It’s time for the fourth and final pillar of the Second Brain project – sharing. Dennis and Tom discuss their differing theories on this pillar and explain what “sharing” might look like within their individual projects. Next, in the second installment of their “Hot or Not” segment, they discuss the increase in sales of desktop computers and give their take on this somewhat surprising trend.
As always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation you can use the second the podcast ends.
Have a technology question for Dennis and Tom? Call their Tech Question Hotline at 720-441-6820 for answers to your most burning tech questions.
Special thanks to our sponsors, Colonial Surety Company, ServeNow, and Nota.
Mentioned in This Episode
A Segment: Building a Second Brain: Sharing
B Segment: Hot or Not – Desktop PCs?
The Kennedy-Mighell Report
Second Brain Project: Sharing, Part 1
Intro: Got the world turning as fast as it can, hear how technology can help, legally speaking with two of the top legal technology experts, authors and lawyers Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Welcome to the Kennedy-Mighell Report here on the Legal Talk Network.
Dennis Kennedy: Welcome to episode 284 of the Kennedy-Mighell Report. I’m Dennis Kennedy in Ann Arbor.
Tom Mighell: And I’m Tom Mighell in Dallas. Before we get started we’d like to thank our sponsors. First of all we’d like to thank our newest sponsor Nota powered by M&T Bank. Nota is banking built for lawyers and provides smart no-cost iota account management. Visit trustnoda.com legal to learn more. That’s N-O-T-A Nota. Terms and conditions may apply.
Dennis Kennedy: Next we’d like to thank Colonial Surety Company Bonds and Insurance for bringing you this podcast. Whatever court bond you need, get a quote and purchase online at colonialsurety.com/podcast.
Tom Mighell: And we’d like to thank ServNow a nationwide network of trusted pre-screened process servers. Work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high volume serves, embrace technology and understand the litigation process. Visit servenow.com to learn more.
Dennis Kennedy: And Tom you know I just keep seeing so many new podcasts announcing their very first episodes these days so I think it’s important every now and then we mentioned that at 15 years and counting this is the longest continuously running legal tech podcast out there.
Tom Mighell: Oh yeah.
Dennis Kennedy: In our last episode we talked about the 2021 virtual ABA tech show and our thinking about where legal technology conferences might be headed in the near future. In this episode we return to our big personal knowledge management project that we are calling the Second Brain and the fourth and final pillar of our effort something we call sharing. Tom what’s all on our agenda for this episode?
Tom Mighell: Dennis in this edition of the Kennedy-Mighell Report we will indeed be returning to our Second Brain project specifically the sharing part. In our second segment we’re going to do another round of our new hot or not this time something about desktop computers and as usual we’ll finish up with our parting shots that one tip website or observation that you can start to use the second that this podcast is over. But first up our Second Brain project and the fourth and final pillar that we’re going to be covering and that is sharing. In the first three parts we covered capture, how we go about collecting the information that’s going to go into our Second Brain, organize what do we plan to do to use to store that information, organize it that’s useful to us and then action how we can take action and really use what we’re storing in our Second Brain. Sharing should be an important part of this project for us because of our interest in collaboration but I’m thinking I may have a very different opinion on this subject than Dennis so we’ll see how important it is to me versus Dennis. We’re probably going to handle this topic again like most in two parts. In this episode we’ll focus more on the theoretical and some of the problems that might arise and so Dennis why don’t we start off by asking you what you mean by sharing and then let’s see where we might differ.
Dennis Kennedy: Well I think that I’m going to use sharing in a couple different senses. So we’re going to we’re going to have to work through this but I came up with what I call a three category approach and then I guess that’s probably the best place to start and then then also I think there’s an internal and external dynamic which is one of the things we’ve always focused on in our collaboration tools book. So let’s go to the — let’s talk about the three category approach first. So first category I have is sharing between roles that we have and so that will be the first one so that’s kind of we have personal roles we have work roles, we have organizational roles that I think they’re sharing between people and that could be sharing with individuals or sharing with groups and then the third category which something I’ve really struggled coming up with name with but I currently am calling it function/topic/task. And so that means I might share the information I have from where I have it at one place into something else that I’m doing that’s more functional. So I might want to pull things into the workspace I have for writing or for speaking or for doing presentations or for you know, for video or for research.
And so I see those three buckets and then the sharing actually is the data moving between those and I use those three categories. So Tom I’m sure that all of that is shocking to you but what’s your reaction to that initial approach?
