On finishing things

Much earlier in the year I blogged about starting things, because I believe more young people should team-up with friends and create businesses, projects, causes...the future.

I was, at the time, full of optimism and in the process of starting something myself, and now as 2013 draws to a close, I'm in the process of finishing it.

And I've (re)discovered something. Finishing things sucks.

The problem with finishing things is that the lies you tell yourself come back to bite. Hard. Lies about how long things will take. How much things will cost. How much of your life you'll be forced to put on hold. You lie to yourself and underestimate everything.

But it's the only way to go. Lying to yourself is the only way any sane person would ever get started on anything even remotely ambitious. If you truly sat down and accepted how hard it was going to be before you started, chances are you'd not bother to start at all. And as it turns out, as this is not my first time starting something, experience counts for naught. So a short memory helps too.

A wise man once told me the final 10% always takes the longest, and he's right. As much as I appreciate the wisdom in "if you're not embarrassed about version 1.0, you've shipped too late", once you've sunk over a year of your life into something you care about, you want it to be perfect. At least I do. I didn't come this far to launch a half-baked product because I got bored and frustrated.

As my project, which I'll talk about on here in the coming weeks, finally gets to the point where it can be released, I've come to realise there are two key things that have kept me going and stopped me from throwing in the towel, or simply letting the project die a quiet death without anyone noticing.

The first is the "fuck yeah" moments you have along the way. The private victories you celebrate in your head when nobody's watching. Seeing the design unfold in Photoshop for the first time. Using working versions of the interface for the first time. Staring at the logo all night, wondering if it's right and then agreeing with yourself that it is. And then it isn't. Sharing the logo with friends. Getting feedback. Iterating. Figuring out a business model. Running the numbers. Tweaking. Working on the branding. Re-working the branding. All of the above, over, and over, and over again. It's a frustrating process, but when you take a step back you realise it's actually the fun part. The journey.

But the second, and much more enduring thing that keeps you going, is the people you have supporting you, and the people working their butts off, putting in the long hours day and night to make the crazy idea a reality.

I always knew I would need the time and expertise of some very amazing and talented people. I always knew I couldn't do it alone. I simply don't have the skills. But it wasn't really until the last few months that I truly realised just how many people I've come to rely upon now, and to what extent I've relied on them, to get me over the line. I have called in some big favours from a growing number of people, and I'm very lucky to have friends in my life, old and new, both personally and professionally, who have answered those calls. Their hard work is what has transformed the project from a worthless idea into a real-life, working thing.

I am truly thankful to the people in my life who have helped me this year. Finishing things sucks, but thanks to my friends and colleagues, the lines of which are now firmly blurred, it will be finished. If you're starting off on your own venture, I can't recommend surrounding yourself with a supportive team of friends highly enough. You'll need them. And if you're watching someone struggle to get something over the line, offer to lend them a hand. It could make the difference.

I can't wait to share what we've been working on and I hope that everyone who has played a part in putting the puzzle together can be proud of what we've achieved.

posted by Dylan on 17 December 2013, 1:03 am in , , ,