I admit to a self-centered fascination with wordpress stats. I know, write for good content, write for enjoyment, write to write, the subscribers will follow. I still look at the numbers and marvel at what drives them.
Oddly, one of things I learn when examining my search term stats are that a great deal of the googlers in the world find me by using the search words: Ant Farm.
Ant farm? Ant farm. Yes, I did post a photo of my youngest son’s Christmas present over a year ago as I marveled at the ants working together and likened it to a crop mob helping at a local farm but for this to be chart topping is a bit perplexing. I googled Ant Farm myself. My blog is nowhere to be seen in the first few pages of listings so I have no better idea of how or why it drives traffic. But I did come across this story of Milton Levine, the founder, creator and entrepreneur behind the Ant Farm.
Ant Farm Entrepreneur
You see, Milton Martin Levine died two weeks ago at the ripe age of 97. He was in his thirties at a family gathering when while watching an industrious group of Pogonomyrmex californicus, he told his brother in law, “We should invent an antarium.” In the days, weeks or months that followed, they fashioned a clear cigar box with a frame and Uncle Milton’s Ant Farms became commercially available for $1.98.
Levine’s business grew quickly through his use of television advertising placed during kids’ programming. He expanded the line with larger ant farms and those with upscale frames. We’ve certainly had more than one grace our home and if you’ll remember, the ants never arrive with the farm. Rather you have to send in a coupon and wait for your 25 worker ants to arrive at a later date. Because of Levine’s death, I learn that federal law prohibits shipments of queen ants across state lines. Therefore, once your workers have expired, you either dig your own or order again. Today, ant farms sell for upwards of $10 and last year Milton sold Uncle Milton’s Ant Farms for upwards of $20 million.
Agrigirl’s take on the Ant Farm
What’s intriguing about this story for me is not the fact that a novelty item put Levine’s three kids through college. Rather, I love that Milton and his brother in law, EJ Cossman acted upon an idea. And in retrospect, it was a fairly random idea. How many times have you had an idea that you let expire like a worker ant?
I keep a google doc open all the time called: Ideas and any time a thought strikes me like “I should make an antarium” I log it. And darn it if a couple of times I haven’t watched someone else launch one of those very things that I have written down quite successfully. No, I never thought of ant farm but do you remember me writing about Jim Killeen? What would it it take to explore an idea deeper? What does it take to get it off the page and in between two pieces of plexiglass and a wood frame?
Is this simply entrepreneurial spirit or is there some greater germination process in order to move ideas forward?