I had coffee with Dan Dobos last week who’s been busy launching his new business, in Australia, which is a wonderful web based marketing engine that combines offline and online seamlessly – eg a an enquiry from your website automatically generates a printed card that gets sent out. As an aside – It appears from the relationship I have with baristas in a variety of locations, that I spend half my life drinking coffee with people.
Anyway, Dan and I were discussing open source tools, and if you’ve read any of my articles before, you will know I am a bid advocate. But one area where I hadn’t done much research was mind-mapping tools. Mostly because I didn’t feel the need for them up until I started the Churchill Club and had to deal with emergent topics on a day to day basis. Traditionally I had used a product called free mind, which which was java based so it pretty much ran on any operating system plus it was open source, free of cost and it could be downloaded easily. Dan however was using a product called XMind which he strongly recommend.
I liked Freemind and had previously written about it here, but was willing to give the new product a go (hey its free so why not). So when I got back to the office, I downloaded a copy. To my surprise was almost instantly converted. Here’s why:
- Its Open Source – which means you can download and use it for free or even mess with the code if that’s your thing.
- It has a web based viewer – do you can plunk your mind maps up on your blog.
- You can embed mind maps with mind maps.
- You can also use it to draw Org Charts other special purpose maps.
- It has inbuilt a nice project management tool.
- You can import Freemind, Mind Manager and other common mind map formats.
- You can export your map as HTML (a web page), text, image or other MindMapping formats.
None of which (other than the import and export) Freemind can do.
And as a bonus to make me the consummate connected professional, It turns out to that if I give $6.99 to Simplemind I can also get access to the mindmaps I have whipped up on my iPhone using SimpleMindX whilst waiting for meetings.