Falling in a productivity trap and the allure of paid subscriptions

I read a lot. A lot.

However, there should have been a way to recall the information and process it meaningfully. It was there when I fell in the “productivity trap”.

Zettlekatsen, Roam Research, Obsidian and other obscure names. However, I realised that not everyone has been cut out for productivity software. If I am using a software that requires me to lie on the bed of nails to “understand”, it wouldn’t help. The endorsements usually come from “smart investors” and other echo chambers that makes it difficult to separate fact from fiction. Productivity “startups” have become the new flavour of the month.

Roam Research promises to be in for a long haul. They are charging $15 USD per month. No onboarding. No “hacks”. No web capture. No support. The developers have outsourced it to what they call as “roam cult”. Volunteers who hang around social media to get new users up to speed. Perhaps, I am too much of an old school that if I have to use a hosted version of a glorified note taking app, I deserve a customer support. Perhaps it suits a hippie demographic. Not me.

I had to talk myself out of this one.

Now the lure of the “substack” newsletters. Arguably, it would have been easier to just type the same content and distribute it through the email (and then charge for it). However, I detest the tracking pixels embedded in the emails. If I am vehemently opposed to big tech tracking, it is morally wrong to subject readers to the same thing. The email delivery on this blog is done by the WordPress backend; I don’t have any of the email addresses. I don’t have statistics for the RSS feeds and despite my initial enthusiasm to turn on the search engine optimisation, I have foregone that. I have no clue about the email newsletters opening rate (hint: it’s pathetic and abysmal- around 20% if your content is “too-good” as per the “industry estimates”). Paid newsletters requires an enormous commitment to “marketing” and if that is the only vocation (without the unemployment cheques), then it is a good enough field to explore without burning a hole.

Content/readership/ideas grow organically. Therefore, it is essential to underscore that fact again- writing is for your own growth. Ideas form to beget more.

I rarely muse on this medium, but I felt strongly enough to call out the group speak and the “rise of productivity” software. An automated medium (with some manual inputs) is required to ensure that it remains platform agnostic, works on standard compliant browser and has data export; preferably in the open source standard. Paid newsletters pushing out productivity hacks or promising to make you “smart” remain the wild west of the Internet.