Phase I: the 80′s
My wife missed my first computer phase, back in the mid-eighties, when I had an IBM clone (that’s the exact computer I had), wrote shareware computer games and pulled many all-nighters playing Starflight. When we got married in 1993, I didn’t even have a computer at home. I started fooling around with her 386 and got the bug again.
Phase II: the 90′s
When I first started developing web sites back in the mid-nineties, my wife thought I had lost my mind. She thought the early version of Newsome.Org was mildly interesting because it had a lot of family photos and related content, but she thought all the sports and gadget related sites I was doing were just a way for me to spend more geek time on the computer. I can’t count on all my hands and feet the times we’d be at dinner with friends and someone would say “did you know Kent has a web page?” People would chuckle and I’d feel the compelled to change the subject by talking about some duck I killed or some dove I shot. Birds sacrificial to my manliness.
Then my web sites started making a little money. I took every opportunity to remind her and our friends that “Kent’s little web page” actually made $50 last month. That was a meal out, with change. So over time she sort of accepted that there was an element of business to my internet endeavors.
Then Bubble 1.0 started, and that $50 turned into $500 and then $5,000 and then $10,000. All of the sudden those little web pages were, in the eyes of some, a business. People came out of the woodwork wanting to buy them. I sold some, almost sold the crown jewel (Bubble 1.0 burst before I got the lion’s share of the purchase price) and generally felt vindicated as far as my web development activities went.
I kept a low profile after Bubble 1.0 burst, licking my wounds and trying not to look at my bombed out stock portfolio.
Phase III: the 00′s
Then came the blogging revolution. At first, I was merely an observer. Then I moved Newsome.Org to a blogging platform because it made it easier to manage content. Shortly thereafter, I jumped in and began to participate. It’s a long, uphill climb, but over time I have made progress in building Newsome.Org.
Like everyone else, when my wife found out I had turned Newsome.Org into a blog, she thought I was keeping an online diary. More dinner conversation and chuckles soon followed.
Over time, however, she began to realize what a blog in general and this blog in particular encompasses. When I began to participate in the conversations between some of the more well known bloggers, she was a little impressed.
And she was very excited when she heard Steve Rubel speak favorably about Newsome.Org in a podcast. Thanks again, Steve. That one statement validated everything I’m trying to do here, at least in my wife’s very important eyes. You need friends in the blogosphere, just like you do in the real world.
So I keep doing my thing while my wife watches out of the corner of her eye.
I have showed her some of the web sites I find so compelling. Wikipedia, Flickr, Tailrank, Megite, and my New York Times, Memeorandum. When I first started showing up on Memeorandum, I called her into my study to show her. I explained to her the way it gathers and displays tech-related topics from all over. She gave me the requisite encouragement and went about her business. Because she, like most of the people I know, just doesn’t care about tech. If it makes her life easier, she’ll use it, but that’s about as far as it goes.
This is Not Your Father’s Memeorandum
But now Gabe has done something brilliant.
We knew he was going to do another Memeorandum at some point. He mentioned food on a podcast one time, I was hoping for music and/or movies, others had their wishlist. But he did something much smarter.
He did WeSmirch, a Memeorandum for celebrity gossip. A self perpetuating People Magazine. Something that will capture an entirely different market.
This is brilliant for two reasons.
First, he didn’t cannibalize his current tech and politics user base. Sure, there will be lots of people who’ll read more than one of his memetrackers, but not as many as there would have been had he done something closer to tech, gadgets, etc.
Second, he will attract a ton of new users, like my wife, who are bored with politics and don’t care about tech. In this Web 2.0 world, eyeballs are the currency, and Gabe has a knack for making eyeballs.
My wife could care less if Amazon enters the online storage business. But she’ll be interested in some of the stuff that will show up on WeSmirch.
I can’t wait to tell her about it.