It used to be a job, a responsibility, and a livelihood. The moment we launched, shit got serious. I stopped dreaming and started responding. To customer feedback. Feature requests. Complaints. Cancellations. It stopped being a dream come true and started just being a job. Granted, it was still the most emotional connection that I had ever felt with a job, but it wasn’t what I envisioned.
I began to be less ambitious; more scared. I focused on what was safe, not so much easy, but safe. Time after time, I’d start a new code branch for something ambitious. I’d make great progress, but then I’d stop and think about the complaints that we’d get for changing. That’s all I saw was the complaints. I stopped having the ability to envision the happy people. Happy people don’t email you. The unhappy ones do. Do they ever.
During that time, I was collecting ideas and suggestions from customers and refining my thoughts quietly working late into the night designing. Really, I was hiding. I was hiding from making mediocre but important changes. Eventually I realized that if I think one of Sifter’s features sucks, our customers probably do to. If I think I can make it better, and I like it, chances are they will too. It seems so obvious after the fact, but it’s difficult to see in the moment.
The momentum from this has been something else. It’s fun again, and it’s because I quit being scared. Now, all I do is ship. Every day Sifter gets a little better and hopefully makes it a little easier for people to enjoy their work too. That’s all I ever wanted. Unfortunately, it took some time to realize it, let alone to have the guts to actually do it.