Why sharing orphan ideas works

This BoingBoing post by Cory Doctorow briefly introduces a site/tool created as a result of a tweet he sent just a few months ago.

Mekki and a friend ran with an idea I tweeted last October: “Who’s got a web-based service that will take a huge pastebomb (300K of text) and smarten all quotes, turn — into em-dash, etc?” They created something called Cleantext. I just pasted in the entire text of my next short story collection (written as plain ASCII in a text editor) and out came something that was beautifully formatted and ready to be pasted into a layout program for further massaging. I’m delighted by this — how useful!

I’m really excited by this: it shows that there are people who can execute on an idea and create something. I’m also very encouraged that Cory doesn’t seem interested in getting his “piece of the action.” Of course, given his writing and his recent approach to publishing his books as free ebooks, that’s about what you’d expect.

Congratulations to Cleantext and a hearty well-done to Cory for providing inspiration without no strings attached. Even better, he just gave this site scads of good great word of mouth.

Maybe I’ll finally break out my comp (fka Senior Comprehensive Project) or my not-quite-finished note from law school and give this a try.


I started the orphan ideas category of posts because I wanted to accomplish three goals: first, get these ideas out of my mental baggage list, second, maybe give someone else a little spark, and third, maybe, just maybe, see something get built or done.

1 Comment

  1. More orphan ideas in the wild on May 11, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    […] lists of orphan ideas were triggered by some great ideas that Seth posted some time ago, and every time I see that someone else has taken action on a notion like this, it encourages […]

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