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This isn’t a masterpiece

Credit: Calgary Reviews

This isn’t a masterpiece

Building your own products is hard. There are thousands of tiny decisions that need to be made and nobody else to make them for you. To make matters worse, no answer is EVER 100% correct.

So we make the best decision that we can.

And sometimes the decisions we thought were right, were wrong. So we take a step back.

We tell ourselves that next time, we’ll make a better decision. We decide not to do anything until we’re certain. But nothing ever is.

We paralyze ourselves with this fear. Fear that decision will be wrong. Fear that our effort will be wasted.

But by doing this we miss out on a big part of the process. We forget that learning what doesn’t work is just as important as learning what does.

“It needs to be perfect before we can show anyone”, we tell ourselves, “This is our masterpiece.”

But we shouldn’t think of this as our perfect masterpiece because then our work will never see the light of day. Exposing our work to criticism and different perspectives is the only way we can complete the creative process and improve our product.

Stop aiming for perfection and ship.

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I met Jason Fried last night

I met Jason Fried last night

I met Jason Fried last night. Except it was Skype call. Before I was boarding an ANA Flight to Japan. Where my seat was in a garage sale style over-stuffed sofa. Without a Seat belt. Did I mention this was a dream?

He asked me, “Are you focusing on what’s most important to you? Or are you focusing on what’s most important to your customer?” And I didn’t have an answer.

As makers, it’s natural for us to create. Given a choice we’d rather be building and making things than not. Our making is often constrained by one factor or another: time, money, tools, or passing interests.

However, these constraints aren’t bad. They lead to creativity. We figure out how to accomplish our goals within our constraints.

However, these constraints aren’t bad. They lead to creativity. We figure out how to accomplish our goals within our constraints.

But we often yearn for a world without these constraints.

“If this is what I can do without any time, tools, and money — imagine what I could accomplish if I focused on all of my creativity and had zero constraints?”, we think to ourselves.

“If I could just use my creativity to create a product that people would like enough that I could survive on it, I will be able to focus all of my energy on making and remove constraints from my creativity and my making will be endless and fun!”

What many makers fail to realize is that selling your product, while it may remove time and money constraints, adds another constraint. Yes, we are able to make whatever we want with the time that we have. However, we must now weigh what we’re building with what our customer wants.

Are you working on adding a new feature to your SaaS that you find intellectually challenging to build? Or are you fixing that workflow that trips your customers up?

Are you working on what’s most important to you? Or are you working on what’s most important to your customer?

If you’re trying to survive off your creations and creativity — the latter will always reap more rewards. And as makers we should strive so the most important work we want to focus on is the work that our customer finds most important.

And then I woke up and wrote down this message from fairy customer-service angel before it got lost to the ether.