Making lasagna: the underrated act of building in private
Issue 143: Reducing noise to make huge noise later
Let me be clear on this from the start. Building in public is awesome. One of my favorite books is Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software. Open source your stuff, and share what you’re working on as it’s valuable to the public. These things are all great and I'm not pouring Hatorade on building in public.
KP posted a great tweet about what good attributes of a building in public look like. However, there is a thin line between building in public and Keeping Up With the Kardashians. I’m here to share why building in private is also valuable and underrated, not that building in public is bad. There is no wiser mind in the world who talks about this than Lil Wayne.
Real Gs move in silence, like lasagna" —Lil Wayne
For those who are not familiar with hip-hop, I grabbed an answer from a Quora user who articulates it well:
Since this is a Lil Wayne line, “real G’s” means to be a ‘real gangster’. In gangster/hood/ghetto culture nowadays, and just American culture in general, it’s considered cool and trendy to carry guns, shine them, smoke weed, rob people, etc.
Fake gangsters, which make up most of them, are simply wannabes in search of some direction in their lives, usually naive young people. They like to front and act tough in front of others, but they’re very much weak on the inside.
A real G represents one who will ride and die for their own, one who is there to survive, not have fun brandishing guns. It’s one who is more than happy to not show the whole world what their lifestyle is, because it’s none of their business.
A real G moves in secret, discreetly, in silence like the letter ‘G’ in ‘‘lasagna’, hence the double meaning.
What started as a joke with Justin Gordon is going to be a thing. From now on, let’s call the act of building in private, “making lasagna.” This activity is letting them cook behind the scenes, low-key, and focused. While people are making noise in public, much of the deep work and big ideas are happening behind the scenes. It's not about access or being exclusive, it's about the ability to have more in-depth conversations. When you collaborate in public, a lot of conversations happen at the surface level with many people. Making lasagna allows you to curate a smaller group to get meaningful work done. Whether it's looking for a new job, building a side project, or another endeavor, I've found making lasagna more beneficial than building in public for a few reasons.
Hype leads to celebrating what you haven't accomplished
It's difficult to parse who is authentic about building in public and who is a fraud. I don’t judge or try to speculate. Instead, let the results tell the story. There is a saying in the NFL for players who score touchdowns: “Act like you’ve been there before.” The saying reminds professionals not to excessively celebrate a touchdown and have a mindset of the normalcy of scoring and not making a big deal out of it. This is my sentiment about focusing too much on hype. Some people are way too good at marketing themselves. Ship the product before you start selling hoodies.
Making lasagna alleviates the pressure
The biggest benefit of making lasagna is not worrying about the pressure. Though I understand why people like to put things out to the world to hold them accountable, I think it’s a mistake. There is nobody in the world who should hold you accountable than yourself and nobody has more skin in the game than you. Why ask someone else to do it? What often happens is you then put pressure on yourself and it ends in disappointment if you don’t deliver, or even worst, you get used to being flaky. Build in private and hold yourself accountable in private.
Being discreet fosters depth
It’s very difficult to get to a level of depth in conversation and collaboration in public. I prefer to be discreet and feel it’s more productive. Making lasagna means you don't have to focus on the external noise of what you're building. You're dedicating all the energy to the output you're looking to launch
Save the noise for launching
The former marketer in me tells you that making noise about your product launches is not only great…it’s necessary. That said, you want to make the noise count. Making too much noise in the wrong places might loss of attention. Be the giant sleeping people dismiss. If you opt not to worry about the early noise as you're building, what you launch will rock everyone's socks off.
The best things built in private are ones focused on the long game. If you're working on something ambitious, give it time and focus. Not everything has to be manifested to the world. I assure you it'll be rewarding when you reveal it to the world.
Be a real G, make lasagna.
The weekly recap
It’s been so impressive how fast Darya is shipping. Shader is killing it!
The Lakers are heading to the conference finals!
I joined Replit. I can't think of a company that has a better fit for me when it comes to People, Product, and Purpose.
Tweet of the week
A Rochester wiz kid: At 15, he's already been coding for years
The biggest beneficiary of the AI space race by Talia Goldberg
I love the Kardashians BTW