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Dec 16, 2018 03:38:29

My maker year: What went well

by @jasonleow | 553 words | 200🔥 | 238💌

Jason Leow

Current day streak: 200🔥
Total posts: 238💌
Total words: 93466 (373 pages 📄)

Day 10 of the #200wad challenge.


Part 3 of a raw report card on my maker journey so far. An honest look at the good and the bad so far. 2018 was a maker year for me. My very first year as an indie maker. In Feb, I made a commitment to launch a minimum viable product a month (#1mvp1month). Read Part 1 (list of products made) and Part 2 (metrics).


What went well

Sustaining motivation for launching every month using public commitment. There were some delays, yes. But I still managed to deliver, and am still delivering. Maintaining motivation was hard, but the single most effective tool was making a public commitment to launch a product every month. Even when there's delays, nobody reminded me or chased me for an update, but despite that, the costs to personal integrity was high enough that I willed myself through most of the time. I hate breaking promises, especially ones I made publicly.


Exponential learning about making and myself as a maker, by launching every month. What I like/hate to do, what I'm good/bad at, and what I want to do more of in the future. I get a deep satisfaction from the aesthetics and visual aspect of making - I think deep down I'm still a designer at core. Enjoyed interacting with my users when they used the product and gave feedback. I'm definitely not great at building a community product like forums and chat groups - it takes a certain kind of (extroverted) personality to be good at making conversation. Throughout the whole year, I struggled with asking others for help and still struggling with it. Big thumbs-down for projects that's content-heavy with short refresh windows (like weekly posts on Public Design Jobs), as it was difficult to scale them solo. More technical learnings to come in next post.  


Made lots of social capital. So many connections - locally and globally - which I would never have made had I not shared my work so publicly. My work used to be pretty niche (design+government) and local (Singapore), but now there's a global perspective to my work so that's kinda thrilling! There were even a few potential global collaboration and work opportunities.  


(Re)discovering meaning, passion, and what its implication to making. Making weird/imaginary/white space/conceptual stuff like Space Nomads had been indulgently enjoyable, because 1) playing around with images of the Moon, planets, nebulae, other galaxies and outer space from NASA and SpaceX was awe-inspiring and wonder-inducing, 2) creating fiction works with the imagination and that's something I realised I missed using. Projects made out of pure passion and for fun are also much easier to maintain and keep shipping, because I enjoy and cannot help but want to keep work on it everyday! 


A no-code approach to making that's proven to work time and again, across a wide variety of digital products: ecommerce store, content curation directories, discussion forum, chat group, job board, productized service, travel agency, chat bot. Caveat: these are MVPs. Beyond that, when there's a need to customize/pivot as a product grows based on specific user needs and feedback, I think coding will be required. 


Broke even. That counts as something that went well, right? 😓


Next post: the bad.

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