Tuesday, May 13, 2008
"They came from all over the continent and beyond. They came with dreams and greed and determination and nearly all of them failed. But for the few, the very chosen few, who had the exact right combination of luck, determination and fortitude, there were riches."
The quote is from a book called "Golden Dreams" by a relatively obscure author with the highly improbable name of Joseph Wrongway. (I suspect Joe has heard every possible joke about his name, so we'll let it go.) He was writing about the gold fields and the prospectors they drew. The perverse thing is that two miners could be literally side by side: one would hit a rich vein and the other would find nothing. (The pic to the right was taken in Alaska, which, frankly is as close as I have ever come to actual gold fields.)
This makes me think of the Internet. If our century has a gold field, this is it. And it's fitting, in some perverse way, that this field doesn't really exist anywhere. You can't GO to the Internet, although you can see it on your monitor. No one really knows exactly what it is because it isn't really just one thing. It's a conduit, I suppose.
It will carry my thoughts as I sit here in my office typing, to you. And it doesn't matter if you are next door or in India. We can still exchange ideas.
Your choice is what voice you choose to listen to...what communities you might want to belong to...what internet stores you choose to support with your hard earned dollars. It's all the Internet. Instant communication...instant information. Anywhere.
I am old enough that I am really impressed with stuff like that.
The Internet is also like the klondike gold fields because there are a few people who will crack the secret code and get rich. I understand the guys who own Google made two billion dollars in one hour when the stock jumped. Those kinds of earnings dwarf even what the richest gold strike of all time earned. And they did it in an hour.
All of the massive companies: Microsoft, Adobe, Yahoo, Dell and so many more make piles of money or send out cost effective precisely targetted email advertising through the Internet.
I started working on Photoshop Basics in 2004 as I remembered how much I struggled in the beginning to learn the simple basics of this great but seriously intimidating program.
I was frustrated. I had expended hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours trying to figure out Photoshop. The whole thing made me nuts. There just didn't seem to be anywhere that just offered me a SIMPLE and STRAIGHTFORWARD package of information IN ONE PLACE that would show me the basics.
That's why I wrote the first course "Learn the Basics of Photoshop in SIX HOURS." My feeling was that there were some basic things that you HAD to know in order to start using the program properly. So I thought about it for a long time and then wrote them down.
That little course has done pretty well for itself...and that led to more and more courses.
Each one takes somewhere between five hundred to a thousand hours to write. It's not like a novel. You'd be surprised to learn how difficult it is to explain the steps even for something simple like create a new layer.
We've gotten some great feedback on our courses from more advanced users as well.
I don't have any illusions about getting rich doing this. I expect that people will enjoy the courses, maybe share their work. My ultimate plan is to create a community for Photoshop users, new and old, to share ideas and information. To paraphrase myself in the 70's, that whole notion strikes me as "way cool."
At the nexus of everything is involvement. Web Jedi (Mark) and I have put in countless hours trying to make it easy for you to get involved.
We have made sample lessons available for free.
We've just released a great "mini course" that goes into the nuts and bolts of stuff like creating Fantasy Art, totally off the wall text treatments and one of the most interesting portrait treatments you'll see.
It's a course called "Setting Your Brain Free" -- and it's available on our site (http://www.photoshopbasics.com/ ) for $9.95.
Is this an ad?
Sort of. But more than the ten bucks, we'd like to KNOW people are interested in what we're doing and are prepared to give it a try.
We really want to create a community where people can come and talk and share.
But I often have the feeling I am standing on my little six foot square claim on the Internet gold field trying to attract attention while there are six million other people trying to do the same thing.
Mark (website jedi) and I are starting to feel the strain. We don't much want to roll the potentially expensive dice with Google Adwords or the myriad of internet publicity options out there.
If you'd like to be a part of this, you need to let us know. We have email. We have products. We have a website and we'd love to hear from you.
Think about it.