Mike, my co-founder at markd.ltd, and I are both the kind of people that has many random ideas, and often find ourselves diving right in after we’ve come up with something new or novel or just quirky.
A few months ago we decided we should have a process to help us think about our ideas. Building new ideas is all fun and game, but at the end of the day, we’ve got a company to build, one which I hope can continue to be creative, fun, and useful.
So this is the criteria we came up with. This is not meant to be a general purpose criteria for filter ideas, but one that we decide to use because of our skills, experiences, personalities, and resource limitations.
Tokimeki Unfollow is a fun web app that helps you trim down your Twitter following. Without showing you the bios of people you are following on Twitter, you have to decide to keep following someone or not based on their recent tweets. I liked the personality of the app (too few social media tools have a personality!)
So TalentSearch.cc bombed on ProductHunt.
It didn’t get nearly as many votes or as much attention as ColdEmailTemplate.cc or Markd.co, both were featured on the front page. I was overly confident in how useful TalentSearch.cc is for people (who wouldn’t want a search bar to find talents on multiple social platforms?!) and how popular it will be for the PH community, which also meant I spent way more time on it than ColdEmailTemplate.cc.
Why We should KonMari Our Social Follows
A number of years ago I read Kevin Kelly’s essay on 1,000 True Fans. The idea that if you can find and grow an audience of 1,000 true fans that love what you do, you can be financially independent as a creative maker.
I liked this theory, and decided I will put it to practice by reducing the number of people I follow on Twitter.
At Business of Software conference last month, I sat in a talk by Derek Sivers and learned about Mensch Patterns, his antidote to the inescapable Dark Patterns so prevalent on the web today (tricks that make users do things that they didn’t mean to).
Marketing sucks, big time.
You push and pull and try to get known. You obsess over views and votes and all the likes you didn’t get.
A couple of weeks ago on a Saturday, I was feeling anxious. For no apparently reason, it was one of those days when you couldn’t think of anything to feel down about, but feel down nonetheless.
So naturally to “fix” this, I made coffee. One cup of coffee, didn’t work. Two cups of coffee, didn’t work. Green tea? Didn’t help either. By mid afternoon, I was high on caffeine but low on mood.
Towards the end of 2018, I had the urge to “tidy up” my mental space to make room for Markd, and I decided to close down the numerous websites I’d had created and accumulated over the years.
For the sites that I do want to keep, I wanted them to be smaller sites, simpler projects.
For years I’d been using Wordpress for websites. It’s a powerful CMS that allowed me to get set up and running quickly. The massive plugin eco-system meant I could add the latest features fo these sites without technical knowledge. The themes let me create websites that looked nice without worrying about designing them myself.
But it also came with a cost. Plugins and themes constantly required updating. And dealing with spam was always an issue for some of my bigger sites. Maintenance became a bit of a headache, and with so many different plugins for different sites, it got overwhelming.
Ten years ago, I had a blog. It was in mandarin and hosted on a popular blogging platform in Taiwan.
I wrote anything that came to mind. I wrote about the passing of my grandmother. I wrote about life in Japan. I wrote about new learnings. I wrote personal thoughts. I wrote poems.
Then I left my job to start a business. And all of a sudden, blogging becomes part of that. I thought I needed to write about business, technology, and whatever else good for SEO / personal brand …etc.
I manage creative teams at our game studio and work with many independent game and app developers, people who passionately and happily spend their free time turning their impulsive ideas into playable experiences. They are programmers that can’t stop tinkering, and artists that can’t stop drawing (or modelling, animating…etc.) — highly talented people that live for creating and crafting their art.
These tend to be the most motivated bunch, and they also tend to have deep domain expertise because they have spent not just their work hours on improving their skills but also their precious evenings and weekends. I am often amazed at how talented these people are, and if you spend even just seconds talking to them, you soon realise how addicted they are to their tools, their thoughts, and their creations.
They can also be some of the most difficult people you’ll manage.
Why? Let’s look at some of the overlapping traits of many highly creative people: