Last week I attended OFFF, which was a fun few days of interesting talks and meeting people in Barcelona.

The keynote was delivered by my pal Matias Corea of Behance, whose message was about Making Ideas Happen. I particularly liked a slide he showed which listed all the most common excuses that people have for not making their ideas/dreams happen. How many do you recognise, and what can you do about them?

  • It’s not the right moment. There’ll never be the right moment. It’s as simple as that.
  • It’s not polished enough. It doesn’t matter. It’s far better to get something out the door, tell people about it, and use feedback to make it better.
  • I’m worried about the competition. The competition doesn’t matter. There is always an opportunity to create something better than the competition, regardless of how superior they may seem in terms of resources.
  • I have to pay the bills. Matias framed this along the lines of: “would you rather pay your sad bills with your sad time and sad money, or pay your happy bills with happy time and happy money?”
  • I don’t want to fail. Turn failure from a negative to a positive: it’s beneficial to fail. In fact failing a lot of the time was a consistent theme from the talks at OFFF; a lot of great personal work comes out of failure.
  • I don’t have time. When you’re in a bar drinking a beer, can you still feasibly complain about having a lack of time? Sounds facetious, but it’s true. I knew one guy who effectively gave up going out partying for a month and had one of the most productive and fun months of his career, creating a whole array of personal projects. Wake up an hour earlier; go to bed an hour later. You’ll always be able to find time to make something you want.
  • Someone is already doing it. Matias used Google as an example here. When they started, there were 17 different search engines doing effectively the same thing (remember Alta Vista?). To reiterate an earlier point, there is always an opportunity to take and idea and make it better.

I’m guilty of so many of these, so I’m posting it here to return to as a checklist to give myself a kick up the ass when I start whinging about not starting something.

Comments — 9

Tom Rogers on May 21 — 12:57 pm #

Another interesting post Dan.

Hopefully I can use it to give myself the kick up the arse I need at the moment – get a few things out of the sketchbook and into the real world.

The one thing that I struggle with is having confidence in knowing whether an idea is worth pursuing or not. How do you go from having an idea, that you think could be an interesting and useful ‘product’ and actually working out it is worth continuing with. I guess you only ever really know once it’s up and running etc, which is hard if you don’t necessarily have the skill set required for producing it.

Nick Clement on May 21 — 1:18 pm #

Certainly along the same thread of chat we had in the pub. Yup, If you want to do something then make the time for it. Note to self.

Daniel Howells on May 21 — 1:22 pm #

@Tom yes exactly - you can never really know until you do the thing. I wrote about doing a bunch of stuff and having only a few things ultimately work out:

Daniel Howells on May 21 — 1:22 pm #

@Nick - yup exactly!!

Tom Rogers on May 21 — 1:27 pm #

Thanks Dan. Will have a read of that, and then try and get moving with things.

Nick Clement on May 21 — 1:31 pm #

Again, it’s a case of prioritising and making other halves aware you won’t be around for a bit! Indulge yourselves! ;)

Liam Crean on May 27 — 3:05 pm #


Aplomb webdesign on June 17 — 2:10 pm #

I totally agree. Tattoo this on your ass and show it to those whiners.

Greig Anderson on June 29 — 12:44 pm #

Nice mate. Make a good start to some sort of design/ideas/creativity mantra/poster perhaps.

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