Part II

Part II:
I won’t bore you with the unabridged version, but a long time ago, in a
galaxy far, far away, I launched and later shuttered a website called smallbusiness.com.

While its life pre-dated the era of blogging, smallbusiness.com was
very blog-like, a participatory, conversational medium. Unfortunately,
for all involved, our timing sucked and we were seduced into believing we were building
an aircraft carrier. (That’s the gory part of the story I won’t bore
you with, however, the cool logo is left-over from the aircraft carrier project, as are some hats and T-shirts.)

Anyway, I’ve relaunched the website (Decision #1: This time, it’s not
a venture or a company or a subsidiary, it’s a web project of Hammock
Publishing that needs little financial overhead to maintain.)
 

What we’re doing is very simple to understand if you’re a blogger or
follow what’s going on in the world of participatory media (I call it
conversational media).

We’re starting out with (and will continue with) great simplicity:

1. At the URL, news.smallbusiness.com, we’ve launched news.smallbusiness.com,
an RSS-powered news aggregator using a hack (oh, that reminds me, I
launched a development blog to explain such things)
that
replaced a slightly more complex idea we’d been working on. It uses a
del.icio.us bookmark page I set up

as a backend. (Lesson #1: RSS feeds, no matter where you find them, can
be your
friends, and do things way beyond showing up in your newsreader. Hint
#1: You can even direct our small business headline feeds (they’re available by category, news.smallbusiness.com/technology,
for example) right into your own newsreader or your own small business
news aggregator site (it would be polite to credit us). Isn’t this fun?)

2. At the URLs, wiki.smallbusines.com and www.smallbusinesswiki.com, I’ve set up The Small Business Wiki.
It’s a wiki-powered resource for folks who work at small businesses. Not much there yet, but as
soon as my 14-year-old finishes exams this week, he’s going to start porting into the wiki the thousands of helpful articles (we
called it advice back then) that users of the original
smallbusiness.com contributed to the site (again, it was like a
blogging platform with thousands of people adding “posts”).

3. And, coming in a few days, at the main URL, smallbusiness.com,
we’re cranking up a search engine that is indexing a narrow universe of
small business resource websites, weblogs, books and in the future, who
knows,
podcasts, videoblogs, whatever. I have determined that a narrowly
focused search of websites chosen by some trusted volunteers is fine
for now. Billions of sites and millions of weblogs are not
going to be our thing. A few thousand (hundreds?) helpful weblogs and
websites are what you can expect to be indexed during the first few
months — and perhaps longer. We’ll see.

Those of you who know me from this weblog may not know my day job
includes being the editor of a magazine that is received by 600,000
small business owners who are members of the National Federation of
Independent Business (NFIB.com).
Smallbusiness.com is not affiliated with the association or the website NFIB.com or with MyBusiness
magazine in any way. However, my passion for helping small business owners succeed
is affiliated with all the things I do in my day job and is driving my approach to smallbusiness.com.

Other than the wiki and the smallbusiness.com development blog,
I don’t anticipate
writing or blogging at smallbusiness.com — it’s not about our voices,
but the voices of small businesses and the websites and bloggers who
are trying to help them find the information they need to survive and
succeed. And, I won’t be blogging
about smallbusiness.com here unless there is something significant to
report. (Come to think of it, I rarely blog here about Hammock Publishing, so I expect to follow that same pattern.)

Anyway, I thought announcing this news on the rexblog seemed
appropriate as my blogging here has helped me journey away from some
disappointment and despair I once associated with the URL and back to a
place of joy and passion I once enjoyed at the place and with the people of smallbusiness.com.

  • Hudge

    Cool. I still got my T-shirt and cap.

  • Alex Bellinger

    I love the idea of a small business wiki. Really looking forward to discovering how the new smallbusiness.com evolves, even though I wasn’t aware of the original.

    Best wishes

    Alex

  • Greg Balanko-Dickson

    Hey Rex: Greg Balanko-Dickson here, I too have my hat and tshirt, think of you often. I just launched my own Wiki that I have titled the Small Business Encyclopedia Project. I am inviting entrepreneurs and business owners from arund the world to help me create the worlds most complete and useful small business resource.

    Will the content you import from smallbusiness.com into your Wiki observe Creative Commons rights as mine does?

    Good to speak with you again.

  • rex

    Yes, it does observe a Creative Commons rights license.