I am always both humbled and inspired by the amazing structures of knowledge that Brain users create. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Daniel Gorin, CEO phase-6 while he was in Los Angeles. While every user’s Brain is unique, Daniel’s Brain was very interesting, not only because of the scope of his Thoughts, but because he had one of the most impressive Link Type lists I’ve seen. Below is a video that shows some of his Brain and key discussion points we covered during our meeting.
Managing Complex Projects and Information Visually
Daniel wears many hats as CEO and Founder of phase-6. There is strategic execution which involves managing multiple projects, people and departments, as well as creative vision and innovation, developing the best language acquisition software that is currently on the market. It’s a lofty mission that takes him all over the world working globally with his team.
Daniel’s Brain provides a conceptual framework for everything he needs to do. He mentions that one of the goals of his Brain is to “manage complexities”. I found this insight very true to most users of the software including myself. By visualizing your world, thoughts and aspirations, TheBrain reflects the psyche of its user. Helping each individual see what was unseen, make possible what might otherwise be impossible and ultimately grow our minds. When you visualize your world and ideas you gain the power to see them, execute and evolve them.
Connecting what is Traditionally Separated Creates New Possibilities
Daniel referenced a connection oriented approach to organizing information. This is a good view to have as you begin or continue to work with your own digital Brain. For centuries information management has been focused on separation, breaking things down, dividing things into folders. This is a useful and necessary component of information organization. But if the structure of our information is just a bunch of containers, an opportunity is missed to gain more meaning and intelligence from the information itself.
Creating the best language and vocabulary acquisition software involves bringing together a number of disciplines that would traditionally be viewed as separate knowledge domains. Daniel notes that in order to develop his software he requires intimate knowledge and convergence of traditional sciences, computing linguistics, language acquisition, technologies and education practices. By using TheBrain he is able to create a basic hierarchy and categorization of each domain, but most importantly, he then gains the freedom and ability to connect any topic to anything else, regardless of what area of his Brain it might be in. Connecting information associatively triggers new insights. His knowledge is captured to reflect his vision of how things need to come together to make a better product. Moreover, Daniel takes his connections a step further and adds additional metadata on his links. His Link Types further clarify why things are connected and enable him to imbue his Brain with more meaning.
By building connections, his Thoughts and Link Types in his Brain have grown to what Daniel refers to as a “True Semantic network”. This is a more complete representation of his knowledge over traditional mind maps, databases or file management systems.
Link Types are used to assign commonly-used relationships between Thoughts that share a label, color, and thickness so they can be easily recognized. Link properties and types will be retained even if the two linked Thoughts change their relationship but remain linked (for example, if a child Thought becomes a jump Thought of the original Thought).
In addition to setting their color, you can add labels to Link Types and you can change the thickness of the Link to call special attention to relationships.
1. Right-click the link for which you want to create a Type, click the Link Type command, then click the New Type command.
Figure 119. Link Context Menu
2. In the dialog box, enter the name for the Link Type you want to create.
3. Click the link to display the Link tab, then click the Activate Link Type Window button.
Figure 120. Link Type Window Button
- Whatever is typed in the Label field will automatically display when you point to the link in the Plex. Changing the Label text will also automatically change the name of the Link Type.
Figure 121. Link Type Editing Box
4. To change the thickness of the link, click the drop-down list button for the Thickness field, then click the thickness of your choice.
5. Click the Color icon if you want to change the color of the Link Type.
6. Close the dialog box when you are done. The new Link Type you created will now appear in the Link Type submenu whenever a link is clicked.
Figure 122. Link Type Editing Box
To delete a Link Type:
- Click the link that is attached to the type you want to delete, click the Activate Link Type button, then click the trash can icon.
Links can also include a directional arrow pointing to or from the source Thought.
Figure 123. Directed Links
By default, links do not show a directional arrow. You can set a direction for the selected link from the Link tab.
- Non-directed links do not show any indication of either Thought being the source of the link.
A directed link shows an arrow in the middle of the link. The link becomes animated when the mouse hovers on it. The animation shows movement from the source Thought toward the target Thought. This visual cue is particularly useful when there’s a link label. For example, for the link label “Inspired” (shown below), the link’s directional arrow shows that “Hank Williams” was a source of the inspiration for Elvis. This is also very useful when you want to represent flows between items like financial relationships.
Figure 124. Hank Williams Inspired Elvis
- One-way links appear when the source of the link is active and the source Thought is already visible.
- One-way links are indicated by an arrow with a rectangle at its base.
Figure 125. One-way Link
One-way links are useful where Thought A is relevant when Thought B is active, but Thought B is not relevant when Thought A is active.
For example, you may want to see what company a person worked for when the person is the active Thought. However, for a large company with thousands of employees, you may not want to see all of the employees when that company is the active Thought. Creating a “works for” Link Type and making it one-way is a good way to do this.
Setting Link Direction
- Click the icon to the left of the One-way check box on the Link tab to switch a link between non-directed, directed, and directed in the reverse.
- Select the One-way check box to make the selected a link one-way. This option must be unchecked in order to make a link non-directed.