Love Affairs Come and Go. A Good App is Forever

paper clips attached to circle keyring

You might call me a serial dater. I fall in love quickly, get bored or flummoxed, then off to the next one I go.

Love affairs happen in all aspects of life and here, it’s software I’m thinking about. There are so many apps and so little time to figure them all out. Like human relationships, I stay involved with some apps way too long and then when I leave, there are hurt feelings all around.

Why I Can’t Commit

Just when I get comfortable with some software there is often a big change in direction. (Usually toward making more money.) The really good apps often get swallowed up by a bigger entity, or Apple makes their own version and because I’m lazy, it’s easier to just use that.

Perhaps it is just that I am curious to see how software is built, or what problems this company is trying to solve. So often, they are attempting to fix a problem that is easily handled somewhere else. Do we really need 30 different apps to organize photos?

Sure, I like wasting time, and I am always wondering if there is a better way. Even if I am deep into a to-do app like Things, some other shiny bit of software will come along and I’ll think, Oh, that one must be better. (Look below for a short list of apps I’ve left or am trying to hang on to.)

Why The Choice of Platform Matters

I know this about myself, and this is precisely why Beth and I were so deliberate with the

software platform we chose for our new Story Mode Learning Community. We’re so darn excited about this program we’re nurturing by taking the best of how we currently work with clients in real time, and putting that knowledge online in a way to spark discussion and creativity.

It all started years ago when we began teaching online. (We were early adopters and started teaching writing classes online in 2004.) For several years we had been with Teachable, a decent platform for delivering online courses. But Teachable is all about marketing and selling your course.

We needed a platform that was all about connecting.

Our criteria included:

CONNECTION. This is what our learning community is all about. How easy is it to jump right in and get involved. We needed something that fostered both connection and learning.

This is where our choice, Circle.so, shines. Its name is its purpose, and we love that.

In Circle, it couldn’t be easier to join an ongoing conversation or spark a private conversation with someone you don’t even know yet. In a Circle there is no hierarchy.

NEW FEATURES. The world is moving fast so software needs to be kept up to date. As users begin testing the program it becomes clear what’s missing or those “it would be great to haves.”

Make it move faster, take fewer steps to complete a task, or something you haven’t even thought of but now you can’t live without.

UPDATES. Yes, but not dumb ones. Sure, updates are vital to keep the platform dynamic. But don’t make me hunt and peck for a button because they thought it was better in the right corner when for the last year it was on the left.

EASE OF USE. This goes without saying. No time to learn how to code. I just want to make the button go where I want it to.

FUN, PRACTICAL LEARNING. We have our usual jam-packed full-length courses available right in the Circle. You can be taking the class on your own and still feel like you’re working with a cohort.

ZOOM BUT NOT ZOOM. We are living in a video world and Circle offers video everything. (An example is here.) We run live virtual sessions that are recorded for later viewing. And soon we will be running exciting live streaming sessions while we interview people who are smarter than we are.

REFLECTING THE STORY MODE STYLE. You know we care deeply about teaching style and are committed to keeping ours lively and entertaining. When you log into Story Mode Circle it will take you about 2 seconds to see our faces staring back at you to say welcome.

While we like to be silly sometimes, we are always serious about using storytelling and creativity better, and that’s really why Story Mode Circle exists.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly: IS IT WORTH YOUR TIME AND MONEY? We think so but you’ll have to be the judge. In building this community we’ve kept in mind how busy people are and how much there is to learn about using storytelling and creativity to succeed at work.

That’s why we think of it as Professional Development in 10 Minutes a Day. That’s really all it takes to dip into a conversation or a short, focused lesson.

This learning community is an absolute necessity if you are a creator in a department of one, or if you don’t have colleagues to chat with or informally share knowledge. One of our members recently talked about how the Circle is like a “knowledge multiplier” for him because he can reach and communicate with so many others tackling similar challenges.

Teams get special treatment too. Our unique team Creative Jolts and secure Clubhouses make it simple to collaborate as a team, take advantage of all the community learning, and interact with us.

I’m pretty sure my love affair with Story Mode Circle will endure. It just never gets boring.

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bonus: There are way too many to count, but here’s a list of some of the apps I’ve loved and some I’ve left:

Evernote-we all gave this one a try. Was one of the first note apps but didn’t keep up.

Roam-I fell in love with the idea of “backlinks,” but Roam required a little too much coding and time.

Airtable-I’ve been using Airtable for about ten years now. Every several months I just seem to forget about it. But Beth loves it so we’re using it a lot these days. NEWS FLASH: we are all in with Airtable and upgraded our subscription. Sometimes love can bloom again.

Day One-this is another app that I have used for a very long time and I just can’t seem to quit, even as I cheat on it. I went for years forgetting about this diary app and just picked it up again this year. I’m trying to use it several times a week right now.

Obsidian-I’m writing this within Obsidian–a similar notetaking app to Roam but I can do a lot without as much coding. Still, because it is so powerful, I find it sometimes overwhelming and wish I needed to do less setup. (Although, I do love playing with code, so I go down that rabbit hole a lot.)

GoodNotes-Ooh, I really loved this one for a while. You can draw, type, plop in images…you name it. I also used its competitors, about 3 or 4 other drawing apps. But the fascination of using an Apple pen on my iPad has passed.

Ulysses–great writing app. But Obsidian replaced it for me. Update: this app has just added a number of great features so I will have to revisit it.

Things–I wish I was better about to-do lists. This is a great app, but I just can’t seem to be that organized.

Bear–again, love the Bear icon, but as a notes app, it just didn’t speak to me.

What app or software have you loved and left?

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