Can’t do it alone

Can’t do it alone
Photo by Ben Griffiths / Unsplash

Every now and then, I have this overwhelming itch to put something out into the world. Not just a drawing for mom, but something others would use too.

When I was eight years old, I would make catalogues of products "others could buy". My parents didn't appreciate these finer things, my sister was too young at the time, so really the only "other" was my brother. I would even offer to fully fund the purchase: I would print money for him, write cheques with 0's as long as the paper allowed. He would not buy it.

It was hard to get started then, and it's hard to get started now. I have enough material now for a thick catalogue of app ideas, t-shirts, prints and other products, most of which never saw the light of day either.

As I put pen to paper, I realize just how much it would take to turn any of these ideas into a viable business. Not even a huge success, just something to both enjoy and sustain me. Even if I have the skills to make a thing, it takes an obscene amount of effort to sufficiently scale it.

Times have changed too, despite the startup path has been well travelled, there are wolves out there. There are so many resources out for those who know how to use them that it leaves those travelling solo in need to gather and stay close. I really don't think that an idea can pass the viable threshold without a solid and motivated group of people.

For a designer, developer or maker of any kind, this paradoxically changes the nature of the work. If bringing an idea to life takes building a team and company, then the work takes away from the making. Like the starving artist, the maker has to make the choice to give up the craft or the idea.

It makes me sad to put so many bright and shiny ideas on hold, but puts my mind at ease that the ever growing catalogue of ideas is not a testament of my lack of action, but my exercising a choice of what I want to put my time into.