Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Free From Outside Influence

Most of my readers know I'm an "ideas man".


I typically have eight- or nine-hundred outlines, plans, plots, designs, schemes, and hare-brained ideas in my head (or in various stages of implementation) at any given time.  Some good (remodelling my house, garage, website), some... not (never completed my microwave gun or catapult).  A friend once remarked, "If you want to make a million bucks, grab the crumpled papers in Wheeler's trash!".

The problem I have is that I have far too many ideas for one man to (realistically) bring to reality.  What's useful?  What will work?  What will sell?   Has someone else already done it (and better)?  What's the estimated kill ratio?  And how to prioritize?

Usually, while I'm busy procrastinating, someone else comes up with exactly the same thing I'd dreamed up previously and makes it work... and sometimes it works well.  Which serves as a bit of vindication, by and large, but it's still a metaphoric kick in the nuts.  But enough whining, that's my problem to sort out.

On rare occasions, I'm inspired by something others are doing, and see a way I can expand upon it in my own particular way.

As an example, I was inspired by David Driedger's recent post on his blog The LAngside Times.  The idea of a "Five Minute Walk" in my own neighbourhood was especially appealing, what with my predilection for long walks (on and off the beach), and I thought I could combine that with my interests in photography, obsolete technology, and cartography... similar to what I did on a previous excursion.

Another example would be Cherenkov's recent post regarding scoop.it.  For those of you not in the know, scoop.it is an online "magazine creator", basically the bastard offspring of a blogging client, social media site, web-crawler, and rss reader.  As I have mentioned before, my original career aspiration was that of a layout/paste-up artist in the publishing industry, so you can well imagine my initial pants-filling excitement upon seeing scoop.it for the first time.

The excitement was short-lived, however.  After starting an account and fooling with it for a bit, the experience struck me as rather pointless... it was basically a prettied-up rss reader!  For those of us who already have blogs, it seemed rather redundant.  Until...

An idea hit me.  Why not combine the two ideas (the Five Minute Walk and scoop.it)?  Yeah, start an online magazine dedicated to Five Minute Walks, starting with a few interested "takers" in Winnipeg, then perhaps branching out nationally or internationally..?

(scratches chin) Hmmmmm... 

Think it'd work?