Your personal page to show everything you are & Struggling to read
In this week's issue of Creativerly: the open-source Notion alternative, Raycast AI is happening, your strategy needs a story, and a lot more.
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 210 👋
Last week was exhausting and tiring. I was stuck in meetings all day long. We are currently in a crucial phase at work, deciding what we are going to work on next and ultimately which direction we are going to focus on as a team. At the end of each workday, I got reminded that creativity is a limited resource. After multiple hours of deep thinking and brainstorming sessions, my brain felt like it just stopped working. I couldn‘t come up with a single idea, I had a hard time focusing on what other people were saying, and I struggled to answer very basic questions since my brain couldn‘t find the connecting dots. Luckily, this situation is not the norm at work. But after the week, I was looking forward to the weekend to relax and recharge my inner batteries. Doing creative work is challenging. On the other hand, facing creative challenges is part of the whole creative process. Therefore, it is important to act on the signs your body is sending you, once you feel like you are stuck. When I am feeling stuck within my design process, it often helps me to do something completely different. Instead of designing something different, I am doing something completely different to design. This could be writing, for example. Sitting down and journaling about the struggles I have during my creative and design processes helps me to make sense of the challenges I face. While this does not prevent certain kind of challenges, it definitely gives me access to some mental tools which are helping me to get through the challenges.
Creativity is a limited resource that requires regular rest and recharging. It's important to be aware of the creative challenges we face and find ways to take a break and restore our mental capacity. Understanding our mental blocks and looking for creative solutions outside of traditional design processes is key to becoming more creative.
It is important to find those personal mental tools that help you to get through creative blocks. Finding what works for you and experimenting with different methods to recharge your creativity is the key to successful creative processes.
Apps, Software, Tools
Bento is a revolutionary link-in-bio tool. Popular among content creators, companies, and general users, link-in-bio tools allow multiple links to be displayed on one page, as opposed to the single link most social platforms offer. By adding a single link to your profile, followers and potential followers can easily access your other social profiles, website, blog, store, and more. The downside of most link-in-bio tools, however, is the lack of customization options. Bento changes this, enabling you to create a beautiful personal page to showcase your creativity and products.
Everyone today is creating something and sharing it online, from videos, podcasts, photos and streams, to newsletters and paid products. Years ago, the ability to build online portfolios or websites was limited to those with coding knowledge. Now, the no-code movement has made designing and creating websites available to everyone. However, many no-code tools are complex and require a steep learning curve. Bento is a simple solution for creating a personal website to showcase what matters most. Bento is not another link-in-bio service, it lets you integrate all your content into a personal page.
To add a link to your personal Bento page, you just need to drag and drop it onto the page, use copy and paste, or simply click on the plus icon at the bottom right corner while editing your page. Links that you have added to your Bento page will get displayed as cards. Once you added a couple of links to your page, you can customise their looks. As of writing this, Bento supports five display options for the link cards. Those display options let you showcase your links and your content rich and beautiful. Besides the possibility to edit how links are displayed within your Bento page, you can also edit the title of your link cards. There are two more card widgets that give you, even more, control to structure and customise the look of your Bento page. The first one is called “Section Title", and as you probably can assume, it lets you create titles to structure and organise all the links on your Bento page. The second one is called “Picture & Video”, which lets you place images, GIFs, or videos directly onto your Bento page. This opens up loads of possibilities. Probably the most creative approach was introduced by Akihito, who has a gorgeous Bento page with lovely pictures and video widget cards. If you want to get inspired by Bento pages from other users, you can head over to the beautiful Bento explore page.
As already mentioned, Bento lets you highlight everything you create, sell, or want to highlight in general. No matter if you want to showcase your Gumroad products, your Figma projects, your latest Youtube videos, your Behance pages, the podcasts you created or appeared as a guest on, your Medium posts, your Substack, your Twitch channel, ... the list goes on and on. Bento gives everything you create a dedicated home on the internet.
