Seth Godin did a post this weekend on Squidoo's third anniversary comparing the progress of the site to an albatross (in a good way): Link
In the post he writes:
Albatross businesses are great to have but not easy to launch. Rather that the excitement of the big time launch and then the constant promotion and high expense of a typical business, an albatross business mucks around for a while, but since it's designed for effortless long flight, it gains steam and then keeps going.
I've been a big fan of Squidoo from the beginning. It aggregates various Internet technologies. This is important because it can help to make the disparate parts of the internet coherent in meaningful ways. I believe its full potential for education is not yet realized but is on its way.
I don't know this for sure, but I suspect Seth's comparison to an albatross is a jibe at an article Micheal Arrington wrote in 2006 predicting Squidoo's inevitable demise (link). The title of the article is "Squidoo: Seth Godinâ€™s Purple Albatross?" In the article, Arrington makes a play on Seth's book the "Purple Cow" which is about becoming successful by being remarkable. I commented on the article back in 2006. So that you don't have to scroll, here is what I said back then:
Itâ€™s hard to see the value of some innovations when they are first introduced. This was true even for something as useful as the telephone. People at the time thought it could be a nice novelty but nothing more. After all, there was no infrastructure set up, the invention needed improvement and no one knew anyone else that had a phone.
Then all that changed.
I think the same is true for Squidoo. Unlike the telephone though, which required lines to be run all across the country, Squidoo needs high quality lenses to be developed, which over time, Iâ€™m confident will happen.
Will people get rich doing Squidoo? I donâ€™t know. Can Squidoo make a difference in peopleâ€™s lives? I know it has that power if we use it right. Whether itâ€™s a Purple Cow or not isnâ€™t up to Seth. Itâ€™s up to us.
I still believe those words to be true. Even more so in fact. Road maps for education are important. I've been studying the resources of Bryan Engram's lens on character animation for a while now (link). His road map made animation seem possible to me. It is what prompted me to take the 3D modeling course I just finished (link). All the while I have been studying the books Bryan recommended. It will take a long time to achieve the skill level I want, but the road map was the first step. It gave me a path to travel. I treat it like a college syllabus, and I'm grateful to Bryan for creating it. It was relatively easy for Bryan to do yet I don't think he understands what a profound affect it has had on me and can have on others.
My current project on Squidoo is to create resources for the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams online. This is still in progress, but I'll be linking to them as they become more developed.
My most popular lens is titled "Learn to be in Illustrator" (link). It contains all of the resources no one in my sphere could provide for me as I struggled to learn the craft of illustration. If you are serious about learning illustration, the resources here are a great place to start.
I actually found out about Squidoo from my friend Corey who helped launch Squidoo and still works there. I've met a lot of the Squidoo team, although I haven't met Seth, and they are a great bunch of people. Most of what I know about running an Internet based business I learned from Corey. Here is a picture I did of the Squidoo team for Seth's birthday at Corey's request. As it's Squidoo's birthday, I thought it was appropriate to post it now:
Happy Birthday, Squidoo!