In this interview with Daniel Canosa, we learn more about knowledge management and his learning journey becoming a full time online creator.
Connect with Daniel at https://twitter.com/dcanosa
Find out more about Superlearning at https://superlearners.traverse.link/
Hello, and welcome to another interview in the series, super learning for professionals today, I'm joined by Daniel Canosa. Daniel was a peer supporter of mine in the course creator fellowship and he's an ex-engineer and now turned full-time creator.
An expert in notion, during your previous job, and you've turned that into a course right now. So can you describe a bit more why knowledge management has been very important in that area and how you came up with your current system?
Well, I really believe that, because I go mostly from a corporate background in which I was helping technical teams or mechanical engineers with the turnaround and everything. It helped them create systems and better ways to manage their workloads and everything. And I saw that it was super key to really understand what needs to get done every time. And then when I left corporate, I found out about notion and for me, it was the tool that I was asking for all the time, because before I was using Evernote and totally different tools, but none of them could really serve me as I wanted.
So I saw in notion the flexible tool and I doubled down on it. I put all the expertise that I had incorporating the systems and building them in notion, but more targeted to smaller teams or not teams to just people as myself. So when I saw how well it was working, the systems that I was creating by myself.
And that they were able to bring much more perspective to my life, to what I was doing to my goals and my objectives. And then I decided that more people should know about this thing that I have created. So that's when I decided to build on an online course and try to bring all these systems that I created into the systems thinking that I have developed through more than five years to bring it to everyone.
Great. So I just say you've developed this system thinking over a long period, more than five years. So can you tell me a bit more about that learning journey, like which problems did you face and how did it force you to come up with solutions and how did you arrive at those solutions?
So all of these I crafted during my time working in corporate and in the beginning, it was super hard to try to get the perspective that you need to say when you're building systems for multiple departments and all the different steps that every department needs to do and how they're linked together and everything.
So the way that I learned was through trial and error and I would say also it's trying to avoid the embarrassment that I will feel whenever I go to present the system that I have created. How embarrassed I will be when I say, okay, I don't know how to handle this. So that pressure and that accountability was the one that forced me to really learn the craft in and learn how everything, how everybody works and how to get the best out of the people, to the ecosystem that I created.
Nice. So yeah, I guess you were forced to learn, which is good in a way, but then also sometimes I guess you have to choose what to learn and what not to learn. So besides being told by your superiors, what to learn, how do you go about that? Like choosing what to learn about?
So normally, I'm very deliberate about what I learn, because at the end it's time that we are going to be using for, for this.
So I have three, three ways that I use for this. And first one, is this going to help me grow in this case? My business, the second is if this is related to something that I'm currently struggling with. So if it's going to help me solve some pain points that I currently have, and in the third one is, whether this interests me for that.
So if I find it interesting, even if it's useless, I will still pursue that. I will still decide to.
Yeah, that sounds like a good checklist. So once you've identified something you want to learn in that way, how do you go about deliberately learning that. Do you have a process for it as well?
I guess you have a process for everything.
Yes I do. But I also take learning as a lifelong thing. So it is not as structured as you may think. So it is mostly whenever I come across something related to some things, I go to some topic that I want to learn about. I would put it either in roam or in notion and then whenever I want to deeply research, that's all because to create a piece of content, by the way, the best way to learn anything is by creating.
Because whenever you are creating a piece of content, You have to put all your ideas in with a structure and its really when you just learn so much. So yeah, it would be basically when I create content when I'm mostly learning when I'm going to take all the bits of information that I have collected about a certain topic and put them all together into one and only know the best.
So the process is quite messy. Its just collecting information and then creating the content for all that information. There is not much more about it.
Yeah. I think learning is always a bit messy and I liked that you mentioned it's like a lifelong thing, right? The learning. So you mentioned, you use several tools like roam and notion. And since you also have a notion course, how do you inspire both your students, but maybe also other people around you to do lifelong learning and to set up their processes in a way that can benefit them optimally.
So I'm a big believer in self-awareness and it doesn't matter that it's me who, in these cases, the teacher who is telling you that something is important or something it's not, I always remind the students to say if this is doesn't fit your way of doing things, then you can change it in this other way.
So I'm always trying to make them be self-aware of how they operate because we all operating in very different ways. And so, I think just by having the self-awareness and even a criticism against what you are receiving as a, as a consumer, so in these case, quit criticizing what I'm teaching them.
