One home for everything & Let it fail
The toolkit for modern management, Arc‘s new site search, the unbearable costs of becoming a writer, the status trap, and a lot more in this week‘s issue of Creativerly.
My name is Philipp and you are reading Creativerly, the weekly digest about creativity and productivity-boosting tools and resources, combined with useful insights, articles, and findings from the fields of design and tech. The newsletter built for the creative community.
Hey and welcome to Creativerly 217 👋
Recently, I got reminded why I am taking daily notes and why I am building and maintaining my personal knowledge base. While working on a new piece for Creativerly, I felt a bit stuck. I was writing the first draft of the new piece in Obsidian, I had a couple of ideas how to continue with the draft but it was missing something. Therefore, I performed a quick search in Obsidian for a couple of keywords and tags. Suddenly, loads of notes, some were newer some were older, got resurfaced, neatly connected with each other, leading to new ideas. I found myself in one of those moments in which it became crystal clear, why I am taking daily notes, article notes, book notes, and podcast notes. It became crystal clear, why I keep notes, personal and work-associated, journaling, project management, and my writing in a centralized space, no matter what tool I am using.
Based on my own knowledge base, my own writing, and my own notes, I generated the ideas I was looking for to continue writing. The beauty about this, is the fact that the notes had a personal touch, since it was me writing and taking them in the past.
Building and maintaining a personal knowledge base can fuel your creative processes, it can become your own idea generator, a dedicated space that does the work for you as you continue to write and take more and more notes. I also got reminded how powerful just plain markdown files can be if you fuel them into a tool like Obsidian (I did not use regularly upon recently, but I always kept my notes as markdown files in a dedicated Obsidian vault, which means no matter what tool I used I regularly exported my notes as markdown and put all of them into a vault).
The process of writing, searching for new ideas, seeing my connections, and continuing to write in a single tool, got me questioning all the recently launched PKM and TfT apps, that market themself with features that we never ever heard in correlation to note-taking and writing, features that most of us probably do not need on their mission to build a knowledge base. We are often talking about systems. People are showcasing their knowledge systems. This often leads to the fact, that we are spending more time building and refining our systems, instead of focusing on taking notes and writing, so the knowledge base can grow, work for us, and ultimately fuel our creativity.
Recently, I felt this while working in Tana. There is no doubt that loads of the folks who are currently using Tana, jumped onto it, because it got hyped by some of the biggest names within the field of PKM and TfT. I am one of those folks. Initially, I wanted to give it a try because that is somehow my „job“ at Creativerly, trying out new tools and writing about them. As much as I love Tana‘s approach, its interface, its data-driven note-taking workflows, and supertags, I realised that I spend an increasing amount of my time refining my system, thinking about what supertags I should create next, what fields I should use to refine my current supertags. I had the feeling that I kept storing more and more things in Tana, enjoying live search queries to display all sorts of nodes, but at the same time, I did not have feeling that Tana is fueling my creative process, as I would expect it from a PKM app. Tana is still in an early stage, which means there will be loads of things and features that are already in the pipeline. But I asked myself the question, if it would be the right call to invest in an app like Tana, while having major concerns if the same app actually is fueling my creative processes.
Did I bet on the wrong horse? Probably. More on that soon.
But now, enjoy this new issue of Creativerly.
Apps, Software, Tools
I had Fabric in my personal backlog of to-feature apps for a while now, but decided to include it in this issue of Creativerly, since I stumbled across it again on Product Hunt, where Fabric launched last week. Fabric is an intriguing app, entitling itself as the „home for everything“.
Fabric is a new app to gather all your bookmarks, ideas, and files in one collaborative internet drive and personal search engine. With Fabric, you can add and keep track of images, links, notes, bookmarks, files, highlights, tabs, literally everything in one place. All you have to do, simply drag and drop, copy and paste, or click to save anything to Fabric. Everything will get saved in a unified space, but if you would like to structure and organise the things you have saved, you can also create collections. To capture highlights and bits of information from online articles, Fabric lets you do without the need to switch apps or break your flow, since it seems like (according to videos and screenshots of Fabric‘s landing page) a browser extensions (when active) detects text and paragraphs which you can then quickly save to your account with a single click. To save a website a single shortcut is needed. Besides capturing highlights and websites, Fabric lets you also quickly writing down notes and sending them to your account or to a dedicated collection within your Fabric account. This is especially useful, when you are browsing the web app and want to quickly capture a thought or an idea, a great way to fleet notes.
