Hey everyone! Winners from last week’s big giveaway are Michelle S., Andy C., and Tonya L. Congratulations to them, and thanks to everyone else who entered.
I always enjoy reading your comments. A few of my favorites included various creative entries:
This comment is designed to win. –Chris Moseir
I have goldfish crackers. I happen to know that biased judges, cats, and random number generators all get hot for goldfish crackers. –Lauren Vanessa Zink
Please, oh please, pick me fine folks,
I sure hope this competition is no hoax.
Your guide sounds like it would be fantastic,
so I thought I would go above and beyond to do something drastic.
I promise if I win to share it with everyone I know
Raving about the creations of Jen, Omar & Chris Guillebeau.
Winning this guide would sure make my day,
It would take all my troubles away.
So I ask again, once more my friend,
please pick me in the end. -A poem by Jake Jorgovan
Come higher water or hell
I’m destined to read
…Designed to Sell –PD
dear random number
generator or feline,
i hope i get picked. –Jen
Tomorrow morning at 9am PST we’re going to release Designed to Sell to the world. By this point you’re either really excited about it or are really tired of hearing about it. Either way, we’ll be underway soon. 🙂
Today I wanted to take a step back and explain a few things about the process of making things—which tends to apply no matter what “thing” you’re making.
Whenever you begin a new project, you should take the time to understand your motivations. Why choose this one? Why choose it now?
Every decision in this process comes with pros and cons. If you work on one project, you have to say no to others. (At any given time you can probably do “anything” but not “everything.”)
Next comes the matter of quality and timeliness. This one is always tough, because there are two competing messages:
1. Make this thing really awesome!
2. Get it done!
I do want things to be awesome, and we invest a ton of work in making them great. But if perfection is the standard, nothing will ever get shipped.
I don’t think it’s possible to get everything right all the time. I’ve never launched something without making at least one big mistake, and usually several. Even on the projects I feel especially proud of, I can look back and identity flaws and areas that could be improved.
Yet at a certain point you have to come to a point of completion, secure in the knowledge that you’ve made something good and it’s time to move on.
Then there is the matter of getting the word out. If you believe in the thing you’ve made, you want people to know about it (right?). You’re proud of it and you want it to have an impact (right?).
If you talk about too much, however, people will become annoyed or just stop paying attention. (But you do want people to know about it, so thus the need for balance.)
In a commercial product, the process of creative tension continues throughout every stage of production:
If you price it too high or too low, bad things will happen. Pricing is tricky: choosing to price too low can be just as bad as pricing too high.
Why is this project relevant now? What’s special about it—why will people care enough to stop what they’re doing and take action on it?
After preparing for a long time, hopefully the launch goes well. And then… what’s coming next? Do you continue to invest time, effort, and other resources in the project—or do you move on to something else?
Sometimes the answer depends on how much you believe in the project, other times it depends on how much other people believe in it, and perhaps sometimes it’s a combination of the two.
There’s no single, perfect solution to these considerations. What you try to do is get as much of it right as possible.
In the case of Designed to Sell, it’s been a lot of fun to work on. I’ve learned through the process and it’s been a team effort: in addition to Jen & Omar, the primary authors, I’ve been working with Stephanie, Sean, the design crew from Jolby and friends, an independent developer, and of course the 21 artists featured in the guide.
It’s been a big project for us. We’ve invested a lot in production and tried to make something that will serve a lot of people for a long period of time.
After working on it for more than six months, Designed to Sell will finally go out to the world starting tomorrow morning. When it’s live, I’ll post the details here, along with the special bonus we’re offering the first group of buyers. Whether you’re excited about it or tired of hearing about product launches, we’ll be back to regular business soon.
Thanks for all your support either way! I’m thrilled to write for an amazing group of remarkable people.
See you tomorrow…
Question: Have you ever struggled in the creative process? How do you try to get the balance right?
Previously in the Designed to Sell saga…