I don’t build web applications – I help make web applications better

(Sorry BASF – I stole that from you)

In any case, I’ve had an interesting two years – basically two years of helping other people make their dreams come true.  Helping others launch their web products.

It’s not a bad life – I get to work with some very smart people – and VERY passionate people.  And I have learned a lot myself along the way.  About launching applications/web sites, about dealing with customers, and even about myself.

First rule of launching is that it won’t be right the first time.

The second rule is, it will take longer than anyone thinks.

The third rule is that no rules apply.

So given the third rule, you must exclude the first two rules, right?

Nope.  The fourth rule is that the third rule applies to EVERYTHING except the first two rules. The first two rules are absolute.  And so is the fourth rule. Yet the third rule doesn’t always apply to the fourth rule, yet the fourth rule always applies to the third rule.

I hope you are thinking now.

If you understand and accept the fourth rule then you can plan for it.  If you ignore it, you will fail.

So what is my point?  It’s simple.  Whatever you are building will be changed – probably by your customers.  The very changing nature will cause it to take longer.  Don’t follow rules – because they will either slow you down, get you distracted, or cause you to question yourself into oblivion. Don’t follow these rules even.  Ignore them.  They WILL apply to you – but don’t plan for them – you cannot plan for chaos.

So plan for Rule Four.  Rule four is the only constant.  Rule four dictates that you must be able to change, and change quickly.  Rule four dictates that no rules apply.  Rule four is anarchy.

Manage anarchy.

Be prepared to morph – drastically, and quickly if you must.

Do not fear change and do not ignore the direction your customers want you to go.

Plan to be wrong – and plan to quickly make the changes you need to “make you right”.

Rule Four of building Web applications basically states that “Nothing that has been done before means anything and nothing that hasn’t been tried is without value – the value may be in the attempt.  Or not”

So, I hope you followed all of this.  Launching is chaos – which by definition cannot be controlled or anticipated.  Shit will break.  Shit will morph.  Shit Happens.  And very often, Shit Does Not Happen.

You need to be prepared for all of that, and none of that.

Yeah – it’s fun doing what I do.  Because it’s easy to never be wrong when the rules are so completely fucked up!  Of course that also makes it very easy to be wrong.

And if you are looking for a menu for launch – this is about as good of a menu as you will find.  And it is 100% wrong and 100% right.

Launch is chaos.

So I don’t manage launches – I try to manage chaos, which is of course impossible.  So I have an impossible job – which means I can’t screw up. 

Chaos can be your friend though.

But I doubt it. And because it is chaos, I can’t count on it even fucking up.  I never know what chaos will do to me from one day to the next.

But Rule #4 always applies.  And so does rule #3.  Amazingly, Rules 1 and 2 seem to ignore rules 3 and 4 and they seem to ALWAYS apply – even in contradiction to rules 3 and 4.

If you’ve managed to read this far – and the gears in your brain are grinding hard enough to cause smoke to come out of your ears – welcome to my world 🙂

And don’t forget rule five. NEVER forget rule five.

(and no, I don’t think I am cracking up – this makes sense to me – which may be proof that I am cracking up.  But I don’t think I can control chaos – and many of you do.  So who is really crazy here?)

Rule Five is – You cannot control ANYTHING.  You can adapt to a lot, but you control NOTHING.

I hope this helps you with your launch.  Best of luck.