Working on my PhD was painful.

The entire education system seems to be preparing you for this time, when you’re finally able to stop consuming and start adding to the knowledge of humanity. When you’re finally expected to self-teach. To solve real problems. Ones where no one knows the answer to.

But by that time, my momentum had slowed considerably. The academic career no longer had any appeal to me, and both my research and my writing were stalled.

Even though it seemed that “all I had to do” was take a few months to get my work on paper, in “at least 100 pages”, I just couldn't move forward.

Why? As anyone who’s written a thesis, a novel, or any other large work: size matters when it comes to maintaining focus. I tried various word processors, outliners, mind-maps, wikis and tiddlywikis… but nothing I found helped me organize everything I needed to write, without also becoming instantly ovewhelming.

I did learn some things in my quest. Mind-maps taught me the value of consistent placement (the mind is great at spatial reasoning). Outliners taught me the power of hierarchy. And TiddlyWikis taught me the focus that comes from working with cards or chunks of content. Slowly, the idea of using a hierarchy of cards, without hiding any of them, started to take shape.

Since launching in 2013, Gingko has helped thousands of others with their thesis work, novels, fan-fiction, design specs, and hundreds of other uses.

To me, though, Gingko is just a small part of my overall goal. I believe that "wealth" isn't about money, it's about the freedoms we have through our fellowship as human beings.

My larger goal is to recreate for others the conditions that led me to inventing Gingko during my graduate studies : freedom & self-direction, combined with a basic stipend.

In this, I share the view of R. Buckminster Fuller:

"We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest."

"All we have to do" is to make that possible.

  • When I'm not working, I'm often with my wife (Jessica of Stark Skincare), and our son Zeno. Today's homeschooling lesson: flint tools!


Aleksey Kulikov

I want to thank Aleksey for his work in bringing Gingko to life.

For the first two years of Gingko's existence, from first line of production code in July 2012, through launch (August 2013), and for a year afterwards, Aleksey was co-founder & sole developer of Gingko.

In that time, he helped turn Gingko from being a design document in a Google Doc, to a full-fledged application, which thousands of people like you use daily.

Much had changed in our personal lives in that time as well. It was a tough decision, but in August 2014, it was decided that the best thing for Gingko, and for Aleksey personally, is that he return to freelancing.

If you have a clear software design in hand, Aleksey can help you bring it to life. You can find out more by visiting his homepage: alekseykulikov.com