Unbundling Tools for Thought: The Future of Social Mapping and Personal Knowledge Management


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 24, 2023

3 min read


Unbundling Tools for Thought: The Future of Social Mapping and Personal Knowledge Management

In the ever-evolving landscape of social networks and location-centric platforms, a new player has emerged. Atly, a social mapping platform founded in Israel, aims to be the "Reddit for real-world locations." With $18 million in funding, Atly has gained traction during its beta period, boasting over 120,000 members and 6,500 map-centric communities. By combining the community-driven aspect of Reddit with the functionality of Google Maps, Atly aims to revolutionize how people discover and share places to go.

The rise of Atly and similar platforms highlights the natural connection between social interaction and location. While incumbents like Google Maps and Yelp offer search and review functionalities, they lack the expansiveness, depth, and trustworthiness of true social platforms. Atly's introduction of new features, such as pins with recommendation numbers and upcoming community management and monetization tools, shows its commitment to providing a comprehensive and engaging user experience. The potential for revenue generation lies in charging community managers for tools that help monetize their maps, creating a win-win situation for both Atly and its users.

On a parallel front, the concept of "Tools for Thought" has been gaining traction. The idea behind Tools for Thought is to centralize and hyperlink all your data, allowing for seamless organization and access. However, the reality is that no single company can excel in every function, leading to the unbundling of tools. While centralized platforms like Basecamp, Asana, Jira, and Zoho exist, advancements in technology necessitate the use of multiple specialized apps. The lack of centralization and cross-app hyperlinking does not have significant negative effects, as most use cases can be naturally unbundled into disjoint apps.

The proliferation of specialized apps is evident in various domains. For instance, journalling can be efficiently handled through dedicated apps like Todoist, which offer features like recurring tasks, due dates, and reminders. Similarly, learning is better served by apps like RemNote, which combine long-form prose notes with flashcards. Contacts can be easily managed using Google Contacts or spreadsheets, and fiction writing benefits from version control systems like Git and Markdown files. Process notes and collection management find suitable solutions with filesystems or note-taking apps. The need for a universal database of "you" becomes unnecessary when various apps handle specific tasks efficiently.

The allure of building a vast interconnected knowledge graph through personal wikis often leads to an overwhelming workload and burnout. The majority of links within wikis are essentially structural and replicate folder structures. In reality, a relational database with rich text as a possible column type, inspired by Notion, proves to be more practical. The migration process from existing systems, the development of a stellar user interface, and the uncertainty of the payoff pose challenges to adopting such a system.

In conclusion, the rise of Atly as a social mapping platform and the unbundling of tools for thought both highlight the ever-changing landscape of technology. While Atly aims to provide a comprehensive social experience for discovering and sharing real-world locations, the unbundling of tools allows users to leverage specialized apps for specific tasks. To navigate this evolving landscape effectively, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Embrace specialized apps: Instead of seeking a one-size-fits-all solution, explore dedicated apps that excel in specific functions. This allows for a more seamless and efficient user experience.
  • 2. Prioritize utility over complexity: When evaluating tools, consider their practicality and usefulness in your workflow. Avoid getting caught up in the allure of overly complex systems that may not significantly enhance productivity.
  • 3. Regularly reassess your tools: Technology is constantly evolving, and new tools emerge regularly. Stay up-to-date with the latest advancements and reassess your toolset periodically to ensure you are utilizing the most efficient and effective options available.

By combining the social mapping capabilities of Atly with the unbundling of tools for thought, users can navigate the digital landscape with ease and efficiency. Whether discovering new places or managing personal knowledge, the key lies in leveraging the right tools for the right tasks.

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