Tom Mighell: Well so what’s shocking to me — well shocking may not be the right word is how amazingly complicated your approach sounds and that is just so many things to think about when we think about sharing. And so I’m not sure that what you just described is a definition of sharing, it feels like a framework for how you plan to share and some of the some of the ways in which you might share but here’s where I think we’re going to — where we wildly differ and I’ve mentioned this in other previous episodes of the Second Brain. I consider my Second Brain to be my Second Brain it’s for me it’s not for other people and so to the extent that you’ll be sharing with people outside of you that’s probably not where I’m going to go, if I choose to share from my Second Brain it’s going to be the in the context of what I plan to share so it might be a blog post it’s made out of something that I kept in my Second Brain or a tweet or an article or a book that I’m writing, it might be a collection of links that I choose to share but it won’t be giving someone access necessarily but let’s hold that thought because I can think of some things using Notion that I might want to do something like that in. But I’m not going to share individual pieces of my Second Brain with other people. Now the sharing between parts of yourself and that’s kind of more of an internal sharing is what you’re talking about, I have a different way of thinking about that and we can talk about that more in just a little bit but I’m curious because it feels to me like the reason why you’re approaching it the way that you are with so many different contexts in which you might share it’s because you’re defining your Second Brain to include literally everything you have or ever had, every document article anything possible that’s out there and my Second Brain isn’t going to be built that way because it’s going to be more like the people who talk about building a Second Brain are, it’s things that resonate with you that you are going to keep for a specific reason that you have down the road not just the “you never know when I might need this” type thing.
Dennis Kennedy: Right and so I think one of the fundamental insights for us and people who’ve listened to this series of podcasts is when you talked about the distinction between filers and pilers and we realized that you were a filer and that I am a piler and so my Notion is yes my Second Brain is for me I agree with you on that —
Tom Mighell: Well but wait hold on, but let me give it this a further distinction because to me filers and pilers is part of how you organize something I would say that you’re a piler in the sense that you’re collecting everything, I would call myself in terms of my Second Brain more of a curator because I’m only going to capture the things that resonate and I’m not going to — you’re going to look at an article and say, oh that’s interesting I might want to come back to that someday, save and I’m going to go oh that’s interesting I’m going to read it first and then decide if I want to save it and then I might save it so I’m being more deliberate in what goes in where you are being broader in scope.
Dennis Kennedy: Right because I don’t want to do that work on the front end and I also realized and we’ve talked about — I think you’re a lot better with notes than I am and you’re a lot better about labeling than I am so — but I still say I wanted to capture the universe of everything that’s usable for me and then to actually make it usable so it needs to move in certain ways and there’s going to be this part, so let’s talk a little bit about my Notion of internal sharing versus external. So I would say primarily for me what I’m interested in is being able to share between my own projects and tools. So it’s a classic example for me is if I’m teaching a class that I’ve taught before, I would like to go back and pull the slides or certain slides from what I did the year before and I like to do that in a really easy and seamless way, so within those projects I want to make that easy to share, I want to be able to say I’m looking at this topic I want to pull all the research together so and if it is in one project versus another I want to be able to move that between there. So you can think of it as I’m sharing within my own brain or sharing between projects in an odd sort of way.
So it’s collaboration but I’d say like day the collaboration is of the data and it’s for me specifically then I think there’s the external sharing which is do I want to share certain things with certain people in certain circumstances and we sort of started this out, like Tom the whole Second Brain project with the RainDrop bio experiment where we said hey is there a way that we can actually share bookmarks in a useful way, so we find things maybe for the podcast and other things but I have access to what you did and it you could have shared research, you know, if you work on somebody for on presentations or other things, it’d just be easy to share with them but I don’t — and then you’ve kind of extended this other thing of sharing it in the form of blog posts or other things like that which I actually hadn’t thought of because I sort of conceive of that as an internal project that then gets published rather than a sharing but I actually think you’re right on that that it is another category of sharing because you like to say I grab this stuff and then I’m able to pull it into something that becomes a blog post or whatever. So that internal versus external has a big impact on who I might share with and then as we talked about before the show Tom, I think that — then I start to think very carefully about what I would share and with whom.
Tom Mighell: So here’s what I’m intrigued about, when you talk about internal sharing you use the terms “move from”, move from one place to another and I don’t want to get too far into the how because I suspect that that will be part of the next part of our discussion about sharing but I do view that I would be internally sharing things with myself but the way that I think about that in using a tool like Notion is rather than moving things from I would rather be linking things to. So I would set up a page for your class that I was going to do and I would automatically have a database with all my previous things before that I’ve done and I would put that database, a copy of that database into this class and I might filter it to say filter to only show previous presentations where I’ve spoken about innovation and/or automation and it would only show — it would only surface those things where those particular things came up. So when it comes to internal sharing, I’m all about making it as easy as possible like you describe and to me that “move to” feels like it’s an extra step and so I’m hoping you’re mean linking but tell me what you’re thinking.
Dennis Kennedy: I actually think there are two things and you’ve kind of helped me understand this a little bit. So there is one part of me that says oh what I would like to do is just be able to link to things that are about what I want to work on. So that is definitely one thing but in this sort of purest form of Second Brain if you looked at like all the PowerPoint and slides that I’ve done let’s say for a class but or on any topic I would actually like to be able and have this happen automatically to carve all of those individual slides into one database and then make that usable. So it’s not I’m linking to presentations because it’s actually kind of hard to me to duplicate PowerPoint presentations like in a really you know, easy, easy way but sometimes I just want to grab one slide so there is that part where — and I think gets to Tom when you and I were had talked about automatic tagging versus kind of figuring out where your tags are going to be I kind of like to say like there is a part of me just once again just really chop all this stuff up so I can reuse it in different ways but I want that to happen automatically without me thinking about it so almost two things going on where and a lot of times I would just do exactly what you would say of link to things and find what I want but another part what I would say is like let’s just dig in and get into this these component things and let me find some something else that might be useful.
Tom Mighell: So what I’m hearing is you would like a tool that would automatically take a presentation given in the past and automatically understand which slides are important to you and which slides are not and get rid of the garbage without you having to make any thought about them?
Dennis Kennedy: No, no not that at all so what I would want them to do is just carve it up and then either tag it or index it in a way that I could find individual slides.
Tom Mighell: So you wanted to understand how you would tag each slide?
Dennis Kennedy: Right and I’m okay if it’s you know, it doesn’t even have to be 80-20 for me because I’m never going to tag the individual slides, I’m just never going to do it so anything I can get whether it’s you know, something that’s grabbing keywords or whatever happens automatically and maybe we get to you know a more refined state of AI you know, in some period of years, I would like to take advantage, I want to be in a place where I can take advantage.
Tom Mighell: I was going to say anybody listening to this podcast who can name a tool that even comes remotely close to Dennis’s magic auto slide tagging tool, please get in touch with us and we will bring you onto the podcast because I would love that tool.
Dennis Kennedy: And if it didn’t cost whatever, 25-30,000 dollars I would be filing a patent on that idea right now.
Tom Mighell: So let me get to the external part because I don’t plan to share things from my extern — my Second Brain the way that you describe them. So when we talk about things like RainDrop bio, I love that tool and many times I’ve thought about putting together a collection of links like for example on collaboration tools and just sharing that by a blog post or say, hey look I’ve curated these links, feel free to go look at them but they’re within RainDrop, and RainDrop is not part of my Second Brain, RainDrop is an adjunct to that and so I view that I’m sharing it but I might have taken that information out of my Second Brain and saved it in RainDrop to get that done or I may just have saved it there to begin with so I don’t know that — I still am going to think that that any information that comes out of my Second Brain is more likely going to be put into some other type of content and shared rather than sharing something directly. Now it might very well be that Dennis if you and I decide to write a book and there’s research in there I might share that in that context, that’s a potential context that I could see sharing that information and there are ways to do that within Notion that we’ve talked about, that we’ll talk about more in the next stage of this. But I don’t feel like my sharing externally would be as — I wouldn’t be doing as much of that as you would.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah and I would also kind of explicitly say here that I’m thinking in that sort of the brainstorming approach of diverge then converge right? So I’m saying okay, so I’m looking at this and I’m saying what are the things I would really like and can I make this as broad as possible and what is it that I would like to build toward in the future you know if tools come along and what am I likely to be using? You know, so I would say two years ago, right time probably you wouldn’t say something working with video would be part of a Second Brain that you and I were putting together say two-three years ago. Now it’s going to be an important piece of that. So I say if I do those things and they start to expand out to all the things I think are possible then it comes down to okay, so obviously that magical slide sorting thing doesn’t exist for me right now so that’s — if down the stage should I come back to the question of okay, so where do I want to start and what would help me the most now? So it’s like I said I diverge and then I converge toward towards something that’s doable you know, so it’s kind of the fan you know, going from the fantastic to the real.
Tom Mighell: Well this reminds me though of something that we talked about in an earlier episode during one of the initial phases which is that you should be designing your second brain for the future you that is going to use this, you should be thinking about you know, you won’t know yet what you’re going to get but you should be thinking will this, could this be useful to me then as it even though it might not be useful to me now and I think that we could be extending that analogy to what you just described is saying that when you are designing how you’re going to share or whether you’re going to share be thinking about possibilities for what might be you know be thinking about like Dennis, what would be the if technology were no object what would be the best thing for these tools to be able to do for you and maybe begin to structure your Second Brain in a way that you could make it easier to accomplish that should the technology come around in a couple years.
