As mentioned previously I took the chance to correct an omission from my last trip to San Francisco and called in to see the Mindjet (MindManager) team.
As we approached San Francisco (from Orlando) I was listening to the Pilot Communication Channel on the aircraft. I was surprised United let you do that post 9/11 but it was one of the entertainment channels. As we were cleared to land the pilot got the usual call with approach details, runway assignment and std question “Do you have the airport in sight?”. His response was rather unusual; “Yes, we have the runway, I can see my car in the parking lot ready for a perfect weekend” which got a laugh from the controller.
After a quick trip to the city in the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit – light rail) I jumped on the Larkspur Ferry. As the pilot's response indicated it was a stunning day and the harbour was sparkling. As we passed Alcatraz and Angel Island, with the view extending beyond Golden Gate Bridge, I thought I’ve never seen San Francisco with it’s infamous fog!
The Mindjet Office is only a short walk from Larkspur Ferry Landing beside a rather large brick chimney – remains of a former brick-works. I first met Michael Scherotter (Business Solutions Architect). It was great to see, in person, someone I’ve known “virtually” for a couple of years. Michael has a background in Architecture/CAD Software but his Mindjet role involves researching/prototyping potential business applications for MindManager.
You can find his work at the experimental Mindjet Labs site including the second generation of the Design Web Format (DWF) Smart Map Part that initiated our email conversation. I hope some of the DWF based development mentioned at Autodesk University will increase the potential user base for MindManager in the CAD field. Combining project and CAD Data (DWF format) in maps is a powerful way to track and share complex project information.
Michael introduced me to Michael Jetter (Co-Founder & CTO) – who I’ll call Mike in this post to save confusion – & Scott Quinn (Senior Product Manager). They asked how I used MindManager and listened, very patiently, to me rant on for ages. While I was showing them my maps, jumping all over the place the way you can’t in PowerPoint, Mike showed me how F3 (focus topic) saves a lot of zooming/manipulation even if not using the map in presentation mode. I used that tip at home as transcribed my AU notes (done as hand drawn maps because I still don’t have a Tablet PC…) to MindManager and presented them at a briefing.
I must admit I went to say hello, maybe learn a little more about MindManager, but was not expecting to demo how I use it to the guy who created it! I hope they learnt something from the raving Kiwi MindManager fan!
It was great to meet Mike as I had heard him on several Podcasts and knew a little about the unique circumstances that lead him to create MindManager from a Business Week article.
On returning home I ordered The Cancer Code, a book which details how Mike, Bettina & their team built Mindjet/MindManager into the business it is today. It arrived just before Christmas and I read it over the past couple of days.
It’s recommended reading; MindManager is remarkable software and is the result of a remarkable personal journey.
The Cancer Code – by Mike and Bettina Jetter with Hobart Swan
How a journey through leukemia led to software that changed the way how people work.