FourWeekMBA Tool Review: The Meister Suite

The Meister Suite is a set of web-based collaboration tools designed to make teamwork fun. This year, I’m partnering with Meister, the German software company that develops these tools, because I’ve first got to know them when I was looking for ways to order my ideas visually.

Their MindMeister tool helped me to sketch business models visually.

MindMapping is an extremely helpful way to clarify your ideas, and MindMeister provides a great tool that simplifies your thinking process, and as we’ll see you can also share your thoughts easily with others.

Meister currently offers two software tools, both of which use the freemium business model:

  • MindMeister, an online mind mapping tool that allows for real-time collaboration between multiple users.
  • MeisterTask, a collaborative task management tool using the Kanban format and smart automation to help teams work together more efficiently.

A closer look at MindMeister

MindMeister launched in 2007 (see the full story here) as the very first completely web-based mind mapping app on the market. The app quickly went viral due to a number of factors, including:

  • The freemium business model: Users were (and still are) able to create a free account with limited storage and features for their maps.
  • Easy sharing: MindMeister allows users to share their maps via email or link for easy collaboration. 
  • User-generated content: Users are able to make their maps public, share them on social media, and embed them on their own websites.
  • Affiliate marketing: The company has built a successful affiliate system with cash commissions for referrals.

By now, the app is used by more than 12 million people worldwide and continues to grow rapidly, partly due to the increased demand in remote work and learning. 

Features and uses

Aside from MindMeister’s web-app, which can be accessed through any standard web browser, the tool offers native mobile apps for iOS and Android, allowing users to work on their maps wherever they are. Meister puts a lot of focus on the app’s user interface with the aim to make the mapping process as easy and intuitive as possible. 

As opposed to paper mind maps, users can enrich their creations with dynamic content such as gifs, videos, and links, turning them into rich knowledge maps. The app also offers a built-in presentation mode which lets users turn their mind maps into slideshows with a few clicks. 

Aside from brainstorming, note-taking, and outlining things like strategies and business models, the app is mainly used for project planning. 

According to Meister’s founders, this was one of the reasons they decided to develop their second tool, MeisterTask. Many users left MindMeister after their project planning phase was completed, as they needed a more sophisticated project management tool to turn their plans into action.

To create a seamless transition between the tools, the company built an integration, allowing users to turn their mapped ideas directly into tasks and export them to their project boards.

The integration helped MeisterTask gain exposure after its launch in 2015, as the company was able to market it directly to its existing user base as an extension of MindMeister’s functionality.

A closer look at MeisterTask

MeisterTask was released in 2015 and entered a highly competitive market already filled with dozens of task management tools. Unlike MindMeister, the app didn’t have the advantage of being the first in its niche.

Additionally, MeisterTask lacked some of the other features that helped MindMeister go viral, such as the user-generated content and affiliate program (although they do offer one now). 

In spite of this, MeisterTask can now be found in the top ten lists of task management apps across the web and is growing at a healthy speed.

The founders attribute this to their tested recipe of simplicity, usability, and a beautiful design.

Unlike most of its competitors, the app specifically targets companies who are in the beginning stages of their digital transformation and are looking for simple tools that don’t require a lot of training to get started with. 

Features and uses

Just like MindMeister, MeisterTask can be used directly in the browser and offers mobile apps for working on the go. Collaboration happens in shared Kanban boards, which provide project members with a simple, visual platform to track tasks through to completion and discuss questions and issues as they arise. 

Although designed for teamwork, the tool is also widely used for personal organization and offers a dedicated space, called Agenda, for users to create their own perfect workflow.

Users are able to ‘pin’ tasks from any project they are involved in their Agenda, to keep track of their personal to-dos and any other tasks that might be relevant to them. 

To increase efficiency and minimize mistakes, MeisterTask also lets users automate recurring steps in their workflow ⁠— both inside the app and through integrations with other software tools. 

I’m happy to partner with Meister this year and highlight some of the ways their tools can be helpful to the FourWeekMBA audience with the development of a set of contents (from how-to articles, startup stories where they help you understand the challenges of growing a digital business and tool reviews to help you understand how you can use those tools to grow your own business).

You can take a look at my recent article on how to use mind maps to sketch a business model, and the in-depth interview with Michael Hollauf and Till Vollmer, Meister’s founders, which lessons are extremely valuable to anyone who is building or growing a digital business, or a SaaS company.

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