I, too, have tried NUMEROUS applications available to support me in my job. It is frustrating and there is nothing out there that is perfect. I would also agree with the comment above that there's a lot of guidance on these forums from other users, but we want to be careful about trying to spend too much time helping someone who will just be leaving.
That being said - if you're still up for giving TheBrain some time for evaluation, I would point out these features that I find critical to my work and only in TheBrain:
- Files/attachments can be stored as an Internal file, but that file is still in a directory on your computer. If my work told me I could no longer use TB for any development and I had to uninstall it right away, at least all my data would be there and not embedded into the application.
- Multiple parents, plus jump thoughts: I haven't found any other tool out there that can provide the ability to have multiple parents. For me, this is critical because I have a LOT of customers and sometimes I'm collaborating on a project that includes multiple customers. I can have that same "project" thought be a child under multiple customers. If I'm meeting with a customer, I can activate their thought, I'll see all the projects I'm working on with them, all the people I talk to that work there, etc...
- Project switching: The way that TB handles activating a thought and bringing in all the information around that thought is brilliant. Again, nobody does that as far as I can tell. I have about 100 active projects that I'm either spending a lot of time on, tracking, or will work on as time allows. When someone asks me a question, I can quickly find the project in TB, activate the thought, and see everything I need to know right there in the plex (links to notes, docs, who is working on the project, what customers are involved, what tech is involved).
Yes, there are some features I really want (either I don't agree with how the dev team implemented a feature, or it's a feature that was in v8 and not in v9), but every other tool has far more things I don't like. Also, the dev team focuses a lot on keeping data secure (v9 has encryption at rest for your data in the cloud, as an example) and keeping the integrity of the database so you don't lose data. They also spend a lot of time thinking about the impact of a feature change and how it impacts the rest of the database and what to do about it (which us, as users, don't always consider when demanding something new). This, in my opinion, sets them apart from the rest of the tools.
One other thing to note - once you start your brain (or multiple brains), you can change the structure later. Your brain is very flexible - I've changed my structure/the way I do things numerous times as I figure out what's most efficient for me.
Hope this gives you some things to think about. For me, nothing beats TB and I can't live without it