On Small Projects

I credit my entire software development experience and skill to the fact that I have constantly experimented, built, and launched small projects.

Sometimes I wanted to explore a single programming concept and/or element or sometimes I wanted to see how potential customers and users would respond.

Eventually, of course, these projects would become much, much larger in scope and scale but I would attack them in the same way and fashion: Execute quickly and see what the market would say.

Some (most) of the these projects died without much fanfare and without much use and occasionally they’d get a little bit of attention.

What’s fascinating is that it was, and still is, impossible to know what would work and what wouldn’t work and there was no obvious correlation or relationship between investment of time and customer resonance.

Sometimes, a throw-away piece of software would blow up and people would really care about it and it would get a ton of attention and sometimes I’d spend an entire year (and then some) on a project and no one would show up.

I found an older script that I had created in a few hours of time many years ago which was essentially my own version of lightbox (remember those?!).

I named it after my kiddo at the time and I put it together as an experiment for a larger project that I was working on. When I released it to the public it got a lot of attention and I was shocked.

I couldn’t believe that a handful of hours would garner so much attention… but I realized that it also created a lot of value for a ton of people as they were looking for a quicker and more lightweight lightbox solution.

I learned a few things from this simple yet successful software project: My job is to create and then leave the results to the internet.

Final note… my daughter is now 11. Yes, this was nearly 10 years ago.

Also published on Medium.