EP60: When I learned to build

(Monday 1:20am)

I’ve been lying in bed staring at the ceiling for a few hours with a few big ideas in my head. I remembered another time I couldn’t get to sleep, back in 2007.

Mazz (life long best mate) (@someyoungguy888) and I had seen the global warming awareness film by Al Gore (@algore), An Inconvenient Truth. After the we left the cinema I remember both of use being shocked by just how great of an impact human activity was having on our planet. We were actually furious. We thought about all of our friends and realised that if they hadn’t seen this film, they too would have no idea how serious the situation was. It was then that we decided to start something, anything, that would raise awareness about global warming.

So that night, I’m lying in bed thinking about what we could do and how best we could capture the attention of young people. Myspace was the most popular social network at the time so it was an pretty obvious decision to use that as a starting point to begin to spread the word. But let me get to the point here. What was really significant about that night was how I actually went about starting our project.

Instead of organising a meeting with my mate for later that week, I got out of bed, turned on my then PC, and named and branded and created a Myspace page (it’s still live, check it out) for our project in 2 hours. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t beautiful, not by a long shot, but when Mazz woke up, he had a friend request from “CleanLife” and we were underway. The next day we researched some key statistics and quotes, I put them into basic .jpegs and added them to our profile. Within 2 days we had over 100 friends and our logo was featured in the “Top Friends” section in over 40 of them. In short, we were having an impact.

Original Cleanlife logo

Example of one of our statistics that we used

Looking back, although I didn’t realise it, I was following one of the rules that I now live by: Built it, then show it. The reality about having an idea is that they really aren’t worth anything. If you have an good idea or even a great idea, that’s fantastic, but don’t expect anyone to take you seriously unless you actually go and do something about it. You don’t have to go and spend weeks and weeks and $20,000 building it, not at all. In fact, that is a bad idea. All you need to do, is build the most basic part first. For our little awareness raising machine, that was a strong recognizable brand and platform to spread our message.

So next time you have an idea, before you tell too many people or email your favorite tech celebrity for advice, build something.

Some quotes about building:

• If you don’t have a product you don’t have shit. Build it, then show me.
• Real artists ship – Steve Jobs (Apple)
• Build what you want to see in the world – Jack Dorsey
• Draw what you want to see in the world
• If I had to do this in 15 mins, what would I do? – Tim Ferris
• Is there a simpler solution?
• Build, measure, learn. – Eric Reis
• Done is better than perfect. – Facebook
• Move fast and break things. – Facebook


About nickhallam

Creating things that I think should exist, like @positiveposters. Lover of clever ideas, dancing bare footed & freestyle rap battles.
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2 Responses to EP60: When I learned to build

  1. Lisa says:

    Funny, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

    I love that quote, “move fast and break things”, never heard that one before. I find that the more ideas I put out there, the more newer and better ideas I have room for in my head. It’s refreshing to just get it out there, and know that other ideas will come along later, not to be scared of “loosing” your idea to the big wide world, but embracing letting it go and sharing.

    Also there’s something really charming about diving in head first (with a blog, youtube, whatever) and letting your followers watch your grow, and grow with you. People want to be part of your movement (whatever it may be), but it’s hard for them to do that if you’re too polished and precious about your idea before anyone has the chance to discover it.

    Nice post, Nick…. we’ll have to mull over this more over a beer!

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