Week ending 9/4/2022

Chrome Tabs : 51 → 47

Gmail Inbox : 1 → 0 Unread, 3 → 2 Total

:hammer_and_wrench: I have begun my PKM + tasks migration to Fibery! I decided to start with tasks since I could easily export a CSV out of Amazing Marvin and (theoretically) get that right into Fibery (which in general has very good CSV import and field mapping). Well, unsurprisingly things turned out more complicated than they looked at first. The dates initially imported as being shifted 1 day later (weird issue, still not certain what fixed that), and there are various limitations that I’ll probably just have to deal with for a bit, most notably that Marvin’s task views are unsurprisingly a bit better out-of-the-box. The calendar view in particular is nicer, there is no “week” view in Fibery for dated entities without a time specified, which is a really annoying and seemingly needless requirement.

At the same time there are a lot of things I’ll be able to handle much better in Fibery, most notably the continual need to make notes on the tasks I’m accomplishing, especially recurring tasks where I want a good record of what I did before. Marvin got markdown support recently, and commenting functionality as well (which I like to use for ongoing note additions so I get automatic time stamping vs. a monolithic text field), but both features are limited and problematic vs. a more mature tool like Fibery.

There’s a long way to go, and as I have researched and tested this over the past month or so I have come up with zillions of ideas for things to implement, so a “complete” system is quite a ways away. But I at least hope to have some more centralization/integration of workflow and some clearly improved processes happening soon. And I think it’s pretty clear by now from my planning and ideation of late that the system I eventually end up with and continue to evolve will indeed be much more powerful and I think insight-generating than my current one(s). I think of new processes and benefits I can implement almost every day, just from the sheer flexibility of Fibery!

:cat2::heavy_dollar_sign: This is a small and kind of random thing, but I finally decided to get pet insurance a month or so ago, largely in the interest of bringing my cat in for her first official check-up since adopting her (long overdue!). Anyway, just wanted to mention that I decided on Lemonade for the insurance, and it must be said their claims and repayment process is remarkably good. I had an 80% refund of the costs of the visit within 5 minutes of submitting a receipt on the app! A big breath of fresh air as far as insurance is concerned. :man_shrugging:

:tumbler_glass: As I mentioned already once or twice, some dear friends of mine asked me to create some unique cocktail recipes for their wedding, and I’ve been really excited about the opportunity. I’m narrowing in on the recipes that I think might work, and finally got to test them with my friends this past week. I had felt a little anxious leading up to it, especially the day or two before, feeling like I hadn’t been able to really iron out a few remaining tweaks. But in the end it all went well, they liked both drinks (with some good notes for final adjustments), and now I just need to work with the venue on scaling them up. This is all a big learning experience for me as I’ve never created drinks that someone else will be making and serving, especially in bulk. And I’ve actually had occasional fantasies of being some kind of drink menu/recipe consultant at some point, so this is great practice.

:hamburger::cocktail: I also had a fairly indulgent week in food and drink, much of it delightfully spent with food-loving friends. On Monday I went back to ABV in San Francisco, one SF’s best bars, which I hadn’t been to for several years (even pre-pandemic I think), and it was fantastic as ever. The fried chicken sandwich is pretty amazing, and their cocktails are just so well balanced, as always; simple-sounding but superbly executed, which is a real north star for me as well, but one I feel I seldom hit. I also hit up Salt & Straw before their “Love Your Veggies” menu was switched out, and I have to say it was one of my favorite sets of flavors in quite some time. The Makrut Lime and Curry was a real stand-out. Then on Thursday I went to my neighborhood gem Juanita and Maude with a bunch of friends and we ate nearly the entire menu of both food and drink, all of which was excellent.

:cake: To top it off, we were 5 and they had 5 desserts on the menu, so of course we got them alllll. :grin: They were all good, but my favorites were the delightfully basil-y “Matcha chiffon cake” (more basil than matcha, but in a good way!), and the “Mille-Feuille” which had chamomile cream and peach compote and was increeedibly flaky and crisp. Fantastic. Juanita and Maude continues to be one of my favorite restaurants in the Bay Area, especially so now with their very good cocktail program, along with the always-excellent desserts, etc. It was really nice to be able to share my neighborhood gem with some good, food-loving friends (all of whom had been before, I think, but it had been a long time for most).

:thinking: I’ve been waiting for the Readwise “Reader” beta for 9+ months. They were doing this high-touch onboarding process that kind of turned me off (I get it, just not my thing), and ultimately I just didn’t have time and energy for it. But now they’ve moved to self-onboarding, so I got in and started checking it out. Woo! Except it’s surprisingly buggy still, and missing a couple small (seeming) features that I’m surprised to see not yet in place. They’re a small team, it’s in beta, and I’m used to how early access works, so I don’t mean that to be an unfair criticism. But they’ve been extremely productive and capable executing on their main Readwise product, so I think perhaps my expectations were a bit elevated. That said it is very promising, and the things I’m running into may be a bit particular to my context, use cases, etc. Hard to say. I am of course reporting bugs, making feature requests, etc. and hope to see rapid improvement. But it’s hard not to be a little deflated after 9 months of waiting (self-imposed, to be clear!).