Dennis Kennedy: And it’s partly you know, I think you’re right there I mean it’s partially job to be done but it’s also like future job to be done.
Tom Mighell: Right.
Dennis Kennedy: So if you say if you’re a few years away from retiring or you know you’re going to do a career change or that you might not practice law you know, in a few years then the Second Brain you design and the features that would work for you right now probably are not going to work so well for that you that’s five years down the road and to this extent you can see that and say can I do something that gets me some of the things that are doable now but also kind of builds this platform or the space where I can create what’s going — where I’m going to be in five years and you know, frankly what’s going to happen in five years is getting harder and harder to predict but you know that will — I think a really effective way of doing this is the same thing. So, on the sharing piece you would go like well I may not want to open this stuff up but then if three, four or five years down the road you’re in this project or you’re like part of something else then you would say oh it would be great to share all these things, you go well I actually have the sharing functionality built into the Second Brain concept and maybe I do it in a simple way you know like I just open up parts of Notion to somebody. But I think you have to say, let me predict where I might be but where also would I possibly go you know. So I sometimes think you know Tom, of gpt3, right, the AI tool that we’ve talked about is how much should I consider that as part of Second Brain over some period of time where it can take some of the things I’m doing in a Second Brain and summarize it for me or do a first draft or something and I think the more you’re aware of some of that potential that that opens up some options as well.
Tom Mighell: So let’s wrap this up. Enough of the theory, let’s wrap it up and talk more practically next time, what can people be doing between now and then I think basically the thought is to go through the exercise that you went through, who do you want to share with, how do you want to share, what are the all the possibilities of sharing that you can think of right now that might be important to you and then we can kind of maybe put that more into practice in the next episode. Dennis do you have any other advice?
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, so I would I would flip that as well and so this would usually be your point Tom but I would also think what is it that I don’t want to share and who don’t I want to share with and what do I learn when I go through that exercise because that’s the flip of it and that can be helpful to you and then I would also think — I would also recommend people go back and listen to our episode on APIs and kind of think through that whole Notion of APIs and how that allows data to move between applications and then I always call it the shear function, I know Tom you have a more accurate term for it but the easy way that like on your smartphone that you can send information to other applications that I think is another useful thing where you’d say in the Second Brain I would like to — if I’m using Notion as the best that sort of send to Notion or share to Notion is going to be a really important concept.
Tom Mighell: All right some things to think about. Stay tuned for our next episode on this where we talk a little bit more about “the how”. All right before we move on to our next segment let’s take a quick break for a message from our sponsors.
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Tom Mighell: And now let’s get back to the Kennedy-Mighell Report. I’m Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy. And it’s time for our new segment we call Hot or Not. We pick something people are talking about and argue whether we think it’s hot or not, we might agree but odds are that we won’t and we want your feedback on this segment. Let’s get started Tom. The return of desktop computers hot or not?
Tom Mighell: Well I would say judging by the numbers I would say hot-ish, I mean and over the past year PC shipments have increased like by 11% and I think it’s expected to increase this year again so you know one of the funny things was I went back and I did a search through our earlier podcast and I was searching for the term post PC era which was something that we were really hot on talking about that’s saying that the tablet was heralding the end of the pc and it’s not gone I now I think that you have to consider over the past year what has led to the increase in sales of PCs. I think one there are a couple of constituencies who are responsible for this. One, creators there’s a lot more people who are creating content, creating video, they need more powerful processing, they need better software that you can get from on a laptop or on a tablet. There are a lot more people who would rather watch movies and TV from their computers and that PC is better on that. You know I think that everything that I read says that home learning and working from home have been big drivers of PCs but I’d like to see more information on that I sort of have to believe that these factors would drive more laptops than desktops and after all the people who are using them I mean would want to either take them to school when they go back to school or take them into the office or travel when we all get out of the house but I mean I could be wrong about that but there are a couple of drivers that have led to it I have to say I like my laptop for work but I am still a PC fan and I during the year of lockdown last year I bought a new desktop and it’s a gaming computer and I bought it as a gaming computer not just because I like to play games and I wanted something powerful but gaming computers are more powerful, I’ve never had a better computer, it is the RAM is amazing, I never have memory issues like I used to have with other computers it just works better and I have to say I’m totally loving my desktop computer. So I won’t mind if it continues to be hot, Dennis what about you?
