Start Ugly Things

[white_box] This article was first featured in Medium’s Editors Pick. [/white_box]

I have a bad case of analysis paralysis. When I make something, I want it to be great. I want to see it from many different angles. Weigh all my options. Cover all ground.

Needless to say, I end up not making a whole lot of things.

One day I wanted to know what it’s like to work with a different mindset. I made up an experimental mindset where I allow myself to be ugly, to be maker of ugly things.

Everything went better than expected.

I tested that mindset with this idea I had for a website. I purposely told myself not to give a damn about its design. I generated the site’s color scheme from a picture I liked. A good friend of mine offered to design a logo for it and I used it without thinking twice. I just wanted to launch.

And so, in less than a week, Freebbble was born.

Initially, it was painful. I cut corners everywhere; functionalities were duct-taped together. And knowing it made me feel bad. I knew I could’ve done better. The site could’ve been prettier.

But as more people came to visit and used the site, I found that the site’s flaws, glaring as they may seemed to me, didn’t even bother anyone. Nobody complained that the layout was imperfect on mobile view. They didn’t know that the theme’s code was lacking many page templates and that in the back-end different content types were cobbled together.

It just didn’t matter. People kept coming and using it.

Another thing I realized was that I was more motivated working on the site once it launched. Turns out it’s easier for me to love something real than to love a vague idea. And that love, combined with the fact that I got actual people using the site, gave me the push to continuously improve that ugly thing.

This article is also written on a whim. Previously I have written two other articles, but I made the mistake of wanting them to be perfect. They’ve now been sitting in draft for I won’t know how long.

This article is ugly; it doesn’t flow as much as I want it to. But it’s here, and you can read it. I’ll improve it and write something better later. But that something better won’t be there, unless I have this ugly article here first.

So that’s the lesson I learned.

Start ugly things.