“What Is” #47 #cong18


We need to develop our ideas so that they are connected not to our opinions and our hopes but to the ‘what is’ of a market. Best do that by showing our products, talking to end users and listening.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. We have spent the last decade developing a couple of ideas. We expect to spend another decade doing the same.
  2. Sustainable idea development needs funding and a team.
  3. Ideas plugged into the ‘what is’ of life and markets are the ones that bring in the funding.
  4. Simplicity seems to lead to the ‘What is’ of an idea.

About John Tierney:

A field archaeologist mullocking around Ireland and the UK.

Contacting John Tierney:

You can follow John on Twitter or contact him by email.

By John Tierney

We have built three web platforms in the last eight years and two of them have made money, certainly washed their faces. The third platform My Scattered Ashes has been the slowest to launch but it probably has the most potential of all of our projects to appeal to a broader market. Our current challenge is what to do with the idea and it’s early-form website.

Web platform #I Historic Graves grew out of the 2008 World Archaeological Congress hosted by UCD. It is a crowd-sourced graveyard survey platform. Launched in 2011 this platform is one of our main revenue sources today. The idea behind Historic Graves formed in 2008, took two years to gestate, a few weeks to build, about a year to get first revenue and has been making modest money ever since.

My colleague, Maurizio who makes the web platform likes Historic Graves because it follows the dictum of The Founder- it does just one thing- we’re not making burgers, pizzas and kebabs. We’re just doing graveyards. It’s simple.

The second web platform The Memory Trail was designed and built to do everything else besides graveyards. It’s a Swiss army knife of a platform. Flexible but complicated. I love working on projects that use this platform but it has stayed very niche – we have clients who want to use it but funding is slow.

Between 2008 and 2010, as we worked on the first idea and resultant web platform, we came up with idea for Scatter My Ashes along with a string of other ideas. Where do memorials for ash scatterings go? But as a small company we were not ready to work on this idea til now.

The decade since 2008, developing those original ideas, has basically been a lesson in ‘what is’. John Kavanagh, MMA coach to Conor McGregor spoke about. what is’ in a recent Joe Rogan Podcast. He said “I’m not really that interested in people’s in opinions on things, I’m just interested in ‘What _Is_’, and ‘What _Is_’? That sells fights.”

That resonated with me. Each of our ideas mean a lot to us, we love this feature, that story, this place, but not all of them are plugged into the ‘what is’? Now as I ponder the development of our Scatter My Ashes  product we are focussed on the ‘what is’ of the idea. As I bounce the idea off my family, friends and complete strangers I struggle with defining the ‘what is’ of what we’re doing – but every time I do it, and listen to the feedback received, I am getting closer. Will it work? We’ll see in the next decade.

  • Personal histories are important! One of the most common (and heart-warming) things I see is requests from people outside of Ireland who ask me to snap a photo of a long-lost family member’s headstone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *