The 24 Hour Idea 08.05.2009
This is a true story.
A couple of weeks ago I had just tucked myself into bed, had turned off the light, and was beginning to let my mind wander down the long path to sleep. The road to sleep for me is usually a long one. It is just about that time of the day that my manic brain starts to swirl with thoughts. It usually takes me at least a half hour after I close my eyes for my brain to shut down enough to actually turn off. Sometimes it takes much longer than this. What goes through it is usually thoughts of items to do the next day and new ideas which, if I have not captured them, I must get up and do so, thus starting the process again. It was in this swirl of commitments, responsibility and desire that the following two words came to me:
Now, I don’t know what most of you do when intriguing words and phrases pass in that fleeting space that lies between the ears. My first thought is always, “I wonder if that domain is available”. You would be surprised at the domain names I own because of this habit. I pick up domains like most people retrieve squandered heads-up pennies on the street and largely for the same reasons. So of course I had to get out of bed, wander over to my Macbook, and check to see if serendipity might allow me to own this one. As luck would have it, it was available. I registered it.
Of course, this was a big mistake. Why? Well, I just guaranteed that I would not get to sleep for several hours as my head swam with ideas of what I could possibly use such a thing for. I mean, my head was exploding with possibilities. Yet, in the midst of the chaos, one thing came floating by that made me pause. One memory that I have had bubble to the surface of my brain since I was a much younger man. One idea, that I recount in this post from my new project, quoted here in it’s entirety:
Many years ago, I saw a picture in a magazine. I can’t even remember which magazine but it was in a feature article about creative office setups. One of the examples was essentially a large square low table, probably a coffee table, with large floor cushion for seating and a single Powerbook on the desk and nothing else. That image burned a hole in my brain like no other for some reason. I remember it just as clear as if I was looking at it now. I think it was just the idea of being able to have something so simple as your “office” was inspiring to me. No chair, no desk in the traditional sense, no filling cabinets – just a laptop and a cushion and a surface. There was something so raw, simple, yet complete about it. I’ve been dreaming of achieving the same ever since.
It was really then that Minimal Mac was truly born and I was able to get some sleep for the night.
The next morning, after waking up, dealing with helping get Beatrix off to “charm school”, having coffee, etc. I continued to run through my head possibilities of what the site should really be. I knew the goal was to challenge myself, as much as my readers, to get to an equally ideal and complete state as that image in my head. But there is so much more about the back end stuff that needs to be decided before lauching a blog…
What blogging platform? WordPress? MT? No, Tumblr. Tumblr is easy to post stuff to. OK, gotta find a theme. Has to be a minimalist one (obviously). Let’s look at whats out there. OK, hate that. Hate that too. Oh, this one is OK. Need to customize it a bit though. Hate that font size. How’s the CSS? Not to poorly formatted. I can figure this out. OK, let’s do this… Wait! I haven’t even thought of the content. What about the content? Screw the content for now. Let’s build this thing. OK, it’s built. Font size still not right globally but I’ll do that later. Need to think about content. Let’s see, I got all of these links and quotes and photos and links and stuff about minimalism and simplicity saved up in my Evernote. I can front load this thing with a bunch of stuff and just throw it out there. See how people respond.
… and here we are today. To say the response has been tremendous is an under statement. Without going into details on the numbers let’s suffice to say that it has far exceeded any other project I have ever launched and naturally my wildest dreams. The feedback I continue to receive, the submissions from my readers, the people emailing to let me know it has helped them come to terms with what is “enough” for them – humbling does not even touch it. Every time I think it has reached a new highlight I discover there is another just around the bend.
Not bad for an idea that was conceived and executed in 24 hours.