hello, umake blog!
A brief explanation of what I’m setting out to build
Hi Internet! ⚡️
I’m Zaydek @username_ZAYDEK, and I’m an accidental digital nomad. I have a lot of ideas and ambitions, but because delusions of grandeur is a problem for me, I’m breaking up the project I’ve been designing and developing for the last months into two smaller businesses. The intents of this article are to explain the idea and vision for the first idea, and at a later time I’ll explore the second idea in a similar post. The original business idea should be executable once the first two are in place, so this is a warm up for me to create something of measurable value for others as a business.
umake blog is now in development to solve a need; I believe authoring on the web needs to get better. Much, much better. Slack inspired me to think about the web and communication. And then Medium helped demonstrate what long-form authoring on the web could look like. But I want to create a more compelling experience for authoring and reading. Something reminiscent of the magic that is reading a book or authoring on Medium, while maintaining a flexible design for adding interactive components; I want to help make the web a more appealing platform for interactive education.
Until now, developing WYSIWYG editors for the web has been a job for companies and capitalized startups — not one-off individuals. So this is an experiment; can a sole developer make a competitive authoring environment that is also extensible, all as a business for the web? This matters — not making things from scratch but borrowing and improving the best ideas — because the more the power of our tools is understood at its core and that education distributed, the more we all can benefit.
The intended business model is simple: become an author for $10/month. And interact for $5/month. Experimenting with the platform will be free (and invited!) — no login needed — this extends to authoring, highlighting and annotating, and commenting. This project is not intended to be free or even a replacement for Medium. It’s intended to serve as a learning experiment in understanding the tools and tooling needed to execute a compelling experience in this format.
Furthermore, I’m motivated to build umake blog for two reasons: first, the web is a reflection of all of us, but ‘all’ is dependent on just who has access to the Internet, and on a deeper level, who understands how to author for the web. So I want to make it more intuitive and inspiring just how authoring works, and how to do so without the technical debt our tools often ask of us; we should come to expect the most from our tools, not the least.
Back to the original purpose of this, the ulterior motive for building umake blog is to build the components needed to create a low-cost, high-impact course platform for the Internet; umake. In order to do so, there’s a set of tools I need to first understand and invent in order to create a compelling experience from the ground up, that is, (1) high-impact reading and (2) code-execution on the web.
You can of course continue to use Medium, or something else. But here are some reasons that outline the intended benefits of umake blog:
- Distraction-free reading (no ads or fixed headers/footers/etc.)
- Night mode (for paid members)
- A long-form social network for designers and developers
- Inside-out business model: charge authors, not readers
- WYSIWYG editor with simple support for Markdown import/export
- Extensible section-blocks (doesn’t have to be ‘just’ a blog)
- Content-theming (authors should be able to change font-pairings)
- Support me, a sole developer (not a joke) 😉