DeveloPassion's Newsletter - Unbundling PKM

DeveloPassion's Newsletter - Unbundling PKM
Hello everyone! I’m Sébastien Dubois, your host. You’re receiving this email because you signed up for DeveloPassion’s Newsletter or the Dev Concepts project. Thank you for being here with me ✨
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Welcome to the 52nd edition
Another week, another newsletter! I hope that you all had a great one 🤩
This edition marks an important milestone. 52 editions; one year’s worth of newsletters.
Alright, let’s goooooo! 🚀

52 editions later...
I started this newsletter at the end of 2019. At the time, my goal was mainly to share interesting links and ideas about software development. I viewed this as an extension of my activity on Twitter, as well as another distribution channel for my software development articles and books.
In the beginning, I didn’t want to put needless pressure on my shoulders, so I only published an edition or so per month.
Over time, I realized that the newsletter was also a great opportunity for me to really build in public, and share details about my journey as a solopreneur. It felt great to reflect on my progress and to get feedback from people who cared. That’s how I got to share my startup journey from the start and up until the ultimate failure two years later. That’s also how I built the outline and shared regular updates about my Dev Concepts books. And that’s also how I’ve announced my objective to build products in the Personal Knowledge Management space. Slowly, I reduced the amount of information I shared about software development and focused more and more on my entrepreneurial journey and on PKM. Apparently, most of you liked the transition because the subscriber count has skyrocketed. Thank you for that 🙏.
The format of the newsletter has slowly evolved to let me share ideas about various initiatives and topics I care about. I started writing about the books that influence me, the board games I love, the quotes that make me vibrate, etc.
Aside from the “serious” stuff, I also shared personal updates, like the stressful periods I went through, the loss of my cat & dog, but also joyful news like the fact I was going to be a father for the third time and later, the birth of Raphaël.
So, this newsletter is about my whole life; not only about my work. And I love it that way ❤️. I want to be my whole self everywhere, all the time. I don’t care if some don’t like it; that’s who I am, take it or leave it 😂. I don’t care about work-life balance. What I care about is work-life integration. Work is just one facet of my life. I don’t work for the sake of work; I work to achieve my life goals, and I want to continue sharing my progress with you 🎉
Personal Knowledge Management News
I’ve worked hard on the PKM Library this week. I’ve added new tools, YouTube channels, videos, blogs, articles, and a ton of Twitter hashtags.
I’ve also turned the different resource lists into a real database with cross-references. This brings a lot more value, as it is now possible to better filter the information and to explore the content by topic, tool, etc.
The library now includes:
Current PKM Library contents
Numbers don’t matter all that much, but as far as I know, this is the largest collection of curated resources about PKM. And I’m just getting ;-)
By the way, the price has just gone up from €15 to €25. As you know, I’ve decided to use tiered pricing for this project, as a way to determine the best price point. Once sales drop flat, I’ll know I went too far up (it hasn’t happened yet) 😂
Aside from that, the PKM Journal keeps growing. Our team has published a few more articles, and I’m about to resume writing as well. The PKM community on Reddit is also growing steadily.
focusd: Zen productivity news
The War in Ukraine has taken my attention and focus far away from focusd (and other projects) for the past weeks. But André and I will resume working on it in a few days.
YouTube Channel
I’ve realized I’m procrastinating on this project. My thoughts are elsewhere, but beyond that, I know that I’m a bit scared of getting started. It’s all right though, there’s no rush ;-)
Unbundling PKM
One concept that Josh Kaufman explains in The Personal MBA is bundling vs unbundling products. When considering an existing market and the products in it, one can think about two approaches to provide value in the space: unbundling existing offerings into distinct products or bundling different products into a single one. Both approaches have merits.
I like how unbundling can help introduce more choices for customers and more options for power users. But unbundling also introduces a number of challenges.
Here are a few:
  • User Experience across unbundled products is generally anything but harmonized (unless a single vendor unbundles their own products)
  • Integration is a real challenge. If a product does not integrate with another, then a lot of plumbing is required to migrate data, synchronize systems, etc. There are also important risks to consider. If a vendor decides to remove support for certain integrations or APIs, then workflows can break. This also implies the need for maintaining the system as products evolve
  • From an administrative point of view, unbundling generally means more payments to handle, more invoices, etc
  • Data becomes scattered (or event duplicated) across more systems and vendors, which has implications for data security/privacy
  • It’s really difficult to exploit the value at the intersection of different tools. For instance, if one tool is used to capture interesting links and another to store the extracted information, then it’s not easy to link everything together
I’m just thinking out loud here, but given the above points (and others that elude me right now), I feel like unbundling is definitely not the greatest approach for Personal Knowledge Management.
In general, and for my PKM system in particular, the fewer tools I need to use, the better. Fewer tools mean less mental overhead, less complexity, fewer data migrations, fewer integration issues, more consistency, better user experience, and better data security/privacy.
That’s one of the reasons for which I want to take the bundling approach with my PKM product. It will be a place for knowledge, ideas, and inspiration. I want it to be the solution that helps me:
  • Discover and capture everything I find interesting (ideas, audio recordings, bookmarks, notes, thoughts, highlights, etc)
  • Triage and prioritize what to consume more thoughtfully
  • Consume and learn by reviewing/exploring what I’ve captured
  • Think by taking notes, linking ideas, thoughts, knowledge, and content together
  • Share thoughts, ideas, knowledge, and essays with the world without having to duplicate anything
  • Expose my PKM through APIs so that integrations, extensions, and automation can be built around it
I can do all of this already. But to do so, I’m forced to use too many tools and to accept various tradeoffs. Also, I’m losing information and knowledge at the seams. Importantly, while using different tools does allow me to achieve my goals and provides me with a lot of control, it forces me to define my process separately. It forces me to make many impactful design decisions and adds a lot of mental overhead.
The good news is that since I’m suffering from the situation, I know exactly how to reduce the pain and make something valuable for myself and others.
Recent articles
No new articles this week.
How cool is that?!
Tips of the week
Exploding Topics - Discover the hottest new trends.
Books corner
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
Board game of the week
The board game of the week is Mini Rogue a teeny tiny game for 1-2 players. In this game, players explore a dungeon, trying to survive long enough to reach and beat the final boss. Each level of the dungeon is composed of 9 cards. You’ll stumble upon treasures, weapons, monsters, sanctuaries, etc. To resolve combats and try to avoid traps, you’ll roll the player and dungeon dice, hoping for the best. Along the way, you’ll try to amass gold, find armor, gain experience, and find enough food to avoid starvation.
Quotes of the week
  • “War is a place where young people who don’t know each other and don’t hate each other kill each other, by the decision of old people who know each other and hate each other, but don’t kill each other” — Erich Harman
PKM Links of the week
Why We Need Deep Thought - by David Felsmann
Personal Knowledge Management Systems: 6 Ways To Get Started
Tech Links of the week
Why TurboRepo Will Be The First Big Trend of 2022 - DEV Community
Turborepo Demo and Walkthrough (High-Performance Monorepos)
The Remix Podcast
How Google, Twitter, and Spotify built a culture of documentation | Doctave
Airbnb's Architecture - by Quastor Tech - Quastor Daily