Tiago Forte: What’s Next in Education

Tiago Forte: What's Next in Education North Star Podcast


My guest today is Tiago Forte. He runs an online course called Building a Second Brain, which I took in August of 2017.

I went from being overwhelmed by information to being in control of it. My writer’s block disappeared and my productivity skyrocketed. Tiago changed the way I thought about work and my relationship with information.

Fast forward to today, and Tiago and I are business partners. He helped me create my online writing course, Write of Passage and together, we’re building the infrastructure required to scale an online education business. Tiago is one of my closest friends and the person who shaped my career more than anybody else.

In what’s becoming a tradition, Tiago and I used this podcast to reflect on our work together. First, we talked about what we’ve learned about email marketing. Then, we moved onto ideas like leadership, working in small packets, and personal growth. Please enjoy this window into our work and friendship.

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Find Tiago online:

Forte Labs

Building a Second Brain

Tiago’s Twitter

Other links:



Great Assistant

No code 


The Decadent Society 

David Allen- Getting Things Done 

Venkatesh Rao 


Tyler Cowen- Emergent Ventures 


1:54 Being a Citizen of the Internet. The role that ConvertKit provides for Tiago’s team. How thinking systematically changes how we work for the better.

14:05 The difference between training and teaching through SOP’s. Why David and Tiago hired expensive personal assistants. Why David and Tiago have the goal of only doing something once before finding an automation solution. 

27:07 What David and Tiago have learned about running online courses. How online teaching has changed since Tiago and David began their school. What role entertainment and community have in the structure of their courses.

35:05 The dangers of only formulating for ease. The psychology of pricing. The benefits of small, self-motivated teams when you work remotely.

45:05 How “reusable packets” are the backbone of David and Tiago’s work. The “lego block” technique of creating content. How Tiago orients using objects, not humans as linchpins in his business. How David writes first and researches second. 

56:33 How the “beginner’s mind” aids David and Tiago write well. How David takes 5 observations a day to create deep and insightful content. 

1:04:00 Why books are a mark of legitimacy. The illogicality of fashion. Why publishers want a sure bet.

01:11:40 The next chapter of online education. How scarcity can make time important again. Tiago’s theory about how you to be your full self online now. How instinct works online.

1:23:40 The hero’s journey of sharing your authentic self online. How Tyler Cowen’s mentorship changed David’s life. How Venkatesh Rao changed Tiago’s life.

1:33:22 The shift from interchangeable courses to interesting and specific courses. Why Forte labs is creator-focused, not curriculum-focused. Why building a business is an act of discovery at Forte Labs.

1:42:16 Why David and Tiago are looking for people who have vision combined with passion. Why innovation is directly related to intuition. How to learn faster.

1:53:43 How growth is paying attention to what you are not capable of doing. The skill of knowing the difference between a challenging situation and a fundamentally incompatible one. How the internet can help people create their own definition of success.

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