I remember my first website: a simple ecommerce website that listed products on a static page. It was created in 2000 on Microsoft Word, I was 8yrs old, and it was never uploaded on to my server. 9 years have passed since then and very little has changed. I know how to create beautiful code, my geekiness has grown factorial-ly, and I’m now 2.75 times taller. However, most of my projects are never taken off of my local machine. I recently looked at the complete contents of my sever and I saw 75 unique designs that do not share anything even the copy. All of them about 80% finished. I started to think about why almost all of the contents of each folder were left alone for so long, and it hit me: I hated them. I had created 75 unique portfolios because each one sucked, not in the conventional connotation, but because each of them sucked in relationship to what could have been. Each of these portfolios could have been: prettier, more usable, and more semantic. I created an unsurpassable bar, and there was no choice but failure.

After my realization I decided I needed get rid of the portfolios. I needed a clean start. I was going to try something new. I wasn’t going to be perfect, I was going to be good enough. I was going to put the minimum about of work into it. I told my friend about my folders, and my plans and he laughed and said that I was going from one side of the spectrum to the complete opposite. But I wasn’t, I wasn’t going to stop at the pure minimum, but I was going to stop as soon as I had something usable I was going to upload it and make it public. However, I wasn’t going to stop there, I would continue to work on it and build another release. This seemed rather simple but my desire to perfect every last function, pixel was almost impossible to suppress. It took me a while to understand that I needed to put something out there so it could be used and it could be refined.  I did some searching and learned about The Done Manifesto and I am going to try to adopt these principles in all of my works:

  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
  3. There is no editing stage.
  4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
  5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.
  8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
  9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  11. Destruction is a variant of done.
  12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  13. Done is the engine of more.
I always teach people who I work with that you have to prototype first and often, but I often get lost in my own projects and forget this simple fact. Perhaps following these principles will allow me to take my own medicine.
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