Power Users - It’s Not About the Apps

David and Katie are great, they really are. I’ve enjoyed MPU, like most of you have, for years. I’ve bought the books, the scanners, implemented the workflows, heck, my paperless workflow is still a derivative of David’s book. Most of all though, I’ve bought the apps. Lots of apps, and there’s a couple things to say about that.

For one, I like being part of the Mac community, always have, and I like supporting independent developers. Secondly, many times indie devs have more incentive to make their apps the best they can possibly be, and I’ve often found that the smaller, and older, the team, the higher quality the app. For example, BBEdit, MarsEdit, Keyboard Maestro, Acorn, etc…

However, there’s another aspect to this discussion. You don’t buy your way into becoming a power user. You become a power user by understanding your Mac and knowing when and where buying an app makes sense in your personal workflow. I’d argue that if you’re not writing code, BBEdit is probably not for you. If you don’t already know that having a text expansion tool will save you hours of work every year, than it probably doesn’t fit into your workflow and doesn’t make sense to buy it.

Having a ton of system modification apps running doesn’t make you a power user, but knowing which ones to run and why does. There are things macOS doesn’t do that you might find useful in a third party app, but understanding the what, why, and how is the key.

And finally, and most importantly, have fun! In the end that’s what this is all about. Get your work done, do it efficiently, and have a good time doing it. :smile:


I really like the points you make and agree. Me too!
People’s needs vary. I have on my current set up automated actions and workflows that I hardly ever use.

As a matter of fact, though it is a fantastic app, I uninstalled Keyboard Maestro recently: I was using a lot of snippets on it and I already have Text Expander which I wasn’t learning properly. I was under-using Launchbar and not learning new tricks on it while making complicated set ups on KM that were not really cost effective in time terms.

In fairness I don’t have high automation needs. I also found I could do a lot that I was using KM for on the native Automator which I now view as the ‘hidden treasure’ of Mac OSX?
Like you probably I am quite happy to spend an hour on something I enjoy, like automating or setting something up, which, in truth, I only get a 50 minutes of ‘time saving’ from. I also find I help people now, so sometimes the advantages of knowing power tricks are not for me personally but helps the ‘community’, or however one wants to express it.


You described my first 6 to 9 months with my first Mac (back in 2011/12). I got that new MBP and proceeded to load it up with every app that all the Apple blogs and podcasts recommended, every tool I could afford at the time… and later discovered that I knew little if anything about how my Mac really worked. So I dumped almost every app that I didn’t quite understand (or why I had it) and focused exclusively on native Apple apps and learned to search “Help” in the Menu Bar if I had questions. Also, I grabbed a copy of CheatSheet that, by holding down CMD for a few seconds, allowed me to see all available shortcuts available for the front app on a pop-up sheet.

Now when I purchase apps, I really take the time to “get in the weeds” with the application and learn all the ins and outs, and really try to master it. Most apps have a free trial period that allows folks to try it out for a few days or weeks. My rule is this: If i’m still using the app after that first week (usually when the novelty has worn off) then that software is probably working great for my workflow and I’ll purchase it outright. If I’m not using it after a couple days, then it was just something I grabbed on impulse and really doesn’t make sense to buy.


I agree and that sounds like a good rule of thumb. I have found that a week is not long enough. I am not sure that you aren’t right though and am still thinking about it: i am inclined to think that if you don’t use it AT ALL in that period you won’t ever use it!
But I have increased the use and knowledge of Launchbar, for example, after two years of using it. However it is true that I did use it for some things from the getgo. I never used Fantastical, Omnifocus and a couple of other famous ones. Omnifocus I keep turning back to though, I don’t use the task management outlook that it is based on though, so I don’t know?! I find other people’s thoughts on this very interesting and helpful and would like to hear more.