Faceoff: Decks vs. Books vs. Post-it Notes

When should a set of information take the form of a deck, versus something else? Decks have capabilities no other form has. Let’s compare decks with two other dominant forms: books and post-it notes.

Faceoff: Decks vs. Books 

  • Books are for narrative storytelling when sequence matters vs. Decks are for capturing a complete set of possibilities and for situations where sequence does not matter or multiple sequences are valuable.
  • Books are organized for findability vs. Decks are organized for discovery.
  • Most “complete thoughts” are still contained in books and articles, but the world is changing quickly - we are unbinding knowledge. The internet has transformed us into multi-linked nodal consumers. We move from page to page, linked in myriad ways. Many books on the shelves of book shops and libraries probably could be more valuable if they were decks.

Faceoff: Decks vs. Post-its

  • Post-its start with a blank card vs. Decks start with a universe of options.
  • Post-its are generative vs. Decks are selective.
  • Post-its are an open set vs. Decks are a closed set.
  • In practice, Post-its draw upon the knowledge in a room vs. Decks bring expert knowledge a the room, while still leaving control over how that knowledge applies to the people in the room.