Looking back to see ahead... a momentary #whoswho

(Mark's Myth) #1

Dear Ideapod… seems like a lifetime ago since we first met. You were so refreshing to discover. I can remember arriving at your door-stoop and knocking to come in like it was yesterday. Your ideals sent shivers up my spine as they seemed so familiar. The lure of a #senseof place to take a load off and wrest my mind was something I couldn’t resist.

Once you invited me in to your node of the Noosphere I crossed the threshold wondering where I would wander to. Tempted by not knowing was all I needed to jump in wholeheartedly to see what would blossom…


Little did I realize, now five years later, what would be conjured up, incubated, leaned in to. Yet, somehow from day one the seeker in me met the seeker in you, all of you. You who strive to relate, feel a part of something larger than self, to question, explore and share.

Now here we are still wandering and wondering. Thinking out loud. Sharing the journey. Herein lies another artifact, a moment in time. My #whoswho for now. The gift of our 5 year anniversary…

Thank you, and you, and you, and you, and you, you too, and you…

Milestones and Musings
(Justin Brown) #2

Thanks for sharing this @Eleprocon. Ideapod has gone through a few transformations.

@ACD and @BillAmes, you’ve both become pretty regularly contributors to the Ideapod Discussions area. Would you be interested in expressing your own ideals for what you would hope Ideapod may become? I’m curious to see it from your perspective.

And for anyone else reading this, please also reply to this topic sharing your own ideals for what you would like to see Ideapod represent, what it may stand for, or what it can provide…

(ACD) #3


I have been watching closely since the time when ideapod was an idea ten years ago. I expressed the opinion then that social media lacks a place where intelligent, polite discussion thrives. This continues to be, for me, the holy grail.

(Chris Lagos) #4

I suspect at best, Ideapod is an avenue for potential .
Becoming something takes form, form has limit and hierarchy will manifest and make it another separate thing among the ten thousand things.

(Mark's Myth) #5

(Bill Ames) #6


(Bill Ames) #7

“QUESTION: Would you be interested in expressing your own ideals for what you would hope Ideapod may become? I’m curious to see it from your perspective.”

The following is my response to this question. All of what I am presenting is factual and accurate, based on my extensive life experience. It is probably giving more than what was asked for, but it is my nature to do things my way.

First, we should describe what Ideapod currently is before we can examine what Ideapod may become. Here is a list, I like lists.

(1) It is a website that is currently built on better tools now than when it first made an appearance. Money and time were invested, lessons learned, and more money was spent. This is often the result of an idea in the hands of inexperienced people. It is part of the price of your education in this business.

(2) The current incarnation has attracted from many parts of the world traffic of some demographic that is probably limited by the presentation, content, and usefulness of the existing Ideapod website.

(3) Ideapod has a business plan. If an accurate comparison is made between what is stated in the business plan and the current Ideapod website, it will reveal the ability of the developer’s to deliver these product requirements. It is ok to make changes, but the elements (business plan) should track the changes.

(4) There may or may not be a functional specification for the code behind the current Ideapod website. Managing changes is more difficult if you do not have such documentation. If it is a house of cards today and it is just allowed to evolve it will be a more elegant house of cards.

(5) I do not know if Ideapod has sufficient income via the website to pay for the web servers and code use it is likely experiencing. Sometimes a change is not made for fear of destabilizing the current status. The difference is the only way to make progress.

(6) Ideapod consists of two neighborhoods. One is the discussion area, and the other is not.

(7) In the discussion area, we have a list, some ability to vary and filter the list. You can post new topics or reply to most but not all topics.

(8) What the objective of this area is has appeared to evolve as I believe many things you can do here, if part of an initial design specification, would have been done differently. I have worked around any limits I observed, and when I see a notification, I check what was said and respond if appropriate.

(9) The other part of the website is strange. It is a combination of topic items, promotional items, background items, advertisements, other items I am uncertain how to categorize. It appears to make poor use of the screen. It violates a basic rule of websites, “do not make me think.”

(10) Both areas demonstrate there is an underlying functional code base that can be repurposed to support any topic or product.

Now, we move into the future. How to view that? When I was young, we had our milk delivered to the house every day. Two times a week the Dugan bread truck would appear with bread, pies, donuts and a comic for me. This is not how the world works anymore.

What is apparent that there are web sites that sell things, either they are large stores like Amazon or local flea markets like Facebook, where sellers pop up among the passer-by. Information is currently still free, and you can find web sites promoting the flavor of politics and religion you favor. These are usually free but often ask for donations.

One common feature of the web when it comes to commerce is if you have breath and money they need you. There is no discrimination.

A thought just floated by, if you can not sell it on eBay, there is no market for your product.

Here is another idea, how about having a franchise for a commune, you know, that “group of people living together and sharing possessions and responsibilities.” You could sell packages that provided the necessary information on how to do it, connections to places that would sell to them or be a source of such material for them.

I apologize for getting off topic.

We must also consider the desires of the Ideapod founders. They may be in these categories, “advocate, advocator, apostle, backer, booster, champion, espouser, exponent, expounder, friend, gospeler (or gospeller), herald, hierophant, high priest, paladin, promoter, protagonist, supporter, true believer, tub-thumper, white knight.” Promoting their idea may be more important to them than having a viable business.

What will Ideapod be in the future? Either it will cease to exist or will become a self-sustaining retailer in a specialized market. To be successful, what must it do, for this future success? A simple list follows. I like lists.

(1) It will find a product it can sell, resell, or be paid to promote.

(2) It will expand its demographics to ensure a viable consumer base.

