This is a copy of Chris Schmitts post on his blog: oakcitylabs.com, which doesn’t exist anymore. This post is possible thanks to pocket. Which made the copy and saved the text.
I recently stumbled across this video in a truly serendipitous moment. I must have missed the original Coding Horror blog post (linked below in “External Links”) when it came out a couple of months ago. But I’m very glad I did and found the video instead. Jeff gives a great presentation and presents the material in a very engaging way. I found the 26 minute talk full of insights, examples and good advice.
In the speech Jeff boils this thesis down to three points:
- Embrace the Suck
- Do It in Public
- Pick Stuff That Matters
I think Jeff’s presentation is fantastic and he has really hit on some great points. Personally I have fallen victim to all three points.
- I have been afraid to tell people what I am going to do for the fear that they will think it sucks.
- I have worked for months on projects in seclusion following the “if you build it they will come ” montra only to release them to no one.
- Almost all of my “great ideas” have suffered from a lack of insight into what people actually care about.
With this in mind, here is how I interrupt the 3 topics that Jeff has raised.
Embracing The Suck
The lesson is simple, no one is perfect. If you are good at building things then you probably messed up the message. If you are great at messaging then you probably messed up the code. It is impossible to be great at everything. Accept the fact that you have missed something and focus on what you are good at. Embrace your weakness and play to your strengths.
Launching a new idea or product is hard work. It is easy to criticize and hard to create. The internet is full of people just wanting to hate on you. All of this leads up to one hard truth. If you can’t accept criticism then you are in for a very long road. And if you can’t tune out the trolls, you dreams will be crushed. But, if you have a vision and you can communicate it effectively then it won’t matter if the colors are off or you have misspelled something in your copy. People will see through all the warts to find the value in your product or service.
Do It in Public
Find your audience. Every single topic you could ever want to talk about is being discussed somewhere on the web. Before you write a single line of code, go out and find those people. Join their conversations and don’t be afraid to share your ideas with them. If you are unsure on where to go, start a twitter account and ramble. Post everything that comes to your mind on the subject. Eventually someone out there is going to find you and think you are amazing.
Second, build your base. By communicating your thoughts and ideas with your audience you are building customer advocates. Seek out the people who are willing to give you feedback and invest in those relationships. Listen to them! People who care about your product will help spread the word. Imagine having 50 people clamoring for your product before you release your first beta. Ideas are easy, execution is hard.
Pick Stuff That Matters
Be relevant! Find their biggest pain point and focus on that one thing. Don’t get caught up in the 50 things you can do in a year from now. Don’t get caught up in finding a way to finally introduce that amazing cool new tech you just read about. At first, keep it simple and only give them what they need. Demonstrate that you can provide the solution to their problems. The more often you ship solutions the more willing people are to forgive your mistakes.
Finally.. remember this, building for you is a hobby, building for them is a business.