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Open-Sourcing my thoughts and product ideas

For a few weeks prior to the clock striking twelve on New Year’s Eve, I thought about all of the resolutions I wanted to set for myself in hopes of a better me—as a person, designer and founder. To be honest, I hate resolutions because the majority of them are a result of NYE excitement, then slowly dwindle away as I head back to my normal routine. So, this year I made realistic goals.

One of those goals is to do a little experiment: Open-sourcing my thoughts and product ideas.

Why I’m doing it

I really value the transparency happening in company culture these days, and tried to think of a way to do so as an individual. I enjoy talking about my failures as much as I do my achievements, and truly love the invaluable feedback I receive when I share what I’m working on.

Currently, I have a Wunderlist for all of the blog posts and product ideas I’d love to get to at some point. Some I’m more attached to than others, some will be finished sooner than others, and a few have more of an "If I get to it, great. If not, oh well.” kind of vibe.

But like many of the things in my life, I feel, if it’s collecting dust, something has to be done. Many of my ideas, be it for blog posts or product, sit untouched for months at a time. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. I simply don’t have the time to get to it. Founding a company is not a piece of cake and (happily) consumes majority of my time.
  2. I don’t feel it’s important enough to be written about or built right now.
  3. I’m slightly worried it won’t be accepted in the way I hope it will.

The last reason even holds true for this experiment. I’m so nervous for this experiment.

...while ideas ultimately can be so powerful, they begin as fragile, barely formed thoughts, so easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily just squished. -Jony Ive

That Jony Ive quote does a great job of explaining why people are hesitant to share and try to shelter their ideas from everyone. The more I think about it, though, the more I believe ideas don’t have to be fragile. With community help, and the opposite mentality, ideas can be swaddled, taken care of, and grown. It takes a village to raise a child, right?

Too many amazing ideas are hidden in fear of rejection or the discontent with someone else putting it out into the world before you have the chance. Because of that, I’m running this experiment. I want to see what happens if none of my writing or product ideas are hidden. Some will flop, but some could be groundbreaking. But it’s impossible to know if the mere idea is worth pursuing until you get it out there.

How it works

As I said, I’m putting my future blog post and product ideas out in the open, in a public list on Wunderlist. I want to see whether or not the ideas will be harnessed, discussed in a healthy manner with me, built upon, etc. Or whether or not the ideas will be "taken" (this is hard to measure) or shot down without discussion. I truly believe if the former happens, amazing things can and will follow.

What’s included

  • Blog posts: I want to verify whether or not the topics I want to cover are ones that will help others. The purpose of my newsletter and blog is to spark discussion myself and others can grow from. I want to solidify thoughts of my own as well, write about topics that continually come up in my everyday work, points that can help others in the startup/design community, my failures/achievements that others can learn from, and more.

  • Product Ideas: Whether it’s verifying and discussing ideas or having someone take over, I want these ideas to get out there. Whether confirming there is a need, extreme want, or someone willing to build it (with or without me), they should see the light of day. Nothing good grows in stagnant water.

Using the tags #blog and #product, I sorted them so everyone can see what I’m planning on working on or writing about. I’ll mark something as done if I publish the blog post or launch one of the side-projects, and star it if I start working on the idea.

Your help would be amazing

Show me that you totally dig the idea by liking and/or sharing the list so we can spread the word and get people involved. If you have a wunderlist account, you can add it to your wunderlist and follow along and comment on the the list. If not, you can reach me on Twitter @imcatnoone or via email at to discuss anything.

Comment on the list or contact me if:

  • You’re interested in and want to chat about a specific post or product idea, build upon it, have feedback, share your own, etc. Pros and Cons are welcomed and appreciated!
  • You want to work on it (with or without me). Without me is fine, but letting me know would be awesome.
  • It already exists (This is more for product ideas than blog posts). Link me to it, please!

I’m not sure whether or not this will work or how far it will go, but I’m really excited to discuss the ideas and posts I’ve wanted to work on for a while. Most importantly, I would love to see so many of the product ideas come to life. Sure, I would love to work on them too, but realistically I can’t always do so. That doesn’t mean someone else can’t, though. Many are rough ideas that haven’t been fully thought out and have little to no content in it. So keep that in mind when reading notes in each item that is there or is added.

With that said, thanks in advance and look forward to chatting! For any questions, thoughts or ways to expand this experiment, feel free to tweet me @imcatnoone. Looking forward to seeing if any of you start your own open-source experiment!