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Quick and shit

NB: This post has been republished from my defunkt newsletter. Enjoy 🙏

Hey there,

You may have noticed you’ve been getting more emails from me. For better or worse, I’m trying to be even more frequent with my writing. I hope that’s okay with you!

I had a great conversation yesterday about how I work: quick and shit.

I found myself following “quick and shit” mostly through my programming. On reflection, it’s actually a great way to approach most things which require any creativity.

It’s quite simple. With programming as the example, it looks like this:

First, write your code quickly and don’t care how it looks or performs. This lets you understand whether or not the thing you’re making is actually useful or not. Second—having passed the early test—bring it up to your (hopefully) rigorously high standards.

In programming, there’s a notion of premature abstraction. It’s where complexities are hidden away before all use cases are addressed, making it harder to use rather than easier. Quick and shit avoids this by getting something that /works/ first and can be abstracted later.

Move fast and break things is Facebook’s classic mantra. Similarly, startups bang on and on about testing with prototypes before building the real thing. Quick and shit expedites this by bringing it to your own work.

When you’re trying to solve any problem, it’s common place to debate the solutions as they come up. Raising “what ifs” about each idea immediately is a sure fire way to end up with the worst idea. Damaging each idea from its inception rather than understanding the full lay of the land. Quick and shit means surfacing many ideas first before working through them and evaluating them fairly.

Maybe you’re writing a blog post? It’s tempting to edit each sentence as it’s written. But that leads to the same problem. You’re halting the flow of ideas before you’re exhausted of them. You’re not ready to edit yet. Take this newsletter as an example: the version you’re reading barely resembles the first draft. Spending time poring over each word would mean I could have easily missed the message and ended up with something vastly different. Quick and shit means all avenues have been explored and the final piece is 10x better.

Quick and shit doesn’t mean shit forever. It means getting out what’s in your head and seeing how it fairs in the real world. Ideas, designs, code, whatever it is always shows it’s true colours when it’s out of your head. Give it a try, let me know how it goes.

Richard