Once your personal archive of images, files, notes, and links grows within Fabric, it is important to find the things you are looking for within this archive. To do so, Fabric is offering your personal search engine. Fabric is powered by AI labeling and offers a semantic search engine. This means you do not need to spend countless hours putting things into folders, since AI labeling and the semantic search allows you to find anything you are looking for easily, by simply using your own words. A single search can be used to search across all your files and the apps that you connected to Fabric.
No matter if you are looking for designs, bookmarks, or even images, no matter if you remember the exact name or not of what you are looking for, by using your own words, Fabric‘s search engine helps you finding everything. In addition to that, Fabric features a dedicated collaborative focus, which means you can create shared Fabric spaces to gather, build ideas together, discuss, and review. Anything that you bring into Fabric becomes a collaborative document. Do you want to plan a trip together, need to review job applicants, sharing project files across your team, brainstorm a project, gather inspiration, or review a design? Fabric might be worth taking a closer look at.
With Fabric, you do not need to hop back and forth between separate notes and the content, since within Fabric, they live together. With a few clicks you can add context to anything within Fabric. This allows you and your colleagues to have discussion on top of any content that you add to your collaborative Fabric space.
As of writing this, Fabric is only available upon requesting early access. So, if you would like to be among the first trying out and using Fabric, sign up to the waiting list now.
Ready is not your usual fresh and new calendar tool, by connecting your calendar to one-on-ones, collaborative meetings, and instant feedback, it becomes the toolkit for modern management.
With Ready, you can streamline the entire people management process, from calendar integrations to online meeting automations. If you ever had the feeling that your meetings are not as effective as you have wished for, Ready could be the missing component to turn things to the better. With Ready you get the chance to build great meeting habits through collaborative agendas and real-time notes, making meetings more connected, interactive, and it becomes easier to engage with your meeting partners. Ready offers you a dedicated space to assign, organize, and prioritize all your meeting action items. If you are using Ready, there is no need to switch back and forth between your calendar, meeting, and note app, since Ready lets you quickly access your meeting agendas right from your regular work calendar, which means you always have easy access to your notes.
Thanks to built-in integrations for Google Calendar and Office 365, Ready is prepared to become your meeting companion. Whenever it is time to join the next meeting, Ready lets you easily connect to video calls with a single click right from your agenda. By visualizing your day with colors and icons, you always stay on top of your meetings by knowing the context of those colors and icons. To prevent meeting overload, Ready was built with the purpose in mind to empower every employee to run efficient check-ins.
Besides that, Ready makes it as easy as ever to act on employee feedback and build a winning culture. With automated reminders, you can let Ready handle the feedback process and relax. Thanks to Slack and Microsoft Teams integrations, feedback gets captured where it is the easiest for your employees. If you ever dreamed of streamlining your meetings and action items, give Ready a try. As of writing this, Ready is only available upon requesting access, which means you can join the waitlist now.
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Fresh Updates & News
Fable has been on my radar for quite some time. While unbundling the Adobe Creative Suite, I found great alternatives with the Affinity Creative Suite, which offers Affinity Designer (as an Adobe Illustrator replacement), Affinity Photo (as an Adobe Photoshop replacement) and Affinity Publisher (as an Adobe InDesign replacement). The only tool that was somehow missing in my creative tool stack was a replacement for Adobe AfterEffects. Therefore, I got excited when I found out about Fable, a browser-based app that offers pro-grade tools and an intuitive UI for motion design. In the newest update of Fable, a lot of fixes and improvements like the ability to search fonts on the font dropdown, adding layer names to Lottie exports, resolving an issue that prevented GIF imports, and a lot more. Besides that, Fable introduced Copy + Paste as a new feature, that allows users to copy and paste layers between projects on Fable, which means users can reuse their favourite elements without having to recreate them or duplicate projects.
