Holy Springpad, Batman – I’ve been Sprung … and why I admit I’m now wrong!
Springpad has busted through the crowded marketplace of developers looking to be the sole provider of that one centralized virtual repository for our critical information, instantaneous thoughts & tasks like a juggernaut on a mission to be number one. Like an Olympic athlete laser focused on winning the gold medal for their country, Springpad has sprung above everyone else and importantly, differentiated themselves in a big and meaningful way. Like a mature thoroughbred looking to win the Kentucky Derby, they have galloped past their competition by scoring the trifecta of excellence: (1) leveraging key technologies in HTML5, iOS and Android platforms; (2) listening … truly listening to user feedback, and (3) applying lessons learned across multiple platforms to provide a seamless user experience no matter where you are in your daily life! Floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee, this platform once beaten up by me in my previous post on how it’ll never replace Evernote has snuck up on me landing a one-two knockout I wasn’t expecting … it has provided a definitive place in my life that allows it to have meaning and co-exist with Evernote is a very powerful way!
Here are the key areas I believe Springpad has differentiated itself: (1) Brainstorming a project with The Board; (2) Adding notebooks and tags; (3) Integration with Google Calendar; and (4) uniformity across multiple platforms.
Brainstorming a project with The Board
This is a game changer. This one enhancement not only leverages key technologies available in HTML5 and iOS platforms, but addresses a challenge that many of us have in transferring what we can feel and touch in the analog world and apply it in the digital world.
I love to brainstorm projects for both work and home on cork boards, whiteboards, and even vision boards. It allows me to visually see not only where I am, but importantly, where I need to go. When the iPad came out, I purchased an app called Corkulous. It allowed me to apply the thinking of a project in the digital world by “feeling” and “touching” sticky notes, photos, etc. to connect my ideas.
When Springpad released The Board it did something critical that I haven’t seen anyone else do right – leverage everything in your life from random thoughts, tasks, calendar events, notes, restaurants, maps, and content from the Internet in one centralized location and allows you to “touch” and “feel” these notes and stickies and tasks and ideas on a virtual board. Leveraging HTML5 and the iOS platform, you can have the same experience no matter where you are in the world.
Adding notebooks and tags
My big hangup in the older version, among others, was the lack of organization in Springpad. It took too long to create one simple note, didn’t have uniformity among platforms, and importantly, I never could understand the categories, types, and built-in apps organizational structure. It didn’t seem to grow organically with how we think and how we process data (or maybe it was just me).
Where Springpad now wins here is two-fold: (1) listening … truly listening and applying feedback provided by so many of it’s users – even the disenchanted ones like myself at one point; and (2) creating an organizational structure mapped around the way we organize, analyze, and process information in our minds.
In the analog world, I used to thrive off off of having many legal pads at my disposal, sticky notes, and of course Moleskine notebooks. In the virtual world, Evernote was the predominant champion here as it allowed for us to not only organize by notebook, but tag our notes with virtual sticky notes. What’s more, is the ability to add files to our notes, serving as virtual folders.
Springpad’s developers I believe heard this message loud and clear and ditched its apps in favor of notebooks and tags. This allows once more for a more seamless transition between the analog and digital worlds. Now, I can quickly choose what area of focus I’m currently involved in, and jump to the appropriate tag or even get things done with the tasks. It helps that the design is beautiful and it can be customized to your personal taste. While it doesn’t have a built-in OCR engine like Evernote (yet), I’m satisfied enough that I can upload my important PDF files and make a note about its importance. I’m not completely sold on Types and Categories, but one man’s confusion may be another’s solution.
Integration with Google Calendar
This will seal the deal for many people. This is where Evernote fails and where so many people wish the platform would win. The conversation need not be framed as a competition, as two of the commentators to my previous post said, but it does help to have a reference point to where people’s pain points and challenges are, and what we want out of a centralized virtual repository.
As you can see in the image, you can create an event in the web app (I did make a request to include this in the iPad and Android devices) and that event will magically show up on your Google calendar. You currently do not have the ability to create an event in your Google calendar and have it appear in Springpad, but I am sure if this is requested, they can figure out a way to make it happen. In the interim though, I’m pleased enough that while I am project planning, any events will show up in my calendar.
On a similar note, creating tasks has also become more meaningful now that there is Google calendar integration – providing you with one place to go to do project planning and task management. You can setup email and SMS reminders for your tasks so you’ll always remember what needs to get done and when.
Springpad has evolved in a big way and has differentiated itself in a very meaningful way for consumers searching for one centralized virtual platform to perform project management at home and work. In particular, by listening to it’s users, leveraging key technologies, and providing a uniform experience across multiple platforms, it now has a permanent place in my workflow … and I hope yours as well!