Localhost Trap

In the 2000 film How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Jim Carrey recited his to-do list, and one item was especially salient: “Solve world hunger, tell no one.” What a concept! Only someone with a heart two sizes too small could create a beautiful and necessary thing and then deprive the world of its value!

Creators owe it to the world to share the things they make—meals, songs, products—yet they struggle to launch their work. Be it perfectionism, avoidance of criticism, or deep-seated self-sabotage, many creators fall into the Localhost Trap.

Like a writer who types into a text editor before submitting an article to his publisher, a software developer builds applications “offline” on her laptop. She writes code and tests it on a “localhost.” Working in private is part of the creative process, but it’s easy to tinker away in private forever.

What’s the good in writing the next great American novel if you leave it in your desk drawer, never to see the light of day? I’ve done this countless times (albeit with not-so-great stories).

How could we reduce the “time to daylight” for creative work? Like the song “This Little Light of Mine”—don’t hide your creation under a bushel. Give it some light! Decent in public is better than perfect in private, so don’t feel embarrassed or guilty for sharing a half-baked project. At worst, nobody will care. But, more likely, someone will find value.