(3) It will make the Ideapod website a desirable place to be regardless of the visitors intent to buy any products. It will be pleasant to the eyes, not require visitors to think and desired content will be instantly accessible, and only essential content will be prominent.

(4) The developers will learn the skills of marketing communications or contract for them. This is a crucial step as it is necessary to connect the demographic heart of the visitor with the product they desire.

(5) What is the path for the evolution of Ideapod? It will be small steps; insight gained from my feedback will be understood; the necessary changes will be made. It will be a collection of many small steps. I see a new Ideapod to be fully complete within 3-4 years.

(6) Where will ideas for products and appearance changes originate? They will be learned by the Ideapod team using all sources available. Some may be free; some may be expensed. It is the synergy of ideas that will make the new Ideapod most successful.

(7) What will the benefits be for using ideapod? This is an important question. If you go to Facebook or Twitter, you come away with something. If you go to Amazon or Walmart, you come away with something. The ability of the Ideapod developers to visualize what people will take with them based on their ideapod experience is one of the most important discovers they will make.

(8) The world is changing; Facebook and Twitter are getting old. Ideapod, the real Ideapod, has not yet made an appearance. I have participated in, observed, and conducted focus groups for developing software products. It is easy to mentally do this exercise for the current Ideapod or future versions. If you have a member of your target demographics, see the first page of Ideapod appear on their PC screen, and you observe what they do you will learn a great deal. I am sure the Ideapod developers have done this. This process will be used to refine the development of the new Ideapod. Can you imagine the quality of a High School graduate if they never had a test, ever, starting at first grade?

(9) Why do I feel confident that Ideapod will be so successful? I can see what they have now and know what I could do with a website at this starting point and 3-4 years. I have confidence in the Ideapod developers to learn what is necessary, and they are knowledgeable people.

(denise wheeler) #8

It’s always great to look back and see how far you’ve come and all those peaks and valleys you went through. Although, its always the best part of it, isn’t it? That old cliche that it’s the journey, not the destination, is so true. I remember when you were first laying everything out, all those years ago, and that gathering at Mark’s. I wish I had had the time back then to keep exploring it more. But that’s the thing about time, it always seems to get ahead of you. But in exploring through everything now, I can see that it’s like stepping into a new city or world. You know where you are, but you’re not quite sure where to go. Some use a map and others just randomly wander. I’m more like the latter, and look forward to just wandering around this wonderful new little world you created.

(Justin Brown) #9

It’s true. Looking back, I can see the values guiding Ideapod have always remained pretty constant. But the application of these values has been really different.

There are two really key themes where I can identify where I’ve changed my perspective pretty strongly:


When we started Ideapod, I really believed in the “free and open exchange of ideas”. I thought the world needed technology that enabled this, and that when ideas would be unshackled and spread, it would almost universally result in human progress.

Yet we’ve seen the results of “bad ideas” or “fake ideas” going viral and manipulating many people. Whether it’s fake news, the filter bubble or echo chambers, I now can see that ideas can keep people trapped in very limited ways of thinking.

Now I think that “unlearning” is a critical skill to have in the modern age. Also getting access to quality information written by journalists with critical thinking skills.

To help people learn the skills of unlearning, we have Out of the Box, an online workshop. We’re also building a tool to surface quality perspectives in the news called the “filter bubble buster.”


I used to believe that everyone needed to have a purpose. In the very first prototype of Ideapod (in 2013), we had “pods” to signify a purpose, and “ideas” which needed to be directed into pods. I felt like purpose was this really key element that was missing for many ideas. Ideas just needed to be channelled more effectively.

Now, I don’t think purpose can be so clearly articulated. It lives inside us and comes through us. I’ve learnt a lot from @Ruda about purpose.

(Bill Ames) #10

It may be that ideapod is wonderfully successful from the perspective of its target demographic. As the random person wanders about the internet, they will find places, images, music, cats (it is a movie in December 2019 now) all kinds of things they like or just ignore. When they find things they like they add them to their history, others, meh, not so much. So out here in the world, there is a collection that finds ideapod a perfect place, a place for them. This is what ideapod was meant to be. Others may not be attracted, so they do not become engaged with it, those that wanted it to be self-supporting may be disappointed. They should not be. When Vincent Van Gogh was doing small paintings in the hope of exchanging them for a meal, what restaurant would not accept them? When Ideapod posts a link to some helpful advice, what mind would not take it? In both examples, the people who failed to respond have different perceptions of the value of something. Eventually, Vincent must have found a taker, and he did not die of starvation. There must be enough of the seven billion that will respond to Ideapod, as more obtain access to the internet they will encounter Ideapod, and respond. Vincent may have been more successful in obtaining compensation if he just offered to paint the barn for a farmer. Ideapod could target more of the seven billion that already have the internet. But that would have been wrong; the world needed Vincent’s paintings, look how expensive they are now! Those that can be helped by Ideapod will be, eventually, if it were made different, those souls may be lost forever.

(denise wheeler) #11

Everything always looks so much clearer when you look back. That’s probably why you have to scale the mountain to see the view. Businesses are tough, though, and have so many evolutions. I haven’t seen all the ones you’ve been through, but I had an amazing creative writing professor once who gave me some great advice. He said by focusing on everything that does work you miss the opportunity to fix what doesn’t.

He was speaking in terms of writing, of course, but it served me well over the years, since everything is pretty applicable. But whenever I’d reach those summits, sure I’d take in the view and think, wow we did it. But I’d also use it as an opportunity to see what wasn’t working, cause there’s always a better way to get up that mountain, and generally too many ideas that make it more difficult.