BagerBach

Just Fucking Ship

by Amy Hoy

StackingTheBricks

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Rating: 4 / 10

Thoughts

The book presents some good ideas on getting your products finished and out there. The book is 125 pages long but can be easily summarized (as seen below). It feels like a collection of ideas for blog posts. I'd probably not recommend you read it — instead, just read my summary or notes on it. I do, however, like the ideas presented. Most of them I already knew very well and use daily. They work.


🌀 Actions Taken / Changes

  • Great to revisit when creating something new.

💡 Top 3-5 Ideas, Concepts, or Quotes

  • Start small
  • It doesn't have to be perfect
  • Always consider your customer
  • Learn from recipes
  • Mise en place

✍️ Summary

  • Always consider your guest
    • Your customers have needs. Figure out what they want (and what they don't want). Meet those needs.
  • Set a deadline... and mean it
  • Working backwards
    • Work backwards from your finished product. Make a plan based on that.
  • Break it into pieces
    • Break your plan into small components. Work on one small item at a time — that you can finish.
  • Get crispy
    • Narrow the scope of your project. You want to know exactly when you're finished. Define hard edges.
  • Start small
    • Start with small and easy projects. Finish them. Get the win under your belt — you can go big later.
  • Start on the atoms, not on the edges
    • Start with the smallest things you can finish, now.
  • Track your progress
    • Measure and track your progress. It is a fantastic motivator.
  • Shop the shelf
    • Use pre-made components. You don't have to (nor should you) make everything from scratch.
  • Every version better
    • You don't have to be great immediately. Ship quickly and grow from there.
  • Learn from recipes
    • Learn from those who came before. Don't steal their work — be inspired by it. Do your own thing.
  • Choose your difficulty setting
    • You can choose how much you'll do. Define a reasonable success metric and aim all of your effort towards achieving it.
  • Mise en place
    • Do the preparation before you start. Gather everything you need so you don't have to stop in the middle of doing work.
  • Niceties vs Necessaries
    • There's a difference. Learn to see it. Know what is absolutely necessary vs what you can drop.
  • Cut without remorse
  • Feeling to fact
    • You're not feeling fear. You're feeling uncertainty. Remind yourself of the facts, because facts are better than feelings. It's OK to suck at first. You'll learn. You can't please everyone.
  • Mistakes happen
    • Have a plan in place before it happens, so you can handle it gracefully.
  • Firm up your worst case scenario
    • It's probably not so bad. Have a plan.
  • Exploit the Pauli Principle
    • "Two objects cannot be in the same place at the same time." It's tempting to hold off shipping for some theoretical 'better result'. Don't wait.
  • Your next launch
    • Don't worry about blowing it. You can try again.
  • Create good habits
    • Keep good habits top of mind. Use mindfulness to spot automatic behaviors. Build new habits that help you.

🔦📒 Highlights & Notes

You can learn to "just fucking ship".

Your problems aren't new.

People have been struggling with procrastination for ages. You aren't special for having the same problem. This realization is freeing — we (humanity) has come so far, so somebody figured it out. So can you.

You need to care. Do you really what this? Or do you just want to want it?

A scene from last week...

A dinner party has...

  • an audience, all of whom have specific needs & wants
  • a work environment, with certain tools
  • a list of requirements that need to be met
  • raw materials
  • a process to turn those raw materials into something your audience can use (or at least eat)
  • a deadline

This is very similar to making a product.

Could you host a dinner party — if you had to? Yes. So you can also ship a product.

You just need the right approach, techniques, ingredients, and tools.

Always consider your guest

Your customers have certain needs and wants — and things they despise.

As a creator, these are the most important questions you should ask:

  • What do these people like?
  • What do they need?
  • What would be the worst fit for them?
  • What drives them crazy?
  • What, metaphorically, makes their airways close up?

Not asking these questions makes it hard to know what to make.

Your customers aren't "Everyone". Focus on the customer. Your customer.

This applies to both paid and free content / products / services (etc.)

Set a deadline... and mean it

Imagine hosting a dinner party and setting the deadline to "whenever I get it done."

No good.

Your guests (customers) need to know when to show up. And you need to know when you'll be done.

So pick a deadline. And mean it.

Even if you don't hit it dead on, you're making progress.

Deadlines are a tool to help you get what you want. A deadline you choose yourself isn't a threat of punishment or failure — it's a fun challenge to get excited about. Something to run towards and tackle. To show you can do it.

Working backwards

Set a time that you want to be finished at (a deadline) and work backwards. What do you need to accomplish in order to finish the task? How long does that take? Take mishaps and other unexpected time-stealers into account and start at an appropriate time.

Look backwards from where you want to be, instead of forward from where you are.

Questions to ask for your backwards plan

You have to figure out what you have to figure out. These questions are a good start:

  • What's the end result look like, exactly?
  • How many chapters/videos/features?
  • What is absolutely required, what's nice to have?
  • How perfect does it have to be?
  • How long will each of these take?
  • What has to come first?
  • What do I need to prepare?
  • How long will that take?
  • What do I need to find out?
  • How long will that take?
  • How much, or how little, defines success? And who controls that?

