Thoughts on building in public
2 min read

Thoughts on building in public

Creating in public is a mindset while building in public is a project

I find myself still refining the terminology. I first learned about the term at a birthday party of a friend referring to the working out loud initiative. But the first time I saw it in practice was in the Ness Labs community. Personally, I find the term work limiting and noticed how I often prefer to use create in public for the mindset to show your creations publicly, even if just starting.

When I used the term I encountered some difficulties. "I am going to create my course in public" doesn't sound right to me but "I love to create in public" sounds OK. Maybe inspired by the maker movement it feels to me like "I am going to build my course in public" has a better ring to it. So it could be useful to separate the term build in public from the rest.

For now, I am going to settle for creating in public as a mindset, the general approach of not hiding unfinished parts of the work but rather keeping your audience in the loop. While I am going to use building in public for projects that I am working on. So for example I am going to build my next workshop format "Get up to tech" in public and use this as a case study going forward.

The amount of transparency you apply to a project is not absolute but rather a scale

I've already seen creators that decided to stream their working sessions to the public: Pieter Levels, Japan guy, Jordan O'Connor but I believe creating in public doesn't have to go these extremes. But you don't have to go to those extremes.

On the contrary, I believe that the more you share indiscriminately the more you are asking from your audience attention span. Some people may enjoy getting as close to the work process as they can, while most people probably get more value out of specific milestones.

I'd suggest a pyramid: most (if not all) people should know that you are working on something and that public information is available. Then you go with different levels of transparency for different people on an opt-in basis. A few people might go that far that they want to build together with you.

Start with a goal and create a home base for your project

The most important aspect is to start with a goal and to communicate that goal to the audience. It may be beneficial to think of it as a pitch. A pitch to yourself and your audience at the same time.

The pitch should be done in written form on a website so that you can refer to it going forward. That way people can get up to speed any time of what you are working on. Going forward this will be the place to refer people to in messages that you are sending out during the creation process.

This could be a nice application of the Future Press Release method.

Don't just ask

I recently learned about important components on how to build in public well from Narayan:

  • 💡context - don't just ask
  • ✨motivation - exchange value
  • 🤗connection - be vulnerable

A few sources for futher research

This is the start of an evergreen page.
Mar 13 — updated with link to learning from Narayan