Liam Hughes, the founder of Biggerplate.com, has been making some big moves to grow the world of mind mapping. In the last few months, he has acquired Mappio.com, the leading gallery of hand-drawn mind maps on the web, has launched a series of training videos covering the basic functionality of many of the major mind mapping programs and a new training directory, and has announced his first North American Biggerplate Unplugged conference, which will be held in San Francisco in March, 2014.
Liam is a pretty darned cool guy. I’ve had the privilege of meeting with him a number of times via Skype, and I pleased to report that he’s quite passionate about mind mapping and its possibilities. As a business person, he also has a keen eye for opportunities to expand the practice of visual mapping. I’m happy to see Liam taking these significant steps to help grow the mind mapping space!
Let’s take a closer look at each initiative:
Mappio.com was one of the first mind map galleries ever launched on the web, in 2007. Over time, it quickly evolved into the place to share hand-drawn mind maps on the web. Todday, it hosts a variety of software-produced mind maps, including a collection of maps saved in a propriety Mappio format.
When attendees at one of Hughes’ Biggerplate Unplugged conferences asked why his large mind map gallery didn’t host hand-drawn mind maps and lamented that there wasn’t a Biggerplate equivalent for them, the light bulb went on in Liam’s head. He toyed with the idea of creating a new website, but opted to acquire rival mind map library Mappio.com instead.
What’s interesting to me is what Liam plans to do with Mappio.com. Rather than just merge its database of mind maps together with Biggerplate.com, he plans to keep it separate and have his development team rebuild it with the same architecture that powers Biggerplate.com. Mappio.com will be dedicated exclusively to hand-drawn mind maps, while Biggerplate.com will continue to focus exclusively on digital mind maps. Both sites will share a single login.
You can read more details about this acquisition on the Biggerplate Blog.
Last month, at the Biggerplate Unplugged mind mapping conference in Utrecht, The Netherlands, Liam announced the launch of a new trainer directory on the Biggerplate website, where individual trainers and small businesses can promote their mind map training services to a global audience. They can create and maintain their own listings including images, web links and service information, and can generate business leads direct from the website.
In August, Liam launched a new series of 2 minute mind mapping software tutorials, designed to help users of mind mapping software to get the most out of their program of choice. Videos cover basis and advanced functionality, and Liam plans to add new videos to this growing library every week.
Programs covered include ConceptDraw MINDMAP, DropMind, iMindMap, MindGenius, Mindjet and XMind.
Liam launched this service in response to feedback from the mind mind mapping community that indicated that many people wanted help learning about mind mapping software and how to use it. I watched several of the videos Liam produced, and they’re quite good. As it expands, this will become a valuable resource; it’s also a natural complement to Biggerplate.com’s new mind map trainer directory.
Biggerplate Unplugged events
At the time of this writing, Biggerplate.com has held mind mapping conferences in London, Paris and Utrecht, The Netherlands. The first North American event is scheduled for San Francisco in March, 2014.
Each step of the way, Liam has listened to his community of mind mappers, responding to their feedback and making each new conference better than the last. His commitment to giving attendees a strong voice in helping shape these events is truly impressive. For example, attendees told him that they wanted to hear perspectives from the larger sphere of visual thinking; the Utrecht event included Saskia Smet, who focuses on visual approaches in the workplace. The San Francisco event will also feature several speakers who will address mind mapping’s role within the broader visual arena.
Anticipation is running high for the San Francisco event, and Liam reports that ticket sales have been going well, even at this early stage. Unfortunately, I may not be able to make it to that event due to some other commitments. Liam has said he plans to hold another North American conference in Chicago in 2015, which is much closer to my home in Wisconsin.
Best of luck to Liam and his team in all of their new ventures!