Idea Overview:
In this day and age, we all drown because of information overload. We need a second brain; a solution to capture/organize/consume everything and build a personal knowledge base. We fail to consume information/content intelligently, and we can't remember much. We need help, we need a system. Our digital brain has limitless memory and can remember everything; articles, blog posts & books we want to read later, videos we want to watch, podcasts we want to listen to, ideas to elaborate, facts about people we've met, project documents, handwritten notes, etc. Once "captured" in our second brain, and with the help of AI, we can organize, prioritize, and choose carefully what to consume and when. Once we do so, we can pick the best content based on our goals, take notes, and capture the essence. When we take notes, we can link everything together, and fill our second brain with networked knowledge, ideas, and insights. Our second brain can keep track of the bigger picture for us.
Who might use it/where it might be used?:
- Academics (Students, Teachers & Researchers) - Content creators - Learners and curious minds - Entrepreneurs - Analysts & investors
The Market (B2B, B2C or Both):
Sector the idea belongs to:
Technology/IP-based businesses
Why you think there is a demand for your idea?:
There are multiple successful solutions on the market covering parts of the solution. A solution that bundles those different aspects in a single product will be attractive for people suffering with using multiple tools, hitting integration issues, UI/UX mismatches, and lacking features that are "in-between". For content curation, there are tools such as Instapaper, Readwise and Pocket. Those have limited content organization capabilities and "only" allow capturing and exploring content. Those don't deal at all with content prioritization, organization. On the other side, there are tools like Roam Research, Obsidian and Notion, that only deal with note-taking and documentation; those have limited integration with content curation tools and provide no support for assisting with the ingestion of content/knowledge. Another point that makes me feel like this is valuable is the fact that Tiago Forte has a ton of success with his cohort-based course about building a second brain: https://www.buildingasecondbrain.com/. This clearly shows that there's a high demand for solutions around consuming information, accumulating and managing personal knowledge.
Who would be the ideal customers?:
Ideal customers are people who consume a lot of information on a daily basis, need to carefully select what content to consume (to avoid wasting time on lower-value content), need a system to keep track of information sources, links between those, and their notes, etc. They also need to be able to capture the essence of what they read/watch, take valuable notes and create links between those, their thoughts, their information sources, etc. Finally, they need to be able to share their content with others easily.
What ideas do you have to reach these customers?:
At first, I want to become a part of user communities that care about personal knowledge management and related tools (e.g., Obsidian, Roam, Athena, RemNote, etc) and discuss their pain points around content curation and consumption. I also want to grow an audience, probably through Twitter, to be able to discuss the idea, the project, the progress, and increase the chances of having more people willing to try out the first betas. Ultimately, reaching out to community leaders such as Tiago Forte (who organizes courses about building a second brain), and others, who'll be able to share the word and become sponsors/affiliates.
How far have you developed this idea?:
I've only spent time drafting the idea, thinking about the key aspects, and how this product would relate/compete with existing solutions on the market.
What – if any – feedback have you had for this idea so far?:
So far, I've only discussed this idea with a handful of people but did not meet the right audience just yet. I've explained the concepts and rationale on my newsletter, discussed it a bit on Twitter, but haven't got feedback up until now. I won't build anything until I am sure that I am not the only one facing these issues and willing to pay for a solution.
What supporting material – if any - would you like to add to your proposal?:
I have a detailed mindmap with ideas about the methodology, product features & core concepts, but nothing more at this point. I have also explained the idea more in detail in my newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/f0061eeb4b17/developassions-newsletter-17

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6 comments to “A second brain for everyone”

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  1. Simon Krystman - July 26, 2021 at 10:15 am

    As an idea, having a digital repository is a no-brainer (excuse the pun). How do you envisage it working? Would you tag information to be stored and retrieved?

  2. Sébastien Dubois - July 27, 2021 at 9:23 am

    I imagine a number of input sources. For instance, a Web browser extension to send pages/articles/videos etc into the system, and capture those. Also a mobile application to capture things “on the go”; for instance, take a snapshot of the screen, send a picture or video directly into the system, record your voice to keep an idea, etc.

    Once sent into the system, the “content” would be placed into a “content inbox”, to be further processed; just like an infinite queue of things to explore. As soon as content is added to the system, it can be automatically and/or manually tagged. For instance, AI could automatically tag images, summarize text, transcribe videos, etc. Users could have different “workspaces” allowing them to isolate information according to the PARA method proposed by Tiago Forte for instance.

    There are various ways to slice and dice the content. Also, an important point would be to “rate” the content in order to help users prioritize the consumption. For instance let’s imagine that I’ve captured 10 articles from the BBC, 2 Wikipedia pages and 5 random blogs. The system could associate a default rating based on statistics, which would be influenced by the past behavior of the user. This would in turn define the default order (ie priority) of the content in the inbox. Users could also override the order to prioritize content manually.

    When the user decides to start consuming information, then they’d see the highest ranked content first, and would be able to easily filter content according to their tags, their source, their category, etc. Then they’d pick elements, a duration for their session and they’ve get started with the exploration.

    Of course I’m not saying this

  3. Sébastien Dubois - July 27, 2021 at 9:24 am

    My last sentence was cut:

    Of course I’m not saying that all of this would be there from day 1, but this would be the long-term goal. I would probably start much smaller

  4. Christopher Norris - July 29, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    I have a Heath-Robinson-style daily routine for achieving this “Second Brain” functionality in my own work (see: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/heath-robinson-deserves-a-museum) • The pain points of this exercise are the time it takes to curate information and to index it into an easily navigable content management system • I would find any reduction in the time it takes to collate and store resources very valuable (e.g. links, photos, audio, video)

  5. Roy Price - July 31, 2021 at 4:17 pm

    This will be a very long-term project. I think the future markets will be highly segmented. I suggest trying to identify a small market segment where the payoff from a second brain will be especially high, then design a pilot project for that segment.

  6. Roy Price - August 17, 2021 at 3:58 pm

    I have been thinking about who would be sufficiently motivated to join a pilot project. My tentative conclsion would be specialist doctors. 1) They spend many hours each week trying to keep up with all the latest research in their fields. 2) The ones I know have clear ideas about how the info should be organised and I suspect that most would accept to start with a standardised template. 3) They can pay. 4) That may not be necessary as tons of cash are available for anything that touches on “medical research”. I hope this helps. I think the pilot study will take many, many years and, for that reason, require initial funding from sources that are not looking for a financial return.

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