Ever heard of Tiny Subversions? Me neither, at least until last September.
I first heard of Darius Kazemi the same day I met him at the 2014 XOXO Festival in Portland, Oregon. I’d just heard him speak about his little bots and generators he creates; things he calls Tiny Subversions.
The talk was awesome (and because XOXO is awesome, you can watch it below).
Less about winning, more about playing
I was chatting with my friend Kathryn today over Twitter DM and she mentioned that the talk had a huge influence on her since she saw it. I agreed…that little presentation last September opened my eyes to a better way for me to view the little projects and hacks that I work on here and there.
I’m no programmer
True story: I’ve always wished I was a programmer. But, despite my efforts, I’ve never really turned out anything I’d call code. I’ve built a few nice websites, made a WordPress plugin or three, but nothing super impressive. But I have done a few things that qualify as tiny subversions.
Sites like offline.domains and retrosite.ninja take me an hour or three to build and don’t really do all that much. The weather tweeter I built a few years back was about as handy as a stripped screw. I won’t bother telling you about sochigoalpost.com (long since offline…hmmm, maybe I should register sochigoalpost.offline!).
Yo. Just yo.
One of my favourite things I’ve built is my Nine O’Clock Yo service. It amuses me greatly and probably nobody else.
How many people get a Yo at 9:00 P.M. (Pacific) thanks to my site? Just me. And I’m not even awake most night to see it. But when we were out in Vancouver last month, it sure made me happy when that Yo notification showed up on my iPhone a few seconds after I watched the gun fire from about 20m away. Cool.
You can’t win if you don’t play
The thing Darius taught me is that the scope, or scale of the little things I make isn’t important. It also doesn’t matter whether anyone besides me appreciates it. What matters is that I keep hacking away at this stuff, not because someday I’ll win the lottery, but because you can’t win the lottery if you don’t play.
Maybe someday a stupid thing I build will become popular. Probably not. Until then, I’ll continue to play around with things like Twilio or Yo, and I’ll keep building silly little websites and dumb services at funny domain names. Because the lottery.