Dennis Kennedy: So like you Tom I bought a desktop computer and I got a Mac Mini and I never thought I would be buying a desktop computer again until the end of last year but I’m going to say here that I think that it’s kind of a fake hot and I actually think it’s a not I think it’s not the desktop PC that’s hot I think it’s the big monitor that’s is what’s hot and that I think is the appeal to me so that if you’re working from home you want to have this big monitor. As soon as you start moving around then the desktop PC, you’re right, the laptop is just a much better thing but I don’t know if you can go back after spending a lot of time with big monitors to just working off of a laptop computer and that to me I think is really going to be the interesting issue in computer hardware as we go forward in the next couple of couple of years because we don’t — you might as well shout out our friend Jim Calaway who had the world’s largest laptop screen that he used to carry around for several years but I don’t think anybody’s going to go to that level again so, I think the desktop is probably a bit of a blip but the big screen experience is something I think is hot, is going to stay with us.
So now it’s time for our parting shots that one tip website our observation you can use the second this podcast and Tom take it away.
Tom Mighell: So I’m going to actually — I’m going to give a kind of an odd parting shot but stay with me here, so there is a person on YouTube, his name is Mark Rober R-O-B-E-R. I’ll put the link to his YouTube channel in the show notes. He does a lot of really fun videos, he has made it his personal mission a few years ago to start creating these glitter bombs to stop people who steal packages off of the porch.
You may have seen this on Twitter or other places but he does more than that, he does lots of really interesting videos and I wonder if is this his real job because I want this job if that’s it but the most recent video that he did was connected to the glitter bomb but it was all it was related to finding some phone scammers, some scammers from India who were taking advantage of people who didn’t know better and scamming lots and lots of money from them and getting a little bit of payback by sending them a glitter bomb and/or the police and what is interesting is it goes into some detail about how these phone scams actually work and how they’re successful with primarily with older people and he says at the very end that the best way to fight against this is to raise awareness. So that’s what I’m doing, I’m raising awareness by giving you a link to his channel, go look at the video, go tell all the older people that you love not to do what happened in this video, it’s very entertaining but it contains some really sobering thoughts about how people get scammed and I found it all very interesting.
Dennis Kennedy: Wow people actually answer phone calls? So my parting shot is the Grammarly plug-in I guess in in Chrome. So as I’ve gotten older one of my super powers is really start to fit is my proofreading skills as friends of mine like to remind me. So my friend Allison Shields, Joe’s suggested I get the Grammarly app and since we often write together I took that as a pretty serious recommendation that she was tired of my proofreading problem. So Grammarly is something you — it’s a plug into chrome and then wherever you are I mean because you can do the grammar and spelling checker when you’re in Word but the problems you’re making is all these other places you’re typing in things you know LinkedIn, Twitter, all these sorts of places, anything on the web, and Grammarly works for you there and it identifies both spelling and grammar problems. There’s a free version and then there’s a premium version which is more than a hundred dollars a year. So it’s easy to go with the free one, it does the job for what I want to do you know, which are the worst sort of typos that I might overlook. I don’t need the super duper features but you might consider that, I will say with the free version it tends almost everything it checks it gives you this little red thing that suggests you have one more error to check and when you click on it your error is that you haven’t bought the premium version so which is you know, as nagging where goes it’s not a bad thing and you can adjust to it but if you’re finding you’re making typos when you’re typing into to your various websites where you put things up it’s actually a really useful free tool and if you want to go further, then you can yeah then you can pay for a premium version to do even more.
Tom Mighell: And so that wraps it up for this edition of the Kennedy-Mighell Report. Thanks for joining us on the podcast. You can find show notes for this episode on the Legal Talk Network’s page for the show.
If you like what you hear please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or on the Legal Talk Network site where you can find archives of all of our previous shows along with transcripts. If you’d like to get in touch with us you can always reach out to us on LinkedIn or remember we love getting questions for the B Segment, please stop us from doing hot or not again, I’m kidding I really like this segment but we really like voicemails too, leave us a voicemail. That number is 720-441-6820, so until the next podcast I’m Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy and you’ve been listening to the Kennedy-Mighell Report, a podcast on legal technology with an internet focus. If you like what you heard today, please write us an Apple podcast and we’ll see you next time for another episode of the Kennedy-Mighell Report on the Legal Talk Network.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Kennedy-Mighell Report. Check out Dennis and Tom’s book, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies, smart ways to work together from ABA books or Amazon and join us every other week for another edition of the Kennedy-Mighell Report only on the Legal Talk Network.