Innovative networking: Conoted integrates Zettelkasten into contact ranking for knowledge management

Introduction

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Eugene Streltsov, the visionary developer behind the Conoted app. Conoted is a powerful tool designed to help users organize and interconnect their ideas using the Zettelkasten methodology. In this interview, Eugene shares the inspiration behind Conoted, its unique features, and how it stands out from other knowledge management systems. We delve into the development process, user feedback, and the future of Conoted.

About the Project

Will: What inspired you to create Conoted?

Eugene: The idea for Conoted arose from my personal experience of struggling to organize information and knowledge effectively. I kept notebooks after all my classes, but eventually threw them away because, in regular notebooks, you can’t structure notes or link them to new insights later. This led to valuable information being lost and wasted.

When discussing various projects in regular messengers and emails, I constantly forgot and lost useful information. This not only wasted money but also increased the time required to complete projects. I realized that without a proper system, a lot of crucial information was slipping through the cracks.

Moreover, I often missed opportunities to think over my ideas with smart people because organizing such discussions was challenging and time-consuming, and it often felt like I was distracting them from their personal and professional affairs. Losing really useful contacts was also a recurring pain point for me. I remembered having acquaintances who could solve important issues, but I couldn’t recall their names or contacts when needed.

These specific problems led me to the Zettelkasten methodology, which turned out to be ideal for structuring and linking notes to create new insights. I decided to develop Conoted to address these issues, making it easy to organize, structure, and link all my notes, while also keeping track of valuable contacts and facilitating meaningful discussions. My goal was to make this tool accessible and convenient for a wide audience, ensuring that no valuable information or connections are ever lost again.

Q: Can you explain the essence of your application? Is it a public knowledge base?

Conoted is not just a public knowledge base but a powerful tool for personal and professional use. It helps users organize their notes and ideas by linking them together, so they can better understand and use the accumulated knowledge. It’s more of a personal database where you build an individual note system using public notes as well.

Q: How is your app different from knowledge bases like Wikipedia and others?

The main difference between Conoted and Wikipedia or other knowledge bases is that our application focuses on personal notes and user ideas, not on publicly available information. Conoted allows users to create individual knowledge networks and find connections between different ideas, which leads to a deeper understanding and generation of new insights. Additionally, Conoted offers a note ranking system similar to Google’s search algorithm, providing users with the most relevant notes at the moment.

Development and Strategy

Q: What challenges did you face in developing Conoted?

One of the main challenges was creating an intuitive interface that would make the Zettelkasten methodology accessible to users without a technical background. Developing a user recommendation and ranking system, integrating artificial intelligence to automatically generate tags and suggestions for links between notes, and ranking and recommending authors also required significant effort.

Q: What are your future development plans for Conoted?

In the future, we plan to add new features such as improved collaboration tools, integration with other platforms or plugins, contacts upload and download capabilities, and more powerful analytical tools like social or note graphs to help users analyze contacts, notes, and ideas.

Zettelkasten Methodology

Q: What is the Zettelkasten methodology?

The Zettelkasten methodology is a note-taking system developed by German sociologist Niklas Luhmann. It is based on creating atomic notes, each containing a single idea, and linking these notes together through tags and links, thereby creating a network of knowledge. This helps users not only store information but also find unexpected connections between ideas, which contributes to generating new insights and a deeper understanding of materials.

Q: Why did you integrate Zettelkasten into Conoted?

After analyzing many methodologies, I found Zettelkasten to be the most effective for note-taking and creating projects. The Zettelkasten methodology is anchored by two main principles: tagging and linking notes. These principles not only help users store and structure information efficiently but also facilitate the discovery of unexpected connections between different ideas. This leads to new insights and a deeper understanding of the material.

The ultimate objective of this methodology is to ensure that the information collected is actively utilized. Whether it’s for writing a book, thesis, dissertation, paper, or completing any project, the goal is to move beyond mere collection to actionable output. The essence of Zettelkasten lies in enhancing the value of existing notes, ideas, arguments, and discussions, rather than simply amassing information.

A prime example of its effectiveness is the work of Niklas Luhmann, an extremely productive scholar who used the Zettelkasten methodology to manage his notes and ideas. Throughout his career, Luhmann wrote around 50 books and over 400 scientific articles, covering a wide range of topics, including sociology, systems theory, legal theory, and media theory. The Zettelkasten methodology allowed him to effectively manage a vast amount of information and create complex, interconnected research.

