Unless its going to be awesome, don’t do it. Don’t even bother. Don’t even get started, don’t waste your time, or your friends’ or colleagues’ time either. Move on to something else, and make sure that it will be awesome.
That, at least, was the gist of a piece I heard few weeks ago about Brave, the Pixar movie (which I have since seen and thoroughly enjoyed). The folks who made the film referenced the involvement of Steve Jobs in the film and had worked with him on previous projects as well, and that is what they said he drove them toward: make it awesome.
I’m not an enormous fan of exceptionalism, so I’m cautious that this be interpreted in that vein. But I find there’s enormous validity to taking that approach to life. We do it here at Spring Metrics, and it makes what we do fun and (we think) that much more powerful and usable for our customers. We make the UI awesome, and the data-orientation of how we drive performance for our customers is awesome too. Children also seem to do it naturally; they never do anything “just to do it” unless they are being forced.
You could argue that you’re “forced” to work, but most of my colleagues and presumably the readers of this blog have at least some choice in the matter; yes, an income is required, but there is some determinism available in where we all work. So, wherever you are or whatever you’re doing, make it awesome. And if it can’t be awesome, maybe it shouldn’t be at all.
The rewards are greater, both to yourself and to the greater community, and that pays it forward in a sense. High quality work, with your heart and soul in it, will get you more of whatever you wanted to get out of it: satisfaction, usability, money, time savings, beauty, or just the pleasure of a job well done.
The Tao Te Ching has a line it: “Retire when the work is done.” Perhaps we can update that slightly to “Retire when the work is awesome.”