I think more broadly a big part of what happened is that I’ve seen an ever-increasing and recently now near-urgent need for a good “read it later” system. I’ve been unsatisfied with Pocket and Instapaper, and likewise Mindstone, particularly for the more limited interoperability. Readwise seemed most promising because their core product is all about interop, not just ingestion but export/integration of notes, including with TfT apps like Obsidian that I use(d) daily. For me the bottom line is I was never going to choose a read-it-later app that didn’t let me easily and consistently integrate my notes on content into my broader PKM toolset. So I think I created my own pent-up need here, and had sort of seen Readwise as my savior, my only hope, which is perhaps a bit unfair an amount of weight to put on it, especially in beta…

:star: All that said, I should absolutely acknowledge that, despite its current limitations, it has already become a place where I feel (mostly) comfortable saving content that I’ve had “open” and waiting for processing in various places, some for months or even years. So that deserves some credit. Other apps like Pocket would have allowed some of this too, but they didn’t have the right future prospects, in my view. And so I do have to give some credit to Readwise Reader for my downward-trending number of open tabs above. :grin: So I remain very optimistic for its future and will do my best to contribute positively to it as a user and tester!

:broken_heart: How do you decide when a relationship is no longer worth fighting for? That’s a question I’ve asked myself plenty of times over the years, and in retrospect I don’t always agree with my answers (but fortunately I usually do). I have a good friend who is in a pretty rough place with his current long-term partner, and from the outside I wonder what’s keeping him invested at this point. He’s not lost and blind in it, so that’s good; he knows what he needs and plans to ask for it, and if (as he expects) the response from his partner is not encouraging, he’s prepared to leave. But his openness to continuing the struggle, if by some chance his partner is willing to work on things, is interesting and a bit troubling to me given his current evident state of mind. Maybe it’s just that he has needed a space to vent, but from how he communicates around it, it really seems like he’s already over it, and just hanging on almost on principle…

I hope that there is still love there (I know there is at least respect), and that if they continue trying to make it work, that it is driven by that love. But I do often wonder about the motivations for staying in a relationship, sunk cost fallacies, and all that (and this includes with some of my own past choices). That said, as someone who has been single for quite a few years now, I have to acknowledge that it’s not so easy to just go find someone better. :neutral_face: I considered not writing about this as it’s largely “about” someone else, but it really made me reflect on some of my own past struggles and choices, and I think it’s highly relatable in general. Hopefully if this person ever reads this, they won’t feel I violated their privacy.

:grimacing: I realized recently that my Now Page hadn’t been updated in something like 9 months! So I did a quick update, and hope to get back to my intended approximately monthly update cadence again, moving forward. Feel free to bug me about it if you see me behind again! These journal updates tend to focus on the more fine-grained, week-to-week changes, but they don’t always give a real understanding of what’s happening in my life in a broader sense. I’d like the “Now Page” to be that, especially for those who don’t have the interest (or patience) to read every journal entry…

:massage_man: I haven’t had any body work in ages, partly due to the pandemic. But I found a nice local (very local, like two doors down in a little office building!) massage practitioner with good COVID safety protocols, so I went for my first massage this past week, and it was really nice! It’s something I’d love to be able to do weekly, though currently that’s not in the cards financially. But I’d like to at least aim for monthly. I’m not someone who believes massages can work miracles, but I do think they’re beneficial, and they’re certainly enjoyable.

:arrow_upper_right: Line goes up! That’s progress, right? I didn’t want it to be a graph though… Anyway, I had my first “accountability check-in” with my friend this week and it proved really helpful! Talking through one of my bigger challenges last week really helped me find a way to tackle it. And I made a ton of progress the very next day, based on what I worked out in that conversation and ultimately agreed to. So far external accountability works! And the funny thing is neither of us is really “holding the other person to it” in a really direct way. It’s more like a regularly planned time for us both to express and in the process help clarify what we’re working on as well as struggling with, and our own internal sense of accountability seems to be the primary motivator thus far. I tend to be my own worst critic, and in this case some understanding and compassion from the outside helps soften that and make it useful. So it’s been a very interesting and positive practice so far and I look forward to seeing how it works out as we continue. We’re also doing longer (20-30 minute) meditation sessions together once a week, and that’s been great as well!

One more thing on this that I think is worth highlighting (in fact maybe I should write a separate post about it). It was actually the case that my friend approached me about these accountability check-ins, and before he did I had actively considered the likely benefit of external accountability with someone, but it honestly made me feel anxious. Yet when he asked me about it, I almost immediately said yes and didn’t really feel any apprehension. What I think I’ve learned here is obvious in retrospect, but perhaps still worth pointing out in case someone reading this had the same blinders on that I did:

I treated “external accountability” as a sort of singular thing, without really considering that how you approach it, and who you work with to make it happen, makes a huge difference. This particular friend is someone who I respect a lot, but also feel a lot of commonality with and empathy from. I might previously have thought “Nah, that person’s not going to hold me accountable enough”, but I think that’s the wrong mindset. In some contexts, or perhaps at a certain point, you might need someone to uphold that accountability in a more active way, and then perhaps a good and kind friend might not (or still might!) be the best person for that need. But when you’re contemplating just starting an accountability practice, just having someone to witness you in it, and to be a sounding board, and help you maintain your own accountability to self is I think the most helpful. And it can make it a lot easier and less intimidating to get started. I wish I’d thought about this sooner, but I’m glad I know it now!

you said the magic words! :magic_wand::pray:

I apologize for not responding on Slack & it’s taking a near meltdown & loosing sleep to stop & read the Fibery End Game I found in your garden weeks ago. (not to mention suspend my impulse to respond on Slack & choose to break the viscious cycle & bring thoughts home here!)

