Thursday, January 3, 2008

Mappio- What's It All About?

I had the opportunity to interview Alexander Uslontsev the developer of, a unique web site where you can to upload and share your FreeMind and MindManager mind maps for free. is a great resource for mind mappers who are interested in learning how others are using mind maps in their work and personal life.

Brian Friedlander:
Can you share with us a little bit about your background and how you got started using mind mapping?

Alexander Uslontsev: I work for a software company in Seattle and I needed to manage tons of information on a daily basis. I got really addicted to information management tools, Wikis, issue tracking, mind mapping applications – you name it. I tried anything that could increase my productivity. That's how I got hooked on mind mapping.

BF: Can you share with us what is and how you envision it being used?

AU: I am still looking for the perfect slogan that could describe Mappio in few words. How about "YouTube for Mind Maps" :) ? Seriously, Mappio is a mind map library. It's free and open for everyone. Just like in any other electronic library you can browse existing mind maps, you can download them to your computer or you can share your own mind maps with the public.

BF: What need to you feel you are serving with your website?

AU: Mappio serves few different but very important needs. First, if you are a FreeMind or MindManager user, you get interactive web access to all you maps. Its read-only, but it is enough in most cases. Second, if you are a mind mapping beginner, you can use Mappio to browse mind maps for new ideas and layout samples. Third, it's a great way to convert text notes into mind map (this is how I use it :). And last, if you are a mind mapping professional, you can use Mappio to promote your maps, templates or services.

BF: In the short time that has been up and running how many mind maps have been uploaded to the site?

AU: Right at this moment we have 993 maps. I feel like I need to upload few more just to make it to the even number. After the initial launch I see 10-20 uploads daily. About half of all uploads are marked as "public" and visible to everyone.

BF: What kind of comments are you getting about the site?

AU: I get a healthy mix of positive comments about functionality and negative comments about banners taking up valuable space. People like the site but do not want to see advertising.

BF: Are users asking for other features when they upload their mind maps and if so what are they?

AU: Yes, of course they ask for new functionality. Actually two recent features - private maps and support for mind maps in JPG format – were implemented because several users asked for it.

BF: In summary- what are the key points and features of and where do you see it going in the future?

AU: My message to your readers – just try it. If it works for you – its great, and if it does not – drop me a note at and I will see what I can do.

The site is still very new and it is hard to predict how it is going to look in a year. Just in last 4 months the site as morphed from a tool to convert text notes into mind map into full featured online library that supports two most popular mind mapping formats.

I can see that the site's popularity is growing – and that's what important to me. I will do my best to keep it up with user expectations.

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