Why I came to Tinderbox
Geez, so many years ago, I was looking for a flexible knowledge base/notetaking/whiteboarding/brainstorming application. I tried, and still love Zengobi Curio, but it’s interface kind of gets in my way, so I only really use it for concept mood boards and background research (websites, images), things like that.
I struggled to understand the concepts behind Tinderbox but recognized its power. Reading The Tinderbox Way opened my eyes and I began to experiment.
What I do with Tinderbox
So many, many things. Conference notes. Mental model sketches. I used it to brainstorm product names. I ran a global marketing department including reimbursements with it. Daybook. Zettelkasten.
One of the best things I did was a root cause analysis that resulted in a complete rework of an automation system. We sat down and wrote “I want” and “I hate” statements on stickies. I transcribed them, found patterns and links, and then used adornments to make a visual weighting of the overlapping wants/needs. Awesome.
Where I want to go next
I’ve been increasingly frustrated with my websites. I’ve tried a lot of CMS systems and all have left me dissatisfied. I want to be able to seamlessly export my posts without running through multiple databases/abstractions/hip new technologies. I looked at static sites like Hugo, but the toolchain is Markdown > Hugo > Forestry > Netlify > Github or AWS etc. Whatever happened to exporting to plain HTML? Tinderbox can do that, and I’m going to start digging soon.
Sometimes I use automation, sometimes I just visually place things around. Tinderbox’s strength lies in the fact that it just gets out of your way when it’s time to do the work, and Mark’s concepts of Information Gardening and Incremental Formalization is incredibly powerful for a creative knowledge worker.
Mark’s writings also pointed to the history of Hypertext and some fascinating concepts that never quite made it to the Web, sadly. Being able to use dedicated links like ‘supports’ or ‘reinforces’ or ‘outcomes’ or ‘banana’ makes the whole network exponentially greater. Follow the banana link trail, you’ll find your way home, Dorothy …
Do I get frustrated? Sometimes, but my handsaw doesn’t always cut right either. Do I stop using it for a while? Sort of, not really. But sometimes I come back to an old TB file and find really great things. Like a note that Mount Major is a good hike, or the jot: “Del McCoury Preservation Jazz Hall” in a map 5,6,7 years later. That is a joy. That is what hypertext is all about.
This turned out longer than I thought, but most love letters do.