Just Get Started

It was new years eve when I had the idea for a new project. I was walking around my neighborhood on a phone call with my buddy Dave. We were talking about what we wanted to do with the upcoming year. We both had similar goals. Dave wanted to meet more people in his town and create a community of like minded coders and designers and I wanted to share more of myself and my interests with people and take more time to directly answer questions from the dozens of emails and twitter questions I get online.


Ideas are the easy part. Especially around the new year. It’s the DOING that is the hard part. Usually I try to set up habits to get in the right frame of mind. Usually by setting deadlines or to do something every day. But for these projects, we needed something more. They were bigger projects than just trying to floss more or do morning pushups. We decided to try something new.


Both of us have heard about this before. Have an accountability partner that keeps you on the right path. For some, it’s a workout buddy. Others, it’s a nightly talk with a spouse to be sure you did everything on your list. Dave and I decided that we were going to keep each other accountable for these ideas to make them actually happen.

That was 4 weeks ago. Dave and I talked at least once a week after that, checking in on each others progress. Dave has made a lot of progress by finding a shared office space and starting to get a meet up on the books.

I, however, did nothing toward my goal of a new podcast. Just a bunch of talk about the structure of the show, the name, what hosting platform I would use, what recording software, etc. I mean, I THOUGHT I was doing a bunch of work to get this podcast started. I scheduled meetings with other friends of mine to talk about what software they use for their podcast. I have thought about topics, the length of the show, the format. Should it be a Q&A show? Maybe a show with a co host? Maybe both?

All of this thinking kept me from actually doing what I originally wanted to do.

Just Get Started

I was discussing names, yet again, with Dave over slack when he interrupted and said. “You haven’t even made one show.”

I was reminded instantly of the advice I give to students when they start asking about what tools to buy, what computer to get, what camera or lens do they need. The answer is always Just Get Started. I wasn’t taking my own advice.

I immediately opened up Screenflow and recorded my first episode. No name, no title, no structure. I finally had momentum (or is it inertia?). Instead of setting up a new site to take questions, I just asked on Twitter. I received a few questions and recorded my next episode.

Using That Inertia

Once I got started with the first episode, more answers started to show up. I remembered that a friend of mine made a website for hosting podcasts. Also, another friend of mine just started a new podcast on that very same site. “Good Enough For Me” I thought as I signed up for the service and my new podcast had a home.

The Name

I recorded the first two episodes and still didn’t have a name. I thought about names like “Get Started Already” to remind myself and others to just start with projects. But I thought it may be too simplistic. Then I remembered my favorite talk I gave called “The Creative Gap”. It was based on this video from Ira Glass where Ira talks about the Gap between where you want to be and where you are now. I always thought that that idea was very powerful. Using the gap as a way to think of being a beginner at something not as a fixed thing, but as a journey towards where you want to go.

Two Hours

That’s all it took to go from Dave reminding me to start a podcast and for me to have a podcast up on iTunes. Listen to the first episode and you will see how scattered it is. But by the third episode, I had a name, and a rough structure for the episodes is starting to take shape. All because I took that first step in actually doing the work.

What are you stuck on?

What project did you say you were going to start this year? Have you done it? If not, try just doing one part of it today. Not the planning part of it, but an actually part of it. Did you want to exercise more? Don’t figure out what gym to join. Just so some pushups. Want to make a new website? Try making 10 blog posts first. Want to take more photos? Don’t watch another camera review. Go take 100 photos with your phone and choose your favorite 10 to put on Instagram.

It’s a lesson I constantly have to re-learn. The details don’t need to be perfect. Just get started making something real and the rest will be easier to figure out.

Go! Get Started!

Favorite Books I Read in 2015

Bold: How to Go Big, Make Bank, and Better the World

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work

The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream

The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure

Everything is Not for Everyone

Steve Jobs Interview at the D8 Conference

A very honest and direct interview with Steve Jobs about the future of computing, the stolen iPhone, content distribution, and the future of Apple. I love how passionate and direct Jobs is here. Not too many CEOs are this direct and publicly emotional about some of these questions. His passion shows.

