When I lived in India in the 80s, one of the things I disliked was how certain products weren’t allowed for sale in that country. Instead of Coke you drank this soapy local stuff called… oh, I can’t remember what it was called and it doesn’t really matter. And I believe Indians can now buy Coke.
Not that being able to buy Coke is any sign of high civilization. But the point I’m trying to make is that I dislike protectionism. To me, it’s a sign of weakness if you try to pretend that a competitor (who does things very well) doesn’t exist.
With that thought in mind, I had to look at myself and how I’ve been running Earthpages.ca.
If you’ve read the About page, you’ll see that the whole project began as a book. I didn’t know I was going to put it online until years after I started writing. And even when I did take the plunge to post it online, I began with the kind of protectionism that I dislike. I did all my own graphics and barely, if ever, linked to any other site from here.
Well, I guess I wanted folks to stay at Think Free and not stray away to some far corner of the web.
But the web is the web. And my approach started to feel increasingly small and insular.
Recently I’ve come to grips with the fact that Think Free is not Wikipedia and never will be. Wikipedia didn’t exist when I began writing the book that became Think Free. But Wiki grew so fast, I quickly realized that I had both a wonderful resource at my fingertips and, also, a very real challenge to face.
That challenge, still here today, is to create an educational site that shares some qualities with Wiki, but which offers something vital that Wiki lacks.
Some people may scoff at Think Free, saying it’ll never really go anywhere. To those individuals I’d like to remind them of how the US car makers once dominated the market, and how small minded people laughed and joked about those “tin can” Japanese cars that hit the scene in the 60s.
Those people certainly aren’t laughing now.
By the same token, Think Free is currently small and can’t really compete (in terms of sheer traffic) with Wiki. But we believe we’ve got something that Wiki doesn’t. And we also believe that folks will read us even more if we (now) link to Wikipedia (and other sites) where appropriate.
So that means… no more protectionism. Protectionism is a sign of weakness. I guess it took us a while to see the light. But we get it now.
- Davos 2011: Pascal Lamy on protectionism (guardian.co.uk)
- free trade and protectionism (jacobian.web.id)
- 13 reviews of Protectionism (rateitall.com)
- Richard Katz: Japanese Farmers Sow Protectionism (online.wsj.com)
- Brazil’s Rousseff criticizes currency protectionism (reuters.com)
- Data Protectionism Begins In Earnest (techcrunch.com)
- Create a Wiki Using Wikispaces – a How to Guide (brighthub.com)
- Bush Worries About The Nation’s ‘Nativist’ Drift (huffingtonpost.com)
- Pacific Rim leaders to pledge against protectionism – AFP (news.google.com)
- *Peddling Protectionism* (marginalrevolution.com)
- DEALTALK-Protectionism threatens cross-border Asia M&A in 2011 (reuters.com)