13. The Momentum Creates the Art, not the Initial Inspiration: “Crack the Whip”

The highlights and notes are derived from Section III: Chapter 13 of the Book, The Heart to Start, by David Kadavy.

Let’s give ourselves permission to Begin:

When you find yourself in the thickness of pursuing a goal or dream, stop only to rest. Momentum builds success.

Suzy Kassem

“It’s hard to believe, but that’s why a whip cracks – it’s traveling faster than the speed of sound.”

“The tip ends up traveling so fast, it breaks the sound barrier.”

“There’s no way you could move the tip of the whip that fast without this momentum.”

“But, with the help of momentum, it just takes a flick of the wrist to get that kind of speed.”

“It’s the same thing with many projects. You can’t begin with some of the tougher details in mind.”

“when you approach these projects the way you would crack a whip, these harder details come more easily. You build so much momentum that you force yourself to learn the tougher parts because you’re so excited about the power of the idea you’ve created.”

Cards against your “Art”

“If they (creators of cards against humanity) had focused on these harder details too early, they would have worn themselves out. They also wouldn’t have had that energy available to concentrate on what would really lead to their success – making a great game.”

“Instead, the Cards Against Humanity creators started with the part of the project that was easier for them. They harnessed their love of fun games and used that to motivate them. The harder details of selling a game became easier because they knew people wanted to buy it. Max Temkin recalled his philosophy at the time:

“I’m not thinking about this as a business person. I’m thinking about this as someone who just wants to contribute something to the culture. There’s a joyfulness in that I can put this into the world, and it’s making people laugh.”

Max Temkin

“Thanks to their commitment to making people laugh instead of concentrating too early on the hard parts of manufacturing a game, Cards Against Humanity has become a cultural sensation.”


“Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes didn’t worry about what it would take to create one of the top recipe sites on the Internet. She just posted her recipes one at a time. The site wasn’t even called Simply Recipes when she started – it was just her personal website. She didn’t have a fancy content-management system – she coded each page by hand. She worked with the skills she had and the motivation to take her mind off her illness. Momentum built as her site grew in popularity.”

“Jeff Goins, author of Real Artists Don’t Starve, didn’t worry about all the details of writing a Wall Street Journal bestseller. He started by writing on his blog for an hour each day before work. His blog led to several books, each one building momentum to write the next one, each one better than the last.”

“Nick Gray, the friend who told me about putting a stack of books in front of himself, cracked the whip when he started Museum Hack. He didn’t start off worrying about how to build partnerships to give museum tours in cities across the country. He simply gave free tours to his friends, talking about the pieces in the museum that he was excited about. It wasn’t until so many people were asking to go on his tours that he finally had to start charging. It started with what Nick could do easily, and the success helped motivate him to do the harder parts later.”

It’s time, you know what to do.

“Telling someone to just get started isn’t always enough. As we’ve seen in this book, there are many forces that make that advice hard to follow. But, there is fuel you can find and there are mental barriers you can overcome to make it happen. That start can build the momentum for one explosive finish after another.”

“I never would have predicted exactly where I’d end up going. The mere thought would have been too intimidating. I would have curled up in fear on my beige carpet. My little start of writing that first blog post in my cubicle was all the motivation I could muster at that point. But it built momentum for me to write another blog post, then another.”

“I didn’t know where this would take me, but having enough motivation to invest in taking my project to the next level was a whip crack in itself.”

Next chapter: Epilogue.

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