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Is PKM Bullshit?


Scott P. Scheper

Downtown San Diego, CA



Dear Friend,

PKM stands for Personal Knowledge Management.

This term emerged recently and encompasses the process of capturing information one finds online. It also involves the process of how to take notes from readings and store those notes.

Yet the term really seems to center around digital notetaking apps. For instance, apps like Obsidian, Roam Research, Evernote, and Notion. The list constantly changes. There are always newcomers that promise some novel feature (which is really just a bunch of hype).

PKM has attracted its own niche of productivity junkies. They obsess over workflows, hotkeys, and viewing graphs of sexy bubbles which represent their notes.

The one thing they seemingly don't obsess over is… well… developing actual thoughts!

Thoughts are best developed the old way, the hard way. Thoughts are developed using just pen, paper, and your brain. You must unplug from digital devices. You must go into 'deep work mode'—that is—if you really want to produce great work.

Anyway, here's why I'm telling you this:

Recently a fellow Antinetter, Lane Watson, sent me an article titled Personal Knowledge Management is Bullshit (link at end). It's an article written by an interesting character named Justin Murphy.

Murphy is an intriguing character, especially if you're into philosophy, Christianity, and... anarchy!

Anyway, in Murphy's article on PKM, he outlines many points for why PKM is bullshit.

I agree with much of what he says; however, there are a few very important points I disagree with him on. Furthermore, he seems to confuse PKM with what Niklas Luhmann actually did.

Today I'll be shooting a video with Lane Watson where we discuss the article and whether PKM is actually bullshit.

I'll be discussing the mistake many people make (including Justin Murphy) in lumping Niklas Luhmann into the PKM category.

I'll also be talking about the four phases of analog knowledge development. These four phases are very different from what is currently being taught in PKM. I think it also serves as the core reason why PKM can get the reputation of being bullshit.

This delineation is important for you to understand.

Stay tuned and keep an eye out for the video.

And always remember,

To stay crispy, my friend.

  • Scott P. Scheper

"A Man Who Thinks PKM is Bullshit? (You'll Soon Find Out..."

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