Since my return from Paris last week, I have spend a great number of hours behind the PC, working on the Paris guide. At least, that’s how it felt. When I look at the actual results, however, I notice that I have gained a lot of knowledge about digital publishing, photo editing in Photoshop, the online city map market, comparing the pro’s and con’s of either publishing in pdf or epub/ebook format, how to include interactive features in a document a few other practical nuggets of information, but somehow I have not done one single real thing about creating content for the Paris culinary city guide. Read on »
Archive for March 2011
There is a slight challenge for me in liking to do everything by myself; right now I am immersed in the task of creating this über practical map from Paris. By hand. Based upon the maps from http://www.openstreetmap.org/. Great source!
Thing is, though, that when I use the zoom level that is best for the culi guide, there is too much detail visible, from individual buildings along the streets. Read on »
Just did some qualitative market research. Important conclusion, be very specific in positioning the BG: as an additional collection of tips, more than a travel guide. Because in many cases you already have a favorite range of travel guides, and you are not looking for something else. In addition does a travel guide suggest a broader and more complete range of information.
A short one, now that I am “in the zone”. In addition to the previous blog about business goals: one of the questions you would really like to get an answer on is: what are the local culinary specialties at my destination? What are the things I should taste, to get a proper “taste of place”? Then the next questions is, what are a few suggestions on where to try these flavours?
So I should be careful not only to focus on the benefit of hand picked addresses, but start with a well researched an double checked list of local culinary specialties as a guide for your foodie expeditions.
Having only just finished the blog about the reorientation on fun vs function, I feel thrilled and inspired to start working on a re-visit to the Blazer Guides goals.
Audience: city-trippers who like to try local culinary specialties. It may be an independant goal or part of a more general desire to experience local culture.
Preparing a holiday can be a stressfull event (depending upon your personality): you’re going to unknown territory, you want to have a great time, you’ve got high expectations, and you know you will be spending a lot of money (especially) compared to your everyday life. You do not want to miss out on the good things, yet you are afraid you will wasting lots of time. You like to spend some time preparing your trip, because it’s part of the fun, yet you have a busy life and your available time is really limited.
You browse some sites, but it is hard to determine with whose frame of reference you can identify. And just when you think you found a great place, you read a negative review again.
And when you found a wonderful foodie source about Paris, you have to start all over again on your next trip, when you go to Berlin.
Of course you have a good generic travel guide about your destination, but as the description already says, even though those guides contain some nice culinary tips, it is not enough to satisfy your quite explicit culinary curiousity.
And at the numerous travel community and local address fora there are tons of reviews of tons of addresses, but since you do not really know what you are looking for yet, that’s kind of am overkill and you still don’t know for sure what the reviews are worth.
You love the Michelin guide another high quality restaurant guide. Especially to find a great place to eat close to a practical location of your choice. What you miss in those guides, is a bit more variety; visiting markets, specialty stores and sampling some simple local specialties and street food is just as important to you for experiencing local culture as having one or two high quality restaurant meals per day.
Problem in summary: in this time of information overkill, strangly enough it is difficult to find
- inspiring and at the same time useful information.
- variety in specialties and activity type
- limited choice
- from a well known and trusted source.
- in an efficient way.
- presented in practical formats.
- large coverage (repeatable)
Does this make sense as a starting point for generating goals?
Some how I keep on mixing up my actions when I am “working”. The situation: I want to earn a living with doing the thing I love: collecting and sharing culinary travel tips.
Looking at the humongous stacks of books surrounding me in my workroom, the boxes overflowing with years worth of clippings with inviting addresses, the hundreds of bookmarked “don’t forget” websites, 8 gigabites with over ten years of food pictures and a unique collecting of international cultural icons; over 3000 food related post stamps, it looks like I am doing a fine job of collecting information. Truth be said, I think that deep down I find collecting way easier than sharing.
It actually makes sense, now I take some time to ponder. Collecting is something I can do independently of others, especially with the use of Internet. Sharing, on the other hand, takes an relationship with others, in order to be relevant. Marketing and sales, anyone?
Yeah, yeah, all open doors for all you objective outsiders and in retroperspective many people have been trying to tell me this, but only now I am having this aha sensation. May be because I am away from my desk at home and without the little guy for the first time in many months. Seems like that gives me some room to free-think. Good!
What I need to do, I think, is starting to make a clearer choice about the time and effort I invest in the -often not so efficient- collecting part of the culinary travel tip sharing mission and the chronically neglected sharing side of the story.
Guess I am starting to remember the function of business goals again.
To be continued!
One of the things I ran into when researching the culinary activities in Paris, had to do with finding my way around town. The idea was to use detailed print outs from Google maps, based upon the custom “culinary activities in Paris” map I made. I had added each activity to the map, using the geo data provided by Google. I wanted one map of the whole city, showing the way the activities were spread around town, and as many “street level” maps of individual areas to show the actual locations.
The assumption that these maps would do, costed me a whole day. The maps were not detailed enough, many markers had ended up no where near the exact location of the activities and there was a spontaneous variation in the available zoom levels. Great. Next step was to mark out the addresses on the map provided by the hotel, again assuming that an “approximate” idea of the location would do. Well, I have been punished for my lack of metropolitan savvy – distances are far to great to wander around hoping you will end up at the right spot.
Finally I’d bought a proper street by street booklet, and that got me running like crazy on the second full day of exploration.
So now, instead of processing the pictures I took, I first started with preparing a proper detailed map to include in the Paris guide, to keep you from tons of frustrations. And yesterday I spent a good part of the day searching for a good gps device I can use during my next trip (Brussels, Berlin, London??) when walking ar0und. Because the TomTom app on my iPhone looked like a good solution, but had some unsolvable issues with getting a proper signal when not hooked up to the car set. It is great fun, actually, to figure out a way in which I can do my on-site research in the most pleasant way, and at the same time realizing that these same challenges can be relevant during any trip with a mission. So I hope I can create such a product that allows you to focus on the food fun and not be bothered too much by the practical side of things.
was the absolute necessity of having a proper map, with every little street and ally included. And the other thing
There is this thing with progressive insight – iterative development in IT terms. Is that just a nice phrase for act before thinking – and then cleaning up the mess?
Take for example this blog lay-out. I have been experimenting with the themes (prefabricated lay-outs, for all you non-bloggers), the number of pages, categories, the tags. Yet I have been doing all the experimenting of this live blog, so you could have seen the changes over time. The question is, does it matter that you, my “target audience” see that I do not work with a fixed plan?
Because it could very well be that these frequent changes give you the impression of a person who cannot make up her mind. Which is completely correct, however perhaps better not to share with the rest of the world, if I want to appear as a professional enterpreneur.
That may very well be the central issue; that I am not so much a professional enterpreneur, but a passionate and creative food lover on a mission – striving for perfection. Where the search for perfection is the greatest progress killer. Because perfection is unattainable – especially in a fast changing world, where there are constant new ways to improve products.
Lesson learned: trying to decide as soon as possible “how much good is good enough”.