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Idea for a Network/Platform/App for Creators
March 8, 2011 - 7:30pm

This post is written for three audiences:
- People willing to pull apart, critique and improve upon the idea.
- People who are smarter than I am who can actually program, develop and create.
- People who are richer than I am, who can pay the programmers and developers to make this idea a reality.

Call it an elevator pitch by blog post. All rights reserved.

The Theory:

  • We are evolving from consumer to creators of information. If you lecture, or tweet, or write articles, or give conference presentations, or write blogs, or reports, or books, or comments, or articles, or make videos -- you are a creator.
  • Existing tools (networks, platforms, sites, apps) are designed for consumers, not creators. Something is missing.
  • The output of creative acts has moved to the web, and is therefore accessible and available as a building block for new creations.
  • Creators make new things by combining old things, and then adding a little bit on top.
  • Creators make things by connecting to and with existing ideas.
  • The ideas, theories and arguments we need to create with are filtered by people. People are the key unit of analysis, as other creators or guides to creative ideas.
  • All of us map our world through the creations of a limited subset of people -- of other creators or connectors with creators.
  • Creators are a small subset of consumers (if a growing one), but creators need some way of keeping current and connecting with each other.

The Idea:

  • Build a visual professional network for creators.
  • I imagine a screen with maybe 80 or 100 names of people, arrayed visually. Under each name is a linked title of their latest creation (blog post, article, tweet, talk, book, interview, recorded lectures -- whatever) -- with different colors for creation type, and different sizes for the "traction" (how much that creation is being referenced or linked) of that creation. At a glance I can see what people in my creative network have produced, and easily consume or link to that creation.
  • The people on the map are linked by arrows or lines, so that if one person references or links to a creation of another, a line connecting the two people is made.
  • The interface is a map that tracks people and their creative output, and dynamically links new creations together.
  • The platform can suggest new creators to include on the map.
  • We can make our maps public. We can follow other people's maps.

Think something like LinkedIn, minus the need to have actually worked with the people (creators) in your visual network. There are many creators who are very important to my work who I have never met or worked with. The visual element of the map is key because it mirrors our mental maps, and provides an at-a-glance view of our mental worlds. This view changes dynamically as the creators we want to follow produce new things, and as these creations are referenced by other creators on our map.

Okay, so that is the idea. A visual professional network for creators. A tool to facilitate and encourage new creation. A platform to strengthen links between creators. A system to find other creators that should be on our maps. A way to see how the creators on our maps connect to each other, and how they connect to us.

So now I just need the engineers and the money people. The folks who can take an idea and move it to reality. Why blog my idea? Because even good ideas are the easy part. The hard part is taking the idea to market.

Maybe someone will read this and know just how to bring this idea along, and we will start something new together.


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