“By the way, what have you done that’s so great?”
I have long followed the community of creators, of people who make awesome things. The more I got into the world of indie development and craftsmanship, the more my respect for such people who take their idea all the way through to a marketable product.
I’ve always felt certain kinship with these people who work hard to make the best product they can, and – execution trumping ideas – sweat the details. But I never really considered myself part of this wonderful community, because I felt that all I did was partaking, from a distance, in others’ successes and failures, without actually building something myself and bringing it to market.
(OK, so I actually have built some stuff. Like when in 2008 I partnered with Flow to build “Rendezyou”, a web app with a native Mac client for making Doodle-like scheduling polls using iCal. Or a dabble in social media with a flirt app on the – utterly frustrating – Facebook platform. But for some reason or other, those projects felt different to me.)
“Real artists ship.”
And now I built Memento, a single-purpose iPhone app that lets you take a picture and put it in your calendar in two simple steps. In building it, I experienced hands-on the truth in the adage about how hard it is to actually make something.
I found that the most difficult question is When is it good enough? In contract work, i.e. when working for someone else, it is the client who ultimately decides on when the product is “done”. When you’re building something for yourself, however, there is no client and the only one who decides when the product is ready is – you.
When you care deeply about what you are building (and why would you spend your time building something you didn’t care about in the first place), every pragmatic decision – leaving a feature out or not fixing a minuscule blemish, in the interest of getting the product out of the door – is downright excruciating. I now understand better the wisdom in the “Real artists ship” sentiment. Or in Voltaire’s more prosaic words: « Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien. »
Hello, exciting world of creators!
I am resolved to joining the creator community more actively, in the spirit of consuming less creating more and putting myself out there.
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