I think those are amazing and ways to really learn how you want to learn and what you want to learn.
Yeah. I really liked that. Self-awareness sounds a bit related to metacognition metal learning as well. So do you have some tips on how do you become more self-aware about how to do things, how to learn things?
Probably in the context that we are.
I'm thinking that's simple awareness can even come if they will be intrinsic to the information that you were exposed to because by questioning it, you can kind of understand how you feel about it. And what are your thoughts and your opinions about what you're receiving? So, yeah, I think that that will be a very good step.
I haven't thought about this before.
Yeah. I mean, we often make things clearer to ourselves and we talk about them with our people. I think that's like a great benefit of these interviews as well. So, both in your years in the corporate and then where you had to basically figure out how to build a business by yourself, do you have a particular example of a learning challenge that you faced and then how you overcame that..
I think one of the biggest challenges that I've had and that you will relate to is because before I was living in China for two and a half years. And in China, a country that is so difficult to live in if you don't know the language because almost no one speaks English. So that was very challenging at first and in the way that I overcame it.
Because, if you don't want to learn Chinese, you can still use Google translate, or whatever translate. But I forced myself not to do it. I forced myself to always use what I was learning and if I couldn't speak, I will do gestures, it doesn't matter. But the rule was not to use Google translate. So again, this is how I overcame these learning challenges.
By forcing myself to use it. And there was no other way around it.
Yeah. I think the effing that's great. Like where you learn a language, you have to really use it. And I think like one of the definitions of fluency is also just, just being able to communicate what you want to communicate. Even if you don't know the words, if you can do it with gestures or find some way around it, that's still like fluency in a way.
Now, what is funny about this is that once I left China, I no longer had that necessity. So I just don't learn. So, this is to exemplify that this really works, to force yourself and to put yourself in a situation in which you need to use what you're learning in some very good motivator to learn and once that's of the picture.
Yeah, definitely. I mean, that's where you need systems to tell you what to learn. Maybe we should, which is what I'm doing. Cause I've been wanting to live in China, but I'm still not there. So I have to basically keep myself learning. We're having a system. So. What do you think?
Because information is growing very quickly and we are very often overwhelmed by all the knowledge and information that's out there. So what do you think is needed to in the future to keep benefiting from this increasing amount of information you as a, like a notion expert, what your view would be very interesting on that?
Yes, I think, and probably this answer may surprise you. That is vital by now with all the information that there is on the internet everywhere to have an assistant and angled system. I don't just mean to make your notion able to capture all that information and everything, but also our mental system and what I mean is to be very selective with the information that you let inside of your system, because information nowadays is infinite..
So, I can count with the fingers of my hand, the number of blog posts or pieces of information that I input into my system per week. I think it's no more than five before I was coming in, what I think is a mistake to save everything that seems really interesting. And then later I'm going to read it.
So I think being selective right now in just saving the stuff that really resonated is super-important but then, the system that you build in the backend can help you to create certain DBT into form new ideas. So for example, you are saving a ton of stuff or I don't know, or car manufacturing then, by a very quick search in notion by kind of manufacturing and you can see everything that you have saved about that and you can start connecting different ideas and that maybe they're even opposed ideas, and you can create new ideas of your own in that opposition. So, by having these digital systems that can allow us to aggregate all the knowledge that we have.
We can really create new ideas. So for me, this is the beauty and this is how I would like more people to use the information that we have on the internet, which again is more than enough.
Yeah, definitely. And I think, filtering is a huge challenge, but something that we just need to do. And I guess also getting comfortable with not being able to remember and use everything that we come across.
It has been really, really great Daniel, awesome interview. So I always ask, who do you think I should interview next for the series?
So the first thing that came to mind, I don't know if you know him, is Michael Artsoft? Cause I think he's a very intelligent human being and I really admire him.
He is always speaking about the Alexander Technique. I don't really know what it is, but I just know the name and, but if you search for him on Twitter, Michael Artsoft, and I think he's very interesting.
Awesome. Yeah. I'd like to get in touch with him and it's also talked about the Alexander technique.
And so Daniel, if people want to find out more about you are about your notion systems, other stuff that you do, what's the best way for them to find out.
Yeah. So, so all the information about my existence about my course and everything is in the notionacademy.com. And then the best way to reach out to me is on Twitter. TheCanosa, the C A N O S A is my Twitter handle. Everybody kind of DM me and I will always respond and I'm super open.
Awesome. All right. Thank you, Daniel, for the interview.