Let’s make some stuff

XOXO Festival 2014 Justin Jackson, photo by Chase Reeves

I just spent at week in Portland. I was there to visit the new Sprintly office, and to take part in the XOXO Conference.

My friend Chase Reeves was kind enough to welcome me into his XOXO posse. We did things together: we went to conference talks, listened to live music, drank great coffee, and shared meals.

During one meal, somebody asked how many domain names each of us owned. I logged into my Hover account and started counting.


I own 46 domains. Of these, about 21 are being actively used. The others? Most of them are domains I purchased in a fit of inspiration. I had a good idea, registered the name and… did nothing.

How many domains do you own?

If you’re like me, you’re holding on to these domains with the hope that you’ll eventually do something big with them. These domains represent your dreams: a new startup, a profitable product, or a popular project.

But we’re paying for these domains year after year. What if we did something cool with them right now?

This lead me to this tweet:

New idea: create a small (maybe silly) project for EVERY ONE of the domain names you’ve bought, but haven’t used. Ship one a week.

— Justin Jackson (@mijustin) September 19, 2014

Remember when the web was fun? I keep thinking about my daughter building her first web page. Her web page is delightful because she was having fun. She wasn’t thinking about being #1 on Product Hunt, or having a $50,000 product launch. She just wanted to tell a story.

At XOXO, Jonathan Mann talked about creating a song a day. My favorite line from his talk was:

“The more stuff you make, the more good stuff you’ll make.”

So many times, I’ve gotten in a rut because I’m trying to make the “next big thing.” This is bad, because when I’m in a rut, I don’t create and I’ve realized that I get enormous joy out of just making things.

When Samuel Hulick tweeted “I fucking hate timezones“, I made this site in a few minutes as a joke. It made his day. Actually, it made my day. Just creating and shipping something small made me feel good.

Let’s quit being so serious. Let’s do something with these unused domains. Let’s make some stuff.

Are you with me? Here’s what I’m thinking; it’s an experiment in shipping, having fun, and being creative:

  1. Pick a dormant domain name that you own.
  2. Forward it to a sub-domain / folder / file on your personal site (for example, thisisawebpage.com forwards to justinjackson.ca/words.html). This is optional, but it will ensure that your project lives on, even if your domain expires.
  3. Create your project. It could anything: a single HTML page, an online game, a small project for sale, a joke, or a piece of art. If you’re looking for inspiration, look at Jennifer Dewalt’s site.
  4. Send your creations to me. Each week, I’ll publish them in this weekly newsletter and on strongmaker.com (one of my unused domains).

That’s it. Create a small project for every one of the domain names you’ve bought, but haven’t used. Ship one a week.

Now let’s go have some fun!

That's me!Cheers,
Justin Jackson

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Published on September 20, 2014