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Make like no-one is watching
I’m 39 today! 🎉
Currently celebrating with the family in the south of Thailand on the island of Koh Lanta with two sun kissed kids, my wife and my mother.
Turning the page on the last years of my thirties (only one year till the big 4-0!) gives cause for a lot of introspection: In the last 10 years we’ve moved cities, bought a home and become parents. I have made a lot of stuff on the computer and I have somehow been able to continue to make a living doing things I love.
I’m incredibly grateful for that and I wanted to dedicate this email to one important lesson that’s connected the dots in my work.
When I really think about some of the best things that has happened in my career: the most interesting projects, the best opportunities, the funniest experiences— they almost all come from the same thing:
I made something I liked.
And because of that thing, whatever it was, some project, opportunity or experience happened.
In fact I can trace most major accomplishments I have made back to some seed of creation that, at the time, was really just me making a seemingly unimportant little thing.
These “little things” could be anything from a wallpaper, an icon replacement, a sticker, a drawing or some other side project. For you it might be something else. The common denominator for all of them is that they weren’t created because someone asked me to. They (mostly) weren’t created for profit. They were just made because I wanted to make them.
And from these things, like ripples in the water, new doors would open. The world has a funny way of giving you more of what you put into it.
And because these things were made from pure passion, they’d lead to projects with some of that passion in them. I could fill a book with examples of this happening in my career. This is such an obvious thing that it’s easy to overlook: Make things you like and you’ll get more of it. Make things you don’t like and you’ll get more of it. It’s a double edged sword, because it can both lift you into a circle of fun, but it can also keep you down, working on something not fun— hoping that good projects are just around the corner. They’re not. You have to make them.
When you’ve seen this happen a few times, you start to trust it.
You have to make like no-one is watching.
You have to make just for you.
Because it’s my birthday I’m running a little 24 hour sale on my resources on Gumroad. Including the newly launched Emoji Toolkit and my App Icon Design Masterclass. Use the code below for a whooping 50% off. If you want to buy us both a gift, then grab one or more of these ❤️
🔖 Use the code HAPPYBIRTHDAY for 50% off on Gumroad
Speaking of little things I make for fun, I made physical editions of the games we’ve released on the eShop. We’ve shipped almost 800.000 units and I really wanted to celebrate that on my shelf.
I first saw the Windows 98 'Mystery' theme on a friends dad's computer in the late 90's. I loved it. It's a core memory of interface customisation of mine. Unfortunately the epic wallpaper only ever existed as a 800x600px image. I have reproduced it in glorious 6K. After tweeting it, Windows, yes Windows, gave me a nice tweet back.
My camera kit has seen some upgrades since our last tropical vacation. Here’s what I’ve brought on this trip: A Canon R5, a GoPro Hero 11 and a DJI Mini 3 Pro. It’s been fun getting back to Canon after using Sony cameras for almost a decade. Sharing some shots on our family travel insta.
Currently listening to Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. An epic fantasy novel series. It’s very good.
Thank you for reading this vacation/birthday edition. As always when I’m traveling I get a million ideas for things I’d like to make. For now, I’m trying to keep a lid on it and enjoy my family, the views and another Singha.