I want to introduce you to a little term of mine, but, before I jump into it, I need to give you some backstory.
Minecraft is a sandbox game created by a Swedish game developer known as “Notch”. When Minecraft started its epic journey, it was a simple game. The player was dropped in the middle of a new world. The player then had to work out how to survive before nightfall hit, which summoned the zombies. If the player accomplished this, they lived another day to do it all over again. Nowadays the game has witches, spells, dragons, livestock, mods, and many more complexities.
As of September 2018, Minecraft has over 74 million monthly players, 144 million copies sold and was eventually acquired by Microsoft in 2014 for a mere 2.4 billion USD (pocket change, right?).
Minecraft released to a small group of people first. This exclusive community grew into the hardcore fanbase that would later help Minecraft become the powerhouse it is today. It is the second best selling video game OF ALL TIME after my favorite video game of all time… TETRIS.
So what is “minecrafting it”?
Minecrafting it: releasing a project out in the public that isn’t at the level you know it can be or want it to be.
If Notch had not started Minecraft when he did, there’s no saying if it would have seen the same success today. As a result of his simple game releasing at less than an optimal stage, Notch was able to develop and grow a game alongside the most important group of people: his players.
I love when colleagues ask me for advice or suggestions on projects. I like seeing the growth and improvement I can foster with my opinions. Sometimes when I’m asked, “should I do x before I release?” I respond with “you just need to Minecraft it”. Usually, this response receives an eye roll. Those closest to me hear that a lot.
When you are creating something, you become attached to it. So much so that you are a mother with a child and your ideas of perfectionism are the umbilical cord. When you are about to give birth to your creation, you pull back-- “wait I want to add one more thing” and guess what? That umbilical cord never gets cut. How’s that for imagery?
Releasing a project doesn’t need to be a burden. Some projects do require more time than others. Don’t get me wrong. By all means, never rush a launch. However, we live in a fast-paced world. If you think that you are the only one with your brilliant idea, let me break your heart: you’re not. The difference between you and the next person is execution.
I first started making videos for YouTube in 2006. Back then, I already loved making videos on a regular basis for my amusement, but I didn’t have any “professional" equipment. I used quotes on the word “professional” because I don’t even really know what that means by today’s standards anymore. Back then, that denoted that I was either making videos with my webcam or a point and shoot camera which only shot in 480p. If you don’t know what 480p means or what it looks like, look it up. It’s awful.
Fast forward to 2015. This is the year I returned to YouTube with full force after a long hiatus, which I’ll tell you about another time. I came into this project with a plan. I had a niche. I had years of experience making videos. After much trial and error in my life, I also had a grasp on marketing and branding. What I didn’t have, was money and equipment. Some might say these are the two most crucial things to have a great show on YouTube. Well, you're mistaken. I quickly realized that if I didn’t get started right away, I wouldn’t start making money to get equipment eventually; and if I waited to save up money to get the equipment I wanted, I’d have to pass on turning my creative ideas into a reality for a while. So, here’s what I did. I borrowed an old-ish camcorder from my dad whenever he didn’t have plans to use it. When the camcorder was engaged, I used my phone’s camera, which shot at 720p. If you don’t know what that looks like, it’s a little better than 480p, but not quite TV quality.
You might think this isn’t a big deal, but to some people it truly is. Day in and day out, I have creators approach me with dreams of starting a YouTube channel. They tell me their ideas, ask for advice, and then tell me that they “can’t start yet” because they don’t have that $1000 camera they want and can’t afford. *Insert the not impressed emoji here*.
Sometimes starting with just the basics can be the best thing to happen to you or your brand. Just look at Noch and the little paycheck Microsoft cut him. The next time you find yourself delaying a launch because “it’s not quite right yet”, I want you to follow these steps:
Find 25 people who can try it out. (Yes, 25 people)
Assess them for the pros and cons.
Make a spreadsheet with the data you’ve compiled and then add up how many unique pros and cons you’ve conjured from your beta group.
If the pros outweigh the cons AND your cons can be either added over time or added immediately after the fact without affecting the core of your project THEN, YOU LAUNCH RIGHT THEN AND THERE!
If the cons outweigh the pros, then work out the kinks and repeat all of the steps until you can stop at step 4.
Remember, when launching a project, perfection is not the focus; providing value and solving a problem is the focus. This applies to every single project one does. I can talk about that in another post. For now, think about “minecrafting it” and how it can apply to whatever it is you are working on.
Do you have something that is “not quite right yet”? I dare you to show me. Tweet or Instagram it using #minecraftingit.