In their book Rework
, entrepreneurs Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson write that whenever you’re creating something new, there are forces pulling you in a variety of directions.
There’s the stuff you could do, the stuff you want to do, and the stuff you have to do.
Fried and Heinemeier Hansson recommend you start with the stuff you have to do – this is your epicenter.
Imagine you’re opening a hot dog stand. You might be tempted to worry about the cart, the condiments, the decoration, or the name. But you should first focus on the hot dogs – they are your epicenter. Everything else is secondary.
A hot dog stand isn’t a hot dog stand without the hot dogs. You can take away the mustard, onions, or relish. Some people may not like your hot dogs because they don’t have those condiments, but you would still have a hot dog stand.
You can find the epicenter of what you’re creating by asking, If I took this away, would what I’m selling still exist?
If what you’re creating will still exist without some element, then that element is not your epicenter.
Once you find the epicenter, Fried and Heinemeier Hansson suggest you focus all your energy on making it as good as it can be: “Everything else you do depends on that foundation.”