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Good morning, John.
I very much enjoy making things. And I think that most people enjoy making things- making
songs, making scarves, making video blogs, making books, making it rain like Roger...
People that like, take things that are inside of their head and make them real in the real
world. And this is hard, but I've been doing it for a while now and I'm getting better
at it. I think that's because of a combination of attitudes and resources that I now have.
And for other people who want to make things and are maybe have a hard time doing it, I
wanted to share my process in the form of a case study: readit1st.com, which I launched
I had the idea over a year ago, and the process of having and idea is very "plllblkdsj." That
just has to happen.
I liked the idea though, because it had a lot of the things that I need for good ideas.
One: It promotes something that I love: reading. Two: Through advertising, it could potentially
actually employ a writer. And I would love to be responsible for a writer having a job.
Three: It seemed kind of Nerdfightastic. It seemed kinda like something that Nerdfighters
But first, before nerdfighteria, I had to explain the idea to Katherine. Katherine is
my wife and she is also my number one wall at which to throw ideas, and if they stick
to her, then this is a very good sign. She's smart enough and loving enough to be both
quick and entirely merciless. Now we have approached the most interesting part of the
process for me. I took my initial feedback and I put it in my head with the idea and
During the process, you have lots of great ideas about the idea and how to make the idea
perfect. What's not happening is the idea is not actually becoming real. It's just becoming
cooler inside of your brain. We call this brain crack, and Ze Frank has freed me from
my addiction to it.
So, I brain-cracked this idea for like a year, and then I went to LeakyCon, where I got re-inspired
about books and adaptations and how people should read the book first. I needed a domain
name, went to bustaname.com, begrudgingly settled on a domain name that had a number
in it, and this may not have been the best decision in the world, but I want to emphasize
that it WAS a decision. Making an unperfect decision is far, far better than not making
a decision, which is the worst possible decision you could make.
Then I went into my design software, Fireworks, and I made up a logo and I tweeted it and
I put it on my tumblr. And lots of people gave me great feedback and tons of amazing
genius ideas about how to make readit1st better. And I ignored all of them.
Readit1st needs one thing: to do its job, it needs a newsletter. And so that's all we
did to start. We also went through about a dozen logo incarnations on tumblr which was
a really rewarding critique for me. And then I, executive decision, settled on a logo which
we are now stuck with-- not because it was the best logo possible, but because we need
to move on! Then I designed a website around the logo all by myself. I did this because
I'm a passable designer. And then because I'm no longer a passable html coder, I sent
it off to a company called psd2html which changed my design into an actual webpage.
Then I suckered a friend of mine, Sam Rudge, into making the code that makes the whole
site work. And then I suckered my brother, John Green into, uh, writing the write few
editions of the readit1st newsletter. The first one will be going out Friday morning.
Never worry about asking people to do favors for you, especially when they're not huge,
gigantic hunks of time. BUT! If money starts to exist with a project, always remember those
people who helped you and reward them for that. With money. Do I need to say that? Reward
them with money!
I do not know if this is a good idea. That's the thing about ideas. You will never know
if it's a good idea until you make it real! And when the world doesn't like the idea,
that is called failure. And it sounds and it feels SO much worse than it is! I now have
a lot of failures under my belt, and I don't mind so much anymore. It's an amazing way
to feel if you want to create things. I mean, obviously success is much more enjoyable,
but if you're so afraid of the failure that you never do it, your chances of success are
And of course I want all of Nerdfighteria to sign up for readit1st, but I also want
you to know that this isn't something I created for Nerdfighters. I created it for the world.
What I did was I created it WITH Nerdfighters. And I really believe that. I really believe
I couldn't have done any of this if I didn't have a resource that no one else in the world
has-- except for John Green. A group of intelligent, interesting, interested, savvy, tumblogging,
made-of-awesome people. Thanks, not just for this, but for everything that we've created
Everyone can go and sign up for readit1st.com now, and don't forget to tell your friends.
John, I will see you on Friday.