Week ending 6/5/2022

There is a lot going on, but somehow that doesn’t always result in a lot of things to talk about, necessarily. But there is definitely some. :grin:

:cold_sweat: I’m a fairly even-keel person in general, emotionally speaking. That hasn’t necessarily always been the case, but whether just from getting older and gaining experience, or the self-work I’ve done over the years (therapy, meditation, etc.), or most likely a combination of all that and more, I seldom end up in a funk or anxious, etc. for long. This week has been a bit different, though. I have felt anxious more often than usual, and definitely noticed it. I’m not totally certain why, but I suspect it’s likely a combination of taking on too much of late, and navigating some stressful, emotional interpersonal relationship challenges the last couple of weeks.

:dizzy_face: I mentioned last week that I got involved in a new open source dating app project (more in that in a moment), but I also started a big consulting project recently, and have a backlog of other misc. things, on top of my regular real estate work getting a bit busier than usual. So it’s kind of a lot, and I’m finding myself wanting to procrastinate more and just avoid things, which ironically just makes it worse.

:pensive:Meanwhile I have been navigating a reconnection with my stepmom, which I think I’ve mentioned before. As well as reconnecting with a friend with whom I have a complicated past. Different dynamics come in each case, but in both there are some very deep-seated emotional challenges, much of which I think is not unique to either relationship, but is particularly intensified in each. As such it’s a great learning and growth opportunity, but also quite challenging at times. With my stepmom there is navigation of our respective experiences and perspectives of our early life together, and differing perspectives on the world and how best to live in it, and what responsibilities we each respectively have to the other and to our collectively-owned property, among much else.

With my friend, there is a legacy of distrust that I have been trying to move fully past for a long time, and our infrequent opportunities for real connection have definitely made that difficult. It’s interesting because I feel like I “forgave” them a long time ago, and really meant it, but that doesn’t mean I simply forgot or that the difficulties that arose before no longer impact how I feel now. One can forgive but still take a long time to overcome discomfort, distrust, etc. At the same time there are pursuer-distancer dynamics also coming into play, seemingly in good part simply from our intrinsic personalities, or at least the dynamics we’ve built-up over time. It is valuable and important and ultimately rewarding to navigate for good people and good relationships (which I do think we ultimately have), but it is still uncomfortable and difficult at times.

:relieved: Despite the relationship (and other) challenges this week, ultimately I think it ended on a positive note. I had another talk with my stepmom and scheduled an in-person visit, which I think is critical to really reconnecting and establishing a more positive basis for our relationship. And I expressed a lot of feelings, needs, and concerns to my friend ands he did a great job hearing, validating, and understanding, which really helped me feel safer to just have my feelings and remain in connection. These dynamics are so interesting, the need for one person to risk rejection or injuring the other person in expressing their feelings and needs, and the need for the other person to handle that overture well, to see it not as a complaint or a demand for redress but as a heartfelt expression of genuine feelings and needs. It takes remarkable skill, self-awareness, and good intention to navigate challenging situations well often times. And I am glad that all of us are approaching these situations with at least strong good intentions, and some measure of the other two. :blush:

:rose::iphone: But oh, yeah, the dating app project continues. Progress is being made by the tech team in setting up their dev infrastructure, more team members are joining in various roles, and we just finished up and published our first user survey so we can start to get a sense of whether our ideas are validated by the actual needs of the community! If you’ve used a dating app any time in the last few years, even if you’re not actively dating, I’d love it if you could take the survey and give us your thoughts!

And as a reminder you can find the public Github here for more info, discussion, etc.:

:milky_way::brain: I used to be a lot more active on Twitter and a lot of what I miss about that is interacting with some of the most thoughtful, curious, and interesting minds in the “collective sensemaking”, “intelligence augmentation”, “tools for thought”, etc. spaces. I jumped back into that a bit this week and it was a good reminder of how enjoyable that kind of thinking and discussion can be. In particular I found some very interesting thoughts in a sort of digital garden style, including writings by Robert Haisfield and Joel Chan, two people I respect a great deal in this area.

This article from the Fibery team was also quite interesting and inspiring of discussion in their forum:

:man_construction_worker: I finally, properly began my big, new consulting project and it’s proving to be quite interesting so far. I’m coming it at an earlier stage of the process than I had expected, and that has both good and bad aspects. But I’m excited for the potential here, and happy to be a part of it.

:man_farmer: My gardening journey this year has been long and winding, but I finally went to the nursery, got some plants, and put them into soil in my raised beds! :raised_hands: It’s all maintenance from here, and that’s an exciting step, much more significant-seeming than any prior. I’ve already been able to harvest a few, tasty leaves off of various herbs I got (3-4 different types of basil alone, including my hard-to-find favorite: lemon basil!), and I’m excited. The big unknown is how well my tomatoes will do, getting them a bit late in the season and planting them in (large) containers with other things. I just want a few home-grown tomatoes to enjoy, is that too much to ask? Hopefully not, we’ll see. :grin:

hello!! thank you so much for keeping us abreast of your adventures! I’m happy to hear you have a new consulting gig that is keeping you busy :slight_smile: I went ahead and filled out the Pull survey (I fundamentally realized in the last question, I want to “pull” information to me as I have been from your garden :wink: )

and thank you so much for the article to Fibery - I came here wondering exactly what our conversations were about these “all in one” solutions and that writeup is pretty impressive. I was about to “simplify” things and give into Trello again and then was quickly invited to consider Clickup (which I seem to remember you picking apart when we first met)

I’m wondering in June 2022, how has everything settled? I’m under the impression I have to get back to basics, make it simple and get back to a vanilla kanban board (a la Trello) and at the same time, I’m hyperaware of why a platform that focuses on integration (which Fibery sounds like) is so important!

ok don’t have the cycles to respond to other messages and hope this is okay - feel free to response to cross-links if you need to!

glad we’re both working on elevating our communication game with peeps we love!

