It’s easy to start things. It’s much harder to bring them all the way from beginning to end.
Projects are like mud balls
My projects start like mud balls. I can visualize the mud ball, and it is round and perfect and beautiful. In fact, it almost looks like a brown crystal ball, so perfect and round it is. Then, I go down to the playground and pour some water in the sandbox. I slap some mud together and pound it tight. And what I get is a mess.
It is made of mud, that much is true, but it’s not round. It’s lumpy. There’s a root sticking out one side. A big crack is running trough the surface. Making a perfect ball out of mud isn’t as easy as it first seemed. At this point, I seriously consider throwing the mud ball at someone else. It’d be more fun than polishing it, that’s for sure.
I was lucky enough to work in the sandbox for six years. The R&D team I was part of focused heavily on the R and much less on the D. We’d try a bunch of innovative ideas, and if any of them seemed worth the time, we’d push the project to someone who did the development. Truth be said, it didn’t work all that well. The subtleties of what’s really important were lost in the transition between teams (Intel solved this problem by moving people from research to development, instead of moving ideas).
Getting things done
Joel has talked plenty about the kind of people he’s looking for to work with him. Smart & Gets things done. The emphasis is on done, not on half-baked. I love the idea of getting things done. While working at BigCo, my best work was on the projects that got done, not on the projects that were the most innovative or fun to do. But most projects were never done. That’s why I left. That’s why I’m starting my own company.
We have an idea that we are excited about, and we intend to bring it to fruition. The road ahead is long, and we are only at the beginning of our journey. As we move along, I’ll tell you more about what I’ve learned – not in real time, but not long after the event. I’ll probably make mistakes – please correct me. I want to fix them before it’s too late. I am not reminiscing about the past, Eric Ries can teach you much more than I can. I am looking for feedback, not telling a story.
The Art Of The Start
I’ll finish off with Guy Kawasaki‘s tips to starting. They are definitely worth your time.