Your creativity makes you strong, independent and free.

Hi, I’m Justin. I make stuff for makers. I want to help you reach more people with the things you create.

Justin Jackson, Canadian product person and maker. Not a basketball player.

I just published Marketing for Developers, and I’m working on a new project called MegaMaker.

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Black & White photographer

Focus on your own shit

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My eyes crack open. 7am. Roll over. Grab my phone. Start scrolling… Wake up, check Product Hunt. Shit: someone just launched software really similar to my product (and we’re still in beta). Browse Designer News. Shit: someone copied my idea and is getting a bunch of accolades for it. Read Medium. Shit: someone published something really similar to what I wrote months ago, and is getting way more traction. My blood pressure goes up, my…
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“Sit down kid, and let me tell you about the world.”

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Human beings are terrible listeners. When someone comes to us with a problem, we can’t wait for our chance to speak. Immediately, our minds are racing to find a personal anecdote that will solve our friend’s dilemma. Instead of digging deeper into their context, we start pontificating about ours: “You know kid, I used to be a lot like you. I had to pull up my bootstraps, start at the bottom, pay my dues, and work my way to the top.”…
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Don't fight the current

Don’t swim against the current

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[In business] you shouldn’t swim upstream. Don’t try to change people’s behavior. – Ramit The biggest temptation in business is to try to change the way people think. I learned this lesson the hard way when I owned a retail store. One day stumbled on Blackspot sneakers. These hit me in an ideological sweet spot: the shoes were sustainably made, and biodegradable! Inspired, I decided to order hundreds of pairs and change the way my…
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Is the market for self-published books saturated?

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Chris Guillebeau just published a blog post about online publishing. It starts out with a confession of sorts: For the past eight years I’ve made a good living through online publishing. But I don’t think the instructions are as timeless as I thought they were at the time. If, today, you do exactly what I said back then, I’m not entirely sure that success will follow. One of his key points is that the market has become…
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My biggest creative fear

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As product people, we don’t want to create something that’s just good. We want it to resonate with people. When I launch something new, my biggest fear is that people won’t like it, won’t care, or won’t show up. Additionally, a lot of people I know also struggle to promote the things they’ve made. These two pain points are related. If you’re not confident that people will like what you’ve made, it’s hard to promote it.…
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You can't split-test human experience

You can’t split test human experience

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The problem with advice is that it’s not testable. When you ask someone for their secret to success they’ll say things like: “This class changed my life,” or “I get up and meditate every morning at 3am.” Attributing an individual’s success to one or two factors is a fool’s bet (especially if you try to replicate it). No one can say emphatically “this is why I’m successful” because there’s no way to test that claim. Jen…
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Sunset on Silver Star mountain in British Columbia

Make stuff and be happy (2015 year in review)

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When I make stuff, I’m happy. When I don’t make stuff, I’m not as happy. This theme keeps getting reinforced, year after year. I get energy from creating something and putting it out into the world. Having people connect with something you’ve made is a great reward. Here are some things I shipped in 2015:
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Documentaries you should watch: Untethered

Documentaries you should watch this holiday

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I love watching documentaries. Here are my top picks for you this holiday season. Inspirational Untethered – 30 minutes Vimeo Website Shot in my province of British Columbia, Canada, this is filmmaker Levi Allen’s first documentary. The whole thing is breathtaking and inspiring. It follows the story of slackliner Spencer Seabrooke as he attempts to break the world record for longest highline walked without a harness. The Battered Bastards of Baseball – 80 minutes Netflix Rotten Tomatoes My…
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"Make more stuff" - Justin Jackson

More stuff, or better stuff?

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Should you make multiple things, or just focus on one? 37signals started making products 16 years ago. Their early hit was Basecamp, but they went on to release over 11 products (notably Backpack, Campfire, Highrise, and Sortfolio). Then in 2014 they decided to focus. They sold, shut down, or spun-off everything except for Basecamp. In their announcement, they explained why: We’ve released so many products over the years, we’ve become a bit scattered, a bit…