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Tools Must Vanish

Personal Notes on Tools for Thought Software as a Service​

I see a repeated paradigm in the Tools for Thought Software as a Service market. They are damn complicated to use. To pull out the most from these tools, you must first grow some skillfulness in these tools and aggregate enough information over a threshold. For team tools, you must ensure this for every member.

It's like when you prepare for an exam, but instead, you try to make a perfect note instead of actually studying. 시험 공부보다 예쁜 노트 만드는데 더 집중하는 느낌.

For a productivity tool to be successful, you must flow at one point. Tools and infra fade out. You only focus on the content. However, all of the tools on the market, especially some efforts to reintroduce the Zettlekasten thing on the web, need to be more compliant. Again, things should be simple so that you can immediately pick up and draw something in your mind. There should be minimum friction. Even Notion is too complicated for personal task management.

I believe that Roam Research and Logseq are at the culminating position of this simplicity.

They only have...

  • Journal. You write daily notes.
  • From there on, highlight keywords by adding double brackets.
  • Regularly explore the double-bracketed keywords. Write more details.
  • Voila! You realize that things are interrelated in a way you never imagined.

Always remember...

Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge. — Winston S. Churchill

Unbundling Tools for Thought​

  • And I look up blog and forum posts where Obsidian and Roam power users explain their setup. And most of what I see is junk. It's never the Zettelkasten of the next Vannevar Bush; it's always a setup with tens of plugins, a daily note three pages long that is subdivided into fifty subpages recording all the inane minutiae of life. This is a recipe for burnout
  • People have this aspirational idea of building a vast, oppressively colossal, deeply interlinked knowledge graph to the point that it almost mirrors every discrete concept and memory in their brain. And I get the appeal of maximalism. But they're counting on the wrong side of the ledger. Every node in your knowledge graph is a debt. Every link is doubly so. The more you have, the redder you are. Every node that has utility—an exciting excerpt from a book, a pithy quote, a poem, a fiction fragment, a few sentences that are the seed of a future essay, a list of links that are the launching-off point of a project—is drowned in an ocean of banality. Most of our thoughts appear and pass away instantly, for good reason
  • Centralization of Data: everything is in one central place, rather than spread out across your filesystem, Dropbox, and database rows in six different proprietary apps
  • Hyperlinking: you can link your data pervasively:
  • The main drawback is that the user experience for this plugin-based app universe will always be inferior to the user experience for domain-specific apps. An app rarely does plugins. It always feels janky.