New Year, new Make Every Week resolution
Three years ago, following the advice of builder-journalist John Keefe, I resolved to make something new every week.
At the time, I wrote and coded for The Atlantic’s politics section, and my editor might have argued building every week was already my job. But these projects were supposed to be different — off-the-cuff engineering hacks, with learning something new as the primary objective.
What I quickly figured out: making something every week is hard. In the end, I made only five things, and sometimes they took a lot more than a week:
- A Capital Bikeshare Pebble smartwatch app (RIP Pebble);
- A Slack-powered doorbell;
- A computer vision script that monitored the lines at the DC DMV;
- A button that ordered Sweetgreen salads for me;
- A light that turned on when I said the magic word.
But it was fun!
So it’s back. For 2019, I’m resolving to Make Every (Two) Week(s), launching a new project or improving an old one twice a month. These won’t always be perfectly polished — sometimes they’ll just be a non-functioning prototype. But I miss having the pressure of a publication deadline to keep me honest and busy.
This time, things will be different. Each month, I’ll have two mandatory go-live dates — on the second and fourth Sundays of each month, I have to publish something. Revisiting a project over multiple weeks is fine, but I should pursue something substantive, like a round of user-testing or a major enhancement.
I’ve already picked out my first project, which will be turning the one-off “draw the line” interactive I built for this story on declining homicide rates into a reuseable web component. Here’s a shortlist of what other stuff I might dive into:
- An algorithmically generated magazine;
- A website to help you quickly rank your favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe movies;
- An app to help teams see where their members fall on the “chaos-order muppet scale”;
- An app to help worker bees quickly surface ideas to top leadership;
Hit me up if you’ve got a great idea. Otherwise, let the making begin!