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.

Better technology, Blog

Why I would pay for Twitter

There’s mounting pressure on social networks to prove that they can be profitable. Their answer to the revenue problem seems to be “more ads”. I think Twitter in particular has a number of opportunities for making money that have nothing to do with advertising. Here are some tools and features that I would pay for (separately, or as a part of a pro package). 1. Analytics There are a number of companies offering analytics for…
Better Products, Blog

What the People of Wal-Mart want

Starting in 2008, Wal-Mart embarked on an ambitious project to improve the shopping experience in their stores. Code-named “Project Impact” the idea was to create a “better” Wal-Mart. First, they sent out surveys. In the surveys, customers identified that they wanted cleaner, less cluttered stores. With this information in-hand, Wal-Mart began a huge multi-million dollar store refurbishment program. They slimmed down their inventory by 15%, redesigned shelves, and removed pallets from the aisles. The result? Sales…
Better work, Blog

Why I don’t read at work

I recently quit reading when I’m at the office. I used to read blogs and news sites as a part of my daily work routine. Here’s why I decided to quit. Reading isn’t really work. This is the truth I didn’t want to admit: reading isn’t work. It’s easy to rationalize reading as work because in both cases, I’m staring at my computer screen. But if I’m reading, I’m not getting anything productive done. Reading…
Blog, What I've Learned
Amy Hoy

What Amy Hoy taught me about starting a business

I first heard about Amy when I saw Twistori. Soon after, I started following her on Twitter. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Amy could teach me a lot about starting a business and building products. Since then we’ve interacted on Twitter and through email. I haven’t taken her 30×500 class (yet), but I hope to in the future (maybe once all of our kids are in school). In the meantime, I…

A 13-year-old on a BBS

 in Blog
My daughter found my journal. We just sat at laughed at many pages; one of my favourites is this entry I wrote when I was 13 (1994): Hello! Life is good! I have be the co-systems operator at Alberta Future BBS for nearly 3 months. I do mostly artwork as well as some other tasks. With my help the BBS has jumped from 35 users to 236 (in 3 months!). Absolute Future BBS was based…
Better Products, Better technology, Blog

Retina is not a big deal

Retina is not a big deal. I can remember being a kid and switching from CGA to EGA: What a difference! We went from purple a turquoise to 16 colors. The next big jump was going from EGA to VGA: I begged my parents to sell our Tandy 1000 so we could buy a new 386 with a VGA monitor. VGA could display 256 colors (at 320 x 200). ATMachine has a great comparison between…
Better design, Better Products, Blog

Terrible Apple products

Generally, I like Apple products. But some of their stuff is just the worst. Here’s my list of stuff I’ve used that I really dislike. The worst Apple products Ranked from worst to less-worse. iMessage: sending a text message should be quick; really quick. You should click Send and it should be sent. There are days where messages will take 1-2 minutes to send. For a product I use hundreds of times a week, this is downright…
Better life, Blog

Geek dad

Technology can consume your life. As geeks, we’re always “on”: we have our smartphones with us 24/7, we’re constantly checking Twitter and email, and we work even when we’re not at the office. But I’m not just a geek; I’m also a dad.  Even though the internet never takes a break, my kids need me to take a break from the internet. Here are some things I’m working on that I think will make me…
Better life, Blog

You only win once – Rodney Mullen

Amazing. In this Ted Talk, skateboarding icon Rodney Mullen distills many of his life lessons. Many are applicable to the tech community: On winning I had won 35 out of 36 contests over 11 years. Winning isn’t the word: I won it once. The rest of the time you’re just defending. You get into this turtle posture. It usurped the joy of what I loved to do, because I was no longer doing it to create…
Better work, Blog

Why people buy software

You want to build software that people will use, and that will make you money. How do you find opportunities? One trick is to listen to the things people say (and think) when they’re struggling. I call these the “inner thoughts of customers”. Listening and identifying pain are the keys to finding great product ideas. Listen to customers’ “inner thoughts” These are examples of inner thoughts people have before going out to find software to…
2012-11-04 10.42.23

No one wants to buy my sneakers

 in Blog
In product development, it’s a mistake to assume that other people want what we want. Let me tell you a story. I used to own a couple of retail shops; we sold snowboards, skateboards, and clothing. One day I was reading Adbusters magazine and heard about their new project: Blackspot Sneakers. These were shoes “made with hemp, recycled tires, vegan leather and produced in fair-trade factories”. The idea was to create a grassroots brand, that produced…

Forget the Valley: bootstrap founders can live wherever they want

 in Blog
When it comes to venture funded startups, the script is clear: you need to move to Silicon Valley. This is the epicentre for meeting the “who’s who” and raising money for your tech company. Jason Calacanis trumpets this on his podcast: “Yes, location, location, location. If you want to be in the internet business, immediately leave Tulsa. You need to run like a melon farmer to Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, or New York. That’s it. That’s where…