Sunday, September 6, 2020

The lure of those Cloud apps; that is until the Cloud fails you

 The lure of those Cloud apps; that is until the Cloud fails you.

Oh boy; when it fails you, it fails you big time eh?

Have you ever been just about to go on line to chat with colleagues or to make your super human presentation and the Cloud simply goes for a walk on you? Yup its happened to me numerous times, and when it does happen it’s usually epic.

There are a growing number of cloud apps that are simply phenomenal in their approaches to offering us ways to create, manage and present our thought processes in the cloud.

To mention a couple of notable’s such as; Notion, Roam Research is clear the cloud based app services are growing at an exponential rate; and they’re damn good. Knowledge management is at the core of these product offerings.

The caveat of course is the fact that most are cloud based and not native to our local drives. This is an issue for many with strict security and privacy processes to follow.

The mentioned apps are rather good at what they do; Notion as a single point landing page for all of your relevant thought processing and Roam Research for some pretty damn impressive researching capabilities with back linking as the strength of their approach. Obsidian of course is the new kid on the block that may challenge even the powerful Roam., due to it being dedicated to being a local drive product and not exclusively cloud based.

I mention these products merely as a snapshot into how knowledge management and mapping has developed in the past few years. No longer are visual thinkers of the past using the mind mapped format to create, manage and express (share) their relevant information and knowledge repositories. A growing number of knowledge workers are turning to the mentioned products that offer a more streamlined and somewhat comfortable linear framework for working at personal, academic and business levels.

What has struck me recently is that a few of my prominent visual mapping colleagues have dropped (yup ditched) their preferred graphical mapping products to be seduced by these new approaches to how we may aggregate data into information, contextualize it and enable it to become a usable and improvable knowledge base. I don’t blame then TBH.

I believe it was Tiago Forte who recently suggested that software/services have as little as 5 year life spans these days as the nature of app evolution suggests products must be developed in such a way so as they can acquiesce to the dominance of newer and more functional products in the future. And this is why these new products are using markup as their textual language within their products. This makes it so much easier to transport data, information and knowledge between products.

Most, if not all of these products (except Obsidian) mentioned though are cloud based; and for me this is an issue of ownership of data, privacy and security. None of which are guaranteed by any cloud products at all. Yes I know, it’s a choice many willingly make, yet I believe we have as a collective been seduced into giving up our privacy to the cloud via some of these excellent and even brilliant apps. The data mining that obviously goes on within this arena is quite disturbing and a reveal of how deep modern app product/services openly and proudly data mine their users personal, academic and business data.

I must admit I am using Notion at this time; yet I continue to use as my preferred graphical mapping, and TBH I get things done just as fast as I would with products such as Notion, Roam and Obsidian.

The things we used to do on our personal computers as little as five years ago now for free; we’re actually paying subscription these days in order to get the same things done.

The Cloud though; when it fails you the shit hits the fan; not so with local based software, and this is where the mentioned Obsidian wins to a degree. Yeah but we all need the cloud now don’t we? Yes to use between devices and to sync and to have at our fingertips all of our relevant data.

I agree; It’s true we really do need and rely upon the cloud sync don’t we; I do to a degree too.

What’s your thoughts regarding these products, their offerings and promises to make our thought lives more effective? The industry that has grown out of these products is phenomenal, impressive and scary at the same time. The courses offered to users in order to get them to a point of mastery (or slavery) of a product is genius marketing and herding at its best.

The second brain claim doesn’t grab me at all, yet it’s also a genius commercial grab. The second brain courses cost a lot of money when you could actually just learn it on your own and become your own expert. Many simply don’t want to do the work of learning and accept the grab on their reliance on having and learning anything in this age instantly. I guess paying someone to do the work for you is the standard these days.

I say; use your own first brain as it’s absolutely free; did you know that?