For the last few months I’ve been using Alexander Rink’s Roam CSS system, which he’s recently released out of beta. The Quattro theme he’s developed is excellent, a look that models the iA Writer app for macOS.
This system has a documented library of variables you can customize. I went in and made a few tweaks to mine for some colors and highlights here and there, but the base is awesome.
For years Todoist was my tool of choice for task management. When Roam came on the scene for me earlier this year, I’d seen pretty compelling methods from the #roamcult for how to manage todos inside of Roam with its TODO feature. It was an intriguing idea: such a fast and simple way to capture things without leaving the current frame.
But it took me a while to go all-in on Roam for tasks. Todoist was so embedded in my muscle memory, especially with its accessible web and cross-platform...
This is one of the best descriptions I’ve seen for why Roam is different than the peers it’s often compared to:
Today Roam is a powerful single-player tool that you can think of as a functional reactive coding environment for remixing your own thoughts. Use cases extend from grocery lists all the way to conceptual SQL scripts for your ideas.
Co-founder Conor White-Sullivan has compared Roam to Excel as both are products with “a low floor and a high ceiling.” You don’t have to start using Excel by using pivot tables. It’s the same product no matter how advanced...
An option is something you can do but don’t have to do. All our product ideas are exactly that: options we may exercise in some future cycle—or never.
Without a roadmap, without a stated plan, we can completely change course without paying a penalty. We don’t set any expectations internally or externally that these things are actually going to happen.
I know Basecamp is always the industry outlier with these things, but the thoughts on roadmaps are probably more true for many companies in reality than we’d all like...
If I tracked my time spent in software tools, I’m pretty sure over the last 8 months Roam and Readwise would be top of the list.
All of my writing, note-taking, idea logs, and (increasingly) to-dos happen now in Roam. Since getting serious with it around the beginning of the quarantine, I haven’t used any other tool for writing things down.
I discovered Readwise about a year ago and it quickly entered routine use. My backlog of meticulously-kept-but-underused Kindle highlights was immediately made valuable through Readwise’s daily reviews....
Today Nat Eliason launched version 2 of his Effortless Output course for learning Roam.
This time around he’s doing an interesting thing with live courses and students selecting a capstone project. Adding something that goes beyond the typical online video self-paced learning style of most tutorials is fascinating.
This is a course about creating something new, not just how to use Roam. Together we’ll pick an area you’re interested in to explore as you develop your skills with Roam, and a final product you want to create with your newfound abilities.
The Roam ecosystem is rapidly expanding these days. It’s on its way to becoming platform beyond personal knowledge management — an operating system for ideas, thinking, knowledge synthesis, and writing.
Ramses Oudt and Francis Miller (creator of RoamBrain) put together a new learning newsletter with lessons on how to get the most out of Roam and its surrounding orbit of tools and add-ons.
Roam Research already has a deep community of users coalescing around it, building extensions, custom styles, and poking at the edges of how it could be extended. In this post, David Crandall outlines some possibilities of what could be in Roam’s future, breaking it out into various ideas at the presentation, service, and database layers. His diagram does a great job articulating what else could be possible with an open Roam API.
Roam Research has been making the rounds on the internet in the last couple months. I’ve written a little bit here about it, but promised this longer overview of how it’s working for me so far.
What is it?
Roam is a tool for note-taking, described as a tool for “networked thought.” With a glance on Twitter you’ll find all sorts of comparison pieces to Evernote, Google Docs, or Notion. I’ve tried all of those (Notion for quite a bit) and I find the experience of using Roam completely different.
I’m liking so far the process of manually typing notes in Roam from highlights in my books. Something about it feels more efficient and leaves me with more meaningful, succinct notes. This could come in handy, though, if I want to pull all highlights directly from Readwise (which I’m still loving, use it every day).
I’m deeper these days into Roam for info storage and notes. It empowers a looser, free-form version of writing (or as Roam describes it “networked thought”) that’s hard to do in a linear note document. I’ve been working up a post on Roam and where I feel it fitting into my own workflow.
This piece gives a good overview of it and how it’s different from other knowledge management systems.