Build Something Build Anything - Jason Glaspey at WebVisions

Build Something Build Anything
Jason Glaspey
#bsba
#wv2010
  • Clay Shirky: in the 1950s, there was a 40 hour work week. people had time, and they didn’t know what to do. enter the sitcom.
    • At the 2008 Web 2.0 Expo they discussed...
    • How many hours did it take to assemble wikipedia: about 100M hours of effort. 
    • Americans watch 200 billion hours of TV each year.
    • Americans watch 100M hours of commercials in a single weekend.
    • We could have another wikipedia every weekend if people just gave up commercials.
  • Some side projects make it big
    • Examples
      • delicious
      • upcoming
      • metafilter
    • But they can be successful even if they don’t
  • Some inspiring examples
    • Again and Again: 23 year old college grad. Passionate about Apple products. Like this band. Built a video for the band. Got over 1.5M views. Has since gotten a huge jump in his career.
      • He demonstrated his skills. He manifested what he wanted.
      • Written up in NY Times, Mac blogs. Talked with Apple. Made videos for Microsoft.
    • What is Google Wave
      • Video by Epipheo Studios
      • Google made a 1 1/2 hour video. Nobody wanted to watch it.
      • So this guy made a 2 1/2 minute video. Just to try to get an invite to Google Wave.
      • Has since been hired by Google to do “what is google chrome”, “what is google tv”.
      • Their company cannot keep up with demand... 
      • The project they did in a day got them tons of attention.
    • iPod Touch Ad
      • Nick Haley: 18 year old in the UK
        • He loved his iPod touch, and loved Apple ads.
        • Got an email from Apple, “Would he please come to California and be the creative director to shoot a polished version of the ad.” -> which turned into the actual TV ad.
      • never thought he would even be in advertising, and now it very successful
  • Beyond video, and some personal examples
    • unthirsty.com: happy hour finder
      • was novel at the time. got written up on lifehacker, won google mashups. got a couple of thousand user-contributed locations.
      • something they built in their spare time... a few hundred dollars invested. over a couple of years, it built up.
      • it was not about financial success. no advertisements. just for fun. 
        • this was attractive to people...
      • finally these sold it... not retirement money, but decent enough.
      • But it led to jobs: they never saw a resume, or a portfolio: just saw unthirsty. The fact that they built something so cool and compelling for fun, just because they wanted to build something: they just had to hire him.
    • Jason on Cars
      • As a perk at a job got to drive different classic and exotic cars on weekends or the evening.
      • So decided to write a WordPress blog doing lifestyle reviews of the cars. For two years they would drop off a brand new car everything Thursday, and pick up the old car. He made a couple of hundred dollars a month on advertising from the blog, and got to drive all these cool cars.
      • Just for setting up a blog and writing a post each weekend.
    • Bacn.com:
      • started dec 28th 2008, launched on January 17th.
      • got bacon from all over the country, filmed content, built site, ecommerce.
      • it was really fun, really novel.
      • sold it in january of this year...
      • got invited to speak of webvisions “we built a company in 3 weeks”.
        • “wow, that would make a great book.” - a publisher asked them to write about a book about it.
    • Paleo Plan: a site to make it easier and cheaper to follow paleo diet
      • in 3 weeks launched a site. you get a shopping list. you get a meal plan.
      • saves people about 4 hours a month by not having to do that.
      • he charges $10/month to save 4 hours of time.
      • he works about 3 hours a week on it, and now it’s his primary source of income.
    • They don’t all work: He has 5 or 6 sites that failed
      • some are bad ideas
      • some have bad timing
      • some are good ideas with bad execution
      • examples:
        • laptopia
        • to smoke a cigar
        • revoluton cyclewear
        • snotips
        • on and on
  • You don’t have to broadcast your failures
    • make them count
    • get there fast: or fail fast
    • learn from everything
    • be purposeful about what you learn and how you describe
  • Success isn’t cashing out.
    • success is building some cool, learning amazing stuff
  • Questions to ask yourself
    • Is this for art?
      • Make sure it fits at least one specific need: if it kind of feels like art, kind of feels like it will make money, kind of feels like a hobby... it may do none of those things.
      • Make sure it really satisfies one of those categories.
    • Is this for money?
      • It’s OK. It doesn’t have to be, but that’s fine.
    • Is this for your career?
      • Get out there and make something. Let them know what you can do.
      • Maybe the first one sucks. That’s fine. Do five more. You’ll figure it out.
    • What does success look like?
      • Am I looking for a better job?
      • To get an opportunity that wasn’t there before?
      • To gain notoriety?
      • Build momentum: one project alone might not get you there, but a series of them will.
    • Be Creative
      • Will It Blend? 
        • You can’t help but know about this blender, even though a blender is one of the most boring appliances around.
    • Talk to everyone you know
      • Learn to weed out bad ideas early
  • Questions?
    • Paleo Diet site: cost about $1200 to get site up. includes consultant fee to the primary expert on it, the wordpress plugin, an search adwords guy
    • Q: favorite way to prototype?
      • A: I’m an information architect. I make a lot of wireframes and specs. I work in person with people, people I know, and can work closely with. Most of my projects are simple enough that a couple of wireframes and specs is enough.
    • Q: the sites you sold: was that an email out of the blue or what?
      • A: we knew the competitor from the beginning, he was happy to help us in the beginning, and let us know over and over that he was willing to buy the site.
      • A: we had a lot of calls from guys who wanted to the backend from us, and eventually a guy called who knew what he wanted to do with it and was willing to pay.
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