The Curiosity Matrix & Bundling vs. Unbundling Software

Rise launches its iOS Alpha, Capacities has a new Pro Plan, what your brain is doing when you're not doing anything, and a lot more in this week's issue of Creativerly.

The Curiosity Matrix & Bundling vs. Unbundling Software

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.

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I recently read a magnificent post by Adam Wiggins who has co-founded Muse, where he worked on canvas-based thinking tool for iPad and Mac. I used the past tense here because while the team at Muse crafted a lovely product, it struggled to turn it into a sustainable business, and therefore decided that most of the team departs the company, while Adam Wulff stayed and is operating and running the company as a solo-developer since late 2023.

Adam Wiggins put so much thought into his post, reflecting on the whole journey of building Muse from 2019 to 2023. I have been always a huge fan of Muse as the app, but I was also constantly amazed by the craft the whole team poured into it. I am thankful for getting the chance to get such an in-depth look into Muse‘s journey, challenges, and struggles. Adam Wiggins did not only reflect on his time and work at Muse, he created and wrote an evergreen resource. The post is packed with learnings and takeaways, and I deeply appreciate the openness, transparency, and honesty regarding all the challenges the team faced during the mentioned period.

One of Adam Wiggins takeaways at the end of the post stood out to me and lead to the idea of this week‘s Creativerly post. He mentioned that because they were too unfocused in their target market and ended up as an „everything app“ instead of focusing on a vertical target (like academics or designers) or a narrow use case (like PDF reading and annotating, collaborative whiteboarding, etc). The way Adam Wiggins frames this takeaway it feels like becoming and ending up as this everything app was quite the problem:

… don't we always dream of general-purpose tools that will be everything to everyone? And part of it was that it's truly the case that Muse excels at the ability to combine together so many different related knowledge tasks and media types into a single, minimal, powerful canvas.

I can see how Muse excels the ability to combine together so many different related knowledge tasks and media types into a single app, a single canvas, but was there this single powerful workflow that made it really shine? This single workflow that stood out to people, that made people switch to Muse and adopt the tool across a team? I am not sure. Especially getting teams adopting an app without this workflow that makes it shine is hard when they already use a similar tool, that just works.

Nevertheless, Muse is still a lovely app, I appreciate Adam Wiggins, the whole ex Muse Team, and Adam Wulff for keeping the lights on.

Bundling vs. Unbundling Software

When it comes to software, there is a big debate between keeping things simple and having it all in one place. You have probably noticed this when choosing apps or tools for different tasks. There are apps like ClickUp, which states on its website in big bold letters „One app to replace them all“. Personally, an app can not become more unattractive to me than something like that. I made some experiences in the past trying out those everything apps, and what I leaned was the fact that while they try to do everything they hardly ever did anything right. So, while they replaced multiple apps, I had to spend a significant amount of time to get used to things.

On the other hand, unbundling software means breaking it down into smaller, specialized apps. This approach gives you flexibility and lets you customize your software setup to match your workflow perfectly. Plus, it usually means simpler interfaces and easier navigation. Think about it like having one app for writing and note-taking, one for your tasks, one for your projects, and so on. The huge advantage is that as those apps are so focused you can be sure that they will actually deliver.

But why are some people leaning towards unbundled software? Why do people voluntarily spread their work and workflows across multiple apps? Well, it allows for more innovation and specialization. It is like having a bunch of small, nimble startups instead of one big corporation. These smaller apps can try out new ideas faster and cater to specific needs better. I get excited when I find out about a new writing app that is offering a beautiful, distraction-free interface to craft and write blog posts, articles, essays, or books. I love apps that focus on a specific workflow and nail that down, which does not specifically mean to only implemented features that solely serve that workflow. There can be lightweight versions of specific features, but what makes the app shine and distinguish it from other apps is this single powerful workflow.

And let us not forget the rise of simplicity in design. People are tired of complicated interfaces and features they never use. Unbundled software cuts through the clutter and lets you focus on what's important.

In the end, whether you prefer unbundled or all-in-one software depends on what you value most. Do you want flexibility and simplicity, or convenience and integration? There is no right or wrong answer, just whatever works best for you. So next time you are choosing software, think about what matters most and go with the option that fits your style.

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Fresh Updates & News


The most recent NotePlan update brought some lovely improvements to filters. People who are using NotePlan love the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly notes to plan their work. Whenever you need to zoom in and focus on specific tasks, it can be powerful to see everything tagged with a specific tag within a specific timeframe, and this is where filters come in really handy. The new NotePlan filter superpowers gives you the possibility for full editing and re-ordering of tasks. Beyond that, the new superpowers extend to drag and drop too, as you can now move tasks between days and notes inside a filter, simply by dragging them around. With those flexible filter options you can filter, adjust, and shuffle tasks around with ease.

Besides that, iOS got a new Quick Capture feature, which you can use to add a new tasks to your daily note with a single tap. Simply long-press the app icon on your iOS home screen, and then hit "New Task", which will give you the possibility to quickly jot down a tasks and add it to your Today note.


Rise, one of the newest contenders in the field of calendar apps, just announced that it started sending out the first invites to their Alpha build of Rise for iOS. After launching their public beta of Rise, users quickly raised their voices for a mobile version of the app. In a newsletter, the team announced that they are building this mobile version the "Rise-way", which means they have built a solid but minimal first version and are now shipping updates almost daily.


Besides its Believer Plan, Capacities now introduced its new Pro Plan which gives you access to features like the AI assistant, smart queries, task actions, as well as early access to iOS and Android apps, block-based linking, curated icon set, and unlimited media uploads. Capacities Pro is available for €8.99 per month (billed yearly).

Mental Wealth

What Your Brain Is Doing When You're Not Doing Anything – “Whenever you’re actively performing a task — say, lifting weights at the gym or taking a hard exam — the parts of your brain required to carry it out become “active” when neurons step up their electrical activity. But is your brain active even when you’re zoning out on the couch?”

Use the “minimal self” theory to flip workplace stress on its head – “Robert Burton’s 1621 work, The Anatomy of Melancholy, is a vast, 900-page exploration of depression. It dances around and calls upon all the sciences of his day — psychology, physiology, astronomy, meteorology, theology, astrology, and demonology — to forensically unpack what depression is and what remedies might exist. After five editions and around 350,000 words, Burton concludes with one summary piece of advice for any depressive: “Be not solitary, be not idle.””

The Ultimate Guide to Unstoppable Motivation – “The Pacific Crest Trail is not for the faint of heart. Spanning 2,650 miles of mountainous terrain in the western United States, it encompasses the entire longitude of America, from the deserts at the Mexican border to the mountains of north Washington. It’s renowned as one of the most arduous—and sometimes dangerous—hiking trails in America.”

The Curiosity Matrix: 9 Habits of Curious Minds – “All healthy human babies and young children display curiosity, suggesting this is an innate human trait. Exploring our environment and babbling questions appear almost universal in early childhood across cultures. As an adaptive trait, curiosity draws us to seek information and new experiences. It’s how we learn about ourselves, others, and the world."

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❯ Quick Bits

Till next time! 👋‌‌‌‌

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