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The Art of Making

Making excuses takes the same time as making progress.

– Justin Gignac

Maria Popova of Brain Pickings tipped me off to this wonderful talk by Justin Gignac, a former ad guy who quit his job to start making things.

Once you get past the technical gaff at the beginning, there’s a lot of wonderful lessons on how to make things. I’ve got a few of my favorite takeaways below the video.

1. Simplicity is key. #

if it can’t be explained in one sentence, it might not be worth doing. Simple ideas are easier to put into action and easier to explain to others.

Justin’s example was “Blindfolded Gift Wrapping.” Which brings us to…

2. Do things that get attention. #

Everyone does gift wrapping at the holidays. Not everyone does blindfolded gift wrapping. The process and the finished result are unique conversation starters.

Wants for Sale is another great example. They sell paintings of items ranging in price from free (Good Luck) to reasonable (Buffalo Wings for $12) to absurd (A Million Dollars for $1,000,000).

3. Price sends a signal. #

When Justin sold NYC Garbage for $10, it was a crappy gag gift. At $25, it was a nice New York City souvenir. When he upped the price to $50, people started considering it art.

Price is part of the branding.

4. Making things is a habit. #

Get in the habit of making things.

The worst thing that can happen to your ideas is that you spend too much time thinking about them. That’s when you start to over-analyze the details and dwell on ways you can fail.

If you push stuff out there, even if it’s not perfect, you can always adjust it later.


🔥 Hot off the press! I just launched a new pocket guide. Learn how to build interactive web apps with vanilla JavaScript.

Have any questions or comments about this post? Email me at chris@gomakethings.com or contact me on Twitter at @ChrisFerdinandi.

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