My name is Philipp and you are reading Creativerly, the weekly digest about creativity and productivity-boosting tools and resources, combined with useful insights, articles, and findings from the fields of design and tech. The newsletter built for the creative community.

Hey and welcome to Creativerly 279 👋

I am excited about this week's issue of Creativerly. It is a packed one with loads of news, updates, articles, and interesting picks from the field of design and tech. Additionally, I was able to finish a post I had in my backlog for quite some time. Because I read a lot, my writing backlog is constantly growing. Nevertheless, I like to revisit it frequently and decide what to write about next. This week's post has been initiated by a conversation I had on Mastodon about Goodreads and Literal. I had no plans to finish that post anytime soon, but after the conversation, I dug into the topic.

After writing the first paragraph, I was hooked and kept writing. The product is a 2,200 words piece about why we still need a better Goodreads alternative, how users found hope when Oku and Literal launched, and why we might still need to hope for another alternative.

Enjoy this week's post.

There is still the need for a better Goodreads alternative

Tracking your reading can be motivating and fulfilling. When you get the chance to visualize your reading progress, it helps you fostering a sense of accountability, and encourages you to build a consistent reading habit. Once you start organizing your reading habits, keeping track of the books you have read, and analyze your reading trends, you can identify patterns and preferences, which could make your reading experience more enjoyable and efficient. Tracking my reading progress and habits, means that I have a personalized digital library. So I know what kind of books I own, which I have not read so far, and the ones I have on my reading list up next. I do not care about the social aspect of book and reading tracking services that much. Also, since those kind of platforms always focus on reading goals and reading challenges, I feel pressured by that.

I am reading because I enjoy it, not because I want to win a challenge, or read a specific number of books every single year. Because then, chances are high I need to force myself to read, so I can reach those reading goals. I read for the pure enjoyment, and I use reading and book tracking apps simply to know which books I own, which I would like to buy, and which I am going to read next. Having an overview of my reading progress, the highlights I captured from books, and the books I have read so far, also gives me the chance to reflect on my reading habits, and identify what I enjoy reading. Since I am reading for the enjoyment (and to learn and grow) that kind of self-reflection does indeed help me to create a more fulfilling reading experience.

Nevertheless, I do get the point of the social aspect of book tracking apps. There are people who might want to challenge themselves and others when it comes to reading goals. Additionally, a dedicated platform to track your reading progress, create book wishlists, and engage with fellow readers to discuss those books sounds like a nice social network experience. Connecting with people over books is probably one of the nicest ways to get to know each other.

For multiple years, Goodreads has been that platform. If you wanted to track your reading progress, book wishlists, and connect with fellow readers to discover new books, Goodreads was the way to go. But then, Amazon bought it, and things went downhill fast. Since the platform kept growing and millions of users joined it, you were able to quickly experience the lack of efective moderation. Goodreads got swamped with negative and biased reviews, it got plagued by trolls who even left malicious and unhelpful reviews to directly target specific authors, and overall the experience became really worse.

While Goodreads once was not only a great platform to connect with readers and discover new books, it also helped indie authors to reach new readers, and market their books. However, now Goodreads charges exorbitant fees, which makes it hard to leverage the platform as an indie author.

Amazon owning Goodreads is already reasoning enough to not use that platform at all. What made it completely unusable for me is its outdated design, bugs, and limited features. It is clear that there were no intentions to keep up with modern trends, design, and innovations to make the whole platform more usable and appealing. Beyond that, there were no actions at all over the course of the last couple of years that would introduce some changes and improvements. It seems like Amazon has no intention to further develop the site, and the users and authors who are still using it seemed to fine with all negative vibes that are going on there.

I still feel like that there is the need for a better Goodreads alternative. There is room for a platform that not only allows people to track their reading progress and books, but also connect with fellow readers. At the same time, I would like to take one step further and state that the very same platform could allow readers to connect with authors, and allow authors through unique social features to interact with their readers. And to go another step further, why not use the same platform to highlight independent book stores in the regions of the users whenever they discover a new book, and therefore encourage users to shop new books locally rather than supporting Amazon, which clearly does not care about those independent book shops and indie authors at all.

Read the whole post here:

There is still the need for a better Goodreads alternative
Goodreads is still providing the worst experience when it comes to book tracking. Oku and Literal tried to create the modern Goodreads alternative users were hoping for. But are they still active?

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Fresh Updates & News

NotePlan Templates for Every Purpose

NotePlan recently introduced its brand new Template Gallery, which is packed with an array of templates to supercharge your work, personal life, and everything in between. Among the templates you will find Daily planners, meeting notes, project trackers, as well as journal prompts, habit trackers, and more.


