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Mindjet Connect – SaaS for Mind Maps and Document Management


Mindjet announced their new, Mindjet Connect, this morning that takes mind mapping and document sharing from the desktop and email to a new, hosted environment the likes of Google Docs and Adobe’s


I haven’t gotten a chance to use it yet, but having seen a demo, the features are impressive. Indeed, they may even be overwhelming at first, so let’s whack it down to the simplest, most important parts:

  • Price – Mindjet Connect isn’t free, but it has a tiered pricing model that starts at $9/month to $22.49/month (why not just $0.50 or $23?). The Mac desktop applications also has a lower price of $129, which I still think is too expensive, but see below for 1.3+ million people (most on the Windows side, which costs more) who seem to disagree…or get better deals.
  • Online Repository – or “work spaces,” as Mindjet Connect centers around an online repository where you store documents (PDFs, Word, etc.) and mind maps. In this repository, you can add authors to a document, create groups, and do all the sort of other stuff you’d expect.
  • Collaborative – Mindjet Connect allows you to use you your existing Mindmanager software (after updating, of course) to work on mind maps with other people. This is analogous to how Google Docs, Zoho, and other online office application let multiple authors simultaneously edit documents.
  • Revision Tracking – Mindjet Connect does basic version control of documents and mind maps. For documents you track versions (I don’t believe there’s intra-document version tracking), where-as with mind maps, as you’d expect, it gets down to the node level with much more detailed tracking.
  • Web-based Mind Manager – adding to their strong desktop editor, Mindjet Connect ads in a Flash (Flex?) based mind map editor. This comes is included with all Mindjet Connect pricing tiers so, in theory, you don’t need to buy a copy of the desktop Mindmanager to use Connect.
  • Web Conferencing – this being the odd duck of the bunch, Connect has its own web conferencing. This makes sense from a “we want a full portfolio” perspective and, indeed, is an interesting statement about how close web conferencing is to being a ubiquitous feature, almost even a commodity.


The core challenge for Mindjet Connect as with all information worker SaaSes is getting people to switch from the Microsoft toolchain: email and Office. That mental grip on what an information worker’s day-to-day life should be like is cemented, but new offers have been slowly chipping away at it. Indeed, the recent “holy crap, this email thing is, like, killing us” scare shows a major crack in said cement.

And, of course, mind mapping just totally wigs some people out. They think is pure text. Of course, there’s an outline view in Mindmanager that sort of fits that, but jumping from plaintext to any sort of structure is a weird ride.

The other challenge is the lack of a free tier in their pricing model. We all know the so called “drug dealer” model of software marketing works well as a net for building out customer bases. Hopefully Mindjet will see fit to figure out a free package that will entice people to upgrade.

Mindjet’s Success

All that said, I was surprised to find out how successful Mindjet has been over recent years. Ever since talking with them for the first time back in 2006, I’ve thought mind mapping and, thus, Mindjet was fun, but totally niche technology. But, their success metrics indicate otherwise. According to their own facts and figures they’ve had 5 years of double digit growth, been profitable for 6 consecutive quarters, and have over 1.3 million users, and 20,000 new users each month(!). Perhaps the worries above are more vestigial than real. I’m not sure how many copies of Office are running around out there, but it’d be an interesting comparison (update: Tim points to a source that says there were 500M installs around April 2008). Also, check out several case studies and testimonials on their site.

They had the usual logo slide of “companies you’ve heard of” and told me that Mindmanager (their primarily tool) has done extremely well with word-of-mouth, viral spread. I believe it: pretty much at every conference I go to, at least one person peers over my shoulder and ask me what that tool is I’m using (Mindmanager) to take notes. They often whip out paper and pen and write down the product name and where to get it.

Recommendations: Integration, Promotion

As with all of these SaaS offerings, integrating with other SaaSes seems key to me. Working with Google Docs, with hosted Email, publishing to blogs and other online sites seems key to me. Otherwise, any offering runs the risk of being a SaaS-silo: only working with itself and its desktop applications.

Pulling on the marketing cap, it’d be great to see Mindjet setup and offer free, realtime collective note-taking at conferences. A mind map back-channel would be an interesting experiment across the board from the Square Corner Info Worker to the Round Corner Cool Kids.


I’m looking forward to seeing if Mindjet Connect will improve my day-to-day work. I’m extremely skeptical that I’d get any group advantage by getting the other RedMonkers to use it – they have their own tool fetishes as I do with mind mapping.

That said, the online storage repository, version tracking, and sharing features (supposedly, there’s a Flash widget for sharing mind maps – we’ll see) look great. And the price ain’t so bad: from $107.88 to $269.88/year.

We’ll see and be able to test out these demo-glow theories once I get an account and use it a bit.

Disclaimer: while Mindjet isn’t a client, they have given me a free copy of Mindmanager Mac for several years now.

Categories: Collaborative.

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5 Responses

  1. I think this is also a case where offline functionality is key. I'm normally a little skeptical of the prevalence of the "working from a plane scenario," but I could see being at a conference and having the internet go down. I'm dead if my notetaking app becomes unavailable in the middle of a presentation or a meeting.

    I also agree that having a various number of collaborative integration points is critical due. This is especially true due to the fact that there is no "free tier," as you stated. I personally do most of my brainstorming in MM, but my team uses Mediawiki. It would be great to pull a wiki page into MM, do all of my mapping, and export back to the wiki. Bonus points if they could take the wiki code and display a read-only mind map of its contents somewhere on the page. In fact, I'd settle for a REST interface to the webapp so I could build this functionality myself.

    Cedric HurstJune 17, 2008 @ 6:01 am
  2. Hi Cote, check out for a great Mind Mapping cloud app (supports collaboration, editing history, google gears offline, and save as .mm files). Pretty nice. Cheers, Jeff

  3. There are a TON of free mindmapping tools, just wondering what is the advantage in mindjet? I went through the website and couldn't see much the others didn't have.

    ankurJuly 21, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

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