Pour your heart into what you build

Owning a business is the closest professional endeavor I’ve experienced to having a child. I love what we do at Tenrocket, and the brand we’ve built over the past two and a half years is an authentic representation of who Justin Richards and I are as human beings. People always ask me why we don’t build apps or websites for corporations:

You’re leaving so much money on the table.
You won’t even work with their innovation departments?

About a year ago, we ran a test with a multi-billion dollar corporation based out of Atlanta. What started as a beautiful application empowering employees to pursue innovative ideas slowly evolved into a enterprise solution for extracting and leveraging those ideas for profit. That’s why we don’t build apps for corporations.

Every morning, I depart the train and start the seven-minute walk to my office at Switchyards in downtown Atlanta. During that walk, I almost always have a song playing in my head: the original score from the Pixar movie, Up. That song is my own personal reminder of everything beautiful in life. I picture my wife and remember our first date at a small ice cream shop in Milledgeville. I see images of her with my son, running and playing in the tall grass. Amidst the honking cars and unpredictable weather conditions only Georgia can bring, that score brings to life the awesome beauty of nature. While my eyes take in tall concrete buildings, my mind sees sunlight through the fall leaves.

Many of us are troubled by the slings and arrows of life. We struggle to find meaning and purpose. We seek money and power though our spirit feels poor and weak. In times like these, it’s important to have a compass. Something which guides us back to all that is beautiful and right in the world. For me, it’s that score. What’s your compass?

Most people believe I build products, and they are right on the surface. More accurately, however, I’m a conveyor of emotion. When I create a company, write an article, or speak publicly, I’m trying to express a feeling I hold deeply. Tenrocket is not just a company that builds web and mobile apps in 10 days. It’s a feeling that launching a technology company shouldn’t cost as much as a Mercedes. This article isn’t just a note about how to build products with emotion. It’s a feeling that people get so caught up in worldly pursuits that we miss out on the transcendent nature of love, truth, and beauty.

Whatever you’re working on, be honest and ask if it’s a pure expression of your authentic self. Do you hold a deep feeling about the world? Right down that feeling and hold on to it dearly. Express that feeling through your work. Let it be your compass guiding your actions and daily struggles towards meaning and depth. When others question or doubt you, proudly show them that compass and offer to help them find their own way. We are all together in this life, bound by a shared pursuit. Let emotion be your guide.