In June 2009 i set up a new site called iwantideas.com. It was a pretty simple concept… people submit ideas and other people rate them and comment on them. The site was a success in that there was quite a bit of traffic getting to it but everyone seemed to just browse the site rather than contribute ideas or comment on them. I was the ‘community’…
One men communities don’t work
It’s obvious if you have a community site with no community, then there’s a problem somewhere. I moved the site to wordpress where i could control spam and add more features but i was still never really happy with it and it just sort of ‘existed’ for a year. It was getting traffic but i lost the will to keep adding to it, mainly because it was too time consuming.
Tumblr to the rescue
Every now and then i’ll be contacted by someone asking if ‘x’ site is for sale. It happened yesterday. The answer is always ‘no’ but it rekindles my passion momentarily for the site. I have to think about it, i have to think why i created it. The reason i created iwantideas.com was mainly to help me get ideas out there and see what the reaction would be. It’s like market research without all the formality of it. Chances are if 100 people like an idea and 5 people don’t, then it’s worth pursuing that idea further.
If 100 people don’t like an idea but 5 people do, then maybe you just have to accept there’s not an appetite for it or you haven’t sold it properly or need to tweak it etc.. plus there’s something very magnetic and contagious about creativity. Owning a site that’s about nothing but ideas is very appealing to me… even just reading new ideas inspires me. It gets me thinking. And being in a permanent state of creativity is something very few people can manage… this site was supposed to be me my way of ensuring i stay in that state of mind.
So i’ve now moved the site to tumblr for several reasons;
- Less maintenance / security / caching / backups to worry about
- Quicker for me to post new ideas
- I can easily republish other people’s ideas, photos, videos etc…
- Allows to me tap in to the existing tumblr community (a proper community)
- Easier to manage & schedule submissions from the public
Diversity is the name of the game with ideas. All ideas are equal, no idea is stupid. Most of the time it’s not the idea that matters, it’s the state of mind that matters. If somebody suggests doing something new and is trying to improve upon something, however small, then it’s extremely damaging to criticise the idea. Yes, the idea might be stupid but you can’t say that… you can’t criticise somebody who is putting ideas on the table if you’re the one shooting them down.
You may think you’re not criticising the person, but you are… ideas are personal. Nobody comes up with an idea and voices it without thinking about it. If they say it out loud, they’re somewhat serious and watching the idea being shot down either forces people to ‘try again’ or stay down. Most of the time someone that voices ideas doesn’t take criticism to heart or they’re used to the fact that maybe 1 in 100 ideas will be feasible, but it doesn’t matter how or where or who an idea comes from, therefore nobody should ever be discouraged from coming up with ideas. The best way to criticise an idea is to come up with a better one. If you can’t come up with a better idea, then you’ve been outsmarted and aren’t in any position to pass judgement. That’s my own take on things.
With this new revamp, i hope to gather a team of like minded people to manage the content & the community. A steady flow of content is needed to establish the site as ‘that idea site’ in the minds of people who look for ideas online. Comments & feedback on all ideas are then necessary to build & strengthen a community.
Internet is the ultimate judge
The internet is great for hardening people up. Put up a video of yourself on youtube and you’ll be disliked… post your opinion on a forum and you can be guaranteed there’ll be someone smarter and more opinionated than you who can post a response that silences you. Once you become super active online, you learn not to take all that stuff to heart, that really it’s only a bit of fun and there’s nothing sinister behind it. The internet is very poor at ‘perspective’ and that’s where your own common sense comes in.
Common sense must over-rule mass rejection (like thousands of people disliking your video) to save yourself mentally. If a video introducing yourself has 50,000 dislikes on youtube and 10 likes, you can’t fall in to the trap of thinking 50,000 people dislike you, 50,000 people have taken the time to watch the video, judge you and press the dislike button… the reality is 50,000 people are watching you and judging you but there’s not a hope in hell they’d swap roles with you. They’re bored, on a laptop wasting time and hitting the dislike button because you didn’t fall and smash your face off the ground or didn’t produce your pet cat who dances.
It’s much easier to dislike a video or a person online than it is face to face. So unless you have 50,000 people knocking at your door and telling you they don’t like you, then you need to shield yourself using common sense and put things in to perspective. It’s the same with ideas and by making it easy for people to initially post ideas (anonymously) they’ll gradually toughen up. They’ll see that some ideas get shot down & laughed at, others create debate and the odd one will be ‘genius’.
Giving people a place where they can post ideas and have the ideas & themselves accepted and valued is the kind of community i wanted to build from day one. A place where you can throw up any old idea and see what the response is. Screw pitches, screw business plans, screw formal advice & market research… an online ‘idea community’ should be like a very quick acid test for any idea. If it passes, then think about moving on to the formal stuff.
iwantideas.com- can you think of a tagline? or could that previous sentence be the tagline itself