Stop being creative – Start shipping

Seth Godin – bestselling author and entrepreneur – gives an inspirational speech about human behaviour and why we don’t get our projects done on time and in budget. He outlines a common creative affliction: sabotaging our projects just before we show them to the world. Godin targets our “lizard brain” as the source of these primal doubts, and implores us to “thrash at the beginning” of projects so that we can ship on time and on budget.

How do we get to ship on time and on budget? Ship when you run out of time or budget. The focus should be shipping. By doing that the rest is easy. By focusing on shipping the priorities will be set right. Thus, thrash early because then thrashing is cheap.

I believe in a similar process (and this doesn’t only account for software development): Start with the essentials, no fancy stuff. Add the fancy stuff later if necessary (best to keep it simple). Timebox your time for thinking. Start doing as fast as possible. By doing you will encounter problems you never thought about.

I recommend you watch this presentation. It’s worth it.

Seth Godin is a bestselling author, entrepreneur, and agent of change. His recent books, which have graced the New York Times, Business Week, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists, include Tribes, Purple Cow, The Dip, and All Marketers Are Liars. Seth was founder and CEO of Yoyodyne, the industry’s leading interactive direct marketing company, which Yahoo! acquired in late 1998. He holds an MBA from Stanford, and was called “the Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age” by Business Week.