Hello Australians. Welcome to my isolation project.
The short read
The asteroid hit. My global travel business got nuked. What was relevant even a few months ago is now largely redundant.
The idea behind Trippt is to slow down, go back to travel basics, research a bit deeper, and curate content for new slower pandemic era travel. The plan is to start with Australian towns.
There is already an avalanche of travel information out there on the internet, though it's a fragmented soup of official tourism websites, influencer accounts and internet noise.
The mission will be to consolidate the best information into a simplified travel guide product. The product will not be dependent on expensive technologies, apps, or artificial intelligence controlled by big technology companies. Ha. Well that's the plan.
Anyway. No idea if this will work, but if it makes the travel experience of Australians a little more streamlined and gets more people to visit towns affected by recent disasters then it's worth it.
The long read
You see there isn't much else going on these days. My usual consultancy work dried up in February. I was expecting to have a great year. I had just launched a new guide to Osaka, then a Kyoto guide. I was working with Prada to produce a huge event prior to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
I produce curated guides for global shopping experts. It all started in 1999 – a year that was remarkably optimistic about a new century – despite great uncertainly due to that other dreaded bug Y2K. I was living in Japan in the middle of the first big tech bubble. This was peak globalism – where you could fly, work and live anywhere.
I once got paid USD 28000 for a 3 screenshot photoshop mockup. I designed a website for an exiled Peruvian dictator. Lots of stuff like that. Those were the days. It was so gung ho I incorporated a US corporation in Delaware and called the brand superfuture.
superfuture is still online. In 21 years it has been rebuilt at least 7 times and survived going bust on countless more occasions. It has a completely separate online community supertalk with over 150000 members – still going strong discussing things like denim and urban techwear. It has sold tens of thousands of city guide downloads for cities including Tokyo, Paris, London, and New York.
Since March however, superfuture has sold  guides. Yes – and they were discounted 50%. Argh. That is USD 60 revenue in 3 months on the travel side of the business. I can't see it improving till who knows when, so things on that front are sort of challenging. It's a nuclear hit.
There is nothing like lockdown in a 60 square meter apartment and a cold terrazzo floor to help focus ones mind and ponder the future of the superfuture. Despite this, I can say that I have actually almost enjoyed lockdown. I have never been this unstressed by clients or deadlines. For the first time in decades I have actually slowed down. The creative brain is working again.
It's obvious we aren't even going to be allowed out of here for another year, let alone out of our own State. Just like wretched convicts in 1790 we are trapped on this big rock whether we like it or not. I've come to the conclusion it's time for me to refocus and think about local travel within Australia, and see if I can apply some of my experience to this new patriotic and noble endeavor. I am actually doing what I did 20 years ago. This is the superfuture 2.0.
It's called Trippt
There is already bucketloads of travel information out there on the internet. Instagram is still great for endless images. Google will still find anything anywhere. Australian Tourism websites are perfectly fine if you want to see the obvious places. Though to find more you can easily waste days wading through a fragmented messy soup of websites, influencer accounts and internet noise. The mission will be to consolidate the best information.
What was relevant even a few months ago is now largely redundant. Travel information delivery needs to be completely re-engineered.
The idea behind Trippt is to slow down, go back to travel basics, research a bit deeper, simplify the format and curate content for slower pandemic era travel. The plan is to start with Australian towns and work up to regions and then cities. By the time we are out of lockdowns it can scale up to incorporate travel bubbles and existing superfuture global content.
Fundamentally it is about repackaging standard Australian regional travel information as a product and then into a consistent and scalable town centric network. Depending how well C19 is controlled, regional Australian towns could (and absolutely should) be the biggest beneficiaries of (what's left of) the AUD65 billion we (usually had) spent on outgoing international travel.
Trippt will be producing its own custom format products. Without budget but lots of spare time it make sense. Apps are now entirely uneconomical to produce and maintain. Online advertising died years ago after Facebook siphoned it off, and blogs and websites alone are now revenue sinks. Content producers got screwed over by Google, Facebook and Apple years ago but that's another story. With Trippt everything revolves around the product.
Plans rarely go to plan so this might just be a huge waste of time and energy. Who knows? Gotta at least have an extravagant purpose in these strange days. If this makes the travel experience of Australians a little more streamlined and gets more people to travel to towns affected by bushfires, floods, and droughts then it's all worth it.
If this even shows the slightest chance of working then I am going to need a bit of assistance very soon. We can't travel all over the countryside alone.
July 01 2020