One of the core missions of Bento is to give everyone the possibility to create and set up a personal page and showcase their work, projects, products, and anything else. When you sign up and create your own Bento page, you can literally feel how much craft and effort the team behind Bento is putting into this core mission. Sélim Benayat (one of the co-founders of Bento) wrote on Twitter, Bento's vision “is to deliver more communication and social features to help you get inspired, find new peers, and to help you get the exposure and opportunities your work deserves” and I couldn't agree more that there is the need for a tool to supports exactly that. Bento, although it is still in an early stage, gives me the impression that it is on route to becoming the product to showcase the things you create online. Hear me out: in probably a few months, the answer to the question “What are you creating/writing/designing/doing?” will be “Check out my Bento, you will find all the information there.” It has been some time since I came across a product that got me as excited as I am right now about Bento. Bento is one of those products that not only features such a beautiful design, but it also focuses on making the internet accessible to everyone by offering an easy, simple, yet powerful way to showcase yourself and what you are doing online. And I love that.
Although Bento still has a waiting list (as it was in closed beta for a couple of months now), as of writing this, users who head over to Bento are able to skip the waitlist, secure their username, and start creating and setting up their Bento page. Therefore, you better be fast, since the ability to skip the waitlist is available for a limited time in order to celebrate Bento's incredibly successful Product Hunt launch. You can find my Bento page at bento.me/philipp, and if you finished creating your own Bento page, make sure to share it online.
Huge congrats to the Bento team, consisting of Sélim Benayat, Mugeeb Hassan, Valerie Krämer, and Eike Drescher, for creating such an incredible product. I am excited about Bento's future.
Avid Creativerly readers probably already know that I am an advocate for privacy-focused and open-source software. On my mission to highlight privacy-first, open source, and end-to-end encrypted software, I created ProductivePrivacy, a directory site to highlight apps and tools within that area. It hasn't received an update in a while, but I am still focused on building this site as a side project. My recent discovery of AppFlowy, an open-source Notion alternative led to the fact that I will double down on updating and polishing the directory website for ProductivePrivacy soon. But now, let us focus on AppFlowy.
First of all, AppFlowy is one of the very rare open-source tools that feature a beautifully designed user interface. I stumbled across way too many open source apps and tools that were just badly designed, which often lead to not enjoying the usage of the app at all (Koos Looijesteijn asked himself the question "Why is open source software so badly designed?” and wrote an interesting blog post about that topic, go check that out). Therefore, I got excited when I saw AppFlowy for the first time. It features a clean and minimal interface, with a nice composition of colours, typography, and UI elements. Again, something you hardly find within the field of open-source software.
AppFlowy is a great tool to create and build detailed lists of to-do's for different projects while tracking the status of each one. No matter how many projects or tasks you handle at once, AppFlowy lets you neatly structure and organise those to your preferences. Besides the ability to create lists, AppFlowy features Kanban Boards. For loads of individuals, Kanban Boards became the best way to manage projects and tasks in a more visual way. Within AppFlowy, you are able to visualise items in a database moving through stages of a process, or grouped by property. One of the most important aspects of shipping projects is to scope them. With the help of Kanban Boards within AppFlowy, you can scope projects easily and visualize their data in a beautiful way. AppFlowy is still in an early stage, which means there is still a lot of work to do, to actually call it a Notion alternative. But since AppFlowy is open source, you can closely follow the stage of its development. By heading over to the public roadmap, you can get an idea of what features are already done, which ones are currently in progress, and which ones are planned next.
The mission of AppFlowy is to provide a tool for teams that need more control and flexibility. Since AppFlowy is open source, you are able to host it wherever you want, there is no vendor lock-in, which means you stay in control of your data 100%. Another advantage of AppFlowy and the fact that it is open source is that you can design and modify AppFlowy your way. But AppFlowy wasn't only built for teams, it was also built for individuals who care about data security. When you download AppFlowy to your local machine, you own and control your personal data.
The mission of AppFlowy is to make it possible for anyone to create apps that suit their needs well starting in November 2021. Over the course of two years, AppFlowy got founded, hit over 20,000 stars on GitHub, the company received a seed round to secure the development, and it attracted a community of over 2,000 active members. On their website, the team behind AppFlowy clearly states that they do not claim to outperform Notion in terms of functionality and design, especially since their current priority does not lie in more functionality. Instead, AppFlowy wants to cultivate a community to democratize the knowledge and wheels of making complex workplace management tools, while enabling people and businesses to create beautiful things on their own. And AppFlowy will be the versatile toolbox of building blocks to achieve exactly that.
