Question 168 of 365: When are we ready to fulfill our promises?

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Making promises is one of the easiest things that I have ever done. They just roll off my tongue after a while. In fact, so long as I am talking to someone that is interesting enough, I will continue to make promises just to keep the conversation going. So long as I can believe in the moment that whatever I am selling is in some way connected to reality, I can justify my promises.

I have promised that Open Spokes would be a platform for answering questions and collaboration. I have promised that we will be able to record webcam video on the fly. I have promised an engaging display and ratings system for the question pages.

I have promised all of these things in the hopes that if I said them enough, theree would be some hope of them becoming true. It is as if I wanted to wish them into being. And as it turns out, I mostly have.

Somehow, thorough all of my high hopes, the system started to work. It started to perform the way that I always knew it could. And yet, I still held it back. I have a working product, one that I think has a huge amount of potential, and I am holding it back for fear that it will be judged too harshly. I have not written about it because I have been worried about people finding out that I am a fraud, that my promises weren’t everything that they were cracked up to be.

I delayed the launch and the testing phase because I wanted things to be perfect. I wanted to avoid the appearance that we are just toting with the idea of what is possible. I have been keeping things under tight wraps, holding on the simple piece of information that Open Spokes is open as of today.

While I am still maintaining that this is a soft open, you can go in and register for an account here. You can then go in and ask your questions and record your reflections. You can share your questions on any social media platform you wish and seek to get responses from others who sign up for an account.

While that may sound nice and technical, it is nothing short of terrifying for me to say those words. The idea I am encouraging people to start actively trying to play in the playground that I have created (co-created with my partner, actually) is so freeing and damning at the same time.

I think my biggest fear isn’t that people won’t like it, but that supporting and developing it will become all consuming. My fear is that it will become something that people actually rely upon.

It is so much easier to believe that you can shut down your project or company at any point and not have any further ramifications outside of yourself. After you have actual users, though, it isn’t yours any more. It is theirs.

That may be the one thing that we miss most in developing new spaces. We miss the fact that simply launching them and having others make them a part of their lives is hugely vulnerable. So, we may try to secretly sabotage our work so that we can go and slink away from it if necessary. With one foot always out the door, it is safer.

Safer, but not as spectacular. Standing beside your creation proudly and proclaiming that it is good is the only way to insure that it actually is good. I guess that is what I am doing. I’m stating for the record that some of the biggest promises I have made in the last 9 months are actually coming true.

Please, go and see for yourself.

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  1. Jacqueline L Cahill

    My two cents of a response:

    “Making promises is one of the easiest things that I have ever done. They just roll off my tongue after a while. ”
    In one breath, my response is that I know you fairly well and you always come through on your promises; however, tread lightly, do not allow yourself to use this word without meaning because it is a verbal contract that if you made it to me and didn't come through (and I didn't know you) I'd move on and never look back. You'd then burn a bridge not only with me but with all of my possible contacts and future business. You keeping your promises (showing that you have integrity) is one of the many reasons I respect, support, and would encourage others to take your business card.

    “I delayed the launch and the testing phase because I wanted things to be perfect.”
    Perfection is only in the imagination not reality…don't ever let this stop you or hold you back.

    “I wanted to avoid the appearance that we are just toting with the idea of what is possible.”
    This I have the utmost respect for…don't rush it…make sure it is solid with tweaking necessary, so you are taken seriously.

    “I have been keeping things under tight wraps, holding on the simple piece of information that Open Spokes is open as of today.”
    CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    “I think my biggest fear isn’t that people won’t like it, but that supporting and developing it will become all consuming. My fear is that it will become something that people actually rely upon.”
    Fear is natural response to showing something you've invested your time and passion. Encourage it and let it become something people rely on…accept and savor that will occur. 🙂

    “So, we may try to secretly sabotage our work so that we can go and slink away from it if necessary. With one foot always out the door, it is safer.”
    Safer…in this statement in my eyes equates to suffocating.

    “Safer, but not as spectacular. Standing beside your creation proudly and proclaiming that it is good is the only way to insure that it actually is good. I guess that is what I am doing. I’m stating for the record that some of the biggest promises I have made in the last 9 months are actually coming true.”
    GODSPEED!!! I'm excited for you!!!

  2. You are such an encouraging force. I hope that you can help me start to
    think through all of the applications for Open Spokes. There is a lot that I
    am just missing by being so close to it. Do you have any folks who might be
    interested in recording a few reflections? Or would you be interested in
    doing your own reflections from ISTE in there?

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