Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bob's Greatest Hits

We just launched a website. It's called, and we're using it to build a book.

We have stacks, shelves, and garbage bags full of the writings of Reverend Bob Doss, and we want to splice together a highlight reel of his most inspiring, most influential, and most irreverent stories, sermons, prayers, and poems.

John Moore set the project in motion. Wiley made us the site. And I'm overseeing the editorial process.

John and his family have known Bob for many years, as a neighbor, as a friend, and as the big cheese minister at the Unitarian church in Wilmington, DE.

Bob retired in 1996, but he remains something of a legend in the local Unitarian community. People miss him, and they wish he could keep on speaking to them every Sunday forever. Quite a few of them, John's parents included, have been whispering about getting Bob to publish a book.

The whispers flowed to John, and he decided to make it happen. He talked to Bob. Bob was into it, but Bob didn't want to do it alone. He wanted an editor.

John asked me if I'd do it.

I told him I'm overwhelmed as it is with the startup project and the Acorn work. I told him I don't know anything about publishing. And I told him that (probably more because of than in spite of the fact that I majored in Religious Studies) I'm generally suspicious of organized religions, especially those involving monotheism. But I agreed to meet Bob.

We met, and there was no way I could turn the opportunity down. Bob is the kind of leader the world needs, the kind of thinker the world needs. He's open-minded, curious, questioning, humble. And the man can communicate. I told John I'd give it a try and do the best I could.

Bob and I started looking at the texts, reading and sorting and filtering. Very quickly, it became clear that the filtration and editing process was going to be a lot for two people to handle.

It just so happens, however, that I have user community collaboration on the brain, so I called Wiley, and we did some thinking about how the internets might help us out.

We came up with (one of Bob's grandsons named him Twodaddy a while back).

Metaphorically speaking
, we're choosing the tracks for a greatest hits compilation, and we want to try something a little different. We want to keep the record label involved and let it make some suggestions (John, me). We want the band to give some input as well (Bob). But we want the fans to lead the decision making process (Bob's parishioners, his friends, his family, you). We want the greatest hits to be the songs that mean the most to the people that enjoy them the most.

So check it out. Go to, and read the first few pieces we've posted. If you dig it, register on the site, subscribe to the feeds, make comments, and tell us what you love and why. We'll be posting probably four or five new pieces of content every week, responding to comments and suggestions, and keeping track of what pieces people like best.

It's an idea in process, but we think it's going to produce a real live book, and that's exciting.