Why I went Pro

This is a guest post by Steve Stroh. If you’d like to contribute a guest blog post, just email your idea to blog@workflowy.com

As I explained in a previous post, WorkFlowy resonated with me immediately. I started using it so intensively and productively that at points it seemed scary. Scary because here was this fantastic app, that I found SO useful, that I was pouring SO many of my ideas into… that was free. Many great, free web-based apps have gone out of business, usually with just a few week’s notice. So I was relieved when WorkFlowy quietly, subtly offered the Pro version and a way to pay them. I’ve chided Jesse and Mike a bit that they made the Pro option a bit too subtle, in my opinion. I just scrolled through the blog, and nope – no mention there. It’s only if you have the free version that you see the video in Help and a “Learn more” link which mentions these features:

  • Unlimited Lists – Pro users can make as many lists and items as they want. Non-pro users are limited to 500 per month.
  • Backup to Dropbox – Never worry about losing your WorkFlowy data. Have full backups automatically uploaded to your Dropbox account every day.
  • Password Protected Collaboration – Pro users can share parts of their WorkFlowy account with specific people, verified by email address and password.
  • Offline Editing (Coming soon) – Want to use WorkFlowy when you’re not online? Go Pro! 
  • Theme and Fonts – Pro users get to change the look and feel of WorkFlowy with a library of themes and fonts. Make your WorkFlowy more personal.
  • Premium Support – We answer emails from Pro members first.

While I jumped on Pro because I WANTED WorkFlowy to start making money, and thus not close or sell out, the main selling points of WorkFlowy Pro, for me, were the Unlimited Lists and Backup to Dropbox. The more I used WorkFlowy, the more I wanted to use WorkFlowy, and after the transition between free and paid (I had a free account for my day job) I quickly bumped up against the monthly limits of the free version. Believe me, if you’re not bumping into this limit, you’re not using WorkFlowy to its real potential. When you can open up a new WorkFlowy list and just let the record your ideas as fast as they’re coming to you, simultaneously keeping ALL your various lists in WorkFlowy… that’s WorkFlowy really amplifying your creativity and productivity.

Backup to Dropbox eased my mind a lot, that there was going to be a complete copy of my entire WorkFlowy in my Dropbox account, updated daily. I’ve also enjoyed changing my WorkFlowy Theme (current favorite: Hacker and Font (current favorite: Light).

Unfortunately, I don’t currently collaborate with any other WorkFlowy users, so I haven’t been able to see WorkFlowy Collaboration in action for myself, but I’m sure glad that’s an option that’s open to me.

Offline Editing (Coming Soon), well, WorkFlowy has offline for iOS and there’s a Chrome App for Windows that works offline. They’re working on a generally available desktop app with offline. In my particular way of writing, Internet access is as essential to me as electric power, so I’m nearly always connected and so don’t miss Offline Editing all that much. 

I think of WorkFlowy as a professional power tool for the mind, and the annual fee is quite reasonable for how much more productive WorkFlowy enables me to be.

Disclaimer – The above is solely my personal opinion. I am a paying WorkFlowy Pro customer and have not been offered any incentives to write nice things about WorkFlowy. I’m just a fan of a great product and volunteered to write about it for publication in the WorkFlowy Blog.

Steve Stroh
WorkFlowy Semi Official Blogger
Seattle, Washington, USA

The Status of Bold, Italic and Color in WorkFlowy


Steve is listening to you!

So, Steve, our resident Semi Official Blogger, has been getting your emails at blog@workflowy.com. He has suggested that our fans are clamoring to hear progress on long awaited features. So, this is the first post updating you on one of them: formatting.

Formatting is coming

If you’ve been pulling out your hair asking, “Why can’t I bold, italicize, or color things in WorkFlowy???” then you’re a little bit crazy, cause you need that hair. Try a stress ball. But also, you’re in luck. Because we’re working on it. We’re about to release a version of WorkFlowy with a major technical redesign of how editing works (next week). The purpose of this release? To enable features like bold, italic, underline, color. The release won’t appear any different to you, but it lays the foundation for formatting, as well as a bunch of other cool features.


We’ve already started working on formatting. After this release, it will probably be a month or two before it comes out. HOWEVER, we make no promises. We retain the right to decide not to do formatting, and instead do a feature that makes ponies run across the WorkFlowy page. Or unicorns. Or a T-Rex. Or maybe the much requested feature of automatically embedding cat pictures inside your WorkFlowy.

You get the point. We reserve the right not to finish it for a few months if stuff comes up, as it often does. So, get excited. But not too excited. Cause, you know, we don’t make any promises. And T-Rex.

Update for Concerned Minimalists: Don’t worry. We won’t let people make their WorkFlowy docs look like myspace pages. Things will be kept sober. Color may be relegated to tags only, for example. We won’t have ugly, ever present formatting buttons while you’re typing. And so forth. 

WorkFlowy Tip: Open Another Tab

This is a guest post by Steve Stroh. If you’d like to contribute a guest blog post, just email your idea to blog@workflowy.com

This Workflowy tip will to sound ridiculously simple to Workflowy power users. It was a bit of a revelation to me, though, and maybe this will help future Workflowy newbies.

The Problem
Workflowy is SO responsive in normal use that it FEELS to me like a native app, on both Windows and Mac. So, I used to use it like that – bring up a browser window add, edit, move stuff around, etc. But after a while, when my Workflowy got to have lots of branches, and deep, it got to be cumbersome to switch between different parts of it.

