February 14, 2008

Taking Requests?

Bear with me a bit while I talk you through my stream of consciousness: 

Following American Chopper, American Hot Rod, Monster Garage, the various Tattoo shows, and on and on, I've long thought that "American Webmaster" would make for interesting television. Come on, who wouldn't like that show!?! Nerds shows are hot right now: Chuck, Beauty and the Geek, Mythbusters, etc. Combine nerds with the "watch them while they create" format and I think it would be great. Of course I'm a bit biased and my wife says it's a stupid idea. But I think she's wrong. Look at all the techie videocasts and podcasts that are available and being watched and heard my millions (okay maybe not millions, but you get my drift). Revision3 has successfully recreated TechTV on the web by bringing in all the talent and making new shows. BTW, Kevin Rose, if you want to do "American Webmaster" or something named a bit differently to avoid copyright infringement, give me a shout. Same goes to you Discovery and TLC. Finally, I'd be remiss to talk about videocasts and not mention Telligent's own excellent series, TelliCast. Check it out!

I was watching a MythBusters show tonight where they were taking on viewer suggested myths. It was a really fun show and I think that much of the fun was just because they were myths suggested by the fans.

I've been playing around and prototyping a lot of quick little fun sites recently (RandomTweets.com, TFFRatio.com, etc) all based on crazy ideas that I've come up with (or that I "borrowed" from someone else).

Next came the magical melding of all three of the above ideas into one. There has to be lots of people out on the internets who have some good ideas for little sites, or Facebook apps, or widgets, or small utilities but do not have the resources (know how, experience, etc) to build those things. How about a show where we take viewer requests and prototype those things to see it they're feasible and how they turn out? Sounds kind of like a MythBusters, American Chopper, and nerdy Web Dev mix, huh? Okay, doing a TV show is a bit out of my league (barring a call from Discovery/TLC). So how about just a video cast? Again a bit out of my sphere of experience (barring a call from Revision3). Maybe just a podcast then? Well, I've never done one of those either.

Hmm. Well I do know that I could take requests and build stuff. And I know a lot of people who can build stuff, too. There are a lot of .NET developers on my Twitter list who might be interested in getting involved in something like this (especially for fame and glory!). And I know some people who do podcasts or are interested in doing podcasts who could probably generate some good "after the fact" interviews with the requester and contributor(s) as well as review the end result.

It's all just a bunch of jumbled ideas at this point.

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  1.  avatar James Shaw says:

    Sounds like someone needs to find some after-hours focus :D

  2.  avatar says:

    BTW, I see that the domain name,  AmericanWebmaster[DOT]com, is for sale at the bargain price of $1500 OBO. I wonder how low OBO might be.

  3.  avatar says:

    Thanks for your negativity, James! Envy doesn't look good on you :)

    You should have your own show - British Hot Rodder slash Web Master in America.

  4. Sounds like you need to pitch your idea to a studio! :) I do like the idea of people pitching ideas and seeing if they pan out.

    I think you would need to be prepared with answering:

    -Who wants to watch a developer sit in front of a computer all day? Where's the drama? :)

    -Most of the world doesn't understand programming languages and why engineers would get excited about fancy ways of doing things or new tool kits. You'd probably need an 'interpreter', like the voice over on MythBusters or the visual site plans in Monster House.

    -How does this make money? Personally, I think that this is a great tie in between mainstream media and the web. You could talk about an idea in the 'show' and then say 'go here' to view what we created. So, there's a lot of advertising potential there. Also, if ideas do hit, there's the possibility of 'productizing' them and making money off of them that way. It could be a "Web Seed" type show where ideas come in, you see if they are feasible, then someone is at the end waiting to catch the result and turn it into something real.

  5.  avatar says:

    Great questions and additions, Stacy.

    I think one of the great things about those "watch them build it" shows is that it doesn't really matter what they are building. Yes, part of the draw is the material (whether it be hot rods, bikes, tattoos, or web sites), but the thing that makes the show is the characters and their interactions.

    Of course nobody wants to watch a person sitting in front of their computer all day programming, but they might enjoy watching them bounce ideas off other programmers, sit through "uncomfortable" phone conversations with clients, throw things around the office when they get pissed off, crash scooters in the hallway, etc. A good narrator could help things along, too.

    I agree with you on the building of an entire ecosystem as well. At the end of the pipeline you could either have companies interested in carrying the product further and/or VC firms. Everybody gets PR, everybody's happy.

    Also good point about tie in with mainstream media. How does the fan get to view the completed car or chopper projects? Mostly just through pictures on the web site or if they're lucky at a show somewhere. For web sites or software products they could go straight to the site/software to see the completed project.

  6.  avatar Leon says:

    dude, great idea! I'm in! How can I help?

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