Saturday, October 15, 2011

Write-Camp Presentation Idea #2 : Platform for continuous and never-ending failure

Suppose in a fit of temporary insanity, you start a web magazine. You ignore the conventions that most information junkies already have a fairly mature set of RSS subscriptions, you just go ahead because you believe in following your dreams, and spend a lot of your precious time publishing it.

Notwithstanding the fact that you refuse to use advertisers or even have a faintest idea of what who your niche market it. You just can't find a way to monetize it.

The biggest problem with you plan is not that it cannot succeed. In my opinion, the biggest problem with your plan is that you can't fail.

You can't fail because you don't have the courage to admit to yourself that if you can't get $100 a months on this, then you're wasting my time and should, perhaps, get a job flipping burgers instead.

Artists or writers can go on for years in that zombie state between success and failure. This state is infinitely worse than simply failure.


The second part of my speech will focus on the concept of building a platform for continuous and never-ending failure.

Singaporeans are by nature, very averse to failure. They think that if they fail, it's a reflection of their lack of ability or talent. By reaching a stage where your artistic pursuits can be sustained without losing your pants, the next thing to do is to create a means in which you can fail quickly and decisively. Time saved can be used to create the next generation of products to please your customer more.

This platform should have the following features :

a) Provide a quick method of product prototyping and delivery.
b) Keep production costs to a bare minimum.
c) Allow instant feedback on how your product is doing with the customer.
d) Automated payments.

Prior to the latest developments on the web. The most popular method of publication in Singapore is printing your manuscript, paying for editing and design and then working with a good local distributor. Each product costs about $5,000 to launch and takes about 6 months to get your first pay-check. So a writer technically spends about $10,000 to fail twice every year.

Now with the latest e-publishing platforms, you can float a $0.99 book that contains a key idea for next to zero cost if you have friends who are willing to proof-read for you. Publishing 10,000 word tracts at the rate of 1 product every 2 weeks allows you to fail 26 times a year at a cost of perhaps your internet bandwidth.

This new model for publishing is a very attractive one for Singaporeans as it allows us to have our cake and it eat and take on artistic projects at a magnitude where we can easily bear the cost of failure.

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