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The vision of Heptabase is to create a world where anyone can effectively establish a deep understanding of anything. Our short-term goal is to create the world's best thinking tool, and our long-term goal is to build a contextualized knowledge internet.
Currently, Heptabase has four main use cases as a thinking tool: learning, researching, planning, and writing. The essence of learning and research is to build a deep understanding of known and unknown things, while the essence of planning and writing is to convert these deep understandings into executable and communicable forms.
I am the founder of Heptabase and also its first user. Since May 2021, I have been using Heptabase for more than two years and have seen it go through more than 350 iterations. As Heptabase's functionality and user experience continue to improve, I have truly felt how this tool has reshaped my way of thinking every day.
In the Heptabase user community, I receive feedback from different users around the world every day. Some users express their love for Heptabase and tell me how it has completely changed their way of learning and researching. However, there are also a few users who express their struggles with Heptabase and tell me that they are not sure if the visualized note-taking method is really suitable for them.
I take every user's feedback on Heptabase seriously, which is why I'm writing this article. For users who are unsure how to use Heptabase effectively, I often use a metaphor: using Heptabase is like learning English and mathematics. Initially, when faced with English letters or mathematical symbols, it's easy to feel lost. However, with a good mentor to help you cross this hurdle and master these letters and symbols, you will discover an entirely new way of understanding the world using these letters and symbols. This is what I hope to achieve through this article.
In this article, I will share how I have used Heptabase to help me learn, research, plan, and write over the past two years. I will also include screenshots of my whiteboards. However, due to the sensitive information related to company operations in many of the screenshots, I intentionally reduced the zoom ratio and made the content blurry. I believe that the experiences and ideas I describe in the article have greater inspirational value than the content of the notes themselves.
For those who consider themselves not good at note-taking, I also hope to convey an important message through this article: note-taking itself is not the goal, but a process to achieve your goal. To leverage the power of Heptabase, it’s important to think clearly about what your most important goal is, and then develop your unique way of using Heptabase to achieve this goal.
At the end of May 2021, when I started building the first version of Heptabase, the first thing I did with it was to plan the product development and user research process. The reason is simple: this was the most important thing for me at the time.
I am well aware that resources for startups are limited, and we should avoid wasting energy on unimportant things. Y Combinator is the world's most well-known startup accelerator, so to figure out what is important, I decided to read articles related to this topic from its Startup Library. The articles I read include the mindset of building products, how to build a minimum viable product, and how to iterate on products, etc.
Before reading these articles, I created a whiteboard called Product Development & Iteration. Whenever I found important concepts or knowledge that I thought were important while reading, I would organize them into cards and spread them out on the whiteboard, making the entire product development methodology instantly clear.
Over the next few months, whenever I encountered product-related problems, I would always open this whiteboard to confirm that I was doing things correctly. Whenever I came across great articles related to product development online, I would also turn the knowledge from these articles into cards and integrate them with my existing knowledge on this whiteboard.