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Fresh Updates & News
Raycast AI →
Raycast is probably my favourite app of all time. I am using it daily and it became one of the core elements of loads of my workflows. Now, Raycast announced it will bring the power of AI to your Mac, so you can experience the magic right at your fingertips. Raycast AI will let you write smarter, code faster, and answer questions quicker. With Raycast's AI integration, you will get the chance to talk to AI without any interruptions. You will be able to create AI commands to take your workflows to the next level by rewriting text or generating fresh ideas. By using Raycast's new APIs you get the chance to make your extensive smarter, powered by AI. If you want to experience the magic of AI on your Mac and right within Raycast, you can sign up for the waiting list right now.
Raycast is a blazingly fast launcher for macOS. It lets you complete tasks, calculate, share common links, launch apps, and much more with just a couple of keystrokes. It quickly became one of the most popular launchers for macOS and set new standards when it comes to beautifully designed and crafted software.
Ivan Zhao, the founder of Notion, recently posted on Twitter, that the company will focus on getting back to its roots of quality and craft, by fixing paper cuts throughout 2023. As an example, he cited a recent quality-of-life update that has been shipped, “Before, you had to be really precise with your cursor so menus wouldn’t disappear on you.” Ivan also stated that Notion should stand for high-quality and useful software.
In the past, Notion often found itself between unsatisfied users. Since the company grew incredibly fast, Notion focused on adding more and more features to the platform. Ultimately, this left users with features and functionalities that felt not finished and very unpolished. Still until today, one of the major pain points with Notion is the performance. Although the company made some efforts there, making things faster, it is still one of the major arguments for why people leaving the platform. Besides that, the fact that Notion got packed and probably overloaded with loads of different features, lead to multiple users feeling overwhelmed with the app.
➢ Your Strategy Needs a Story – “Posted on the website for “96 Elephants” in 2016, the above strategy, orchestrated by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), became one of the most successful conservation efforts ever*. The WCS helped convene a coalition of hundreds of zoos, companies, environmental organizations, and individual donors, who succeeded in banning the ivory trade in U.S. and China, passing anti-wildlife trafficking legislation in the U.S., and substantially reducing elephant poaching.”
➢ Management: A Skill Not a Step – “Imagine you are among the world’s best salespeople, so skilled at your trade that you are highly sought after. You exceed your sales target quarter after quarter, and you bring in more sales than the next three people combined. You have a unique and special connection to your clients, and you can effectively translate your product to map to their needs.”
➢ Media's identity crisis – “One of the attractions of newsletters and podcasts for me is that the best ones throw off the artifice of knowing The Truth and instead are journeys of figuring it out. This is pretty much what being a human is about. We’ve always been trying to figure things out. I believe that’s what the attraction is to podcasters like Joe Rogan and Lex Fridman. The way we understand the world around us is not by rote learning of information delivered to us, it’s usually through trial and error, and discussion with others who see the world roughly as we do. If someone confidently tells you they’ve figured it all out, they’re either trying to sell you something or delusional.”
➢ Struggling to Read – “When I was a teen, I remember telling my mother that I was lucky because no matter what happened to me in life, I’d always be happy as long as I had a book. I loved movies as well, so it’s interesting I said books, not movies. Perhaps it was because movies could only be watched in a theater or on a TV then. Movies weren’t portable, as they are now, whereas a book could go anywhere, a deserted island or a prison. But I think it was something else. I think I said books because I got a deeper satisfaction of the soul from reading.”
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➢ Quick Bits
- Recent iPhone thefts highlight the danger of using passcodes in public
- Netflix cuts subscription prices in multiple countries following new password sharing rules
- Signal CEO: We “1,000% won’t participate” in UK law to weaken encryption
- Meta must pay $175M for patent-infringing livestreaming tech, judge says
- ChatGPT-style search represents a 10x cost increase for Google, Microsoft
- TikTok under investigation by Canadian privacy authorities
- Twitter to charge users for text-message authentication
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