The .ideas file

The best way to a good idea is to have lots of ideas. Linus Pauling

If you're a regular terminal user, chances are you've had a stroke of inspiration while your command prompt was up.

I find plain text in Markdown to be the quickest way to record these spontaneous ideas. Here's one way to do it:

Create a hidden file called in your home directory.

$ touch ~/

Add an alias to your .bash_profile or .zshrc file so you can open the file quickly

alias idea="subl ~/"  # for Sublime Text users


alias idea="vim ~/"  # for Vim users

Now when you have an idea, just type

$ idea

at the command line to open up the file in your text editor.

What you put in this file is up to you. Mine looks something like this:


# Software
    - doomed startup idea 1
    - some feature for an open-source project
    - doomed startup idea 2
    - ...

# Blog posts
    - the .ideas file
    - stuff about nothing...
    - ...

You can do this for todo lists, schedules, or any other text document that you open regularly.

Please send comments by email. I welcome your feedback, advice, and criticism.