The first thing I'll say is that if I've done my work correctly, most of what I'm about to write here is more clearly and accurately described by visiting www.thirtydayproject.org.
With that out of the way, on February 19th, in response to this post by Andrew Dubber, I committed to making an idea real by May 1st. All I knew at the time was that a man I had never met was going to publish one idea a day on his blog for thirty days starting on March 3rd.
As someone that works on a lot of projects, I pride myself on being able to get things done. I didn't know what the ideas would be, or what I would have to do to make one real, but I figured that there would be at least one that I could run with.
I'm very happy to announce today the launch of ThirtyDayProject.org, an implementation of Andrew Dubber's 5th idea in his series of 30 ideas in 30 days, the numberless calendar.
I really loved this idea because of the simple, but powerful idea that doing something every day for 30 days seems achievable at the outset, yet still requires enough of a commitment that it can have a lasting impact.
In order to implement the idea, I learned enough Ruby/Ruby on Rails and CSS so that I could build and design the application, and enough git so that I could share my code and so that I could deploy the application.
By no means am I an expert programmer. But I sure know a hell of a lot more than I did two months ago.
The end result is this: a simple web application where people can start their own thirty day projects and view the projects of others. I took Andrew's idea and added to it the inspiration from Seth Godin that I talked about in this post - that shipping things and sharing your work, your art, is vital.
So the site I built allows people to start a project, mark each day off as "done", and if they choose to do so, they can ship whatever it was they did that day. "Shipping" something is as simple as giving a day a title, and providing a link to whatever you did.
When someone provides a link to their work, I chose not to keep a viewer of that work inside the site I built, but instead just take them directly to whatever link was provided. The reason for this is simple. There was no point in me trying to make a website that stores photos better than flickr, or videos better than Vimeo, or music better than Bandcamp. Plus, there are too many sites in the world that are trying to confiscate people's creativity. I wanted to project it.
So the site I built is about the idea of what can be done in thirty days. If you want to take photos for 30 days, you should get a flickr account. If you want to write something every day, you should have a blog. And if you don't have one you should make one. I didn't want to fight that reality, I wanted to preach it.
I tried as best I could to tell the story of how this project got started, infuse some inspiration that I've received along the way, and encourage people to make something and share it with other people.
My hope is that people will be creative with the site. Maybe some people will ship something every day, while others may build a reputation for only shipping one thing at the end of thirty days. Most of all, I hope people use the site because I truly want to follow people that decide to do something every day for thirty days.
I want to see what they share. I want to see what they make. And my hope is that this website, and the story that it is a part of, will continue to inspire people in the same way that it inspired me.
I'm not trying to sound dramatic, but deciding to work on this project, and being a part of this little dance, has been really wonderful for me. I'm able to do things now that I couldn't just a couple months ago. And so my real desire is that maybe, someone will end up doing something positive that they wouldn't otherwise have done because of something I made.
That would truly make me feel pretty good, so I hope you check out www.thirtydayproject.org and think about whether there's a project you've been wanting to work on.
I'm really happy with the site, but I know it's not perfect. So let me know what you think I did well, and tell me what I need to change. I would sincerely love to hear your feedback.