Taking mind-maps to the next level with Learn Anything

Hello, who are you and what are you working on?

I'm Nikita Voloboev and I'm building Learn Anything, a platform for knowledge discovery that helps you understand any topic through the most efficient paths, as voted by the community.

I initially started the project at university as a big mind map to organize topics I knew about. And after posting the project on Reddit, I found Angelo (https://github.com/nglgzz) and we built a search engine for the mind maps in the form of a website.

Now, the project has a bigger goal of how to solve the problem of learning via the most efficient path possible.

Why did you start Learn Anything?

I wanted to organize my knowledge and keep track of resources and topics I learned about and wanted to learn about. I had been using mind maps extensively for a long time already, and the next step was to prototype a search engine for them. I have a blog post that goes over the history of the project with lots of detail.

What were the early days like?

It was difficult and exciting at the same time as it was the first web project I ever worked on. Angelo wrote most of the code and I created all of the mind maps. 20 days after that first post to /r/InternetIsBeautiful on Reddit, it had 10,000 upvotes, 3000 stars on GitHub and a basic search engine working. I was very excited about the future of Learn Anything.

How have you grown Learn Anything's usage?

We shared the project on Product Hunt where it currently has just under 2800 upvotes and us being mentioned by the FreeCodeCamp founder, Quincy Larson, helped the project grow.

How have you gotten other contributors involved?

We made sure to write clear contributing guidelines on GitHub and created a Discord server where people can ask questions if something isn’t clear. We also made and shared our roadmap and vision for the project.

How do you manage the workload and the community?

Another reason for starting the project was my dislike towards my university and traditional education. So I spent all my time on Learn Anything and later dropped out of my CS degree. My passion for productivity and tooling paid off in making the time I did spend on the project much more impactful. Specifically, my Karabiner keybindings help me to work much faster.

What are the biggest obstacles you've had to overcome?

The biggest obstacle is finding the time and funding for the project. The ideas and vision are there. We do want to build a website that is available to all without any cost attached and keep it open source. But that is a hard thing to do and we are still struggling to find a way to do this.

What advice do you have for other open source projects?

Build something that solves your problem. Don’t focus on the tools and technology but use the tools to solve the problem you want to fix. And if the technology or tool doesn’t exist, go and create it.

And of course, don’t neglect sleep, proper food, friends and family.

To find out more about Learn Anything, you can visit their website, follow them on Twitter, or star the project on GitHub.

They also have a Patreon page where you can sponsor the work; they only need to reach $100 per month to cover their hosting costs, so consider sponsoring them if you want to help them create the most efficient paths to learning anything.