Dan Mall and I recently interviewed Josh Long, author, app builder, editor, and on and on and on. It was one of our better interviews on The Businessology Show. As an intro, Josh Long has some pretty disruptive ideas as to how the function of Design should live in the world, in small business and the creative field. When Josh Long is talking about design he is talking about ALL aspects of work – he wants to teach people how to design the view of their parking lot, their website, how to write books, how your business operates, how to build apps, how you serve, how you make money, etc.
But the most intriguing thing Josh talked about was his book Execute, and what he learned from writing it. Josh believes that if you have an idea, the greatest thing you can do is ship that idea so the public can view your work, vet your work and start benefiting from your ideas and knowledge. And he eats his own dog food. From the beginning of writing to the printer, he and his co-author, Drew Wilson, wrote the book in 8 days. Our interview with him made it clear that he is not impressed with people who look at others and wish they were like them. He wants people to get up, make stuff, and become one of the people that they actually admire. “Become the people that you admire,” a life changing concept. You can build your own stuff, mold your own things and make your own mark upon the world. It reminds me of this Steve Jobs interview:
Josh Long goes on to say that when we execute products, ideas, businesses, etc. in short amount of times, we actually learn more about who we are at our limits. Executing, Josh Long style, is intended to push you to create new things within your own limitations of time, knowledge and abilities. He says you will learn more about who you are and will eventually become addicted to it! I asked if the short amount of time is what created great things. He said, “no, it’s about momentum.” He calls it ‘Perpetual Inspiration.’ For example, if you build a project over a long period of time, maintaining momentum over months or years takes a lot out of you. You get tired, and if really talented people don’t ship, they could get depressed. So small amounts of time make use of the short amount of momentum we have, and need, to make shipping new things a reality.
Dan Mall gave an example of an app he and a friend shipped because they both felt like they just haven’t shipped enough over the last year. That’s interesting – “we haven’t shipped enough over the last year.” What a concept. It’s beginning to sound like the act of shipping is the actual product, not the product itself. Dan Mall needs to ship more just because that is what he is supposed to be doing. Maybe the resulting app or book won’t be world changing – but maybe it will rock the world of the one shipping. Most people view building, writing and making stuff in short periods of time very risky. “What if I don’t spell everything correctly?” “What if it could have been better with a little more tweaking?” “What if my idea is stupid?” Not surprisingly, Josh Long thinks it’s riskier to take too long. He pegs the risk not in failing to do it right, but in what you might not accomplish at all for having taken too long.
With this inspiration from Josh Long and Dan Mall, my co-host, I’m learning that risks are the things we leverage to make a dent in the universe. Risks push us, show us who we really are, produces amazing content, sometimes produces crappy content (and then forces us to face who we really are) – but I’m learning to redefine risk. Risk is not the danger of what you could do – risk is actually the danger of what you might not do because you are scared. What are we scared of? Can we ask ourselves before shipping – ‘what is the worst thing that can happen?’ I bet we won’t die. Even if we produce crappy stuff for a while, what have we learned about ourselves through the process of shipping new things over short periods of time?
I leave you with this question – “What risks are you failing to take?” You don’t have long on this world. Take risks.