Question

What software changed how you think and work?

Most new software adds a slight new twist to the way you already work—perhaps it helps you send email faster or add notes automatically, but generally works in the same way as other tools in the category.

Then other software comes along that changes your expectations and way you work entirely. Gmail's labels and seemingly unlimited storage, Dropbox' auto-syncing folder, and more were some early takes at rethinking a category and making you use software in entirely new ways.

What software have you used that changed the way you work and interact with other software the most?

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Gully1965's avatar

In 1990 my sister, knowing how I think, showed me Inspiration software on an Apple laptop. The software was designed for mindmapping, a concept I did not know. This led me to Tony Buzan’s books and I became a ardent mindmapper, which I’ve continued to this day. Since then I’ve played with a lot of mindmapping software products and I’m now using X-Mind mostly. Roam Research with its knowledge graphs has my attention but I have not taken the leap. I do use Notion and like their addition of backlinks, which I’m using. Having a visual representation (as I think RR has) would be nice. I‘ll soon be 74 and continue to mindmap books that are rich in content. Currently rereading “The Black Swan” and mindmapping it using X-Mind. Love how mindmapping a book lets you watch your knowledge grow. At first you are adding a lot of new concepts but then the pace slows as you only add what is new. Looking forward to learning about other visual thinking tools.

4 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @Gully1965 )
21d

That's an incredible story, thanks for sharing @Gully1965! Curious: Did you typically outline ideas before you started mindmapping, or did you have another approach to organizing your thoughts previously?

I feel like I've never gotten mindmapping to stick outside of using it for brainstorming sessions, though as you mentioned, Roam-style backlinks start approximating it just with linked text without you having to think about the design side.

1 point
Gully1965's avatar
@Gully1965 (replying to @maguay )
21d

Yes, small steps. I’m looking for something that can read an article (someday a book and sometime in the future the entire internet)) and capture the key concepts (usually nouns or short phrases) and display these along with their relationships. I think RR has such a vision.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @Gully1965 )
21d

Oh wow, that'd be awesome. The closet thing to that today is crowdsourced top highlights on sites like Goodreads, where you can typically see the core topics from the book based on quotes and highlights others have shared.

1 point
bradledford's avatar

MySQL. Back in the 80s and 90s, relational databases were incredible complex and expensive, stifling innovation and a barrier to entry for young programmers and entrepreneurs just looking to build smaller solutions to smaller software problems. MySQL came on the scene as a cute but "not very serious" option for creating small applications on the SQL language. Quickly, it went from not very serious to legitimate threat to the SQL Server, Oracle, and similar enterprise DBs. Much of the early software 2000s would likely not have been build if it weren't for the "M" in the LAMP stack; MySQL.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @bradledford )
21d

@wbbradley That's a great answer. It's tough to imagine a world without MySQL today, with it powering so much, from self-hosted web apps like WordPress to far larger applications. Even Oracle acquiring it didn't change its trajectory. Seems like the original mindset shift would have been with SQL itself, and then MySQL made that accessible to everyone.

And then you had the shift to NoSQL, flat-file data storage rather than databases. What's your take on that and whether we'll see MySQL and more similar databases be used less in the future?

1 point
luckypython's avatar

EC2. In 2006, when I got a running Linux box with root access and a public IP in a couple of minutes, I was blown away. So much so that I moved from Chicago to Seattle and joined Amazon.

2 points
AmandaSabreah's avatar

For me, Notion. It completely changed the way I take notes, organize information, share information, and publish information to the public.

I was generally pretty organized before using Notion - however, now I'm organized and streamlined on steroids. My management of Notion has also changed how I manage my calendar, and restructured the way that I think and break down problems.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @AmandaSabreah )
12h

Neat to hear! What were you using for notes before?

1 point
AmandaSabreah's avatar
@AmandaSabreah (replying to @maguay )
9h

Tried lots of apps before, nothing stuck! What stuck the most was creating folders inside of my icloud notes app. Still pull it out to brainstorm then transfer notes over to Notion.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @AmandaSabreah )
9h

Yeah it's weird—Apple Notes has so few features, but it works well enough it ends up being the spot I put lots of more personal notes (and sketched notes on iPad). Say I'm furniture shopping and need room dimensions and a photo of the room—Apple Notes is perfect for that.

1 point
bohdan_kit's avatar

Figma. It makes you think like a designer even when you're not intending to.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @bohdan_kit )
17d

Interesting! What are some of the ways you noticed it pushing you to think like a designer? And had you used other design tools (Photoshop, Sketch, etc.) previously?

1 point
bohdan_kit's avatar
@bohdan_kit (replying to @maguay )
16d

When working on new product ideas, I started to pay more attention to a user’s overall emotional journey rather than the pure rational side of things.

Sketch/Photoshop have similar effects. But web-based nature, collaboration, and community features really make the difference.

1 point
sudheer's avatar
15d

Clickup

I work as a digital marketing manager at a small b2b company. We were using asana mostly for managing our projects for years. But we didn't have a good structure in it and it seemed a bit complex for beginners to understand it. Last year, when everything changed due to the pandemic, we were looking into other businesses and trying to diversify our offerings. We tried another tool similar to asana called Clickup that helped us setup a structure that's easy to use and follow. Clickup has a hierarchical way of setting up things from spaces to folders to lists. We created different spaces for our teams and a central space for everyone to look at the company objectives and follow the progress. It completely changed the way we work and process information as a team.

0 points
Shirapodr1's avatar

I work at Spike (so I might be a tad biased ;)), but I started using the app before I started working there and I can honestly say that it changed the way I think and work.

For years emailing was my least favorite way of communication- which was problematic considering the fact that it is probably the most common wayto do so.
I feared checking my inbox cause I knew I had at least 1,000 unread email at all times and couldn't keep track of all the treads I had.
Spike solved all of these problems for me. It's a conversational email that displays your conversation in three modes (to your preference)- 'People', 'Subject' and 'Inbox', making it super easy to clear inbox clutter and keep track of your emails and assignments. Other than that Spike has a bunch of tool for collaborative work like online shared notes and tasks, build- in calendar, group chats, built- in templates and more.
From being a person who uses a bunch of different apps to get any project done I have transformed all of my workspace into one app that has managed to meet all my needs and I love it :)

0 points
How have your note taking habits changed over time?

As tools like Notion have combined notes with every other app feature you could want, the iPad and Galaxy Notes have digitalized handwritten notes, and Roam Research has made backlinking and buildi...

What software changed how you think and work?

Most new software adds a slight new twist to the way you already work—perhaps it helps you send email faster or add notes automatically, but generally works in the same way as other tools in the ca...

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