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How I use MindManager and Topicscape together

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I’ve mentioned in a few places that I use MindManager and I have been asked about this a few times and how I use it, given my association with Topicscape, so here’s the answer.

I use MindManager when I have a small, discrete area, project or topic I  want to map.  A concrete example – I’ve got a telecon tonight with an  academic who wants to discuss a couple hundred licenses.  I have only had  inquiries about academic licenses from individuals before and they were  easy – a straight discount if they had an email address with .edu, .ac or similar in it.  (Not surprising really, as we have a free student edition.)  But for a bulk purchase I needed to think  through all the options about support; academic + bulk discounts; who owns  the license; sell a subscription or sell a license; and a few other things.


This can be done in Topicscape, but I knew it was probably going to be no more than  20 or 30 nodes.  A 2D mindmap is fine, and if it becomes bigger so that it no longer fits on my screen, I’ll import it to Topicscape, which can read a MindManager .mmap file directly and translate it to 3D.  Even as I’m  writing this I realize I need to think about how the subscription would be  implemented if they like that option, how the web site needs to change to  deliver this, how we would renew a subscription — I’m mapping that as I write.

Then it becomes the basis for developing future academic pricing policy,  based on experience with the first one, sales plan to reach out to tertiary  education institutes, and development plan to meet specific educational  needs.  Or it might become an anchor for a post mortem discussion – why did  we not get this sale, how will we change, sales plan again?  Because it’s  not in the bag yet.

None of this is very Buzan.  It’s more MindManager-style business mapping.  Long  phrases per node, an occasional relevant web page.

But once I start gathering information, making concrete notes, planning the actual implementation, I’ll be importing the mind map into Topicscape and using it as the mind mapping information organizer it is.

Another example is different.  I’m planning a new web site on a specific  area of use of Topicscape.  I am slowly building a more Buzan-like mind  map over a period of weeks, visiting it  only occasionally as new areas come to mind.  No pretty colors though – I’m not trying to learn something, or show related  areas to other people – but one word per branch (two at most).  Because I find  that sometimes, just sometimes, that really makes thinking a topic through  more rigorous and opens up pathways that would get blocked by longer  phrases.

It’s unlikely that I would ever put that one into Topicscape.  Hold on … having  written that, I might, just to see what effect it has on my thinking.

Often I start in Topicscape straight away, especially if I know it’s going  to grow quickly, or I already have files, websites and notes to pull together, or a hierarchy of folders already organised that I just want to see more clearly, and more at once.

Sometimes, with my developers, we sit round a table with a piece of A3 paper  in the middle and map on that, or with clients I map in front of a flipchart,  but more often with MindManager.  I just did the latter with the developers,  looking at how we would implement the subscription model.


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