Arc, the beautiful and powerful browser by The Browser Company, continues to ship lovely new features on a constant basis. The newest update brought Site Search to Arc. Site Search allows users to search sites right from the command bar. This means, whether you want to scope your search to YouTube, pull up someones tweets, or open a specific GitHub pull request, with Site Search you can quickly search through specific sites. It works by default for Wikipedia, Reddit, Twitter, Figma, GitHub, Amazon, Dropbox, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Gmail, and Google Drive. So, whenever you are on the hunt for a specific tweet, instead of heading to Twitter first and searching for the tweet, you can now use Arc's site search within the command bar to perform the search right away. And it also works for file searches in Dropbox or Google Drive, product searches on Amazon, event searches for Google Calendar, and a lot more. Incredibly useful.
Ghost keeps on giving with its recent updates. Already some time ago, Ghost became my preferred CMS, service, and ESP to host Creativerly and all my publishing. Among the recent updates, Ghost introduced Post Analytics, which gives users the possibility to easily export all of the analytics associated with posts, so users can perform a deeper analysis of their content. In addition to that, the newest features add the possibility to add signup terms to Ghost's portal, which means you are now able to ask your audience to read your community guidelines, agree to your terms of service, and give explicit content to receive emails from you.
➢ Let It Fail – “Some time ago I found myself leading half of engineering at a young startup. My group had been formed around a philosophy of platform value and as such had taken on a large project to migrate our application services to a new architecture. In parallel the business was evolving too and many new features were already being planned, each deeply integrated into the legacy system we were frantically trying to move on from. Quickly I realized the business and engineering teams were on a collision course.”
➢ The Unbearable Costs of Becoming a Writer – “My parents didn’t understand my job. At least, not in its entirety. If asked, they might tell people that their daughter was a writer. They were both avid readers who read my first book and many of my stories; once, when I visited them, I found a newspaper article I’d written stuck to their refrigerator door. On visits, they would occasionally see me working—that is, staring at my computer screen, typing a bit, and staring some more, wrestling with a draft for hours or days. They might be interested in what I was writing, but sometimes it was difficult for them to see it as Work, and they would often mistake it for volunteer labor, a hobby, like the hundreds of stories they knew I’d written growing up. The editorial process, my entire career in publishing, seemed nebulous to them, mostly invisible labor—until I sent them something I’d written that had been published, something they could see and hold and read for themselves.”
➢ Why Being Sensitive Is a Strength – “When was the last time you bragged about being sensitive? Most likely, the answer is never. There are plenty of traits we take pride in but being “sensitive” is usually perceived as a weakness. It’s used to mean you’re fragile, thin-skinned, or just overreacting. Men are told that they shouldn’t be sensitive at all, whereas women are told not to be “so” sensitive—an infuriating set of words that ought to be retired.”
➢ The Status Trap – “When our status is challenged, our body reacts like it's in physical danger. If you don't learn how to manage that reaction, you may find yourself in the status trap—endlessly chasing status as a way to try to feel safe and whole. I experienced this myself when running my first company. We had been bootstrapping for a year when a competitor entered the space and raised $10 million. This brought up a lot of insecurity. I was in my early 20s, with no real connections to mainstream investors. Our competitor was run by an ex-VC. Comparing myself to them, I felt like an outsider—like we were missing something or approaching the business wrong.”
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The Building Blocks of Creativerly is out, a 8,000 word piece about the tools and workflows I use to write, build, maintain, and grow Creativerly every single week. It is a deep dive into how I am writing, the dashboards I have built, and how I use specific tools. Read it here.
➢ Featured Newsletter
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➢ Quick Bits
- AI is already taking video game illustrators’ jobs in China
- In Pentagon Leak, the Problem is what's classified, not what gets out
- After a sharp sales slump, report details some of Apple’s future Mac lineup
- Parler shuts down as new owner says conservative platform needs big revamp
- NPR quits Twitter over 'government-funded' label
- Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes to go to prison end of April
- Elon Musk reportedly planning to launch AI rival to ChatGPT maker
- Germany and Intel in funding dispute over €17bn chip plant
- Are You Being Tracked by an AirTag? Here’s How to Check
- Tech Layoffs Reveal America’s Unhealthy Obsession With Work
- Reddit Banned 5,853 Users for Excessive Copyright Infringement Last Year
Till next time! 👋
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