Biggerplate, the world’s largest online community of mind mappers, recently launched a new Plus level of membership that’s designed to help new mind mappers get up to speed quickly with their tool of choice. It’s focused on education resources, including e-learning courses, webinar recordings and live virtual events.
I recently spoke with Biggerplate founder Liam Hughes to learn about the thinking behind this new, affordable membership level, how it meets the needs of new mind mappers, and how it will be improving its offerings to Pro members.
Chuck Frey: What made you decide to create the new Plus level of Biggerplate membership?
Liam Hughes: We had been thinking for a long time about the different types of members we have at Biggerplate, and the different mind mapping experience levels and intentions represented in our community of over 260,000 members.
We were sometimes in danger of simplistically viewing our member community as one big group called “mind mappers,” when in fact, there are many sub-groups and different types of mind mapper within the community. Last year, we started to review nearly every aspect of the website, including the different features, resources, and membership benefits we offer, and for each item ask ourselves “Who is this for?” as a prompt to think about the many different types of members in our community.
This process led us to focus on two specific member types: those who are relatively new to mind mapping software and those who regularly create and share mind map resources (templates, videos, courses, events, etc.). We imaginatively labelled the first group “New Mappers” and the second group “Creators.”
The “New Mappers” group is large and probably makes up the majority of people finding and joining Biggerplate these days. Many of these people have just started to use a particular mind mapping software and are looking for ways to speed up the learning curve and make the tools work for them as soon as possible. They want to see what’s possible with mind mapping, and they want to see real-world uses of mind mapping by people who do work like they do, rather than just marketing videos from software vendors.
The second “Creator” group is much smaller but is really the heart of our community. They provide much of what makes Biggerplate a useful place. They upload mind maps, they present at our events, they share mind mapping videos, create collections and more.
Once we focused on these two key groups, it became clear that we were pitching our Pro membership to both, even though the needs and intentions of the two are quite different. Furthermore, we’d put a lot of learning-focused resources in with some great Creator-focused functionality, and labelled it “Pro” membership, perhaps implying it was a membership for experts only.
So, we decided to create a new middle-tier membership specifically for that New Mapper group, where the core focus and membership benefit is access to the learning resources we have at Biggerplate, such as our e-learning courses, webinar recordings and live virtual events.
Frey: How does the focus of Plus membership differ from Biggerplate Pro membership?
Hughes: Biggerplate Plus membership is focused on learning resources, whereas Biggerplate Pro (our top-level membership) is focused on helping more experienced mind map users and creators to share resources and showcase their work.
What that means in practical terms is Biggerplate Plus members get access to resources that are specifically intended to help them go further with mind mapping, like e-learning courses, live virtual events and video replays of previous webinars (over 200 and counting).
Biggerplate Pro members still get access to all those learning resources, but also have additional options to help them share their own mind mapping resources, like collections, videos and events.
Frey: Plus membership sounds like a heck of a deal for people who are interested in learning more about mind mapping – $9.99 a year for access to over 100 webinars and learning sessions. Do Plus members also get complementary access to your live learning sessions?
Hughes: It’s really amazing value when you consider that there are single mind mapping courses on Udemy selling for $50+, whereas on Biggerplate you can instead get unlimited access to multiple e-learning courses, live events and that huge webinar archive for just $9.99/year. Importantly, there are new resources being added constantly, so what you’re getting for that $9.99 will increase and improve continuously over the course of a year, with new e-learning courses, live events and webinar recordings being added.
And yes, a key benefit of Plus membership is access to ALL of the live virtual events we run at Biggerplate, and of course, all of the session recordings if you’re unable to join live! You can view the full events calendar here: https://www.biggerplate.com/events
Frey: How, specifically, will the reconfigured Pro level better meet the needs of creators and experts?
Hughes: First of all, we need to better communicate the existing Pro membership benefits to those who already have it, and Creators who might be interested in it. We have a lot of functions in Pro membership that many people don’t know about. For example, if you have a YouTube channel featuring videos about mind mapping, you can actually share those videos on Biggerplate for our members to see. Alternatively, if you run webinars or training workshops about mind mapping, you can add those to the Biggerplate Events page to drive interest and attendance.
Many of our Pro members probably don’t know about those features, because much of our marketing of Pro membership has previously focused on the learning resources (that are now accessible via Plus membership), possibly ignoring the creator-focused features for too long.
The second, more practical area we’ll focus on is improving the resource sharing experience for Creators, so that uploading a mind map, sharing a video, adding an event, or creating Collections is easier. Currently, each of these resource types has a different process (and underlying architecture), as the result of them being developed at different stages in the 15 year evolution of the website. We want to unify both the underlying architecture, and the website experience for members, so that adding and editing across these different resource types is more consistent and coherent. We believe getting this right will help encourage and enable Creators to contribute more great mind mapping resources!
Thirdly, we want to improve the ways that resources from our Creator community can be discovered and seen on Biggerplate, so that great resources get the visibility and recognition they deserve. Again, this relates to that underlying architecture, and as such, is part of a much bigger project to overhaul the underlying library structures at Biggerplate to make it easier to search and explore mind maps, videos and collections… a very significant undertaking, which we hope to get underway within the next 6 months, and (hopefully) complete in 2024.
Frey: Is there anything else readers of this blog should know about Plus or Pro membership, or how they reflect the evolution of the Biggerplate community?
Hughes: The launch of Biggerplate Plus is an exciting moment in itself, but it also represents the start of an exciting new phase where I think we’re going to get much closer to our overall goal of helping people go further with mind mapping. This is largely thanks to that simple-sounding clarity about the different groups we serve, and in particular, those two priority groups mentioned earlier: the New Mappers and the Creators.
By thinking more specifically about the needs and intentions of these two groups, we are already seeing the benefits in our planning and prioritization of projects and activities in the business. When an idea (or a problem to fix) emerges, we’re asking ourselves “is this something for New Mappers, Creators, or everyone?” From that start point, you immediately have a focus for understanding the importance and scale of the idea, and how to approach it. The results for members and visitors will be continuously emerging on the website in the second half of this year… there’s lots to do!
Frey: Where can readers of this blog learn more about Biggerplate Plus membership?
Hughes: You can watch a short 3 minute video about the launch here: