Paying your way through college is as difficult as everyone suggests. To help make the tuition bill I took a job at a collections agency (also everything you’d expect it to be…and more!). One of my “clients” was an ERP software provider. Thankfully the owner of this company saw something in me and before I knew it I was working in his marketing department my senior year. As graduation drew near I had a few offers from some great companies but decided to accept a position with the ERP provider that had become somewhat of a mentor. This would begin my real “marriage” with Microsoft. Working for a company that was a Microsoft partner, I was pretty entrenched in the Microsoft culture…software, services, products, the works. For the next 12+ years I stayed in the Microsoft Channel working my way up, partner by partner. It wasn’t a sexy career by any means, ERP software is a tough marketing gig, but it gave me great experience in all forms of marketing and allowed me to travel the U.S. and meet tons of wonderful people. Suffice it to say Microsoft was a pretty big part of my professional world. I still consider myself pretty knowledgeable about their B2B products and services, and continue to write content for some of their business groups, and help partners with outsourced marketing services.

As I decided to make a change and start my own company I was itching to try something new. I already had an iPod and an iPhone and decided to make the big switch to a Macbook Pro. WOW, what a mind-shift that turned out to be! The first few months were spent in frustration before finally determining that when I can’t figure something out, I just need to try the opposite of what I’m used to on my PC….viola, it worked! Ok I’m exaggerating a tad, but it was a BIG shift. Now here I am writing my blog post on my same Macbook Pro (about due for a new one don’t you think!) with a Macbook Air on the table next to me (which I slipped into my purse for a meeting this morning). An iPad is hooked up to a speaker in the kitchen waiting for me to call up my dinner recipe, my iMac is the keeper of all my beloved photos (I take A LOT of photos) and our Mac Mini powers our TV and movies. Once I got over the hurdle (and that feeling that I was cheating on a spouse), it’s been a match made in Mac heaven.

Despite all this “Mac love” I’ve continued to covet Microsoft Office. It’s installed on all my machines. I haven’t been able to imagine a world without Word. As someone that despises spreadsheets I cannot fathom parting with Excel and having to learn another tool, and how do you live without Outlook? My very biggest challenge in switching to Apple was giving up Microsoft One Note which was by far my favorite Microsoft program. While most Office programs come in a Mac version, One Note is frustratingly not one of them. If you are on a PC, “bing it” (how’s that Microsoft plug for you!) right now. Honestly, you’ll thank me later.

Here is the part where I blame Microsoft for my “big switch”. If I could get One Note on my Macs I wouldn’t have needed to find something else to keep my crazy world organized. But alas, can’t have One Note, can’t remain a scattered mess. After a little searching in the app store and some message boards I entered the wonderful world of Evernote! Yup, Evernote has become the replacement for One Note and has created the slippery slope that is now the demise of my marriage with Microsoft. If moving to a mac felt like cheating, you can bet Evernote has sealed the divorce. It is (next to Skitch which is another simply marvelous tool) the most useful App I rely on. Using Google apps in conjunction with these will allow me to communicate better, and share projects with my partner, synch content between my devices seamlessly and run my business more efficiently.

Now as I sit here with Evernote (premium) open and so neatly organized with all my client work, home office documents, kids medical information, travel ideas, craft wish-lists, recipes and more, neatly organized in my little green elephant, synchronized across all my devices, I jump back to the meeting with my business partner this morning. After a little chit chat and client discussions we round the corner to the topic of platforms. Namely email platforms and apps. Uh oh. We’ve already moved over to Gmail. Now the discussion on the table is moving completely to Google apps. Jinkies are you serious? Move over to Google docs and calendar and drive?…..My palms begin to sweat, warning bells go off in my head. I can’t do this….can I? After a little back-and-forth and a spin around the set-up of my iPhone settings, I realize, I CAN.

I do feel the need to take a moment to stop and say that truly, Microsoft tools could accomplish my goals as well.  Their cloud offerings are amazing and I’m a huge fan of the products they are putting into the market.  I don’t see the need to start using Numbers or Pages….I have MS Office on my machine and will continue to use Excel and Word as long as they are supported, but I took the leap with the purchase of my first Mac and am now rolling down the hill…..within two weeks time (the time I’ve allocated myself to clean up my inbox and make the transition) I will be fully integrated into Google Apps and Evernote to run my business and organize my life.  – Excuse me while I go find a paper bag to hyperventilate into.  😉 ~April