Just give it 5 days

Benjamin W.

August 29, 2011

I’ve wanted to build a web app for a few years now. Finally in April, I got set up with Rails and began learning how to program. It’s been really great to see things take shape and I can say the app will probably be ready for beta testing in a month or so.

This is huge for me personally. After years of should of, wish I did, I could have, fuck I’m 25 and all the other completely useless thoughts that take the place of making things, I’m about 80% done with building my own product.

Now, this is not a huge accomplishment in the scheme of things but when compared to just a bunch of daydreaming and feeling bad about yourself, it’s life changing. And I really wish I had done it sooner.

I wanted to share an insight that for those who just do things will be obvious. All the scary issues on day 1 are infinitely more scary than day 5. When you do something for 5 days in a row, or 10 days, you aren’t starting from scratch every time. You’re learning and making decisions every day that you no longer have to make.

If you work one day a week on a big project, you will have to remake a lot of decisions and break through a bunch of fears every time you sit down. But if you just sit down and put in a couple hours for 3 days in a row, you’ll be an entirely different programmer, writer, sculptor on day 3 than you were on day 1.

This allowed my fears to subside, a little bit each time and suddenly I started to care instead of wondering why I didn’t care. Pretty soon, I wanted to sit down and work. Not because I’m 27 and my life is ending one minute at a time. But because I am genuinely excited to make something I’m proud of.

Everyone has cool ideas. But those who have the guts/sense to commit to one, even when they’re afraid or uninspired, are happier people and somehow manage to make things they’re excited about. To me, this was a very daunting task. But 5 days later, I was so busy trying to make something, I forgot worry about why I wasn’t making it. And it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be.

Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple

Benjamin W.

August 24, 2011

I haven’t written anything in a while. Mainly because I didn’t have much to say. And honestly, there isn’t much I’ll be able to say here that hasn’t already been said by others. But shit, this guy changed my life so I wanted to say something.

I have no idea where I would be if I didn’t ask my parents to get me a Mac for Christmas all those years ago. But I can tell you this:

I wouldn’t be a short film maker. I wouldn’t have made this EP with my best friend. I wouldn’t have designed this blog. I wouldn’t know how to code websites from scratch. I wouldn’t be working at the best job I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t be learning to program as I design/develop my own product. And since owning a Mac led to all this, I probably wouldn’t be married to my wife.

So in a sentence: Steve, you changed the world as I knew it and for that, I can’t thank you enough. I truly wish you well in whatever comes next.

Movie Trailer Expectations

Benjamin W.

January 13, 2011

I just read Seth’s blog post for today. It got me thinking about movies.

I avoid trailers like the plague for this very reason. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to see a movie that had a killer trailer. I was so excited to see it. And I left feeling completely disappointed. Then there’s the trailer that makes it look like a run-of-the-mill, studio driven thriller when it’s actually complex, character driven, suspenseful drama.

This murders the word of mouth and probably insights most of the hateful reviews not written by nincompoops. And yet, the trailers still mislead you or you get to see every major plot point in the movie edited down to 3 min.

If it’s a dark comedy, intense drama, cheesy thriller, indy sci-fi or ridiculous action movie, please just tell me before I spend $12. Duping me will get you my $12 now but it will lower my eagerness to go to the theaters over time.

That is unless it’s in 3D.

You can’t buy apps for people.

Benjamin W.

January 7, 2011

iTunes lets you gift someone an album.

iTunes buy now link

But if you were thinking about buying someone a late Christmas present and that present just might have been an app from the new App Store, let me crush your dreams now and save you the pain of this discovery:

Mac App Store buy now link

It made me realize you can’t gift someone an app from the iPad or iPhone app stores either. This seems like a missed opportunity to me. How many apps would have been gifted over Christmas had this feature been available and highlighted?

Pizza and the web.

Benjamin W.

January 6, 2011

I love Pizza so much. And as I love it so much, I contemplate it in all it’s splendor.

That’s when I decided that a great pizza was like a great website. Let me explain:

To make a good pizza you need great sauce or great cheese or great crust. If the cheese is amazing but the sauce and pizza are okay, you’ll still say, “that was a good pizza”.

But to create a great pizza, all three components have to be great. Amazing bubbly cheese, perfect tomato sauce (not too sweet, not too acidic) and a crispy, bubbly, buttery crust.

It’s the same with a web site or any product for that matter. It can look amazing but if the content isn’t compelling, no one will care. The content has to be great but if no one can find it on your site, so what. And if people actually find you on the web but you show no character, no goodness, no you, why would they come back ever again.

From now on, I want to make great pizza more often.

The Blackberry Playbook

Benjamin W.

The Blackberry Playbook.

Impressive demo. I can’t help but think that the touch sensitive bezel is going to present some issues. When I hold my iPad, I usually have a thumb or two on the bezels. It would be really frustrating if I kept minimizing my video or game by accident.

Year End

Benjamin W.

December 30, 2010

I just read Seth’s post about the things he’s shipped this year. It’s kind of sad that I don’t have two things to put on my list of shipped items. New Years has always been about what I could do next year and not what I did this year. I’m not proud or excited by the things I’ve shipped this year.

I think this is a fundamentally different way to approach 2011. I’m not going to think up some ridiculously lofty goals that I can fill my empty day with as we start the next year. I’m going to ship things. Small things, big things, I don’t care. But I’m going to finish them and launch them and do things that I care about. I’ll let you know how it turned out as we get close to 2012.

Letter Case

Graphic Design & Web Design

Letter Case was my one-man design shop based in Los Angeles, CA.
I ran it for 2 years until I joined Typekit in January 2011.

In my spare time I've been learning to program by building my first web application.
A simple tool called Talkative to help people publish their talks on the web.

My current project is The Briefcase. A blog and podcast.
It's a place for me to create and publish stuff.

If you have any comments, thoughts or questions,
feel free to contact me at: benthomaswelch [at] gmail.com.

Thanks for checking out my blog. Cheers!

Simplicity is harder than it looks.