Build what you want! Have you heard that one before?
Minecraft began as an idea in the mind of Markus “Notch” Persson. He released an early version of it in May 2009 after creating it in his spare time from home. They’ve sold 54 million copies since! In September 2014, Mojang – Minecraft’s current owner sold out to Microsoft for $2Bn.
Minecraft’s a unique story that highlights two promises of our age – the ability for anyone to write software and instantly ship it to users at scale. If you’ve got the ingredients right, the sky is the limit.
The build cycle starts out with toying with several ideas, good and bad. The one that’s interesting is the one that gets built. As the very first user of what’s being built, the creator enjoys the advantage of the shortest possible feedback loop before users were to even get involved.
I’ve spent a considerable amount of thought over this bit of the loop. I’ve come to realize that attempting to give away the responsibility of this bit loses the entire point of the cycle. Communication is inherently lossy! Pleasant, unintended side effects of doing it oneself- keeping in only those features that are absolutely necessary and depriving naysayers altogether.
Sharp build skills have another amplifying side-effect. When you notice a workaround or a gap, you’re less likelier to turn to a lesser solution. Instead, you’re likelier to think “… that’s interesting, I can build that tonight.”
It’s also the only sure way that I know of dropping the many biases we carry. And yes, you’re going to get some ideas that suck.
This is to wish Markus well! His faith in ‘Build what you want’ is inspiring.