Discover more from Plan Your Next
The collaborative upside
👋 Good morning from Los Angeles! I'm Nate Kadlac, and this is Plan Your Next—a Sunday newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.
And a special thanks to Abhishek, Scott, and Dupaski for supporting this newsletter in the past week!
💡 What’s new?
🏴☠️ Figma Thinkers beta cohort sold out in under a week! Over the next four weeks, we have a diverse group of UX researchers, indie consultants, marketing directors, and biz dev folks becoming more persuasive visual thinkers.
🎲 Working with friends to build and acquire a number of online casual games (think Sudoku or Kakuro) as we focus on creating a game studio as a force for good. More to come on this soon, but you’re welcome to see how I concept and build out sites in Figma.
Last week, I was on vacation in San Diego with my family staring out at the ocean inside our AirBnB with a sinus infection and pink eye. I could hardly breathe and suffered from Tsunami headaches while missing out on the Jurassic Park Museum and the San Diego Zoo with my daughter.
My daughter walked in from these trips like she had made new bonds with everyone, and ol’ dada was the chump who missed out.
I was instead spending my days on telehealth apps trying to stuff my face with as many meds as possible. I rarely take anything and so when the opportunity rises, prescribe me everything, please.
Everything that required my 100% attention failed to get finished. Things like this newsletter, client work, and parental duties fell off a cliff. Antibiotics for both my eye and sinus infection left me looking and feeling like Sloth from the Goonies.
But this letter isn’t about how bad I felt. It’s about what got done while I was incapable of being anything but productive
The week prior, Tom and I were finishing up eight consecutive weeks of building Figma Thinkers in public and had just launched the doors to our beta cohort. If I were running this by myself, I don’t think I could have even summoned the energy to throw an announcement to our email list or online.
Collaborative risk mitigation
It’s enticing to start projects by yourself. No risk no reward, right? 100% upside—and if it fails—you won’t let anyone down except yourself.
Many of my past projects have failed because of this perspective. Either I couldn’t find a product market fit fast enough, I got bored with an idea, or money ran out.
It’s also easy to blame yourself if you lack the mental wiring to publicly talk about your projects, or whether to lock yourself in from getting any real feedback.
But to reduce the risk of many of these outcomes, it might make sense to partner with a collaborator, even if the project feels too small to split the equity.
My latest partnership has been with Tom on Figma Thinkers. Before that, I partnered with Salman on Drawing for Writers using Procreate.
If you look at these projects at the surface level, you might not think they deserve a 50/50 split between two solopreneurs. We all have other creative projects, client projects, and other businesses to look after.
With Figma Thinkers, this is exactly the type of business that could fail or never get enough fuel to get off the ground quickly enough if it were just one of us running it independently. Between the two of us, we can cover all aspects of running a business with ease, and keep each other motivated with ideas and the ability to create.
Neither of us needs to ditch everything else we’re working on, and the speed at which we can work is at least 2-3x because we’re testing ideas with each other first, iterating quickly behind the scenes, and doing what we can to test each iteration in real-time along the way.
We’re still early and figuring out the potential upside of the business, but this is the same problem that Adam Wathan and Steve Schoger had when building blind an early version of Tailwind UI, then later co-authoring the book Refactoring UI. That book and framework found a niche and has now passed four million in revenue.
Collaborating with others gives you the chance to think bigger, and to force us to imagine how a business might support two guys with families.
And when you have a partner like Tom during launch week while your face is full of mucus, you can trust that your business is going to be all right.
Your next creative hit
⏰ How to take better breaks (and actually take them) is a great article by Clo S. on steps you can take to be more digitally mindful. Highly recommend subscribing to her weekly newsletter here.
🎨 What makes design, “good?” An analysis of four sites and how they all achieve good balance through type, color, contrast, and layout.
The best way to visually breakup an interface is with a shift of background colors. This shift creates the illusion of a foreground (which will draw the users’ attention first) and background. — Sarah Gibbons and Kelley Gordon