is most important to them.”
Both apps have a minimalist, pragmatic experience, which do seem to go together nicely. We’ll see if and how these two apps start to overlap.
What could this mean for Notion & Cron users?
It’s too soon to tell how this will affect both apps, but we can look to previous acquisitions and acquihires as reference points to better understand where this partnership may go.
1. Better Calendar Functionality in Notion
Even though Notion announced a two-way sync capability with Google Calendar at this year’s Block x Block Conference, the feature is still not available to the public, and as a result, Notion’s database calendar view can be a bit limited. Often, pages are hard to read on calendar view, and you likely need an automation tool like Zapier to integrate Notion’s calendar with other tools.
Even though both founders have stated Cron will remain available as a standalone app, it would be great to reimagine how calendars work in Notion, and how having access to the Cron team can accelerate Notion’s work on two-way syncing calendars.
2. Meeting Notes <> Calendar Invites
If you’ve used Google Calendar lately, you’ve likely seen the option to quickly create a Meeting Notes doc, that’s automatically shared with all attendees. This kind of integration is a big reason why Google Suite has become the standard. Raphael Schaad, Cron’s Founder and CEO, has hinted that both companies are eying this type of integration. Talking about the acquisition, Schaad said, ”…with Notion, we’ll be able to integrate meeting notes and tasks much more seamlessly. I personally use Cron and Notion side by side every day and am excited about building the defining software for the workplace of the future.”
Organizing Meeting Notes is one of the most common use-cases for teams using Notion, and having the ability to effortlessly create a new page that’s organized in a set database definitely makes for a big improvement to user experience.
3. Better Insights into Time Management?
This is a bit of a wildcard, but both founders have also expressed the value of managing time. With Notion having access to calendar data — meetings, durations, attendees — there’s opportunity to potentially visualize metrics and data around time management. Considering Notion’s ballooning popularity in productivity communities, the idea of native time-tracking that’s seamless and doesn’t require any manual entry or updates, is definitely appealing.
Time will tell what this acquisition means for both Notion and Cron. Notion’s last big acquisition — Automate — resulted in the automation app shutting down, without any clear Notion feature updates to show for it (yet).
Both founders have reiterated that Cron will remain available and supported as a standalone app, which makes sense considering it’s been available for less than a year. Continuing to support Cron could also onboard new Notion users due to their close integration.
This is a fantastic opportunity for both teams, but time will tell how this plays out!