I managed to get an interview with Steve Yang from XMind and I'm excited to share it with you. Xmind produces Mind Mapping software with both free and paid versions.
Here's the quick backstory:
I've been using Xmind for the last 6 or 7 years and have been really happy with it, but I wanted to make sure that I was still using the best software, so I thought I'd put it to the test.
That led me to do a series of 7 mind mapping reviews, which I aptly dubbed 7 Reviews in About 7 Days (That link goes to YouTube so you can check them out).
I had a great time trying out all sorts of software and apps.
In the end, I was STILL very impressed with XMind, and it got me talking to their Marketing Manager Steve.
I asked a million questions and got some great answers, so I thought I'd share some of the results. We talk about a new version, iOS/Android, free and paid versions, and much more.
Here's the interview:
Why the free version?
Kevin: I’m blown away by what XMind offers in the base version. I guess my question is, why do you give so much away for free?
Steve: In my opinion, mind mapping is an very intelligent way to boost productivity and creativity. However, we know that most software tools are hard-to-use or very expensive. In 2008, we decided to release XMind as open source. So we made that decision to offer a free XMind with all basic mind mapping features.
The current version, XMind 2012, is powerful and easy-to-use and plays well for multiple contexts.
Any new mind mapping products in 2013?
Kevin: You released a new version of XMind in 2012. Can we expect something new to be released in 2013?
Steve: Yes, we’re working on XMind 2013 right now and trying to bring some big changes. We hope to release it at middle of this Year. But I’m afraid that I can’t offer you more details for the moment.
PS: I would love to share the XMind 2013 Beta version with you when it's available.
Kevin: AWESOME!!!!! YES!!!! …. We'll be doing a review on that for sure.
OK, back to the interview.
Can we expect an iOS or Android app?
Kevin: A big question I’ve been wondering is whether you’re working on an iOS or Android app? iThoughts works to a certain point, but I'd like an option that syncs my desktop with my iPhone. An actual XMind app would be amazing.
Steve: First of all, thank you for this advice. Actually, we are always wishing to have mobile versions. But due to limited resources, we have put off the deadline for some time. Now, we’re hiring the iOS developers and making the development plan.
Kevin: This is huge news. I can see the addition of a mobile app to make XMind 10X more productive.
What else is happening?
Kevin: Is there anything else you're currently working on that you can share with us?
Steve: For this moment, we are also working on new website, German blog, social networking campaign and of course updating the Blog. For the new website, we are trying to make some new designs for better experience. Now, Amy, our new staff member, has restarted our social networking campaign by taking charge of XMind's Facebook and Twitter account. At the same time, we will posting about 2 articles per month to the blog.
XMind Pro vs. XMind Free
Kevin: Can you give us an idea of the differences between XMind and XMind Pro?
Steve: The difference between XMind and XMind Pro is actually the different features.
XMind Pro is designed for advanced mind mappers. They can apply XMind Pro to multiple business contexts for higher productivity and creativity, such as project management, meetings, brainstorming etc.
XMind free is a lightweight mind mapping software. Even though XMind free might be looked at as “entry level,” it is an easy-to-use tool for organising ideas, decision making, to-do lists, and so on.
Kevin: Thanks for differentiating. I actually think XMind free is very powerful, but I liken XMind Pro to being a monster. The added features make it amazing for people wanting to be productive…. but of course, I'll let you build up the product. I'm just a fan….. onward…
Kevin: My next question is about a feature in XMind Pro called Advanced searching. How will that benefit readers who are considering going with XMind Pro?
Steve: Working with the advanced searching feature, we can find what we want quickly and easily. By choosing the search option and filling in the search objective, XMind will list the result with its entire path. We can double click that target and see it in the map area.
If you are using XMind Pro to design a large project, you can find and amend the target task quickly. If there are multiple sheets of notes and you need to find some key points, the advanced search feature can handle that too.
How easy is it to upgrade?
Kevin: If someone already has XMind installed on their computer, how easy is it to upgrade to XMind Pro?
Steve: In fact, XMind and XMind Pro are one package software. That is to say, XMind can be upgraded to XMind Pro directly without any other download, installation or personal settings. For lifetime purchase, you can activate XMind Pro by clicking “Help-License” and filling in the registered email and license. For subscription mode, XMind Pro is activated once you log in with the authorised XMind ID.
Copying only parent nodes
Kevin: Is there a way for me to copy a node, or one level of nodes, without having all the child thoughts included too? Sometimes I just want to copy the main ideas from a map, and right now, I have to copy them, and then delete anything that’s tabbed in underneath.
Steve: Sorry for that. Taking nodes and their child node as one unbroken part is a feature in XMind. I’m afraid that we can’t cope a node, or one level of nodes without the child thoughts directly at present. But there is a workaround for your consideration, copying the target nodes after deleting their child nodes.
Kevin: I would love to see an automated backup system incorporated into XMind (like yWriter where it automatically backs up every time you use it). Since I use XMind for business, backups are important. Is there any chance of this happening in the future?
Steve: Thank you for this advice. Actually, we’ve added the reversion feature, which supports the users to check and revert to the older versions. For automated backup system, I would love to recommend a cloud-saving service, like Dropbox for your consideration, which we use a lot.
Kevin: I want to say thanks again to Steve Yang, the Marketing Manager with XMind Mind Mapping. Thanks for answering all the questions. It's been a real pleasure.
How to contact XMind
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