If you’ve been clicking through this website, you’re probably a bit observing the range of information we have made available. You have seen the tremendous amount of resources that we have archived. You’ve seen for yourself the amount of materials that we have indexed and made available in a very clear and easy to navigate fashion.
At the back of your head, you might be asking yourself, “What’s in it for these guys? What’s in it for the people behind this website?” If you think about it, this really is quite a selfish project. It may seem like we’re giving away all sorts of stuff for free. It may seem that we’re giving you guys the keys to the kingdom by displaying everything for free. You can just right click, and download pretty much anything you want.
How can we possibly benefit from this arrangement? Where is the payoff when everything is free? It all depends on how you define payoff. Most people define payoffs and rewards in terms of money. They think in dollars and cents. We ultimately believe that this is too limiting.
While there is no monetary payoff behind this website, its payoffs are nonetheless real. They are tangible. We believe that they are the payoff that we get from putting up this website will take the form of ideas. We are also the kind of people who believe that ideas are more valuable and expensive than physical implementations and representations of such ideas. This is the precise opposite of how many people conceive of rewards.
Usually, people think in dollars and cents, or in concrete terms because they believe that physical manifestations indicate value. What if I told you that the value of gold lies in the idea behind gold instead of the actual piece of gold itself? That is the reality. If you are doubtful regarding this assertion, ask an economist.
Understand this internal reality because it’s too easy to think that this website doesn’t really make any money and is therefore, at some level or other, commercially useless. It’s actually quite valuable because it operates as a goldmine for ideas. The more ideas in circulation, the higher the likelihood somebody would implement these ideas. This can then trigger a debate that would trigger more ideas and more implementations and on and on we go on the upward spiral of innovation.
This is ultimately our reward, to trigger that upward spiral of challenges, counter challenges, answers counter answers, responses and counter responses that take the technology from somewhere flat, boring and uninspired formulaic, and also conventional into something completely unexpected, unseen and exciting.
In a way, a great mapping platform is like a bass line or backbeat in jazz. It provides a starting point. It provides a shared frame of reference everyone can agree on. Once everyone agrees to the framework, all bets are off in terms of the actual performance everyone brings to the game. The same applies to brainstorming off maps. Everyone starts at the same place but due to differences in opinion and mindset, people end up at different points.