Obvious to you, amazing to others

I was looking into a Derek Sivers quote1: “What’s obvious to you is amazing to others.” I found this video from a set of videos he made as previews for Anything You Want.

Obvious to you. Amazing to others. — Derek Sivers (Video)

I’d love to make 1-2 minute videos like this. Digestible. It’d give me a project to apply different things I want to learn.

In Apprenticeship Patterns, one of the patterns involves having a personal project. You can apply programming concepts on something you’re personally invested in. It’s in application that you really learn things.

Here are some of the different things I’ve wanted to learn that I could practice by creating short videos like this.

  • I’ve wanted to learn illustration and animation. I can’t currently draw and animate, so I can start with Keynote presentations and animations.
  • I’ve wanted to learn to tell better stories. Short videos would need nice, tight narratives to be interesting.
  • I’ve wanted to learn to improve as a writer. The videos would need to start with writing. Whether it’s dialogue or descriptions of what will show up. It starts with words.

Someday it’d be nice for any of those things to be obvious to me.

And some things that are obvious to me that might be amazing to others:

  • My workflow going from Google Docs to Jekyll for blog posts
  • The logistics of moving to New York — this process still isn’t obvious to me but I at least have the clarity provided by hindsight
  • Making GIFs — some people have absolutely no idea how

I’ll keep thinking about this because god I hope that isn’t the full list.

  1. I heard this quote on Goins’s podcast in episode 111: Unlikely Sources of Inspiration. He talks about the echo chamber we can be in.