In its newest update, Anytype introduced Batch relation Editing, which allows users to add Tags and Relations in multiple objects at once, which makes it quicker and easier to organize your content. Besides that, the global search got improved, so you can now search highlights, it will show more total results, allows for searching for text relations, blocks, tags, statuses, links, and backlinks.

More updates can be found on Anytype's blog.

The intelligent work journal

In a recently published blog post, Tanner Christensen announced that he has developed an app called Fabric, which gave him the possibility to keep a work-life journal to track his work, record challenges and decision, promote self-reflection and growth, and capture visuals along the way. Fabric runs natively on your machine. To get it up and running, you need to answer a few questions about your job, the type of work you want to capture, the apps to monitor, and waht to ignore.

Tanner Christensen has used the app for a few weeks and got amazed by the AI's ability to recognize when he is working or slacking off. An alpha version of the app is about done, but if you want to keep up to date with the development of the app, make sure to follow Tanner Christensen on Threads or LinkedIn.

Dot launches on the App Store

Back in November 2023, I wrote about the introduction of Dot, the first product by New Computer, the newly founded venture of Sam Whitmore and Jason Yuan. Fast-forward to today, and Dot is available in the App Store. Dot is an AI companion which is free to use with limits (an unlimited version is available fro $12 per month). It received $3.7m in funding from Lachy Groom, the OpenAI Fund, and South Park Commons, while also a handful of angel investors joined the initial funding round.

Dot can be loads of things depending on your needs and workflows. It is more than just talking to ChatGPT. In an article by Fast Company, Mark Wilson described Dot as an encouraging freind with no limits of emotional labor, a recipe database that remembers his dietary preferences, a research assistant that cajoled him into learning new caligraphic styles and making his own soap.

Dot is powered by and referencing 7-10 different LLMs and AI models, including those from OpenAI, Anthropic, and Google.

Strut shutting down

After announcing that Ready, a calendar app, gets shut down Jordan Menashy, the founder and CEO, had to inform its users that the venture he focused on after Ready, which was Strut, and AI-powered writing app, is also shutting down. Strut got launched in open-beta back in September 2023. Just recently, in April, he announced the next phase of Strut, introdcing a complete workspace for writers by giving them the possibility to capture notes, organize projects, and collaborate with a team all in a single app, and supported by AI.

Unfortunately, it seems like things did not work out as planned. In the announcement email sent out to users, Jordan mentioned that they could not grow their daily users fast enough amongst writers to be a self-sustaining startup or a VC-backed company.

You can continue to use Strut until July 20th. The team built an Export to Markdown button to download all the documents within a workspace. After July 20th, any content remaining in Strut will be permanently deleted.

Mental Wealth

Can you be creative just by creating? – “I’ve really been enjoying getting more and more questions from readers, almost to the extent that I’m thinking that may be this is what the blog is now, an asynchronous Q&A. When I give talks, the Q&A part is always what I enjoy the most. There’s much more of an exchange of information than simply me expressing my views on a topic. If we’re honest with ourselves, there are very few “facts” in our industry and what we consider facts today might be obsolete tomorrow.”

Presenteeism: The Hidden Productivity Killer – “Much has been written about the cost of absenteeism, with some calling it The Bottom-Line Killer. For entrepreneurs who don’t have a boss tracking their work hours, absenteeism may simply mean being checked out and not showing up. But there’s a hidden productivity killer we should perhaps pay more attention to: presenteeism.”

Overthinking? Refocusing on bodily sensations may calm your mind – “Why is it that visiting the beach sometimes assuages a bad mood? The Sun warms your cheek, a cool breeze ruffles your hair, and, suddenly, all seems well. There’s something about getting out of your head and into your senses that can make all your troubles melt away, even if only for a moment. In fact, research suggests that vulnerability to depressive spells may have less to do with overthinking than under-sensing. While it’s long been thought that negative thought patterns underpin depression, it may be the case that rumination simply distracts depressed patients from their sensory experiences — and that sensory inhibition may be the primary culprit.”

Five Keys to Managing Intrusive Thoughts – “Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with upsetting thoughts spinning through your head? Maybe you argued with your partner and you’re reliving the fight in agonizing detail. Perhaps you can’t stop worrying about all the things that could go wrong in an upcoming job interview. Or maybe you’re perseverating about the state of the world.”

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In case you are on the hunt for a privacy-focused Gmail alternative, I gathered a couple of great privacy-friendly email services in a new post called Say goodbye to Gmail. Gmail has lost its trust, Google has lots its trust. If you are done with the data-scraping nightmare from Gmail and Google, there are several services which provide a great experience, combined with lovely and powerful features, and a dedicated privacy and security focus.

❯ Quick Bits

Till next time! 👋‌‌‌‌

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