I have provided feedback based on the world of my grandparents, and I have some doubt it can be understood

(Bill Ames) #1

I remember when I was a much more youthful age, say 30 or so I could go to a local shop that sold smokes, newspapers, candy, comic books and magazines. There were racks of them, usually arranged by topic. Once you selected your topic, you would see a side by side selection of publications displaying a recognizable title and a cover designed to get your attention. Remember it was competing with other books of the same topic right next to it on the shelf.

The articles in each magazine may have on the cover, on the index page or on the articles page itself a concise paragraph that would sell you on reading the article. If you could get the necessary information (we read whole paragraphs at a glance back then) and agreed you might purchase the publication.

Ideapod is evolving and if it provides a means of attracting readers as efficiently as the magazines of my time did it will be very successful. Will Ideapod become the equivalent to a magazine rack with a broad selection of topics? Magazines did not focus on using readers comments as a significant source of content. There were letters to the editor, and they were impressive but were selected by the editor because they were interesting.

Is Ideapod going to be a specific topic publication? If it is to be successful, it will have to sell itself with the efficiency of my magazines. I have no idea what competitive products might be on the web, but if any are successful, it may be a good idea to learn from what they do.

Will Ideapod become something like a Readers Digest? That was like buying a “best of” magazine rack, you had your choice of articles and specialty sections of humor and drama.

This is not being critical of Ideapod; it has not yet reached a point in its development where we see a real personality. If you have great content and poor presentation or poor content and excellent presentation it will fail. The exhibition is totally under the control of the Ideapod developers. Content is totally under the control of the Ideapod creators — one last critical component. In my day the magazine racks were very popular, they provided a significant portion of the profit for the shop.

Are there any readers left that would frequent Ideapod, hopefully paying something to support the Ideapod shop? Are the minds of today’s potential clients still interested in improving their thinking skills? How large is this pool of readers, for one or multiple topics? Has market research been done to see if it is large enough to support the Ideapod business?

Am I stating the obvious? I hope I am.

(Mel Saint) #2

I remember Reader’s Digest in the 90’s. It was popular in the grocery stands together with Archie Comics. While the online revolution phased it out, Newer forms of online content has sprouted up in lieu of it. I do consider Ideapod as thinking magazine, because that is such a rarity in today’s time. Nowadays, it’s more about the likes to get viral in social media. Majority of those that do get viral are nonsense trash and fake news. That in effect shapes the way of thinking of the people nowadays. So for me, Ideapod is such a relief and a refuge from the online trash content.

(ACD) #3

This site does a very good job of collecting material without ideological bias:

(Bill Ames) #4

I grew up on readers digest. It has changed, it is not what I remember:

Ideapod could become attractive to more people if it scrapped its concept of appealing to a very narrow demographic. It would have to be able to acquire content, they might have to pay for that. So, in answer to your question, yes, if it were guided by us, but with current leaders, I think that would be a too difficult change of business plan.

(ACD) #5

Are you aware that deapod acquired content from an established website for a period of time some years ago?


(Bill Ames) #6

I was a frequent contributor to the initial version of Ideapod. Back then I could not figure out what is was supposed to be. It had many issues (a lot have been corrected in the current version.) When I want science news I go here:

I did not see anything on the original Ideapod that caught my interest. There were a few nice people that posted but it was difficult to carry on a conversation in the original GUI. I do remember asking Justin back then what the business plan was, I think it was sort of to make enough to pay the sites running expenses.

(ACD) #7

The original plan was to build a sandbox for high-powered up-and-coming elites-in-the-making. That never took.

(Bill Ames) #8

The original plan. I have been connected with this concept many times in my professional life. Sometimes you can be there ahead of time and miss the train when you get discouraged and leave. I worked for a business that was a startup. It was selling access to an online database of electronic component information. It was accessed by telnet and you paid for a subscription. The company also tried to sell some electronic components via this service using credit cards. The business was backed by Cap Cities ABC. To be successful our customers had to access the data four time a month, unfortunately we only had access by our users two times a month. Because of this the financing was withdrawn and the business closed. This was the time before the common PC and common internet. The business model was in hindsight very good and very much ahead of its time.

The original Ideapod concept may have been very good but suffered because of the inexperience of the developers and lack of the proper tools and sufficient resources. What is in the future for Ideapod is now a wonderful question.

(ACD) #9

This sounds very similar to a business of which I knew through the Iranian founder in Boston.

(Bill Ames) #10