(Digital) Note Taking Journey

The first digital note taking tool I remember using was GoldenSection Notes on Windows.

When I moved to Mac (2010) I looked for something similar and found SohoNotes.

Then came DevonThink, and DevonThink Pro soon followed. I used these for taking notes as well as keeping and organising documents.

Later Microsoft OneNote showed promise. I used it on both Mac and iPad. Sync between the two was mostly successful.

Along the way I also tried personal wikis – self hosted and managed.

A variety of markdown editors – distraction free (IAWriter) or otherwise.

Used mobile apps such as iOS Noteshelf and tried a bunch more.

I gave Evernote a shot, but that didn’t last long after losing notes due to a sync error early on.

Google Docs is still my go to editor for sharing and the rare occasions of concurrent editing.

I checked most online note taking tools as well – Notion, Roam, Bear, and a few more.
I do not care for their mobile versions, I would rather have a solid desktop/laptop version.

For a while I used individual files tucked away in a directory synced to Dropbox. Most of my writing and notes were in rich text files (.rtf) at that time. I used and liked the Bean editor the most.

As of early 2021, I use Obsidian and I write everything in markdown.
I still use DevonThink to keep documents organised.


Slow Work Needs Time

Some work is not meant to be done quickly and not meant to be done by a specific date either.

It is not unreasonable to expect output and results in time to be able to progress, but slow work needs time.

Pin a deadline on or timebox an activity and be prepared to make trade offs.

Trade offs could mean less than ideal.
Perhaps “less than ideal” is what’s needed for the work to be done.


For an even longer (much longer) read, check out Driving engineers to an arbitrary date is a value destroying mistake from Gandalf Hudlow on

Leadership Tech

Perception of Seniority

I have seen so many different responses from professionals when presented with a task.

No doubt every situation is different. There are cultural differences at the individual and organisation levels. There are many factors at play. However, over time the following characters emerge.

Wrong hire – “I don’t know. I have not been trained for this. Sorry cannot help.”

New starter – “I can take a look at it. Can somebody tell me what to do?”

Junior – “I do not know a lot. I can make a few recommendations to help. Can somebody review and let me know what else to do?”

Mid-level – “I am familiar with this. I will get started and check back for review. We can keep iterating until it is completed.”

Senior – “I have done/seen this before. I will have it done in a week. I will make you recommendations for the future.”

Leader – “My colleague is the best person for this. We will also help your teams to identify and complete these in the future.”

These are some of the examples of how I am perceiving seniority.


Career and Leadership

Figure out what leadership means

  • to you
  • to your team
  • to your management
  • to your company
  • to your clients

(Not necessarily in this order)

Once you reconcile all these without compromise thats a career fulfilled.



Abstraction is a recurring theme in my work.
While it is second nature for some, most folks have too strong of a footing in concrete 😀

Everybody can do abstraction. It is a skill, it is a mental muscle that needs training. Applying it regularly to situations and using it purposefully is a different matter. A short, visual explanation on what I mean by applying abstraction purposefully.

  1. The arrow pointing away from concrete indicates the idea of abstracting away. The further we are, the more abstract the concept becomes.
    Arrows shooting out to different directions signifies that abstraction can happen along many different aspects.
  2. The arrow pointing towards the centre indicates reducing abstraction. The closer we are to the centre, the more concrete it gets.
  3. Exploring other aspects while remaining on the same level of abstraction.
  4. Starting from something concrete and walking thorough levels of abstraction before descending back does not necessarily arrive to the same concrete point.

The irony of explaining abstraction in an abstract manner is not lost on me. Future posts will include more concrete and practical points.

Hives and Silos


The story goes…

Business X has been using a software package for the last 20+ years to perform a critical, maybe even the most critical, function of the business.

20+ years ago this package used to be an off the shelf, install on an office PC, double-click to launch in Windows type of application. It probably looked rubbish but had a menu with 3+ levels to navigate dozens of screens with 20+ fields each to manipulate. There were only a few people that could learn and knew how to use it for some very specific tasks.

10+ years ago the vendor of that package found it easier – meaning no install, no update, no office PC – to put the same software on a bunch of servers and let users access it remotely (RDP).

Today many of these applications are still running businesses, mostly because they are cheap or because over time they became a monopoly.

Innovation at these vendors, and the businesses using them, would have stopped, if it wasn’t for a new movement.
Reluctantly, the vendors slowly added a new type of access – API – to their packages.
These dumb API-s would often look like an XML version of the screens they represent.

Business X realised they have a new option.
Rather than paying for an expensive 20+ years old application running remotely they can pay a lower fee for accessing the API.

Projects are in abundance making the transition – under the banner of Digital Transformation – from remote desktop Windows applications to web based, API led solutions.

There are so many ways these transformation projects go up in smoke.
One is where business X insists on rebuilding the same screen flow from the old desktop application.

Is this Digital Transformation? No.
Maybe modernisation? Hardly.
It is simply cost avoidance.

Hives and Silos

Tech Stack Bingo

Tech Stack Bingo is when a business has a portfolio of, seemingly random, tech they acquired (sold to) over the years.
As the projects roll in, the needs mark a match with an existing tech.
The closer the match the better. They win if no tech lingers on without a project and nothing comes in needing a new tech – BINGO.

Some sorry businesses try to cheat their way by forcing some close enough tech on the project.

This is where disaster strikes. It happens more often than one would expect, for example:

  • somebody bought the tech and now need to use it, cannot lose face (or the job)
  • everything is done with the one and only tech the organisation has some skills in (nail and hammer)