Seth Godin – Change Agent Extraordinary Part 2

Thoughtscape and Squidoo

I got one piece of advice when I first came across the web, in the mid nineties.  I note that I did not have the courage to follow it, although fifteen years has probably proved it to be very wise.  “How can I learn about the internet?” I asked a technological expert in the firm I worked in.  “Follow the p-rn” was his simple reply.

I never had the courage to, because I guess I feared big brother would catch me, but his advice was based on an early insight that, where there is most money to be made, will be the greatest innovation.  Instead, I contented myself with free knowledge and became entranced with a replacement for the university libraries I had loved so much as an undergraduate.

So I dreamed up a website of my own.  It was to be about “adventures in ideas” and was to be a place where all sorts of people could post any kind fascinating idea and they would all be linked up to show the essential connectedness of knowledge.  I’d have loved it.  I dreamed up a name for this website and, once dreamed, I had to buy the domain name:  Thoughtscape.

The demands of my job and, frankly, my ignorance of coding meant it never even became a hobby site.  Until, shift happened and I left my firm and went freelance.  I wanted to train people and help them to develop – especially their project and change management skills.  I needed a trading name and Thoughtscape was right there.

So my dream of a website where thousands, maybe millions, of people contribute ideas faded.

Back to Seth Godin – he who specialises in marketing and has a talent for making change happen.  He had my idea.  I am sure his vision was very different, but his execution is astonishing and what he developed is what I’d have wanted Thoughtscape to be.

Check out Squidoo.  Actually don’t: it’s too dangerous.  It will eat your lunch break and take over your evenings.  You will become addicted.  If you like the idea of adventures in ideas, this site is for you. Wikipedia may have all the knowledge, but there is no joy in it.  Squidoo encourages people to contribute ideas as well as knowledge, passion as well as information.

Once you have an account, you can create what Squidoo calls lenses.  Each lens is a web page that you build in modular chunks and you can use it to talk about whatever you like.  They are prepared by passionate amateurs and committed professionals alike.  They are solemn, serious and silly, but rarely dull.  Search Squidoo, rather than Wikipedia, when you want real insight, real passion and real surprises.

I already think of Squidoo as recreational work.  I tell myself that I am building a lens to support my career, but what I am really doing is indulging a passion.  And that’s why you should read Squidoo lenses – not mine – because they represent a calling.  Mine are too new at the moment – to straight.  My next step is to stop pretending they are work and just build lenses for the joy of it.  Then they’ll be worth reading!

The “so what?”

Visit Squidoo, read lenses at random, read lenses in your interest areas, sign-up, create lenses, put your love into them, tell me about them, go on – take a look at mine, if you do – comment on them.

My first attemptHow to Organise a Great Conference
I hope it does what it says it does; it’s based on my experience of designing and faciliating a number of conferences in the early noughties – especially three that were designed to promote significant organisational change.

My second attempt: A Reading List for Change
I am a book nut.  I buy; I read.  Sadly, I buy more than I read (or possibly ever can).  This is a growing list (still very much work in progress) of the best books I’ve read on the subject of change and change management in all its facets.


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