How to Not Quit Your Side Project

Remember Nokia?

They used to be worth $250 billion.

Everyone you knew had a Nokia.

You used to flex ringtones on lunch breaks.

Now everyone has an iPhone.

Why did that happen?

The obvious answer is that they failed to ADAPT.

But your side project isn't Nokia.

Your Biggest Threat is You

I almost titled this: "Speed is The Only Thing that Matters in Software".

It's technically true – speed matters.

But for indie hacking, I think it's misleading.

Your side project will not be killed by competition. Most likely, it'll die from starvation.

Having abandoned ship multiple times – and contrasting it with my current project GitLetter – I've come to realize that consistency trumps intensity.

And to stay consistent, there are two enemies we need to avoid:

Enemy #1 – Lack of Passion

You know the feeling.

"Your domain will expire in 30 days."

A landing page that makes your stomach turn.

A failed side project is like getting punched in the stomach.

You feel like a loser, and it hurts.

If your project isn’t a joy to work on it will die from inactivity.

Or, as Naval famously tweeted:

Startups don't die when they run out of cash, they die when the founders run out of energy.

Step #1 is always showing up. If you stop showing up, your project will die. You need to treat it like a baby that needs to be fed. Problem is, it's not a baby; so if you lack the passion, you'll carelessly quit, and the project will die.

Enemy #2 – Lack of Simplicity

If your project turns complex, this too can discourage you from keeping at it.

Rich Hickey on devs who keep it simple:

He's going to kick your ass. He's gonna spend more time simplifying things up front and in the long haul, he's gonna wipe the plate with you because he'll have that ability to change things when you're struggling to push elephants around.

Our Time's Biggest Lever

If you can program, you can Build Once and Sell Twice™.

With some upfront work, the programmer can scale thought over space and time – deploy his code like personal servants – outperform corporations with thousands of employees.

That's leverage.

But software alone is not a world-changing force.

It only has power when linked to a product with merit. And merit is not found in a vacuum. So we need to keep at it.

Keep things passionate, and keep em' simple.

Hey friend, I'm Gus

Hey friend, I'm Gus

I'm a self-taught web engineer.

Here I share my best lessons on how to navigate the information age as a dev. Get it straight to your inbox: