My Secret Inspiration
Well, not secret anymore I guess. The about page talks about how I got into this Tempest business, but it doesn’t really cover why I decided to try my hand building a website in the first place. I don’t know if I should admit it, but the real catalyst was the Million Dollar Homepage. You may remember it from a few years ago. A college student in the UK had the brilliant idea of selling a million pixels for a dollar each (in 10×10 blocks). After some shrewd marketing it went viral, and a few months later he’s a million dollars richer. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one inspired by this. Soon after, there was a rash of ‘Ten Thousand Dollar Homepages’ and such. (After all, why pay $1 per pixel when you can pay 1¢? :)) Unsurprisingly, these didn’t do so well. But it got me thinking – you’re not going to get rich copying what’s already been done, but there are plenty of other cool ideas out there. The only difference with the million dollar homepage was that the guy who had the crazy idea actually followed through and did something about it. And hey, what’s the risk? Worst case I learn a bit about web design – there are worse ways to spend your time. So I did some brainstorming, and came up with a fantastic idea. It was something.. about.. showing ads at various times of day, and people would.. guess what ad was coming up.. or something. Fantastic idea. 🙂 Only thing was, it seemed a bit ambitious for a starter project. I figured I needed a little test project to get started. Not anything with real potential, just something nice and simple to do while I learned what I was doing. So I figured I’d just make a simple little site to help search multiple cities on craigslist. (You know, just until I learned the basics and could switch to working on something with real potential…) Mostly I just wanted something that would help with my air conditioner search. I may have had my priorities a bit backwards, but with a little luck, things turned out pretty well. The key is that I did something. So should you. You don’t need to start with a perfect idea; my first one was terrible. You don’t need to know how to start a business; you’ll learn as you go. You don’t need a lot of money; you can keep your job and get started part time. You just have to start something. In the words of Michael Masterson, “Ready, Fire, Aim!” Fortunately I also have a few other sources of inspiration that you might actually find inspirational. 🙂 Premier among those is Paul Graham. I’ll write more about him and others later, but for now, go check out one of his essays. Just pick a title that sounds good, and I promise you an enlightening read.