in Projects, Programming, Technology

1. IdeaMode (1999)

After labeling PixelTycoon as “experiment #19” for fun, someone asked what the first 18 ideas were. Well, have there really been 19? I’m not sure, lets get started.

After leaving a contract position at Microsoft in the spring of 1999, I wanted to teach myself more ASP. Inspired by a friend’s success with an online community centered around bowling balls, I developed a Web site for sharing recipes and crafts.

I had a Web designer friend draw some wonderful icons and pick a color scheme. I coded the whole thing in probably about 3 weeks. I then emailed all my friends and twisted their arms to enter in a few tips. At its height, ideamode had about 40-60 wonderful recipes and tips for things like pie, buritos, and home decorating.

However, ideamode was to be my first hard lesson in creating community on the Web. After my friends had shared their tips, there was no way for others to discover the site, and not enough content to cause my friends to refer their friends… and so it sort of languished inactive. I meekly posted in forums, and emailed crafty people directly trying to get them to contribute. But as I now know, you can’t build a community from a tool, you have to build tools for a community.

Today, ideamode is someone else’s “Information Architecture & Design (IAD) company” in other words, not my Recipes.com.

I’m going to find that old Access database, email my friends with their recipes, and maybe make a pie.

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