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hey I got a chance to poke into Fibery a bit more - I haven’t played enough to know how well it works but i get the gist of how they are trying to pull the best of Google Docs, Notion, Trello (and apparently Airtable which i have no experience) together. I notice there is an integration with Discourse and can’t help but be curious what the integration might look like with this digital garden and how it might be meaningful?

Late reply, as usual…

Thanks! Share it around to anyone else you think might have feedback, too. We want all the input we can get!

I continue to feel that things are not yet “settled”, unfortunately. And as a result have yet to make my own hard choices and resulting platform migrations that would result. That said I am strongly leaning toward doing a big experiment of personal knowledge management in Fibery, even though it’s not intended for that use. Every time I try to work in Notion I’m reminded of its downsides, and whenever I see new features announced, I’m intrigued by the promise, but often annoyed/let down by the limitations of what they’ve added.

Two recent examples: they added special “toggle headers” as a new kind of header, rather than just allowing toggle for any block which has been my long-time suggestion/preference, or at least making toggle an option on existing header types. Now the block menu is just more cluttered by several new header options which are only slight variations of existing ones. This is not a good forward-looking strategy and without combinatorial block configurations/formatting, they’ll just end up with an insanely long block “type” menu. It works to implement many features easily, sure, but it’s definitely not an “elegant” or long-term sustainable solution. The other example is their interesting addition of a new Status property which they immediately nerfed by having 3 uneditable “categories” to the statuses. Then of note they’re also playing catch up on “synced databases” (pull in info from other systems), which Fibery has had for aaaages.

Notion has a much bigger dev team and staff, and not only do they already have some important features Fibery lacks (such as in-line dates and reminders), but they also have the potential capability to eclipse Fibery in other important areas over time. And yet… I don’t like their development philosophy or their progress to-date over the last 2-3 years, and in comparison Fibery is not only thinking deeply about the real, fundamental challenges of not just knowledge management but knowledge synthesis, they’re also doing it in public, and experimenting with it publicly too. I love this. It may not be for everyone, but at least between Fibery and Notion I’m very likely to bet on Fibery. Coda and a few others are also contenders, but so far I have not felt more compelled to use them than Fibery.

All that said, this does not address the simplify/reduce vs. expand dichotomy, really. And I think that’s a key consideration and also one that is highly personal. I know for myself that a simple kanban would absolutely drive me crazy because I would constantly be wanting to add contextual information to it to help me do whatever it was supposed to be helping me manage. For me lack of integration (of e.g. notes with tasks) is a big energy drain and annoyance. That’s not true for everyone though. And also in particular I think people’s task and project management needs are also very diverse. I think the one thing I’d say is that if you have the feeling that a simple kanban could work for you, you absolutely should try it! Because simplicity, if it works for you, can often be better. But I’d approach it very deliberately as an experiment, with note-taking and self-reflection built into your use/testing of it.

In my view you want to use any such test of a tool as a way to invoke the feelings, behaviors, needs, etc. that are driving your desire to use it, and to consider all of those more generally, inspired by but also partly separate from the specific tool you’re testing. Then you can hopefully gain insight that not only confirms or denies your hypothesis that this tool might work for you, but can also help inform you of things like where this tool falls short or particularly excels (regardless of whether it overall “works” for you), and in particular if it does not work for you, this approach can better help you understand why and perhaps guide you to better tools for your needs.

Yeah, this is one reason I’ve advocated with a number of small companies for using Fibery in feedback management. If you’re a software dev and you have a forum for user feedback, Fibery is pretty much the best tool I am aware of to ingest, annotate, prioritize, and otherwise make use of that feedback. It doesn’t integrate with a number of other popular potential feedback sources, unfortunately (e.g. Reddit, Discord), but if you can focus your feedback into an “official” forum, it’s great.

As far as using it here, well, it’s not a 2 way sync, but could perhaps be interesting for creating a sort of meta analysis or commentary layer for an individual like myself. Whether I’d want to publish that is another question, and how useful or interesting it might be to others is another question still. :smile: But notably it’s something I hadn’t really thought much about and since I am strongly considering a Fibery “personal use” test, I might as well plug it in to my personal instance and see if any novel and useful purposes arise!

If you are still interested in Fibery and have questions or want my perspective on anything in particular, let me know. I promise I’ll respond more promptly next time. :smile: And if you’ve already decided on another tool or are already experimenting with something, let me know! I’d love to hear what’s working or not working or interesting to you.