I started this post before the New Year, and it sat in drafts for a long time.
It was never meant to be a prediction post, so the title makes it feel a bit funny. Still, I kept it because this year, the side project seems more common than ever.
Maybe it’s a function of Portland or maybe a function of the geeky crowd with which I associate, but it seems like everyone has so many side projects, that you wonder about their front one (or ones).
As an example, Shizzow started out as a side project for a handful of good people I know here in Portland. They all had full-time gigs (some still do), and Shizzow was a pet project they hoped would take shape. It has (and is awesome), and having at least one side project seems to be the norm, not the exception.
Every time I go to a meetup (like BarCamp Portland last weekend), I chat with people about their side projects. We even had a meetup about how to bump your side project to a full-blown startup, aptly named From Side Project to Startup, and there are places like TechShop (now in Portland and Menlo Park) where you can work on those projects.
We all give 12+ hours to real work each day, then split the remaining hours between family and our side projects, with a sprinkling of recreation depending on the week. Oh, and sleep sometimes.
Didn’t used to be so common, from what I remember, or maybe I just didn’t notice.
I’ve seen this pay off for projects like Shizzow, but many really great ideas never get off the ground because of time constraints. Makes you wonder.
Used to be you had to sign an NDA before speaking in hushed tones about side projects, or maybe that was just in the Bay Area. Now, people don’t seem as guarded.
Is this a function of our geekiness, i.e. we like to create stuff and push boundaries and have technical savvy to do so? Does it matter where you live or what you do for a living? Are your side projects technical, or do you dabble in other pursuits for a change? Or both?
I’m guessing they’ve always been there, you know that thing you’d really like to do if you only had the time/money/both, but is it easier to make them reality now?
Interested to hear your thoughts, including your side projects, if you have any and want to share.