So I joined a promising project based off importing a trend from China (Jubensha - have no idea what happens if you Google it!) & realizing I am sick of not being able to propose a more robust baseline environment for new partnerships I create [in general, I have now started to step back & reconnect w my local community leaders & unzoomify myself lol]

I particularly appreciate their honesty they don’t know anything being on the frontiers:

We don’t have solutions for them and we don’t know how these solutions will affect companies, we can only speculate. This is the edge of productivity tools right now. Maybe it will lead to a transformative experience for many companies and help them create things that were not possible before.

One of their customers hit the nail on the head when it comes to the death spiral of direct messaging:

:microphone: Many businesses and teams move with a sense of urgency. Everything moves quickly. That really lends itself to direct messaging. So things start with questions, then small to dos and requests sneak in, then update requests and then reminders and all of a sudden, we’re using chat software for tasks and work management. Fibery sits there quietly, whereas the chat software talks to you all day. It would be great to have direct chat inside Fibery so everything was always all in one place, so Fibery is where the action is, along side all of the structured work.

Has Fibery integrated direct chat yet?

I’m eager to jump into a space & learn with you (and at the same time, question if I really have the bandwidth so feeling this out with you to see if its something I want to introduce to new partners) (Another dilemma that is breaking my heart is advice from an author on hybrid project management from my CMU alum is to have the courage to walk away from teams not willing to embrace like-minded toolsets…seems draconian but I get it…)

bravo! I’m here cheering for you too!

I just finished year one of my accountability program 10 days ago & it was so grueling I hesitated to sign up for year two :sweat_smile: Your insight is a nudge how important it is to have accountability in place or we’d never GSD!

that said, thank you for creating this forum, this space - it’s a real pleasure to have met you & know we are sorting this out together & being each other’s witnesses!

ok I had better go back to bed but I’m freakin wired! :roll_eyes::laughing:

No worries, nice to see you here any time. :slight_smile:

Yes, absolutely. Their openness and honesty is one of their best traits!

Not yet, but they do want to! Unfortunately it is a very big job, hard to do well, and in particular hard to do in such a way that provides enough advantages that you can break the hold that Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other entrenched, dedicated chat tools already have. There are whole companies/products like Twist that are trying to do that and still having quite a challenge with it. And meanwhile Fibery has a lot of other potentially important and great things they could be spending dev time/effort on. So it’s really a conundrum.

As an interesting illustration of how challenging this can be, ClickUp does have integrated chat, but hardly anyone seems to use it, despite the fact that in some ways it’s actually more full-featured and robust than Slack (you can for example instantiate an entire workboard within your chat, create tasks and reference them easily, etc.). There are various problems with the way ClickUp exposes and allows interaction with their chat and I think fixing them could help. But they still have a very uphill battle against Slack, etc. And they’re something like an 800 person team with millions of customers! In contrast Fibery is tiny, tiny. :smile:

But yes, there is tremendous potential in well-integrated “chat done right” in a productivity tool. It would be surprising that nobody has done it that well yet, except when you think about the challenges involved that I outlined above. Not just technical/functional ones, but market and business-case and profit-related ones. It is a thing worth tackling, I think, at least from a “potential to benefit overall work efficiency and culture” perspective, but like many things that are “worth doing”, it can be hard to justify it on a purely economic (profit) basis for any one company.

I know this challenge as well from my own life, and I think it’s true that being willing to walk away can have important personal benefits. We all have a finite amount of time/energy we can expend and experience on this planet. In some sense, why spend a good portion of it trying to convince others merely to agree on tools and workflow, nevermind the actual work of whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish together! :smile: But the social aspects, the emotional connections to causes or people and groups, etc. inevitably complicate this. Still I think it’s an important, principled stance to consider on its merits, and then weigh against your own situation(s).

I will say I’ve walked away from projects and even jobs largely on this basis more than a couple times, but it took me a long time to make that call the first couple times. I’m learning and deciding sooner, but we’re still talking months of trying, debating, demonstrating (the benefits of my recommended tools), internal struggle, and only then the eventual letting go.

Thank you, and same! Like I said it’s always a pleasure when you have the time to jump in here, and I certainly understand the feeling of having too many things to pursue. I know full well one can be very passionate and excited about more things than one person alone can pursue! :sweat_smile:

Lastly, I’m hoping to write more publicly soon about some ideas I’ve had around Discourse (the forum tool we’re in right now), PKM, collaborative knowledge generation and debate and consensus building and all that…