Behind the Scenes

Building in silence

Since leaving Automattic a month ago, I’ve spent almost every waking hour building Metorik. From the moment I wake up to the late hours I go to sleep, it’s been my sole focus. I’m not complaining – it’s making me happier than I’ve ever been.

But yesterday, after 26 days of non-stop work on something that means so much to me and something that I know will be my purpose and focus for the years ahead, I finally showed it to someone. The secrecy hasn’t been intentional. I’m not building a product in hiding, waiting years for the perfect moment to reveal it to the world. I’ve just been busy, and sharing it with the world hasn’t really been a priority.

26 days is a long time to keep something to yourself. All of the products I’ve built in the past have been done in silence too, from Nomad SMS to Totals for Uber to the many WordPress & WooCommerce plugins I’ve built over the years. But Metorik’s different. The other products were all built within a few days and there wasn’t so much riding on them. Failure was an option. Pivoting wasn’t a thought. I had an idea and I was going to build it, ship it and move on. That simply isn’t the case with Metorik. I recognise that success won’t be measured by a day’s work and the validation won’t come until later.

When you build something in the shadows, you’re given a unique and often fleeting chance to create an uncompromising product that reflects your original vision. There’s no communication, no feedback, no insight. Simply solo iteration and decision. Like an artist starting a painting, building a product is an intimate and lonely experience.

It’s not without its flaws – working in silence leads you to make assumptions that can come back to bite you.

But what’s beautiful to me is that the assumptions, decisions and actions you make are yours and only yours. And when release comes, the product evolves from being yours to being your customers. At that point, you and your product come out from the shadows, the sun rises and the next chapter begins.