Always Be Shipping

Everybody in sales knows ABC or Always Be Closing. ABS isn’t as cute, but my phrase for life right now is “always be shipping.”

It’s a reminder to consistently create stuff and put it out into the world. Currently, for me that predominantly means apps. Mostly mobile, but web apps as well. Ideally, I should work on something that moves an app forward every day. That includes less tangible things like brainstorming as much as anything, but brainstorming without shipping is bullshit.

A lot of people get too caught up in, “I have so many ideas and I don’t know what to do!” or “I don’t have any ideas and don’t know what to do!”

Both are terrible excuses.

When I hear or read them it generally makes me want to purge this morning’s oatmeal and bananas and force you to lick it up as punishment. (Have you seen oatmeal and bananas? It already looks like vomit as is.)

But let’s be clear, while launching something for the sake of launching something can be useful it doesn’t put you in a good position for success. The truth is, it’s mostly a recipe for what what we’ll call unsuccess. (It’s not quite failure if the goal is to ship and learn.)

Unsuccess is OK though. I subscribe to the notion that launching and learning from something is better than not launching and not learning from anything.

In the process of shipping even an absolute piece of trash you will come away with some new knowledge. You’ll also learn more about what you need to learn more about. Mastery won’t come overnight, of course, but knowing what to work on will considerably help your cause. You can then use what you’ve learned to launch your next thing, hopefully not as big of a piece of trash.

If your issue is “I don’t have any ideas” then here’s the cure: write. them. down!

It doesn’t matter if you use an app or pen & paper, write it down.

Here’s a challenge: Write down 5 ideas in the next 90 seconds.

[Pause break. Do it.]

Not so difficult, right?

That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good ideas, of course.

Which is why it’s usually a good idea to validate your ideas in some form or another. Meaning, find out if there are people who want what you have. That’s often easy enough, but scary. You might think you have the best idea since the internal combustion engine, but the market will tell you pretty quickly if that’s true.

Three ways to validate: Sell your idea in its simplest form (best validation), ask people if they want what you’ve got (okay, but can lead you astray since people lie) or find a similar idea that already has users/customers/clients (okay, but not great). (If something already has users and you’re building something similar it’s a good sign, but it’s definitely no guarantee of success.)

I know I’m generalizing and skirting over important steps in the process of shipping. On the other hand, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think it is.

I get e-mails fairly regularly telling me essentially, “I haven’t done anything because [insert lame excuse], but I’ve read your whole site and you are an inspiration.” While I appreciate the sentiment, these people are missing the point.

I don’t want you reading this site if it means all you’re doing is reading this site.

I want to read e-mails like, “I don’t even read your site because you’re an idiot, but look at what I shipped.”

Now go do something. Well, wait, first …

Introducing my latest shipment:

A few months ago (December 3, 2012 to be precise) I posted a Free Idea about an Amazon Wish List Price Drop Notifier.

ListyListy is that idea realized. It’s very bare bones Version 0.1 and it currently only works for the store, so sorry to my international friends.

I don’t ship these things for my health (well, in a roundabout way I do), so the big question is will ListyListy make money? I think so. It’s a useful free service with a clear path to profit, but Amazon can shut this thing down in one fell swoop by implementing it themselves.

Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think.

Then go make something and show it to the world.

11 Responses to Always Be Shipping

  1. Hey Karol

    Great idea. I have no idea why Amazon don’t do it themselves.

    My similar personal pet peeve is that they don’t let you sort your wish list by price!?! I want to look at kindle versions by price, and it won’t do it.

  2. Karol, good stuff as always!

    I’m sure your articles have helped many people actually start something. They don’t just inspire but also motivate to take action. I count myself as one of those people and it’s also why I read all of you articles.

  3. Hey Karol,

    Great article. You’re right, shipping more is better than not shipping at all (it’s scarier). Then when shipping becomes more of a habit, shipping well and taking time for each ship is the scarier thing (Derek Sivers’ “do what scares and excites you” anyone?).

    Anyways, I checked your site but didn’t sign up. The price drops I’ve experienced are only a few cents. I didn’t feel it justified signing up.

    I WOULD sign up though if it browsed my list and showed me GREAT deals for those books online ($2-3 at least per book, and I would sign up).

    Hopefully that’s helpful!

  4. I don’t read your blog but I ship loads of stuff. Lots of it bombs, but every now and then you strike gold. The point is you are getting it out there.

    I guess I lied because if I didn’t read your site I wouldn’t be able to comment. This is my first trip around the site. It is interesting, but I don’t actually possess any vehicle to download apps. and no, I am not a senior citizen.

    Interesting blog. I am enjoying reading it so far.

  5. Hi Karol

    Haven’t commented for a while because I’m too busy following your advice!! haha. (and I’m slow on the keyboard.) You are indeed an inspiration and I’m trying to put my new ideas into practice. I LOVE THE VIDEO!!


    PS when I saw the email header – “Celiarosejackson should always be shi…” my brain filled in the word SHINING!! how cool is that :) partly down to you and all your helpful resources!

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