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The Elite Capture of Substack

Cydney Hayes has a great piece on how the culture of substack is changing.

I think most people understand that the powers that be at Substack HQ want you to engage with their platform because it gives them user data and site traffic and other things they can show to investors to keep their business on the up and up, so they’ve built their product so that the more you engage on the platform, the more subscribers you get, so you’ll engage more, and the cycle continues. I also think that most people understand where they need to invest their time when, other than publishing a new post, the majority of the engagement actions now available on Substack are wrapped up in Notes.

If you want to have a good knowledge management practice, don’t spend your time slobbering over the latest feature that some tech company promises will increase engagement and is the new way for people to get to know you. It’s unlikely to happen, and for every story we get of it working for a single unknown person, thousands wasted hours and good time offline on some tech platform.

Cydney ends with talking about why she writes, sure it would be nice to get famous and write full-time, but ultimately she’s sticking with it because it’s fun and forces her to be creative.

I write because it forces me to put my thoughts down and think more about how fleshed out they are. Ideas are refined on the page as I write them.

This is why I think that any good notes/knowledge process has as it’s most crucial component sharing what you’ve learned with others. I think one of the best ways to share is writing because writing is slow. It gives you time to check your sources and refine what you say as you edit. It can reveal how little you know and how far you have to go to get anywhere near those you admire that share their thoughts.

You Must Read Above your Head

One of the things that helps you think is engaging with materials that are above your current level of understanding, but not so hard that it’s entirely baffling. You see this best when watching children learn to read. At the right level of difficultly they sound words out and just know some words. They feel a sense of accomplishment on every page.

If the book is just a little too hard, they get frustrated and opt-out of the experience of reading, thus harming their self-concept as someone that reads.

Adults need to take the same tack, reading and thinking about things that are just above their heads. I’m working on a piece about Sam Bankman-Fried right now that feels above my head. I know the core idea is that SBF is the court jester and he was dealt with for his fraud, but we still have people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos and Peter Thiel out there causing as many problems as SBF did. The royalty is still out there messing shit up, good thing we put the jester away though.

What are you working on currently that is hard? What idea are you proud of writing down, but it still feels like there is just a bit more around the corner that you can’t quite lay hands on?

That’s where good thinkers and readers should play. Where you feel like you have a handle on the topic, but some small part is just out of your grasp.

Something Interesting

America’s manifest destiny led ultimately to its successful conquest from coast to coast, the genocides and atrocities it committed along the way merely the price of doing God’s work. – Making God

I think the US still has this mindset, that they have a manifest destiny to greatness. I think that some of the crazy political nationalism we see is the US realizing that things are going so well for them really and that some people are missing out on this destiny while others are winning big time. What I can’t understand is how the population falls for a Trump thinking that he’ll do anything to help them out instead of lining his pockets, and the pockets of those that suck up to him.

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Getting Started with Obsidian Course

Getting Started with Obsidian

If you want to learn your way around Obsidian so that you can build a great note system then this course is for you. I’ll cover basic folder structure when to use tags or links, and the plugins I think everyone needs to make their Obsidian experience excellent. Plus much more. If you want all my courses, become a member.

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Getting Started with Zettelkasten

If you’ve been wondering about what Zettelkasten is and how to start organizing your notes with this excellent system then this course is for you. I’ll cover the basics of choosing which tool to use, how to take notes, how to deal with linking your notes, and much more. You can also become a member to get all my courses.

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