Archive for the ‘Ideas’ Category

Project Red Stripe will push it to the limit

March 29, 2007

I feel incredibly bad that I haven’t posted for a while. That’s the online equivalent of the Pope forgetting to pray, but here’s an exciting status report. We’re getting a lot closer to coming up with an idea of what we’re going to do, and it won’t really touch on The Economist. How we got to this place is very interesting.

Imagine, to begin with, that we could do anything. Imagine the difficulty of having such a wide brief. What we set about doing was cutting it down so we could find a smaller thing to concentrate on. We decided to concentrate on The Economist Group, because that was the asset that differentiated us from 6 guys sitting in a garage thinking “Um, what shall we do?”. Concentrating on The Economist Group gave us the greatest opportunity to make a large impact.

However, even that could be seen as a bit too large. We refined it again to The Economist. This is the largest section of the business, the most well known, and one which we could still do a ton of things for. I mean, I’ve been thinking about webbing up Economist.com for a year now. I pretty much had a to-do list for the site.

Last Thursday something changed. We decided to do something that was not even on The Economist’s radar. Why? It was partly brought on by there being a new publisher of Economist.com. He was clearly brought in to add pzazz to the site, meaning that anything we did on Project Red Stripe might be something that would just happen a year down the line anyway.

For that reason we decided to look to the edges. To look at the crazy things that just wouldn’t happen otherwise. We’ve discussed some pretty exciting things and I hope one day all of them get done. But for the moment we’re just trying to pick one.

Unfortunately I’ve had to shelve my dream (one so real that I could almost taste it) of making Economist.com the coolest site in the world. Like Rick kissing good bye to Ilsa on the runway of Casablanca, I get the feeling it was not meant to be, but it would have been beautiful.

As I’m not going to be able to do that, instead I’m going to share my playbook, with a series of posts on what I think a news site should do.

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Update : re-reading my post I’ve seen that it might give the impression that the ideas we’ve collected will not be used. Nothing could be more wrong. The quality of the ideas is such that we’d be a fool not to use them. And besides, as we’re now probably looking to go a bit further out there than we thought at the beginning, we might even be able to use more. However, just because we might well do something a bit different, it doesn’t mean we’re going to go totally wild. We’ll not, in Stew’s great phrase, ‘build a sheep with a dog’s foot for a heart’. Whatever we’ll do will still have a connection to The Economist Group, it just might be a bit of a surprise. Glad I cleared that up. Have a good weekend.

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Please note that I am putting in the Scarface clip for the song Push it To The Limit. Project Red Stripe will, almost certainly, not sell drugs on the web.

The best idea yet

March 13, 2007

This afternoon has been great fun looking at all the ideas that we’ve already collected. And, there’s one that really stands out, as much for its structure as content.

On the end of a paragraph or two on social media there’s this killer last sentence: “and you may want to think about buying wikipedia”.

Why not? And then we’ll give a little call to Sergey and Brin, they’re probably in need of a bit of cash.

Wow, we’ve been Slashdotted

March 13, 2007

Before we left on Friday we had a little wager on how many ideas we’d have in the tank on Monday morning. Jo and Stew went for 10, Mike doubled up at 20, I was thinking less.

None of us thought we’d have 200 ideas. And what’s more they’re really good.

What a great start.


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