1/ Just realized that what progressive summarization provides is a "medium-resolution" view of a text, with self-contained ideas as the unit of resolution
2/ Tags have topics or themes as the unit of resolution, which are often too broad to be useful (it doesn't help me much to know that a note has something to do with neuroscience)
3/ Search has words or terms as the unit of resolution, which are often too specific to be useful (it doesn't help me much to know that a note contains the word "neuroscience")
4/ Progressive summarization splits the difference, highlighting the most important ideas, but crucially, nested within the context that allows them to stand on their own as useful building blocks
5/ Take this note for example. My eyes immediately go to the highlighted portion, which is just enough to intrigue me (practice judgment by writing things down?), while requiring the surrounding context to fully understand (second paragraph elaborates the point)
6/ Providing a medium-resolution view might seem like a pretty minor benefit, but the power is that *you control the resolution.* It's like an adjustable slider you can fine tune, instead of a dial with two settings: 1 (tags) and 10 (search)
7/ So for articles/books/topics you find more interesting or useful, you can dial it up to 6-8. For things that are just passing interests, dial down to 2-4. Also, because highlighting/bolding is easy to change, you can even change the resolution after the fact
8/ Why is the level of resolution so important? Because the "best" resolution at which to view a text can change moment to moment. When writing, I may go from adding a semi-colon one moment, to zooming out and thinking about the purpose of a whole section the next
9/ This is possible with writing because I have the content loaded up into my brain, making it easy to move between levels of abstraction seamlessly. But this is very hard to do with external knowledge you're intaking, because changing its resolution is very time-consuming
10/ If you wrote down only a pithy quote, tracing its source and finding the context is a pain. And the opposite is true: if you kept a whole article, going through and identifying the key points is almost as bad
11/ PS recognizes this situation and "pre-compresses" the text as you're reading it, providing a layered view like a topographical map, where you can see the elevation lines and know which direction to go to climb uphill or downhill
12/ This makes the widest possible number of options available to you: you can skim 20 sources in minutes and make them into a high-level survey of a topic, or just as easily, dive deep into 2 or 3 articles and pull out common patterns. OR a combination of the two (my favorite)
13/ This is very, very similar to professions that require specific info to do their jobs, while also needing to take decisive action (chefs, firefighters, police, soldiers, extreme sports, athletes). So much prep goes into the the affordances of making tools easy to grasp

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More from @fortelabs

Dec 15, 2021
Presenting...my top 20 reads of the year

Including an excerpt or takeaway from each one

1/ How an Excel TikToker Manifested Her Way to Making 6 Figures a Day by @reckless ft. @themissexcel

Eye-opening look into the emerging power of TikTok specifically, and a new generation of social algorithms designed to surface new talent generally

2/ Ruggedize Your Life, by @AlexSteffen

Most pieces on climate change present vague arguments w/out specifics. Alex strikes a practical balance of realistic strategies we can take to prepare in short to medium term for impacts already happening

Read 21 tweets
Jul 10, 2021
1/ The cohort-based course I’d most like to see:

How to survive and thrive in the face of climate change, individually and collectively
2/ It would address 3 major problems I see with most discussions on climate change:

1. Too much focus on convincing people
2. Too conceptual and global
3. Too narrowly focused on one aspect
3/ #1 – Too focused on convincing ppl

Those who aren’t yet convinced it’s real never will be. Beliefs not based on facts can’t be changed by facts

I want a course that doesn’t waste time on the background and focuses on what we can do to prevent, postpone, or mitigate impacts
Read 10 tweets
Jul 5, 2021
1/ I think of every creator business in the creator economy as being built on a 6-level “stack”:

Level 6: Social distribution
Level 5: Email distribution
Level 4: Content hosting
Level 3: Content creation
Level 2: Ideation & development
Level 1: Information capture
2/ It is a “supply chain of ideas” from the first moment an idea pops into your head, all the way to spreading all over the world via the internet

The lower levels are like R&D and wholesale warehouses, and the higher layers are retail stores and “last mile” delivery of products
3/ To have a viable business that can monetize effectively and stand the test of time, every creator ultimately has to own or control every level in their stack

For every level you don’t control, you become vulnerable to a gatekeeper or platform squeezing you for money & power
Read 10 tweets
May 24, 2021
1/ The act of building a Second Brain is an act of revolution
2/ Your experience is the sum of the information you consume

When you take control of that information stream, you push your world into a state of change

You become a destabilizing force to the prevailing worldview
3/ Your ability to shape your information stream becomes the power to shape your own experience

Once you master this, you can also shape the experiences of others

It’s all just information
Read 15 tweets
Apr 8, 2021
1/ The upcoming cohort of our Building a Second Brain course, cohort 12, will be the last time we offer all students lifetime access to join future cohorts

This was a really difficult decision, and I wanted to explain our thinking around it
2/ This won’t affect anyone who’s purchased the course in the past. Students through cohort 12 will always be able to join any future cohort

And it only applies to joining live Zoom calls. Everyone will continue to get future curriculum updates & lifetime access to Circle
3/ First, why did we offer lifetime access in the first place?

Honestly, in the early days it was because I was embarrassed by the quality of the course. I had no idea what I was doing, didn’t live up to my own standards, and lifetime access was my way of making up for it
Read 14 tweets
Mar 20, 2021
1/ My latest thoughts on one of the most common questions I receive about building a Second Brain:

How and when do I *retrieve* all the knowledge I've saved in my second brain?

2/ Retrieval is a trickier question than it seems on the surface, because it's not inherently desirable

If you never encounter a situation where a given note is relevant, than the ideal amount of retrieval is exactly zero
3/ Because retrieval takes work and energy, we want to minimize it unless we know it will be worth it

As with so many things in productivity, our motto should be "as much as necessary, as little as possible"
Read 30 tweets

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