Bread goes with butter.
Ketchup goes with hot dogs.
Avocado goes with chocolate.
There are infinite food pairings around the world. It’s all a twisted mess of relationships like a ball of cotton candy.
When you think about it… You can draw relationships between just about anything.
Addition is the opposite of subtraction.
Programming is like writing, but for nerds.
Having your heart broken is like… Well, there’s nothing quite like this one.
Everything on this planet is related in some way. Everything you know, think, and feel is encompassed in your personal knowledge graph, a small piece of the world’s graph.
Understanding the information graph is extremely helpful for learning new things and discovering opportunities. Before diving in, we need to do our "mise en place” (prepare our ingredients before cooking). Let’s review what a graph is.
Not the pie or bar kind, but the software kind. Let’s go back to our food pairings. Bread, butter, hot dogs, and ketchup are called nodes. The pairings between them are called edges. Nodes are bits and pieces of information while edges are the relationships that connect the information together.
When Christopher Columbus discovered North America, he connected Europe to the Americas. He brought treasures like chocolate and corn back to Europe.
Elon Musk used his position on the forefront of battery technology to bring the electric car to the masses.
Did you know everyone on Earth is connected to everyone else by at most six other people?
Breakthrough scientific discoveries uncover new nodes and expand the world’s graph. More nodes create more opportunities for edges.
When someone’s personal knowledge graph has an edge or node no one else has, they might have an advantage. This is known as information asymmetry.
If every node with edges to every other node, the world would be a whole lot more efficient and really, really boring. There would be no point in visiting new countries or meeting new people because you already know everything about them.
Lucky for us, not all knowledge is readily available. Despite everything being connected in a single graph, it’s locked away by space and time. Even though you’ve likely had chocolate and avocados before, you’ve probably never had them on the same plate or in succession so that they mix in your mouth.
Information is organized by space and time.
The closer pieces of information (nodes) are in physical or mental space, the easier they are to recall. When you remember one node, the other nodes nearby are also easy to remember.
When you think of baguettes, you may also think about croissants or the Eiffel Tower because they’re all closely related to Paris or France.
Pieces of information (nodes) that occur successively or repeatedly will also be easy to remember.
When I memorize new recipes or techniques, I often practice them once, then the next day, then the next month, then a few months later. This is known as repetition learning. The less a piece of information is used, the further into obscurity it will go. Edges disappear.
It’s become easier than ever to find related information in space and time. Google is a way to find information across the world. It connects your personal knowledge graph to the world’s knowledge graph. In the future, Elon Musk’s Neuralink will connect your brain directly to the world’s knowledge graph. For now, personal connections are the best way to uncover valuable information few people have.
Google and Neuralink help you find existing nodes and edges, which provide you with more opportunities to create edges. The important part is you need to create your own edges. To get ahead, you need to connect nodes of information together yourself.