My friend Joel and I got excited and made a thing. We announced it last night, and in about 12 hours, it's become more popular than either of us expected, so this seemed like a good time to revisit Getting Excited And Making Things.
I don't know how many of you have been reading my lame blog long enough to remember my Get Excited and Make Things post. The tl;dr is: print on demand + internet distribution = zero risk for creative people who get excited and make something.
Why not take a creative risk and see if it works out? Unlike the old days, when we had to purchase a lot of stock ahead of time and hope we could sell it, we can just Get Excited and Make Things, knowing that the very worst that can happen is that nobody likes that thing we made as much as we thought they would.
In the old days, creators had to hope that:
1. A store would carry their Thing.
2. Once in the store, their Thing would be in a place where people could see it.
3. People would buy their Thing.
4. People would buy enough of their Thing to get the cycle to start over at step 1.
Oh, and to have any hope of being successful, they have to do this in different stores all over the place, competing for space and attention with huge companies that have massive advertising budgets. It was, to say the very least, daunting.
But look at how much things have changed! Creative people can get excited, make something, and get it to their customers without ever having to go through any of those steps. The financial risk has been almost entirely taken away, so now we can take chances on our really crazy ideas, just because we're excited about them.
I've met a lot of people since I wrote that post who have told me it inspired them to Get Excited and Make Things of their own. Some of them have actually made money from it, others haven't, but they've all enjoyed the experience of creating something and putting it out there, which is awesome.
I bring this up today because I have a personal example that I think illustrates my point perfectly. I've been making T-shirts with Joel for a few months now, and we've been selling them at Sharksplode. Some of them are wildly popular, while others have only sold two, because he and I bought them for ourselves … and that's totally okay.
See, I have really weird tastes. I like obscure stuff, and jokes that only 5% of the audience gets.This is great for me and 5% of people, but it's not exactly a ten lane highway that goes straight to the Fuck You money, you know? In the old days, when I'd have to order a ton of stock in advance, and keep it in my garage, it wouldn't be possible to make something like I'm a Loner Data, A Rebel, that I think is clever and silly, because it's just too much of a financial risk. Using print on demand and telling the Internet about it, though, means there is no risk at all (except to Joel, who has to make the actual design, but he tells me he enjoys that and I believe him.)
Anyway, this is your reminder to Get Excited And Make Things, because when you do, you just might end up making The Three Wheaton Moon that Paul Sabourin has been telling you for two years you should make, and when you finally do, the Internet goes "HOLY CRAP I MUST HAVE THAT RIGHT NOW."