Remember back when the Taco Hat Indiegogo campaign failed and I said it was about the best thing ever? And I implied that I'd lighted on a better way to approach delivering outstanding content about building skills and know-how related to making stuff? Yeah, today I'm going to tell you all about it.
The short story is that I'm falling over excited to be returning to my favourite kind of work – magazine editing. To boot, I'm part of a team that's launching the magazine I'll edit. And further, this magazine isn't the kind of magazine we've seen yet in DIY. It's digital, but it's not a picture of a print issue. It's all original content, and that content will be created very specifically to be delivered digitally, using the amazing tools available when you publish digitally. Now, we're still in the very early planning stages, so I can't yet give you more details because we're still working on hashing them out.
In fact, the reason I'm mentioning it at all at this very early stage is that I need your help.
See, we came up with this whole idea a week or two before the deadline of a very exciting contest. The winners of this contest will have the opportunity to pitch their publishing-related start-up to a lot of publishing professionals and venture capitalists. We very much want to have that opportunity, so even though we were in the earliest possible stages of starting the company, we pitched our idea.
And we made it to the semi-finals! This round involves public voting, and that's the help I'm asking for. Would you please take a minute to rate our idea for The Holocene? (Read: If you like the idea and you want this magazine to get made, please give it 5 stars!) (Don't worry, I'm about to tell you a lot more about it, so you know what it is you're voting for.)
Ok, here's a slightly longer version of the story:
Back in October I attended a small version of O'Reilly's Tools of Change for Publishing conference that was held here in Vancouver. I was very excited to finally meet the organizer, Kat, after getting to know her on Twitter over the years, and I was excited to be in a room filled with mostly local people who were as interested in the publishing industry as I am. Ironically, the rest of this story is about the relationships I've formed with a guy from Portland and a guy from New York.
First, New York. Brett Sandusky is a knitter and publishing person I was looking forward to meeting in Vancouver; he was a speaker at the conference, and though I wasn't there the day of his talk, he did agree to spend the single most chaotic afternoon of my kid's life with us. And the dog. It was epic mayhem. Between stolen moments at the conference and that hectic afternoon, we managed to come up with a really exciting idea about delivering crafts instructions on mobile devices in a very simple step-by-step way similar to GPS turn-by-turn driving directions. That made my day. (I mean, seriously, picture this: Instead of loading a full-page-width PDF onto your phone and zooming and squinting to try to read the next instruction, you load up an app that delivers – in gloriously readable text – the next instruction only. Then you swipe for the next step. I want this.)
Next, Portland. Corey Pressman has a business making what he calls “armchair apps” – iPad apps you can sit down with for hours, immersing yourself in reading and learning. He delivered the opening keynote the day I attended the conference, and it was a stupendous talk that really set the tone and pace for the day. I tweeted about how much I liked his talk, and a couple days later I got an email from him thanking me for the tweet. He said he'd looked at my website and suggested that crafts would be very well suited to an armchair-app treatment.
That's when I went a little hog-wild with the email. OMG, how crafts could be done right digitally. OMG, how amazing it would be if we stopped taking a picture of a print magazine and adding links and just developed great content specifically to take advantage of the wonders of the digital era. OMG, the emails I wrote to Corey that were screens long, and the conversations we had about how we might collaborate to make such a thing.
Skip ahead to Corey, Brett and me deciding to take on the task. We're going to make a digital magazine with a very similar editorial goal as Taco Hat. But with a less ridiculous name. Corey is the publisher, Brett's the director of product development and I'm the editor-in-chief.
We're months away from launching our first issue, but those months will be filled with the task of building the platform and the content that will result in a digital-native publication that will involve an incredible reading, learning, trying and making experience. Oh, yes.
If you want this, too, please help us wow the industry by rating our idea highly on the TOC page! If we make it to the semifinals, we'll have an opportunity to talk to hundreds of people in person about the magazine, and maybe even the chance to address the entire conference crowd about it. And maybe, just maybe, we'll convince an investor that this is a stupendous business to help create.
So this is the project I've been working on for the last couple months. I aim to be working on it for the next several years.
More soon! Like, I'll tell you why we chose the name, and more!
Have questions, ask away!
And please, please tell everyone you know about the voting. It ends this Friday!