Why I Don’t Believe in PKMs Based on Plain Text Files

2 min read

I know many people will disagree.

I accept it.

That’s why sharing thoughts is worth it. We all grow.

My Story

I started coding at 8.

I remember how I worked with files: opening them, indexing them, reading and writing, closing them.

I’ve even coded in assembly language, directly accessing the processor’s registers.

I also worked with IBM mainframes. A black screen full of sad green letters.

That’s the past. I don’t want to go back in there.

Why People Trust PKMs Based on Plain Text Files

Not so long ago, not many people talked about plain text files.

Today, everybody does.

It’s the new golden calf.

“I want to own my own data”. That’s the quote.

Security, privacy, speed.

I went into that loop too. I confess it.

What I Think About Plain Text Files PKMs

I’ve intensively used Obsidian for a whole year.

Sorry guys, I think using plain text files is going back to a cave I don’t want to go back to. It’s too dark inside.

Sorry (again) to be so straightforward.

I dedicated more than 6 months to find a setup on Obsidian that fit my needs.

I admit it: it was the best PKM I’ve ever had, but I didn’t like it.

It seemed old to me.

The Solution

I can perfectly remember how databases speeded up technology. It was an inflection point.

I started with a software name DBase. Since then, I know that’s where I want to put my shoes on.

I want to:

  • Bet on an amazing software that performs very well, talking about speed, security, and sync between devices if necessary.
  • Bet on pieces of software that give me really cool features that make my life easier.
  • Spend as less time as possible setting up my systems.

I want an easy life, full of simplicity, to focus on my big goals in life.

Sorry, but I don’t want to spend a second setting up systems.

I am a computer science engineer, but I left that profession 20 years ago. I moved to the user side, a much easier one.

I want to bet on solid companies I can trust. Businesses that don’t sell my data. Businesses managed by honest people with an ethical code out of all doubt.

And yes, they exist: serious companies you can easily move from one to another with no drama at all.

I’ve made thousands of moves throughout my life.

Just in the PKM world, in the last 3 years, I’ve moved from Evernote to Craft, from Omnifocus to Notion, from Notion to Obsidian, from Obsidian to Mem.

No pain. Nothing has happened. It took me just a while.

No panic at all. It’s just data. It’s not a living creature where its life depends on you.

Don’t get things to the extreme. Balance is key in a life of fulfillment.

I’ve even made moves from one hardware/software architecture to another. For example: from Windows to Apple.

I’ve made huge migrations in large systems.

And yes, I’m still alive.

Last Thoughts

  • Bet on software that really makes your life easier.
  • Software you see nice at first sight, without forcing the things too much.
  • Beautiful designs you love looking at. Easy software that drives you to an easier life.
  • Programmers are the ones who should do the tough stuff (sorry guys), not users.
  • It’s just my point of view. It hasn’t to be yours.
  • I just can say it worked for me.


Photo by Lars Kuczynski on Unsplash.