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The occasional musing about design, games, music, etc.

14 tips for being creative with technology

Occasionally people ask me how they can be more creative with technology. they are curious how i’ve made so many things, know about all sorts of random things, and what keeps me going. so i’ve tried to crystallize some of them into a set of guiding principles. so far, there’s 14 of them. enjoy!

1. don’t make anything evil. everything people love was made with love.

2. try to think of what you make as art, not a business. art inspires the heart, but business doesn’t. if it’s good, it will be worth it.

3. create in a field you’re passionate about. love music? make something related to music.

4. embrace constraints. constraints force creative thinking. tight on budget or time? awesome! don’t know a skill yet? wing it! let creativity drive you.

5. take baby steps. build a prototype first. see if that gets you excited. if it does, keep going.

6. try to take some risks. make sure you are doing at least one thing someone else says is crazy.

7. make something that you wish existed. nothing compels creativity like knowing you’ll be the only person on earth with that thing you just made.

8. stay humble. don’t let your ego let you fall in love with something too quickly. it’s probably not genius, and someone else can do it better, and that’s ok. still want to do it? good.

9. do something to make your work stand out. if you show something fresh, people will forgive some of the imperfections of your early work.

10. be a mad scientist. cross breed existing ideas. just start smashing parts of existing things together. itunes for ebay, a drum machine for a fax machine, see? 

11. take feedback. if a few people don’t get it, then lots of people won’t get it. listen to other people, and remember you always have something to learn.

12. make many different things, of various completeness. at first you’ll feel like you “never finish anything” but you’ll soon realize that this is all just practice.

13. be excited by your work. if you lose the flame, put it on the shelf and come back to it later, or just leave it forever and consider it practice!

14. have fun. if it’s not fun any more, either make it fun again, or move on to something else.