Why we should build in public
The typical hero story goes like this. First, the hero has a huge problem and needs to overcome an obstacle. All odds are against him. Still, he has a very small chance of landing a great success. He then trains incredibly hard and uses some unknown strange tools to become stronger every day. On day X he has to battle the villain👹. It’s a close call, but he wins. Everybody is amazed by his progress and strength. He’s become a hero.
That’s a typical Hollywood story. Meaning it’s not realistic. In fact, we should do the opposite. We should “train” in public.
Feedback 👎 👍
What the hero is doing, when he fights the villain, is getting feedback. It will show whether he trained enough, had the right teacher and method.
But, what if one of those requirements for victory is not met? What if the hero loses? It would be a disaster.
The same goes for our projects and products. If we wait until the very end to go public and get feedback, it will be too late. It’s too costly and often impossible to make major changes.
The longer we wait with getting feedback the more costly it will be to adapt
The value of feedback
I’ve streamed embedded software programming on Twitch for +500 hours. In the beginning I had a basic understanding of the language C and embedded software. But, I was totally blown away at how many smart programmers there are on Twitch. It turns out they are not only smart but also ready to help and give feedback.
Over the course of 6 months I learned more than I could have ever imagined learning alone. We all live inside a box – our brain – and can’t imagine solutions outside that box. It’s easiest to think outside the box when asking other people. Because their box looks different, has a different size and a different angle to the problem.
Our fear of being rejected ❌
Why don’t we ask for feedback much earlier? As humans one of our biggest fears is to get rejected and left alone. We love to believe that we are independent of others and have firm values. But, actually we are often just a reflection of what other people think of us.
I know that sounds harsh. But, it explains why we are so afraid to get criticized. Criticism is like a needle in our great vision of ourselves. We manage how people view us, to only show our best sides. Because that’s what makes us feel strong.
How to embrace feedback ✅
The key to embracing feedback is to not see our project or product as our holy grail. It should be a work in progress, where each milestone is another artwork for admiration.🌸
If we always plan to first finish it and then publish it, we’ll never get to that state. So, we have to reverse the cycle. We have to push ourselves to consciously publish unfinished and even failed work.
I’ve always found it most motivating when people point something out I haven’t even thought about. For example a feature that would be neat. Or a problem that would be a real pain down the road.
Be bold! 💪
Just publish – doesn’t matter in what state the project is. We don’t even have to fear feedback we don’t agree with. In the end we get to decide anyway. So, it only benefits us to get as much feedback as possible. Information = The power to make the right strategic decisions.
I have a post-it note sticking on my screen.
- Execution is silver.
- Momentum is gold.
- Results are what truly matters.
Get results as fast as possible!
It’s shows what workflow for projects I strive for. Start executing. Keep the momentum up. Strive for early results and feedback.
Building in public 🌎
Building a project or product in public is the single best way to get feedback. Stream on Twitch or YouTube. Ask people to have a look at your work via forum. Post your work on social media.
The benefit is, that you will get opinions form a diverse group of people. From young to old. From tech-savvy to noob. From unemployed to CEO.
It’s way better than asking your friends or family. They’ll agree with you anyway. No matter how bad it is 😀
Don’t feel intimidated
The problem I faced before building in public. Everybody around me seemed to be a genius. I looked like a noob and was intimidated.
It’s not where we start that matters, but where we end up at.
It’s not a fair world. People have unfair advantages, better tools, more money, plenty of time and talent.
It doesn’t matter though. We only need to start and make consistent progress. It’s more important to do things right than to rush. With time, inspiration and hard work we can all make it big time 🚀