Great artists ship. — Steve Jobs
People hate deadlines. But deadlines are also what motivate us to work and to complete the project. Projects must have a ship date attached to them and major milestones between initiation and completion. This is simply good project management. If there were no deadlines, projects would be worked on, tweaked, and polished into oblivion, never to see shipment. Steve Jobs was right when he said, “Great artists ship,” only he did not know how right he was. Great artists not only ship — they ship and share often. This goes for writers, bloggers, painters, cartoonists, artists who create with their hands, even software developers. The cycle of creating and contributing and sharing is a daily experience.
Seth Godin challenges his readers to start a blog and to post to it each day. It is an excellent discipline, he says. And it gets you thinking about your readers every day, wondering what would be good for them to hear about. This gets you empathizing with your readership, thinking things through for them and working out the details. What stories might they want to hear? If I were big into this topic, what would I want to hear? If I were the editor of a major web publication, what would I want to see here for my readers? Note that Godin’s challenge includes a deadline: every day. Not once a week or every other week post to your blog: write to it and share every day. It is not only a good discipline for any writer; it is a good challenge for any writer.
Modern software development practices have taken on the Lean principles espoused by Eric Reis in The Lean Startup. These actions have the overarching theme of shipping and testing features early and often to see how end users respond to them. By doing it like this, they’re metaphorically leaving the building to go and see for themselves what it is people want. Sometimes, they actually physically leave the building to go and see for themselves what people want. As Ries points out in his book, there’s nothing more demoralizing than spending 6 months writing code for software no one uses. To mitigate that, you ship and test early and often. Through the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop Ries teaches, you’re constantly learning about your customer, your end user and your marketplace. This feedback gives you the ammunition you need to make your product better.
Take anyone you follow online. If they have a big following, they likely have at least one thing in common with everyone else popular online: they are consistently creating and sharing. Most do it daily. Some do it multiple times per day. They are prolific. They don’t stop. They don’t take breaks. They keep going even when they don’t feel like it.
Look at Tim Ferriss. He gives and gives and gives, with 90%+ of his exceptional content being free. He is also consistent. If you’re a subscriber, you hear from Tim twice per week, usually on the same days. He has an editorial calendar and he sticks to it. He also doesn’t stop. Though he takes breaks, his readers are never the wiser because the content keeps flowing consistently. What an excellent example to follow. What a challenging example to follow. Tim not only challenges peoples’ thinking about themselves and others, he challenges his own thinking about himself and others.
Look at Brendon Burchard. He gives and gives, with 90%+ of his exceptional content being free. He is also consistent. You hear from Brendon at least a few times per week, more often if you’re a paid subscriber of his wonderful High Performance leadership trainings. While Brendon takes regular vacations, he doesn’t stop. He keeps creating and sharing and writing books and hosting seminars. The content and sharing keeps flowing consistently. There’s always something coming up and he and his team know what’s next. Like Tim, Brendon is a challenging example to follow — and would be a tough act to follow on stage.
We do not have as much time as we think for our next project.
We do not have as much time as we think for our next project, before the deadline hits, before a window of opportunity closes. Seasoned marketers know that an offer has to have a specific deadline before it is taken off the market. They know this because they know that people are procrastinators when it comes to buying. We often wait until the last minute and then come flying in to buy. Strangely, if they were to keep the offer open all the time, this would negatively affect sales. So, they run their promotion for a specified period of time and then take it down. It is similar to the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales period. Between these two days, it is promote, promote, promote. Then, it is back to normal for awhile.