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19.10.2015
The tool shed: the top 4 reasons why Batman (and you) should be using Podio
When The Geekettez became a studio with addresses in various cities we decided we needed a central hub where we could add anything and everything. We needed a digital home base, where we could share everything we needed for our collaboration and stay up to date with projects.

When The Geekettez became a studio with addresses in various cities we decided we needed a central hub where we could add anything and everything. We needed a digital home base, where we could share everything we needed for our collaboration and stay up to date with projects.

I suggested to use Podio because I had been using it for quite some time in my roller derby league (because Podio gave us an awesome sponsorship! and had been responsible for setting up Podio in a way that would help the league manage their various jobs. During this time I could learn a lot about what Podio had to offer and have been a glowing fan ever since.



#1 Forever adaptive

Podio has workspaces, the 1st level being the workspace of your organization. You can give this workspace any name you please. If you were Batman you might choose to name this workspace "The Bat Cave". Underneath each organization workspace you can create sub or 2nd level workspaces (i.e. finances or "Being Batman is expensive") that can then be filled with custom applications. Pre-designed applications can be selected from the app market or you can create your own from scratch. Both solutions are easy to set up.

If you are setting up a finances workspace your application list might contain the following apps: expenses, earnings, book keeping, a document depot and an address book. You start working with these apps and it might go well for a while.

However, sometimes apps need to adapt after they have been in use for a certain time. You might notice that half of the fields you set up are never used or maybe your crew gets back to you with a "I wish it could do this" requests. Maybe some applications aren't needed at all. If you are Batman you will most likely be deleting the "earnings" application within the first year as not a single dime was made through the "sponsor now" button on your website and it is the only earning touchpoint you have since the city of Gotham keeps rejecting your invoices.

With Podio this will not be a problem. You will be able to adapt an up and running system without causing a data implosion or other catastrophes. Only rarely have I come across unsolvable problems. One being that I haven't found a way to create: if this, then that patterns that can reach across applications and/ or workspaces. The other one is that the application type (standard or event, which contains RSVP functions) cannot be changed after that app has been set up.



#2 Easy DRM

Pricing for Podio is per user. This works well as a solo-artist, however every freelancer has a Robin or Alfred Pennyworth out there working with them. Fear not as there is a way to give those side-kicks access to The Bat Cave. You can invite other users to the 2nd level workspaces via e-mail and simply collaborate and share within those spaces. The invitees can access a workspace as a guest, light or regular user or admin. Depending on the role you have given them they will be able to view or edit content or apps. The guest role is perfect to invite people to an individual entry in an app.


Image taken from batman.wikia.com

Example 2nd level workspace: "Oh! Oh! The Batsignal is on."
Example app: "Batsignals (to dos)"
Entry title: Winterproof bat mobile
Guest: the mechanic

You don't want the mechanic to be roaming around the cave or have him know about the other running batsignals but you do need to share the assembly plans for the tires because you have a custom automobile. Inviting him to the individual entry means he only sees the entry and the shared information within the entry. This also works with clients or short-term collaborators.



#3 Connections & nested apps


Image taken from batman.wikia.com

You can create connections within apps, referring to entries created in other apps. Being Batman means that things can get pretty busy. Getting the Batmobil ready for the winter roads might just be one of many maintenance to tos planned and those to dos will be in the same list as all the to dos in every other Batsignal category such as crime fighting, team organization and whatever other projects are currently running. Best is to create an overview that can bundle the Batsignals/to do categories.

One solution could be to create a "Batsignal projects" app that can contain an overview of all running projects (i.e. Batmobil, crime fighting, team organization), which could carry lists of the individual to dos, which then carry the detail information. The more you nest the easier it is to manage individual access for collaborators. Another benefit is that this allows you to create an information funnel, which depending on your chores of the day (planning vs. job execution) will give you access to everything in form of brief list overviews to detailed in the to dos. Personally this helps me find everything way faster.



#4 Use case sensitivity


Image taken from batman.wikia.com

You are Batman! Nothing worse than creeping up on your nemesis only to be discovered because an annoying DING sound wants to inform you that Pennyworth has fed the fish and that they require no further attendance today. The best thing however is not that you can decline push-messages but that Podio allows you to set individual settings for the website, mobile and tablet apps. Use case sensitive settings rock! On mobile devices you can even choose apps you frequently use and place them in the sidebar for easy and quick access.


Just do it!

It doesn't matter if you are a solo-working freelancer or part of a larger team, Podio can work for you as it seems endlessly scalable. What I find best however is that you can truly test the service out for free. If I would have had a time restriction I would have never been able to learn as much about Podio as I was able to with a free account that was not time restricted. This helped me see its potential and from there it just kind of grew on me. For people who want to up their project management game this is a great tool to start with. You have all the time in the world to get into the groove of things and to find out if this can replace your meticulous Post-it system.