The Solution
Then it hit me… Workflowy is a WEB app… all I had to do to see different parts of my Workflowy simultaneously was to just open additional browser tabs / windows to workflowy.com! Wow… did Workflowy really sing for me after that “discovery”.

Another Solution
The WorkFlowy teams encourages you to try the “star” feature as another way to navigate between different parts of WorkFlowy. Read this blog post about starred pages for more info. In short, every WorkFlowy page has a star at the top right that you can click to save that page. You can then click the star next to the search box to navigate between your starred pages.

Re: It’s 6 AM. Do you know where your brain is?

Mike and Jesse,

You asked if I know where my brain is at 6am??  $#%@ no!  Who are you kidding? I generally don’t function at 6am. Period.

I do find that after – say about 6:30 – as I’m slowly coming out of my
‘oh shit it’s morning’ stupor, I have mobility returning and can
manage to gimp around well enough to open my laptop and figure out how
to punch a key.  (Ok that is a bit of an exaggeration)  Seriously, I
started using WorkFlowy yesterday and I love it.   So far I have
organized my to do list,  work list and my daughter’s wedding/why the
f didn’t they elope list.  I love the tag option.  Makes it so easy to
see what needs to  be done right away.



A Personal History of Outliners

This is a guest post by Steve Stroh. If you’d like to contribute a guest blog post, just email your idea to blog@workflowy.com

Discovering the outline
I was introduced to outlining in grade school, and while that hierarchical method of organizing ideas made sense to my young techie mind… they were a pain in the @#$  to do on paper. Their most powerful feature, being able see the big picture, was also their disadvantage. When you spotted a change or addition that was needed, you had to REWRITE it. So, for me, outlines remained a nice theory until decades later I discovered the outliner in Microsoft Word – DYNAMIC outlines! Cool! But of course, you had to remember where the file was, and had to be at your computer.

The leap from digital to web
Years later, outlines became even more useful for me when I discovered them in Google Docs. It was extremely useful to have outlines accessible from any computer with a web browser (which is all of them). … but I was disappointed that a complex outline in GD was a fragile thing, and the outline structure could quickly fall apart. Still … it was a step up.

Goodbye Google Docs. Hello WorkFlowy!
A few more years passed and I discovered WorkFlowy. I don’t remember when or how I first found it, but as soon as I tried it, its intuitiveness of zooming in and out, quickly entering text and then organizing it later just… resonated with me. Workflowy immediately became one of my primary tools. My first email to Workflowy support was February 2011, so I’ve been using Workflowy nearly 3 years. Workflowy is as indispensable to me now as ever, as I begin to organize a huge amount of disparate information in preparation for a writing gig.

Why am I doing this?
When I saw WorkFlowy post about how they aren’t planning to blog, I decided to lend a hand. I think an active blog is an important signal that a company is thriving, and WorkFlowy is doing quite well as I understand it. I’m a volunteer, not staff. I work a day job, and passion gigs in the evenings, and I do this just because I love Workflowy. I’m JUST the Semi Official Blogger (S.O.B.) :-)

WorkFlowy Blogging may happen after all

As we said in our last post, we’re pretty busy, heads-down
making Workflowy even more amazing and powerful. Time spent
blogging is, well, distracting. Luckily, something great happened as a result of that post.

A lot of people responded encouraging us to blog. People said blogs offer a glimpse “behind the scenes”, are reassuring to customers of a paid service, and are simply informative for users. We don’t disagree but it’s still time away from working on Workflowy.

Happily, a few users stepped up, offering to write guest blog posts for us. Steve Stroh, a fan and paid customer of Workflowy will be the first guest blogger. Steve offered to start a trial writing a weekly blog post for Workflowy.

To our amusement, he termed such a position “S.O.B” – Semi Official Blogger. So, we’re going to try it. The deal is that our S.O.B. will chat with us once per week, and he’ll write a blog post. That weekly chat won’t be too distracting, and the S.O.B. will do all the heavy lifting of thinking of things to write about such as tips, and he’ll handle emails from fans regarding the blog - blog@workflowy.com. We’ll see how it goes, for him, for us, and for you, our fans and customers.

We also received offers from a few other users offering to write guest posts, and we haven’t gotten back to them yet. Why? Because we’re busy :) But we will, and we love you, and we appreciate your help.

We don’t blog because … we’re busy building WorkFlowy

People sometimes see that we don’t post to our blog and they ask, “Are you still working on WorkFlowy? Is WorkFlowy still alive?” The answer: YES. WorkFlowy is a successful small business, over 600,000 people have signed up, and a lot of them use it every day to stay sane. A good number of them even pay us sometimes.

And we’re working on it full time.

Why don’t we blog? Because there are only two of us, and there’s only so much time in the day. We could probably pay someone to blog for us, and maybe we will. But for now, Mike and I are busy working on WorkFlowy, and blogging just isn’t a priority. We get a lot of new users every day, and blogging doesn’t seem like the most powerful way to make them happy, or to move our business forward.

What are we working on? Lots of things. Right now, for example, Mike is re-doing how our editing works to make it easier to build new features like simple text formatting, interactive tags, image embedding, etc.. It will also make the app faster. I’m working on an iteration to our referral program that we hope will increase our growth.

If we did blog, what would we blog about? Well, I’d like to have a lot more examples of how people use WorkFlowy. I think that’d be wonderful, and I hope to do it one day. We should also be better about announcing small new features on the blog, which is something we often don’t do.

So, rest assured. WorkFlowy is alive and well. We just aren’t big bloggers. Maybe having written this, I’ll be inspired and start blogging constantly.

But I doubt it ;)