Evernote Is My Pensieve

I have a ton of business ideas. More than I could ever launch in a lifetime. It’s a running joke in my family that I have a new startup idea every day.

This is why I have always thought that the trope that “all the good startup ideas have already been created” is so ridiculous. Whenever someone claims this to me, I always try to give them one of my business ideas. They never end up pursuing the idea.

When people ask me how I come up with so many ideas and what I do with those ideas, I always show them my Evernote journal.

“It is called a Pensieve. I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind.”

— Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I have just under 100 notebooks and well over 2,000 notes in my journal. About 100 of those notes could be classified as Business Ideas that could be their own startups. Many more notes contain fragments of ideas or notes from books or articles that I’ve read on my favorite topics.

Some of these ideas have already become a reality through my first two startups Avomeen and Labdoor, while others have been published on my blog to share with the world in the hopes that someone else will pick up the torch and complete that mission.

Either way, I find the process of constantly writing and refining my ideas in print as a cathartic experience that frees my mind to come up with more ideas. The point isn’t to make every idea good. The goal is to build a writing system that is so fluid that you’re writing every day and becoming more creative as your ideas evolve through future feedback from yourself and other people.

“A long line of revered Headmasters and Headmistresses of Hogwarts have left behind memories from their tenure and thus contributed to the creation of an invaluable library of reference for headmasters and headmistresses yet to come.

— Hogwarts Pensieve, Harry Potter Wiki

A memory by itself is just a point in time. It gains meaning when it is connected to other experiences. I make a habit of returning to my old writing regularly and refining my ideas based on my new knowledge. Evernote has a great feature that lets you link in-line to other notes, creating a web of interconnected ideas over time.

I am now pushing myself to publish more of my writing and to refine it in public. This makes my writing a reference library for others and gives me a way to resonate with other people and collect more information that I can add to my Pensieve.

Do you have your own version of a Pensieve? Let me know @neilthanedar.