Erik Benson and the Ideal Idea Database

I am not one for spilling too many beans at once or ahead of time, but since I didn’t actually write this and its thread seems to be so close to closure, I thought I’d point out this amazing coincidink.

I was just now catching up a little bit on a new-to-me and very interesting blog (via interconnected), Erik Benson’s (RSS).

As I read this entry, the ideal idea database (dead link), my jaw hit the floor as he came the closest to describing SWIM as anyone has:

the ideal tool for brainstorming ideas and ranking them hasn’t yet been invented for the web, and that both the wiki and the weblog have some deficiencies that a ideal idea database would have.

One thing I definitely need in an idea database: a way to link ideas easily. Links between ideas can be parent/child relationships, sibling relationships, duplicates, and requirements (this idea can’t happen until these three ideas have been implemented). It basically needs to be an instant outliner, except the outline must be able to handle branches that split apart, come together, and overlap without requiring redundancy. In other words, I don’t want to enter an idea twice just because it belongs equally in two parts of the outline.

In my ideal idea tool I’d also like to have a mechanism for people to assign value to the idea along a bunch of different axes…

48 hours later, he’s prototyped the idea database (dead link) and honestly, it doesn’t look anything like what I have in mind. But that’s cool.

The other thing is he also runs his site with a homemade pseudo blogging tool, because he also was not happy with the way traditional blogging tools worked. Now, what about combining that piece with the idea database? Then we are really getting close to my SWIM project. Throw in some native semantic features, ease of use and a constant eye for end-user experience, and then you have (I hope) SWIM.

Well, I guess if it were all meant to be then I’ll hear something from someone on this. Otherwise it will just be me slogging away over here.