Uninhibited

Over the past few months, I’ve developed a desire to work on a new idea. Not in place of my work at The Meteor Chef, but a side project to redirect my efforts toward when I get stuck or feel a lull in romance with TMC [1]. As my efforts on TMC have started to pick up momentum—and future work on it has become better-defined—I’ve had the “nerd’s itch” to experiment with other concepts bouncing around my head. I’ve hesitated, though, as I didn’t want to introduce any distraction. I knew that whatever I chose had to be small; something I could build quickly and would require little-to-no maintenance (i.e., only time to add or improve features) after I shipped it.

Last week in response to this letter, a reader, L, accidentally gave me the idea: build a better tool for sending out your weekly letter. Since its inception, I’ve relied on a service called TinyLetter to send this out each week. While I’ve had no major issues with this service, it has lacked a few features that I’ve wanted for awhile. As the service was an acquisition play by its now-owner MailChimp, I’ve ruled out making a feature request (it’s an unspoken truth that products that are acquired tend to sit in maintenance-mode indefinitely following an acquisition).

Beyond the absence of a preferred solution, too, frankly, I just want to build it. The scope of the idea fits my aforementioned desire and with full control, over time I’m sure I can build a viable competitor. As I’ve grown increasingly comfortable with building products, I’ve learned that many of the inhibitions I held about executing on ideas were unfounded. Not because the ideas I’ve had were brilliant or bound for success, but because there’s really no way to know if something is going to work until you do it.

Over the past year, I’ve been fortunate to have a few realizations in my personal life that map to this sort of uninhibited thinking. Instead of over-thinking it: don’t. Just do the thing and see what happens. Of course, this means you’re responsible for the outcome of that choice, but if what you’re doing isn’t harming others, then why hold back? Devaluing fear altogether and simply taking up self-belief as a fundamental truth is fucking empowering.

My personal philosophy has been changing as of late. Today, I spent the afternoon listening to lectures on objectivism and found myself nodding along with much of what I heard. Even as I write this, I’m watching The Fountainhead—a 1949 film based on the Ayn Rand novel—and finding the main character, Howard Roark, quite endearing. The essence of the philosophy underlying the film and lectures is simple: “there is no greater moral goal than achieving happiness. But one cannot achieve happiness by wish or whim.”

In essence, the only way to produce a positive outcome is to do the work necessary to lead to that positive outcome. One cannot “hope” for something to work out. Rather, they must commit the effort necessary to create their ideal life, whatever that means to them. Color me intrigued. Taking up arms with this theory, I’ve spent the day putting time into the new product. I’ll be sharing more details on it in the coming weeks.

[1] Yes, I fully realize I’m describing an affair but in work terms.¯_(ツ)_/¯