#68 My server crashed
My server crashed this week, inexplicably, and with it, a decade worth of half-baked ideas. I am very old economy when it comes to domain names, amassing more than I need and definitely more than I can handle. I think it also proved too much for my poor VPS and the friendly guy that manages it. High time to clean out the inventory and share some of it with you.
Book Play Club (bookplayclub.com) never made it past the paper prototype and a fancy landing page. In another life, it could have become “a massive online and real life multiplayer card game around books, and the love of books we all share.”
Wherever there are books (plural), the game can be played. A bookstore, a friend’s home, the public library, a good coffee shop. Some familiarity with the titles and topics in the collection is helpful. The gameplay is simple: Q&A. You pick a card from a deck, pop the question, and all players answer with the best answer winning. Questions can be profound (“This book should have been my biography”) or mundane (“Find a book of which you’ve met the author, however fleetingly”).
The website would bring all the questions and answers together to produce a gamified GoodReads. The business model revolved around selling card decks. Email me for the transfer code of the URL.
Next, the Talmudpedia was meant to become the Wikipedia for things we cannot agree about. I never managed to get more than one person to decide about the potential this could get. For two or three years, I would speak passionately about a civilized web where we learned from each other’s differences. Had it succeeded, this idea would have failed spectacularly. You cannot have this idea. It is too provocative. And the domain names have since been claimed anyway.
NederBaas (nederbaas.nl) is simply a great word in Dutch. “Neder” is “Nether” in “Netherlands,” and “Baas” is “Boss,” so this would be the Boss of the Netherlands, the NetherBoss. The etymology is not Minecraft, but my youngest son R, who at two let the word slip when referencing our prime minister. In my mind, it is an excellent name for a man with a van business, which in my case would be a clumsy man in an electric van.
In 2007, I walked around Lima for an entire month writing all the content for a learning platform on paper as I didn’t bring my laptop, only to find out that the URL I wanted to use was taken when I returned. After that, I never again delayed buying a domain name. At my height, I owned over a hundred domain names. Now, a mere 40.
41. I wanted to write that I don’t own my own name dot com, as it has been taken, but it is taken no longer upon checking. The dot nl is of an Amsterdam-based furniture and product designer.
There were remnants of other ideas on the server for which I’ve long since let go of the domain name.
CultScape was a curated cultural guide to the world. I.e., the five books to read about Rome, the five movies to see about Istanbul, and five songs to listen to in Jerusalem.
LearningIBC was a learning platform I built myself from scratch with videos and assignments a few months before Coursera became world-famous.
MOCCA was an online museum for coffee culture, which I wanted to build entirely during workshops I was invited to give about co-creation, digital culture, etc. Turns out a lot of people don’t really want to do work in a workshop. And I wasn’t a great facilitator at the time.
At length, I’ve spoken about how my ideas are my retirement plan. When out of every fifty ideas, I bring two or three per year to fruition, in a forty-year career, one must take flight. Browsing the remnants of my VPS, a decade of ideas, I’m not so sure anymore. But maybe, like Rome, Istanbul, and Jerusalem, I can build on the ruins and try again.
This is a very long and roundabout way of saying I’m sorry my websites have been unavailable. Some of them will never go online again. The web is ephemeral. I’m also sorry about not posting last week’s draft. It was about Jason Mraz and other echoes from times long past.
Thanks for your patience, see you next week,