What did we learn?
Passion and difficult decision making makes business better. Take a stance. You can’t and shouldn’t make everyone happy.

Have a great Idea? Who is gonna buy it?

Sure, you have a great idea for an app or a business, but who is going to buy it. Making a great product is way less than HALF of the work. Advertising cost a lot of money. So, where do you start? Think about who you are connected to now. Make a product for them. Also, don’t forget to make something that YOU would use. Finally, ideas are worthless! Don’t forget, at a certain point, if it’s a good idea, you need to stop thinking and start making it.

Who is your market? Make something for them!

Why Christmas is the best day to sell iPhone Apps

The Bump
So, I updated my AppViz software when I got home today and surprisingly, I saw a big bump in my ShakeItPhoto sales on Christmas day. This got me thinking about what would cause such a spike. What would cause my sales to practically double going into Christmas?


First, I thought that ShakeItPhoto was reviewed or featured in an article online or in a magazine. I looked around online and checked my google alerts and didn’t see any reviews or articles that came out. Nothing there. Second, I checked twitter to see if I could find any info about what was causing such a big jump in sales. There were the usual tweets of people showing off their favorite photos, but nothing that would cause such a jump.

So, that got me thinking. With internet use during christmas being as low as it is, and without an article or an ad to promote my product, what was doing all the selling? People! People were selling ShakeItPhoto by showing their friends during the holidays. The holidays are all about people getting together, talking about their year and, of course, showing off their toys. My theory goes… As a family member pulls out their iPhone during Christmas, they want to show off the device to their nephew, aunt, mom, whatever. They will open some of their favorite apps (hopefully ShakeItPhoto) and show others what their new phone does. This works well too when someone receives an iPhone as a gift. People pull out their phone and show the new iPhone owner what apps they should buy. This happens all the time when I’m around family. “Have you seen this” or “Check this out” is a common phrase as somebody loads up a new piece of software or app. So why does this sell so many apps? Word of mouth SELLS!

The Power of Word Of Mouth
Of course, everybody knows how powerful word of mouth is when it comes to selling a product. People trust their friends WAY more than they trust an ad or even a review. But what makes Christmas so different when it comes to word of mouth? Quantity. While the year may bring a few parties, there is nothing like the holidays to bring a HUGE amount of people into one room. All these people are also taking photos! It’s a match made in heaven for my app. People take a photo with ShakeItPhoto and show off the shaking feature and the final product to their whole family in one twist of the phone. If I did my job right, they like the result and want to buy it themselves.

Christmas Year Round
So, how do YOU promote word of mouth in your app? What makes people turn the phone around to show their friends.

The Father Of Making Cool Shit – Interview With My Dad

When it comes to making cool shit and getting things DONE. There is nobody like my dad. He taught me that you should LOVE you job and that you should be passionate about everything you do. I decided to do an interview with him while I was home for the holidays. This one runs a bit longer than the other MCS vids, but I think there is some solid information in here about loving what you do, staying productive, and getting your ass out of bed each morning for something more than a paycheck (spoiler alert: It’s your family).

More from Tim
Inventor of the Two-Day list.
The inspiration behind this lovely advice.
His retirement video.

10 Big Ideas to Help You Make Stuff

The 10 Big Ideas to success

  • Optimism – Control your mind. Worry about what is under your control.
  • Vision – Everything is created twice. First in your head, then in real life.
  • Self Awareness – What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Goals – Write these down.
  • Action – Show up and make it. There is hard work in everything.
  • Energy – Be healthy. Go work out will ya? Be financially healthy, produce more than you consume.
  • Wisdom – Never stop learning. You don’t ever know everything.
  • Love – First Yourself. Family, friends.
  • Courage – No more fear! Just do it!
  • Spirit – Align to whatever is bigger. Nature? Life? God?

Mentioned in the video
Brian’s Overview: Make sure to watch this too. This is where it all came from.