Break it into pieces

When working on your backwards plan, break it into components.

Work on only one thing at a time.

Get crispy

You need to get specific. Know what you're going to make in specific detail. Then you'll know how to get it done. You can't just say "write a blog post about X".

You want limits. Some kind of scope that narrows down what you're doing. Your task has to be well-defined. Then you know when you're done.

Consider your customer first and foremost, and solve a specific problem they have.

Start small

Start small and easy. Stick to one thing and get it right. Get a win under your belt.

You can go big later. But start small.

Start on the atoms, not on the edges

When there are multiple places you could start: Start with the smallest things you can finish, now.

Start on something that can be finished, used & reused in the remaining components.

Don't fall prey to NIH (Not Invented Here) syndrome. Your work doesn't have to be 100% original. You can use that WordPress theme. You can use libraries (as a software developer). Focus on helping your customer.

Track your progress

Measure your progress.

Use a kanban board.

Create milestones.

Track your time.

Visible progress is a fantastic motivator. Keep your progress in front of you.

Shop the shelf

Your job isn't to just "make a thing the bestest" — it's to 'just fucking ship'.

If a thing doesn't help or even impact the customer, does it matter? Should it be done?

You've got enough to do. The product itself is enough work as is. The product is what gives value to the customers. Not the little details around it. Think of those as their own projects. They're exponentially increasing your risk of never finishing at all.

You don't need to make everything from scratch. Use something pre-made.

Every version better

Doing is the only real way to learn.

Good products grow over time.

You don't have to be great immediately.

Plan your way to version 10 — use your best product vision as your backwards plan. But don't set out to build it in one go.

Figure out what you should leave out of v1 and ship it quickly. Grow from there.

Learn from recipes

Learn from those who came before. Watch how they do it. Read biographies. Look at corporate histories. Subscribe to blogs, follow on Twitter, and sign up for mailing lists; watch as people grow their skills, their businesses, and how. Ask what came before. Take notes.

When experts do well, borrow their recipes. Don't steal their style or their material... always be yourself, do your own work.

Choose your difficulty setting

You can choose your own difficulty setting. The amount of work to do. Time to market.

You can do something crazy. Something completely new. Something complex.

You can also not do that. Instead, choosing to go for something simple.

Make sure you focus on what's important.

Define a reasonable success metric and aim all of your effort towards achieving it.

Mise en place

This is a concept taken from cooking. Basically, "do the prep work before you start cooking."

It's a good idea to gather everything you need, such that you don't have to stop in the middle of doing and figure out what to do next. Or what to work on next. Or have to gather something which you could have gathered beforehand.

Niceties vs Necessaries

Something will inevitably go wrong.

Some things are necessary, others are not.

Differentiate between the absolutely necessary or the (very) nice to have.

So if something ever goes wrong, you'll know if you should accept the loss, or try to recover. In order to do so, you'll need to know what you need, and what you can drop.

Cut without remorse

Cut your niceties.

Feeling to fact

It's not fear that is making you not sit down to write.

You're feeling uncertainty. A mild form of it.

Don't know what to do? Use the techniques described above.

Don't feel you're good enough? Do you want to live life never learning or doing anything new? Because you're not going to be good on your very first attempt.

Care what other people think? Nobody is universally loved. Do you think you could do better than Jesus? Even he had haters. You will, too.

Remind yourself of the facts. Because facts are better than feelings.

  • Everybody who does creative work has a process.
  • Everybody starts off sucking and must work to get better.
  • Nobody can please everybody, not even part of the time.

Mistakes happen

You will make mistakes. Many of them.

So have a plan in place before it happens, so you can handle it gracefully.

Deal with the problem straight on, and it will defuse almost any situation.

Firm up your worst case scenario

What's the worst thing that could (reasonably) happen?

It's usually not so bad after all. So figure out how you can fix it. More importantly, figure out if it's even worth avoiding.

Exploit the Pauli Principle

The Pauli Exclusion Principle: "Two objects cannot be in the same place at the same time."

You cannot both do, and not do.

But when it comes to creative work, it’s tempting to hold off shipping in the hopes that waiting will somehow get you more. But the more is theoretical. And the more you wait for more, the less you will ever have.

Don't wait.

Your next launch

Don't worry about blowing your "one shot."

You can try again.

Use the "Just Fucking Ship" techniques.

Create good habits

The best way to do the right things is to make them automatic.

  1. Keep good habits top of mind
  2. Use mindfulness to spot automatic behaviors
  3. Build new habits effectively, using science

Keep good habits top of mind

The 'just-getting-started' phase is the ideal time to prime your brain to do the right thing.

Decide in advance how you can course correct, then simply follow your own advice as needed.

Use mindfulness to spot automatic behaviors

This is about mindful meditation practice.

The goal is to turn off your autopilot, to become an observer of your background processes.

Build new habits

Use Tiny Habits — check out my book notes, here 👈.

You've got more power than you think

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