Just in time for Last-Minute Gift Givers: Subscriptions to Idea!

Since Idea went live almost two weeks ago, the biggest complaint we heard was, “Why can’t I give you money?” We’ve gone back and forth on what’s the right thing to do for the community and how best to make sure what we’re doing is reasonably priced but sustainable too.


Subscribe to Idea Magazine


So today we’re answering your calls & opening up for subscriptions!  Subscriptions will begin with our next issue in February. And we have two reasons why you should get your subscription sooner rather than later:

1) Prices for annual subscriptions will go up shortly before the next issue (February 15th) launches, so make sure you get your subscription now to lock in a fantastic deal.

2) We have a special Christmas gift this week: one lucky subscriber will win a gorgeous DODOcase from our friends at http://clickcase.ie! If you haven’t taken a look at the DODOcase, it is stunning, constructed from black Moroccan cloth and bamboo, and was even chosen by Barack Obama for the presidential iPad. You’ll be the envy of everyone for your superb taste and quality.

DODOcase - iPad 2

Anyone who purchases a subscription for themselves or a friend between now and 12:00am December 25th (for the really last-minute gift givers) is entered to win the DODOcase, and we’ll post it on our site and email the winner on Christmas day.


I was surprised by the number of people who have honestly asked me, “Can you just put up a donation thing so we can make sure this keeps going?” It seems so unbelievable that today, in the middle of a tough recession, while governments and corporations are terrified of piracy, that there are people who are actually looking for ways to not get things for free. But along those lines we’ve also seen a lot of great websites and services go out of business because they never had a business model. This excellent blog post from Maciej at Pinboard describes exactly that phenomenon: http://blog.pinboard.in/2011/12/don_t_be_a_free_user/.

So while we have a lot of creative plans in store for Idea, we’re also focusing on making sure it’s a sustainable effort and sticks around for a while. We’re committed to making this work and appreciate the kind words and support from everyone who liked what they saw and read so far. I won’t promise the business model will be the same this time next year, but I do promise that the magazine will still be here and hopefully by then fully supporting itself.

Thanks again for your enthusiasm!

And hey, the next issue is already kicking off! For those of you thinking about a change of pace to a startup or other small, fast-paced project and trying to run the numbers to see if it might work, we think we can help.

What’s in an Idea?

What all goes into an idea?

Well, our Idea consisted of:

  • 3 core team members
  • Over 30 contributors
  • 21 logos
  • 24 interviews
  • 20MB of production files
  • 6 digital formats
  • Over 150 images, icons, logos, illustrations and photos
  • Upwards of 15 frameworks evaluated
  • Hundreds of emails, Twitter DMs, text messages and phone call
  • Less than 20 in-person meetings
  • Some Macs, a couple of PCs, some iPhones, a few iPads and a Windows Phone 7
  • A handful of messy, convoluted platforms & workflows

And I’m not going to try to think about the collective hours. There are only so many hours in a day, and we all have full-time jobs and families. It was definitely a labour of love.

Cover Issue1

Cover Issue 1

Launching Idea Magazine was tough. I’ve been dreaming of creating Idea for years. On one hand, I just wanted to kick it out the door. On the other hand, I would have killed for another couple of weeks to make more fixes, edits, changes, revisions. But at some point you have to ship.

In the last year, I’ve learned a lot about digital publishing and creating an environment that both accommodates and enhances reading experiences. I’ve learned there are a lot of religious wars about reading formats, but that there isn’t “The One Best Way.” Mostly, though, I’ve learned how difficult it is to build, reformat and distribute these publications. I’ve watched as people struggle with CMS after CMS, built to publish but not built FOR the people who are publishing.

This can be better.

Stewart Curry, the incredibly talented designer that I somehow convinced to work on Idea with me, saw these same problems. As we worked together on building the platform for Idea, we realized we were going to need a system and that the method we were using was unsustainable. We decided to take some time to build a platform not just for Idea, but for other publications who are struggling with similar issues of usability, functionality and sustainability. We’re calling it WOOPIE, for Write Only Once, Publish It Everywhere. I’m going to take a much-needed break between now and the new year, and when I come back I’ll be focusing on that.

Making Idea come to life after thinking about it and believing in it for the last few years is honestly a dream come true. Building a platform to enable other people create something like this for their own communities is an amazing opportunity, and I can’t wait to get started.

[Oh, and yes, Tuesday Newsday will resume next week.]