→ To visit the Museum, click here (link also in header).
Some of you might already know about this. While it's been public since the start of phase 1, I wanted to wait until site completion before marketing. Well, on November 2, 2016, that goal was realized. Let's cover some backstory:
Back in 2010, I had the idea of putting my Frank Thomas collection online. No, not for selling purposes, but instead for referencing purposes. I wanted to be able to view and enjoy my collection from anywhere in the world and from any device. I always thought having my collection online would serve as an excellent resource when I'm at shops and shows so that I could identify what I have or don't have.
I just had one little problem - I didn't know how to build websites.
So, I spent the next two years researching and teaching myself the what's what of website development. In July of 2010, I created a website using a free website creation resource but didn't know what the hell I was doing. I used it really as a playground to make all of the mistakes commonly made by beginners. This site would become known as, radicards.com. (I've since fixed all mistakes I made using this software and building this site). This is the blog and main site of the brand. All video content, articles, marketing, and the like all get archived here. It's home base.
Fast forward to July 2012, and I launch phase 1 of the Museum. It was a rough layout with minimal features and poor logic but it was something. It didn't yet have legs. Because I had originally intended it to have a different purpose, which was to create a social network (as if we need another one), I called it Showseum. Sure, fine but it lacked the ring of 'Radicards®' and was ill-branded.
I quickly scrapped the original idea and in August of 2013, I renamed it Radimuseum. Better, but not quite there yet. We'll call this phase 2. By this time, the site had a new face and better logic. It was easy to navigate and had muscle. Due to the rename, I had to re-watermark all images that had already been uploaded. I think by then there were a few hundred. Mind you, this was before I learned about Batch Automation so I had to do the leg work manually, which was both arduous and time consuming.
So there it was, Radimuseum. I liked it but always felt it was still off the brand path a little too much for comfort. In March of 2015, I moved it to its final home, museum.radicards.com. This is phase 3 and by this time, I was struggling with depression due to the overwhelming amount of work that was required in order to complete the site. I felt like I was never gonna finish this thing. So what did I do? I hired help. In April of 2015, I hired a Virtual Assistant (VA) and this decision changed everything.
I sourced my image cropping jobs out to my VA because I just wanted to focus on retouching and uploading. The process worked like this, I'd scan the front and backs in 4-card batches on my end, upload them to Dropbox. My VA would then grab the raw scans on his end, crop the front and back together and re-upload the completed work back to Dropbox for me to retrieve. It's a streamlined and simple process that works very well for us.
So there I was, getting back all of these completed jobs. I put them in folders and just manually did the Photoshop (PS) thing on my end one-by-one. Things had gotten better, but I was still discouraged by how much PS work I had to do manually. I didn't want to sit in front of my computer all day. So I learned how to create various Batch Automation processes. I won't go into detail here but let's put it this way, I taught PS how to do in two hours what would have taken me several months. With the click of a few buttons, I told PS to resize, retouch, watermark, and save final image to a Finished folder. PS then does it all and I just wait for the work to be done. After the work is done, I upload the images directly to the site.
Outsourcing + Automation = Life is good!
Now that I've separated how I spend my time and how the Museum gets done, I've managed to master the art of building the Museum in the most efficient way possible. And we're off to the finish line.
On November 2, 2016, I complete the work to bring the site to current. At the time of this writing, there are just over 6500 unique Frank Thomas scans uploaded. This number will grow and the site will be updated with more scans as I get new items.
If you count the 2 years prior to phase 1 when I first conceptualized the idea of an online reference of my Frank Thomas collection, this site took me almost 6.5 years to bring to reality. I'm quite proud of it and I hope it serve to be a handy reference for other collectors.
While I built the site primarily for my own enjoyment, I invite other collectors to use it to help them identify cards in their own collections. Granted, this application would be useful only to collectors who collect players from the same era as Frank Thomas. I still think that if you collect baseball cards, you'll appreciate and enjoy The Radicards® Museum. Please have a look.
Who do you collect and how many unique cards do you have of that player? Tell us in the comments area.