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Trying to scratch a collective itch – A Personal Knowledgbase (Part 2)

So it appears that trying to tame that beast that is knowledge is a struggle that many share.

My post on Designing a Personal Knowledgebase was picked up by Hacker News, and subsequently spurred some phenomenal discussion. I’m so honored that my humble blog piqued the interest of so many. In the spirit of capturing knowledge, I’ve compiled the various discussions from around the web below, along with a list of the tools that people suggested. I encourage you to read the threads, since many also described their workflows in detail. There are some gems in there.

For me, the salient take-aways from these discussions are the following:

  • The hunt for an optimal personal knowledgebase is a real thing.
  • However, each person has his own idiosyncratic workflow, and thus, a one-size-fits-all PKB solution is unrealistic. This is likely a major reason that a PKB that satisfies the many has not been created.
  • Lots of really smart people have been thinking about this for a while, and have had similar thoughts as my own. And despite that, most concede that the tools they are seeking don’t exist.
  • Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Find something that is good enough, and use it. At the end of the day, the product is the point, not the tool. Nerds (myself included) tend to become enamored of the tools and forget about their intended purpose. Don’t let the wait for an ideal solution stop you from doing the hard work of learning.
  • The best we can do right now is to make some compromises and use existing tools, even with their deficiencies.
  • Some creative souls are tinkering to create their own ideal PKBs. In the end, that might be the ideal way, but its not accessible to most of us (i.e. non-coders).

Despite the somewhat downer tone of the above points, I’ll continue to hold out for the tool I’m seeking. Because, even if the tools aren’t everything, the right ones certainly help. But, taking the advice I received, I just won’t wait around for it. People were doing brilliant work on papyrus and clay tablets after all.

Discussions from around the web



Outliner Software [Update: 09/06/14]


List of suggested tools

A list of the resources that people cited (in no particular order):

The Brain
Microsoft OneNote
ConnectedText [Update: 09/06/14]
Good ole’ pen and paper

Lets Tinker

If you like the proposal I’ve laid in my original post and want to try to work on it together, don’t hesitate to drop me a line

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