ThinkFish: built to support ideation

Two weeks in Bali and we’re putting out our first product. We’re both plagued with having lots of ideas and nowhere to put them, so ThinkFish is a botmmunity (a bot and a community) to track and share these ideas as a community. We believe ideas only become powerful once shared, the ideas in people’s heads are too valuable to simply lose or forget, and collective ideation leads to things beyond our individual imagination.

ThinkFish has three key ingredients:

  1. Telegram: we used the best platform (post coming soon on this)
  2. Ideabot: we built a bot on top of the platform
  3. Thinkfish: we built a community that interacts with the bot

Before you go further, if you’re asking what if somebody steals my idea? I’ll be frank in saying this isn’t for you, but if you’re curious continue reading.

“I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else.” — Pablo Picasso

The Origins

Earlier this year in Bali, I became obsessed with the idea of ideas — exploring different ways to spark ideation. It seems we’ve lost the value of ideas (and everyday imagination more broadly), something so fundamental to our existence, and have surprisingly little digital infrastructure to support them. Most things around us are part of an imagined reality, mere ideas that have evolved to a point where we’ve forgotten they were ideas in the first place. We need to encourage new ideas.

I started sketching a few models of how people could share ideas and collaborate on those ideas to manifest, all of which were ways of prompting people to come up with solutions for sustainability challenges. I took some of these ideas to Nic one day, and he says:

“Hmm…so you want to build an ‘idea machine’?”

That was exactly it; an Idea Machine. On a Saturday in the coworking, I whipped up a way-too-complicated-to-be-so-simple React on Rails Web App and called it Idea Machine (click to see the genius). The next day we were sitting in the fish bowl (the third floor of Nic’s villa) kicking around the possibilities and directions of such a simple tool. We also shared the Idea Machine to some whopping numbers of 4 likes (one of whom was Nic’s housemate). Not sure how Facebook’s algorithms work but it is a bit strange that I’ve got nearly 6,000 friends and it got such low engagement.

Fast forward two months, Nic calls me from Colombia while I’m in Rwanda with the idea to build the idea machine on top of Telegram. People don’t need another website to remember a password for, it makes sense to put it into a format that is now second-nature to us: messaging. And what if we can integrate that with a proper idea log and a community to collaborate? Voila…

How ThinkFish works

It’s idea management made simple. When you have an idea — could be for an app, a product, a system, a holiday, a program, a community, a spaceship — log it by either snapping a photo with a caption or writing plain text with the idea command.

“No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered.” — Winston Churchill

If you’re thinking that’s it? this may not be for you, but if you’re curious continue reading.

The answer is no anyway, but its a nice filter for those who don’t see value in having and logging ideas 😜. There’s a suite of other things you can do around these ideas (yours and others) and I’ll highlight two of them.

Library: every idea you log gets stored in a web library accessed through your own personalized link. You can also share this link with whomever, I sent mine to my mom so she can see some of the ideas floating around in my head.

Inspiration: We’ve built in an inspiration command in which the click of a button triggers a magic ideafairy to wave its wand and hit you with three unique ideas from ThinkFish.

And this is just the bot. As a matter of fact, I’d probably pay to access the community alone but that’s not what we’re doing here. To give you a small sample of who’s currently using ThinkFish (opens scroll), we have a Serbian solar engineer, an American rapper who doubles as bizdev at a SoCal tech startup, a mission-driven programmer from Panama who left the UN to become a fullstack dev, a half-Balinese half-Kiwi crypto-computer-startup-preneur and many more.

Physical manifestation of ThinkFish (actual users) + coconuts + sun

Every week we’ll be highlighting the Idea of the Week on Medium, and every month we’ll do a technical writeup of the Idea of the Month.

What do you get when you put all of this into a digital fishbowl with a bot to make things easy as pie, and shake it all up? One can only imagine. If these sound like the type of people you’d vibe with, then you should probably subscribe. ThinkFish is a place to inspire new ideas, to validate your ideas with creatives and makers, and even collaborate should a situation align.

The Subscription

ThinkFish is a monthly subscription of $5/mo and if we didn’t build it ourselves, I’d personally pay the daily $0.15 for a tool that makes logging ideas as simple as possible accompanied by a my own web idea library and access to a global, curated community of creative ideators.

We intentionally capped it (for various reasons) and chose the number 377 because it’s the closest number in the Fibonacci sequence to what we’ll need to cover some rent while we continue building idea infrastructure that can harness the collective genius that exists among us.

The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas. — Linus Pauling

Looking Forward

By subscribing, you’ll also be on the ground floor of whatever this becomes. We’ll continue building features and potential future avenues could even allow for further incentive to ideate. Just to give you some ideas (pun intended)…

Collective Intelligence: what if we feed the collective ideas into an algorithm to produce an ideation intelligence?

An Ideaconomy: what if there was a way to build a microtransaction-driven idea exchange for the public?

Solution Generation: what if organizations or groups were able to drop a challenge into ThinkFish and have 377 ideating minds go at it?

“If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” — Albert Einstein

So, where does that leave us?

If you’ve made it this far, that’s pretty telling already — you should probably click here and get access. With what we’re building, we want to support people that have ideas but also encourage any creative thinker to generate more ideas inspired by their experience, environments, and interactions.

“No Matter What People Tell You, Words And Ideas Can Change The World.” — Robin Williams

ThinkFish is a prompt for people to see the world through a lens of possibilities because ideas (whether big or small) can transform. Coming together over new thinking is pretty damn awesome and that’s why we built ThinkFish.

Jump in and let the ideas fly 🚀🚀🚀.