build something

My post Move Fast and Break Things got a fairly good response so I decided to present it to some undergraduates last week. After the presentation I was talking to some students about Angry Birds Blog, the example I used of something they could build. And then I let them in on a secret. Angry Birds Blog wasn't the first thing I built. Nor will it be the last. Some of you may remember an online business I tried to get off the ground that failed miserably. None of you know about a number of other websites I have that get less than 100 hits a month. And as we speak I have another project in the works for people who like beer. It doesn't matter if you build something and it doesn't work. It doesn't have to be a success for you to learn from it. And if it's so bad that you need to pull the plug, then do so and go and build something else. That's the thing about the internet; you can always be building....

'Move fast and break things' is a philosophy I've stolen from Facebook's work culture. Anyone who's seen The Social Network movie will know this ideology is at the core of everything they do, demonstrated by the regular Hackathon events they host where programmers stay up all night building for the purpose of building. The outcome isn't necessarily important. It doesn't have to be perfect, nor necessarily functional. But by moving fast and breaking things, they approach problems in a different light that creates new solutions and new ideas. Many of Facebook's features have come out of these Hackathon events. So why am I writing about it? Well, I think it lends itself to great advice for graduates looking to land themselves a gig in digital; Build something. Building something these days generally costs next to nothing. A lack of technical skills is no excuse either given Google is at your finger tips. And the only thing you'll need you should have plenty of as a student; time. Time to move fast. Time to break things. Time to learn. Time to build something. As an undergraduate I built this blog. Everyone's got one now (not to say you shouldn't build one too), but you could build a YouTube Channel. Or an online store that sells socks. Or a video that gets 1,000,000 views. Throw yourself in the deep end. If it fails, pull the plug and build something else. Six months ago I started a website called Angry Birds Blog. Like me, I realised people were searching for walkthroughs, Golden Egg locations and information about the game. The website now receives 95,000 hits and brings in $150 a month. But that's nothing compared to what I've learned over the past half year about SEO, SEM, AdSense, affiliate marketing, design, coding, ad placement and more. And I reckon if you can build something, that's probably more impressive than talking about your empty resume in a job interview. Edit: I sold Angry Birds Blog in September 2011 for a nice little sum....