“Just ship it” essentially means hit publish or get your work out in the open.
I recently started watching the TV Show Alex, Inc. where Zach Braff plays a dad who is fed up with his boring job in radio, so he quits to start his own podcast. I was intrigued by the premise but have been consistently annoyed as I watch Alex try to get his podcast started because of his refusal to ship anything.
While I don’t have a podcast myself, many Praxians do, so I’m familiar with what it takes to get started. I expected to see Alex hunker down with a microphone, pumping out the stories he’s been trying to tell throughout his career and then grinding it out with a laptop to produce the episodes. Instead, he spends $10,000 on renting open concept office space at an incubator and bumbles through a pitch to the one investor he knows.
Can you imagine asking for money when you haven’t recorded a single episode?
I understand the show is a comedy, and television wouldn’t be interesting if the characters didn’t encounter obstacles (sometimes self-imposed). That being said, I still have some advice for Alex and for anyone who wants to start a project.
Avoid Analysis Paralysis
One way you can put off shipping a product is to never get out of the research phase. You can convince yourself that you aren’t ready to begin creating because you haven’t properly prepared. You need more market research, or you aren’t sure if your idea is good enough yet.
Eventually you have to reach a stopping point on the research and start taking action. There’s actually an advantage to moving quickly, too! If you do ship your product and it’s a bust, your sunk cost of prep time isn’t that large.
Not getting stuck in analysis paralysis allows you to fail quickly and pivot to your next idea.
Create for Yourself
Shipping can be scary. What if someone doesn’t like your work? What if they insult you? Or worse, what if no one even cares?
If you’re creating for yourself and your own professional development, none of that matters. The public display of consistently putting out content over the long run shows not only your dedication but also confidence. Even if you don’t gain a following or make money from your project, you still benefit from putting it out there.
And that’s all worst case scenario! The best case is that your message resonates with others, and you build an awesome audience and community who are eager for what you produce next.
Just Ship It
Once you’re able to avoid analysis paralysis and the fear of what others might think, you’re ready to ship. And don’t just ship once! Develop a habit of pushing your ideas through to creation, and it will only get easier over time.
Before you know it, maybe you’ll be in a position to invest in office space or pitch an investor. But not before you create something!