Martin Rue

I build things on the internet.

Make Cool Shit

Since the second I learned to code I've been making stuff. I don't mean startups, or stuff I've done at work, I mean art.

Whenever an idea comes to me and I think "Yeah! It'd be cool to make that!" I invariably do.

This post is inspired by some really nice comments I received today from people who use something I made – something that was once just an idea in my head. In fact, 1500 people now use it.

3 years ago a new network appeared. Similar to the web, but not the web. Radically simpler, and for most people, much too simple to be interesting.

I noticed that a few hundred people were using it to write content and share their thoughts. I even found a few people writing about Esperanto. I was sold! The network has a non-commercial vibe, and reminded me of my early days of the Internet.

So I hung out, read stuff, and browsed just like the good old days.

And here's my first point regarding creativity: be in places, experience things, follow your curiosity, experiment. Be doing things.

There's nothing new under the sun. The "new" things are just remixes, put together by people who've listened to way more music than you. It feels new, but it was obvious to its creator because they were in the places and doing the things that made it obvious to them.

After a while it dawned on me that people couldn't contribute anything on this network without hosting their own server. Even in 2021, that's not common or easy for the average person.

That's when the idea hit me. In theory, I could make my own version of a Twitter-like app. Much simpler, but it could allow people to follow each other, and more importantly, contribute their thoughts and ideas openly and freely.

It was also appealing from a technical perspective. There were no frameworks to use. This was not the web. This was socket programming, and creating everything from scratch.

It was a blank canvas and a delightful challenge. So, I made it.

Over the past 3 years I've hosted and maintained it, added new features, and made sure that if more people want to use it, they can. It grew from about 5 people in the first few weeks to almost 1500 now, and continues to grow and serve a purpose.

My second and final point:

It wasn't, and isn't important to me that this is "successful", or earns money – just that I followed my artistic calling to make this thing from scratch. In doing so I got to practise my art, build something cool, and I accidentally picked up some new friends and created a new tribe.

The world can be as crazy and weird as you like. It's up to you to make it that way for yourself.

Make cool shit.

Follow your interests, experiment and play around.

Make your art for its own sake.

Share it.