Roam Research is a wonderful tool for building a second brain – a digital layer for your physical brain. If you would, our brains are kind of black boxes because we don't know exactly what happens in it and how thought happens. It is not like how math works in the sense that 1 + 1 always equals 2. This makes it more complicated to wield our brain for accelerated mental mastery.
However, with Roam, you can now use some sort of heuristics to create virtual layers that represent how your brain works. These layers shed some light on how your brain works – what you remember, how you use these facts and more. You do this by exposing the information and networks in your brain manually using Roam, a tool that's designed for this workflow.
Because I love the premise of this idea, which I first discovered through Nat Eliason's Roam: Why I Love It and How I Use It, I follow the creators of Roam quite closely in order to understand how they think and to know what's next for Roam.
And then this came up in my Twitter feed:
Reading again as we work on sharing to Roam.— Conor is Hiring for Roam (DMs open) Designers esp. (@Conaw) March 12, 2020
Best way to make feature requests https://t.co/JvMioRBe6e
Interesting. Let's try this out and see if this request gets Conor thinking about what I have to say.
I have always been an ideas person and I love to explore and experiment. While I'm at it, I try to think from the perspective of a business with 2 things in mind:
Profits – how can Roam make more "ethical" revenue
Impact – how can Roam increase its impact on how people learn??
I have been reading plenty of good things about Substack recently and their business model. Their basic tier allows anyone to operate a newsletter and send emails out to subscribers for free. Then they encourage these operators to start a paid subscription tier where the same subscribers could access more premium content.
As these subscribers pay for paid subscriptions, Substack takes cut of these subscriptions to the newsletter operators. See this, this, this, this and this.
I believe Substack is able to make this work because of a few key reasons:
Community – you get to connect with the content creator and share the new knowledge with your friends
Can Roam borrow some of these concepts and apply it in its efforts to monetize and improve Roam?
I've seen a lot of thought leaders like Nat Eliason, Adam Keesling creating their own notes and selling them. These are essentially info products which its users might repackage into derivative products such as:
flashcards (see How to Make Yourself Into a Learning Machine)
All these take effort to create, just like how paid newsletters take time to create. When they take time to create, the quality of the information usually goes up. This means there's valuable insight that non-paid subscribers would normally not be able to access.
Why not do the same with Roam? Can Roamers sell their second brain(s) for a fixed fee or subscription fee?
Why can't Roamers make a living out of these organized facts and and thoughts like newsletter operators?
When we organize our second brain, we are storing tens of thousand of facts and manually connecting them together. Doing this would take years of effort, as Simon Eskildsen mentioned in the Superorganizer's newsletter issue:
I am creeping up on 10,000 cards in Anki, and I’ve been doing this for over 4 years. It’s probably the most impactful habit I have in terms of impact over time invested.
Why not give Roamers an option to monetize their efforts while they grow their second brain? Just as how more and more thought leaders are turning to Substack / newsletters to monetize their thought leadership (or high-value content, if you will)?
Well… Nat Eliason makes $600/month by selling his brain.
Certainly, there's a lot of considerations such as:
what should be private? e.g. very personal things, or your stealth ideas, etc
how should sharing options be done? e.g. which content to charge for?
Would love to work together with Roam to explore how we can make this work. It takes dozens of hours of thoughts to think of all the possible scenarios and factor them into an elegant solution.
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