Learning and Thinking

I’ve come to the conclusion that my brain has started to work differently in recent years. I have grown, and my writing on this blog has evolved. It used to be that most of the content was uniquely interesting tech pieces. Notions in C and C++ and ruby and tons of other things technical. Over time I’ve developed a more personal feeling to the blog and there has been much less tech. What has been tech-related is largely code-independent.

I miss thinking about code. I miss thinking in a way to give back to people. I’m hoping to change that slowly over time. The thing I’m talking about today is one example in that direction.


A little while ago a coworker of mine asked me about my thoughts on the second brain. I have to admit, I had NO clue what he was talking about. So I did some research. I found this course about creating a second brain. The course is $3000 or so.

I don’t want to speak directly about the value of the course, because I haven’t taken it. The notion behind the concepts is particularly interesting, and it turns out Forte Labs aren’t the only ones capitalizing on this idea. There are a bunch of other resources out there about creating this collection of information.

The premise: collect thoughts so they are easy to find; organize them in a way so that you can connect related concepts; spend time organizing them when needed.

While some people’s goal is to create something for them, my goal is beyond that. I would like to put together a library of thoughts and learnings that I can then pass on to friends, family, and others to share the information I have learned throughout my life.


Enter the program I use: Obsidian.md. The more I think about this, the more I have been living some version of this idea for years. Before Obsidian, I was using a program called Day One. I have also spent some time working in Bear Writer. Each of these programs has interesting parts for me, but Obsidian has recently won out because:

  • It is available everywhere I need it: Desktop, Phone, & Tablet
  • Has a good methodoly for inter-note linking.
  • Fundamentally uses Markdown as a way to edit notes, meaning I can include more complex HTML elements if I really want to.
  • Because it is an electron app and there is a lot of documentation on it, I can customize it as needed. I have even created my own theme.
  • It exports notes to markdown. This means I can still view the notes outside of the app if I ever need to.

Honestly, Day One started out more like this, but over time moved to a less Markdown version to make more people happy. Markdown is not for all, but as someone who is relatively technically inclined, it works pretty well for me.

It doesn’t matter what program you use. What matters is that there is a way to link related content and it makes sense to you. Many people use Coda.io, some use Notion, and others use Roam.


I’m still at the relative beginning of this process. I’ve started reading some about Zettlekasten and taking smarter notes. I’ve got a bunch of work to do on growing this knowledge base, but I’ve started. The idea is that our brains are not great at remembering specific details, but are good at ideas. How can we help ourselves be more thoughtful and offload the responsibility of memorization?

More to come on this as I figure it out.

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