The Shift to Obsidian

Notion. Evernote. OneNote. Notebook. The list goes on and on. I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve littered so many apps with my ‘notes’, only for them to be either lost for ever through disuse, or for the apps to disappear with my notes.

The last few months I got used to storing my notes and writing in Notion. Easy to use on the computer – and has a mobile app too. I can write on the fly (never did actually). I can search stuff on the fly (didn’t do that either). And what’s bothering me a lot is the fact that all that consumption and note taking has not resulted in any real creation, other than a few links being posted on my blog.

I will admit though that the way my brain works is to make these random connections between things I’ve seen, read, listened to, or felt (I don’t seem to have much association with taste or smell as triggers, or maybe I don’t pay too much attention to those). I’m messy with my organisation – things are all over the place, but I know I’ve put them somewhere. What if there was a tool that worked a little bit like my mind?

I’ve heard about Obsidian from many of the bloggers I read and follow. They’ve gushed about its transformative power on their workflow, but I’d never really bothered to investigate it. After all, why would I want to waste my time moving notes from one place to another just because of a new shiny tool?

This weekend, as I lay in bed, I chanced upon a YouTube video on the No Boilerplate channel titled Hack Your Brain with Obsidian. It was persuasive enough (& I was uninspired enough with the work situation) that I made the decision & the time to install Obsidian. I watched a few more videos from Vicky Zhao and Nicole van der Hooeven to get a sense, and finally moved all most of my Notion pages to Obsidian.

I’m blown away. Seriously. I spent a bit of time wondering if I could publish to the blog directly from Obsidian. Yes, I could, and I did today. I got help from this page and this wordpress plugin. Took a bit of time, a little bit of elbow grease, and specific help on how to alter the permalinks format.

I published links for today using just a button push, and some markdown to format the page. I’m impressed already with the connections between the ideas in my notes already! I suspect that this image will need to be reposted on the blog as Rolf Mistelbacher refers to on his page I’ve linked above. Small price to pay, I’ll say for now. For the record, the big node is . The second biggest is I’ll expect to see more connections start to show up in due course.


The clean UI encouraged me to write too: I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I wrote a bunch of grad recommendations today using this simple clean interface. I now also have a list of ideas I can pick up directly from the notes I take every day. I can see Obsidian becoming more important to my workflow.

Leadership is a privilege, not a chore

I feel calm, and at peace. The exercise of writing to process the events of the last few days had given me a clarity of purpose for a conversation I have tomorrow.

The consequences of the conversation could be significant personally. Not having the conversation will have devastating impacts on people’s mental health.

Leadership is a privilege, not a chore.


2023-06-03 Links

Bob Moesta talks about the JBTD theory: “Questions create spaces in the brain for solutions to fall into”

Po-Shen Lo, a maths teacher, is the subject of this WSJ article: “The future of jobs is figuring out how to find pain points,” he said. “And a pain point is a human pain.”

Seth Godin in conversation with Tyler Cowen. Doesn’t get better than this 🙂

The ABC’s digital identity visualisation based on your compromised email id. Stunningly executed.

The web’s most important decision

Shawn (swyx) has some thoughts on how to Learn in public


Redundancies announced again. Not a new rodeo for me, after 7 years here. What did surprise me what the significant removal of swathes of leadership teams.  The narrative structures of redundancy announcements are always fascinating to me. How the media plays them back, even more so.

I’ve spent most of my days, and waking moments talking to people affected. It’s not my job. It’s emotional labour. It takes effort and energy and time. I do it because it’s the right thing for me to do. Some of the strongest relationships I’ve built were because I took the time to listen in moments like these.

It also means that reading time is out of the question. Sharing links is not likely, except for this one from Seth Godin, again just in time for me

Simple techniques for complex projects

2023-02-11 Links

Quintin has several handy shortcuts on the Mac that I’d not known about!

Using ChatGPT to build your business plan!

Holden Karnofsky on Jobs that can help with the most important century.

Seth Godin: The magic of a page a day

Annual Performance Reviews Ruin Everything: “At its core, a performance review is a stark reminder that a manager controls aspects of your fate.”  Elizabeth Ayer’s writing on Medium has taken me down a rabbit hole today.

Zero Time Habits: These don’t take time, instead they give back more time and energy.

2023-01-04 Links

Is ChatGPT a threat to Google? Apparently, yes:

Run StableDiffusion on your Mac. I’m going to give this (DiffusionBee) a whirl over the next few days and see what I can come up with. Could be a new picture each day here on my blog? 😉

Messari’s crypto theses for 2023. There were sections of the report I read last year that were great provocations to continue writing to think. {I’ve not yet read this years report}.

How do transfomers work? A primer and another illustrated one.

Scott Elbin says How you start your day is how you start  and end your year.

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner



Digital struggles

Inspired by Anne-Laure LeCunff, I spent a few hours yesterday trying to get TiddlyWiki to work.  It was one of the things I had on my list to try before the end of the year, because it appeared to be a useful tool to weave together the various strands of reading & notes.

After three hours of frustration though, I gave up. The instructions were well written, but I was clearly either missing something or there was some upgrades from the time the documentation was written. It kept overwriting the credentials to save to Github. I’m sure it was me messing up. The part that got me questioning it’s usefulness was when I thought writing a note meant I had to include a whole bunch of formatting code.

Ah, well. I tried.

For years, I’ve been  struggling between a physical notebook and capturing them digitally. Earlier this year, I started using Notion. I learnt a few things about it along the way: using databases as a primary way to keep notes, and some tips too. It’ll do for now.