5 Underused Digital Apps That Will Make You An Idea Machine 

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And leave your competitors in the dust!

I’m addicted.

Not to porn (at least not anymore) or alcohol (I rarely drink) or drugs (never tried, never will).

No, I’m obsessed with tools. 

From a to-do list app to email marketing platforms, I can deprive myself of sleep just to test, explore, and compare them endlessly.

Because I know that they are the bedrock of online businesses and creators in general. If you don’t use them, you’re left behind.

That’s why I embarked on a quest to find the ultimate app stack for creators and online entrepreneurs. 

Exciting for me, maybe daunting for you, so I can save your mental health and DAYS of signing up, following the tutorials, understanding how things work, and finding alternative solutions.

Here’s a selection of five apps that will change your content ideation game.


The Visual Thinker’s Playground

Inside my (free) Whimsical account

Ever felt like your ideas are a jumbled mess? 

Enter Whimsical, my first stop in untangling the idea chaos. And the first step in my writing process as Ayodeji Awosika taught me.

I remember working on a project that felt like a labyrinth of thoughts. 

With Whimsical, I could lay out each concept like a piece on a chessboard, seeing how they interconnect and affect each other. 

And it’s fun.

Alternatives: 

XMind (second favourite), Miro, and many others… or a pen and paper. But I tested them all and that’s the best in my experience.


The Knowledge Nurturer

An article I wrote using Obsidian and a Graph View of my vault (knowledge base)

Obsidian was a game-changer for me in how I handle knowledge and information after having struggled with Notion and its fixed structure (and the lack of global tags — even if I found a solution)

Imagine a tool that not only stores your notes (in a local file, not a cloud you don’t know where) but also shows you the unseen connections between them. That’s Obsidian.

It’s a bit rough on the interface which made me stay away for some time. But it comes with a strong and passionate community that creates amazing plugins to add features.

Which makes it the most powerful app around. 

I discovered the Canva feature for visual thinking that may replace for me the other apps I mention below.

It’s probably the best personal knowledge system (PKMS) you can find.

Alternatives:

Roam research (expensive and closed-minded), Logseq (interesting but not as mature), Capacities (really cool, but without visual tools)


The Creative Canvas

A Milanote board for project management

As someone who thrives on visual inspiration, Milanote was like discovering a new language. 

It’s a board where I pin my ideas, images, and even random scribbles, turning them into a collage of creativity. You can literally draw on the board itself!

I went crazy and bought the annual pro subscription almost immediately.

You can brainstorm, organize, write, all this visually with a clean interface. You can easily share boards with viewers or collaborators, with a commenting system that sends you notifications when someone writes a comment.

 The ability to visually organize and manipulate these elements helped me with different complex and difficult scientific or writing projects.

It lacks a few features to me, such as tags or a list of all the boards. But it’s really good and, although Obsidian may be able to replace it, I will take the time to make the decision.

Alternatives:

Heptabase, Scrintal, Whimsical (more limited)


The Conceptual Cartographer

Heptabase board with a side view showing the list of card I created

Heptabase caught my attention with its unique approach to note-taking. Its interface isn’t just visually appealing; it’s a powerful way to map out ideas and their relationships.

It’s a bit like Milanote with the missing features such as tagging and bi-directional linking. And without the sketching aspect.

Its approach is centred on cards which are basic units of information like in the Zettelkasten method.

Then you can organize those cards into boards, make connections, add mind maps, links, videos… Really cool.

Alternatives:

Milanote, Scrintal, Obsidian.


Your Second Brain

The famous Chatbot, writing about itself!

ChatGPT has been dividing writers since it’s been released. Like other AI writing tools before but with the amplitude of a Tsunami instead of a gentle wave barely worth a few tweets.

It’s a household name, whether you like it or not.

If you don’t, bear with me a minute and you may change your mind.

When I first started to use it, I was thinking “Meh, it’s like the other ones. Just throwing garbage out pretending it writes”.

Oh boy, I was so wrong! 

When I used it a bit more and tried the GTP4 version, I was like a kid on Christmas morning eyes and mouth wide open in front of a mountain of presents!

This conversational AI isn’t just about answering questions; it’s a brainstorming partner, a sounding board, and sometimes, even a creative collaborator.

I found both an assistant and a digital mentor. 

I’ve used ChatGPT in numerous ways, from generating content ideas to getting unstuck with coding problems. 

You can ask it — and it doesn’t care if you say it politely — to brainstorm about a topic, come up with 20 different blog post ideas, 50 headlines, 100 tweets… 

ChatGPT is more than just an AI tool; it’s a gateway to a world of knowledge and creativity. 

For any entrepreneur or creator looking to augment their intellect and creativity, ChatGPT is a must-have in your digital arsenal.

Alternatives:

Claude, Bing (somehow), Notion AI — but ChatGPT Plus is still the best around.


Conclusion

Exploring these five apps has been nothing short of a revelation in my creative and entrepreneurial journey. 

Each app, with its unique strengths, has contributed to a more streamlined, imaginative, and efficient workflow. 

From the visual organizing prowess of Whimsical to the conversational intelligence of ChatGPT, this app stack represents the pinnacle of digital tools for creators and entrepreneurs. 

Dive into each of these apps and discover how they can transform your creative process. You can try them out for free.

No more excuses to run out of ideas.

Now, I’m curious if you already use any of those and what is your experience. Or if you used one which is not listed here that is helpful. 

Let’s discuss this in the comments!

Be digitally great,

Frank