Creative Principles

Build For Humans

Creating works that embrace what’s intuitive, while simultaneously imparting a powerful user experience, is our benchmark. What’s built means little if others have no channel of access. Great code without documentation is a great machine without a blueprint: difficult to understand, reproduce, or modify later. It's insufficient for present or future. In documenting creation, use images, break conventions, write with clarity and depth in order to sustain know-how.

Experiment For Lasting Success

Dive into a project with well mapped logic and fearless abandon. Linking unlike elements or those no one has thought to link is the heart of experimentation and deepest well of discovery. Design a little, build a little, deploy a little, and repeat. Stopping when right in a small way is an enemy of greatness, while taking risks with resilience is your long-term ally. Allow colleagues to go out on a limb without embarrassment. Experimental failures are stepping stones to quality invention.

Support Unintended Uses

Malleability, adaptability, serendipity are hallmarks of nature. Emulate nature. Shake off rigid intention and build for evolution. The strongest and most flexible part of your software should be the interfaces. Build software we can fit together in ways we didn't foresee, with few rules attached. This supports us in crucial moments of insight. Don’t build predictive features; build ones that increase flexibility and overcome artificial limits. Consider a feature with the question "why not?" instead of "why?” Trust yourself and your colleagues to see potential.

Decentralize

Choose many, smaller, well-crafted components over monoliths. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. All master plans fail. Many distributed collaborations and competitions succeed. Make software that slays the tyrant, not software that becomes one.

Value Beauty and Exacting Standards

If you don't see beauty in a work, you either have to keep working or keep looking. If a solution is inelegant, it’s probably wrong. Be merciless with your inventions and creations. Discard them and make better ones. Constructing the beautiful is arduous, though sensing it is innate. You will put aside a thousand mediocrities and make a sublime thing through constant reinvention. Aim for impossible standards that yield impossible beauty.

Search Relentlessly for Perspectives

Pursue the examined life. Only the edge of the iceberg is ever exposed. Don’t gloss. Championing less can be “more” in elegance of execution, but seeing less is a failure of perspective. If we keep looking at the same side from the same angle making the same judgments, we never grasp error or produce profound expression. Change the light, move around, consider scale and negative space. Voraciously expand your knowledge, hone your memory, and ask big questions. Creative vision flows from relentless examination.

Know When

All ideas are appropriate at times and inappropriate at others, including these principles. Consider cues from every science and art, then decide for yourself. Know when to apply an idea and when to pause and take stock.