I’ve evolved the Zettelkasten methodology to link not only notes but also people through a system of useful contacts and contact ranking. This innovative approach aims to foster connections between users and their networks, potentially leading to collaborative insights and projects. While this aspect is still a hypothesis and may or may not work for users, I find it adds a unique and functional dimension to my app.

Q: How is the Zettelkasten methodology implemented in Conoted?

In Conoted, users can create atomic notes, each linked to other notes through tags and links. We have expanded the ideas of Zettelkasten in our Conoted app and introduced several new features for note-taking to make organizing knowledge even more efficient and effective.

One of our key innovations is a recommendation system that suggests tags and other personal notes for linking. Our app uses artificial intelligence to automatically generate these tags and suggestions, streamlining the organization process. Additionally, we have integrated a feature for public notes, allowing users to link not only their own notes but also others’ notes. This expands the possibilities for users’ work and knowledge sharing. Similar to how Google ranks websites, we rank notes and offer the most relevant ones in your field.

We have also applied the note-linking methodology to people, enhancing the concept of collective intelligence. Conoted recommends linking people based on your field of activity, helping you connect with individuals who can contribute valuable insights and expertise.

From this system of public notes and people-linking, we developed “Useful Contacts.” This feature allows you to form a network of contacts who are knowledgeable in your areas of interest, ensuring you can always find and collaborate with these useful contacts. The integration of the Zettelkasten methodology into creating a system of useful contacts and contact ranking is unique and innovative, setting Conoted apart as a powerful tool for organizing and leveraging knowledge.

Q: How does Conoted help users integrate new knowledge and reveal unexpected idea connections?

Conoted uses artificial intelligence to analyze users’ notes and suggest the most relevant tags and connections. This helps users find unexpected connections between different ideas and more effectively integrate new knowledge into their existing knowledge network. The AI serves as an additional tool, while users primarily find unexpected connections themselves.

The principles in Zettelkasten that facilitate the finding of connections are central to this process. Zettelkasten relies on two main principles: tagging and linking notes. Tagging allows users to categorize and retrieve notes based on specific keywords, while linking notes enables the creation of a web of interconnected ideas. These connections are not linear but associative, reflecting the natural way our brains work to connect disparate pieces of information.

By following these principles, Conoted’s AI enhances the user’s ability to discover meaningful relationships between notes. It analyzes the content, suggests appropriate tags, and identifies potential links, making the process of organizing knowledge more intuitive and dynamic. This combination of user-driven discovery and AI assistance ensures a robust and efficient knowledge management system.

Q: Why don’t you implement ChatGPT in your app? Many note-taking services are adopting this technology, and it seems to offer considerable benefits.

While implementing ChatGPT or similar AI technologies can offer many advantages, my focus in creating a knowledge network has been on fostering connections between live people and their ideas. This is the essence of public notes and what distinguishes our service from others.

The core value of our platform lies in the unique perspectives and insights that come from human interaction and collaboration. Although bots can be helpful, they can also malfunction or generate inaccurate information. While humans are not immune to errors, the richness of human creativity and critical thinking is unparalleled. I firmly believe that the most innovative and impactful ideas stem from real human experiences and interactions, not machines. By prioritizing live human connections, we ensure that our users benefit from genuine, diverse, and meaningful exchanges of knowledge.

About the Founder

Q: What motivates you in tech and education?

I am motivated by the desire to help people better organize and use their personal and public knowledge. I believe that the right tools can significantly improve the learning process and the generation of new ideas. By providing these tools, I aim to help people create new works and projects, write books, and more.

Q: What is your vision for Conoted’s future?

I see Conoted as a leading knowledge management tool used by both individuals and organizations. We plan to continue improving the functionality of the application, adding new features, and expanding our user community.

Conclusion

Q: How can people learn more about Conoted?

People can learn more about Conoted by visiting our website, where they will find detailed information about the app’s functionality and use cases. We also actively run our social media, where we share news and updates. Additionally, we participate in interviews and write articles about our progress.

Q: What would you like to say to potential users and investors?

I want to tell potential users and investors that Conoted is not just a note-taking app. It is a powerful tool for organizing and generating knowledge that can help you better understand and use information. We are constantly working on improving our product and are open to collaboration and new ideas. As well as our website, people can find out more on the Conoted blog.

Will Fastiggi
Will Fastiggi

Originally from England, Will is an Upper Primary Coordinator now living in Brazil. He is passionate about making the most of technology to enrich the education of students.

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