The web makes being a creator easier than ever before. Creators of digital things need no raw materials and no expensive machinery to get started. A computer, an idea, some talent and hard work can turn out a product that makes the lives and businesses of thousands of people better.
Many of the products, services and websites I use in the course of my work are created by individuals and small teams. I didn’t give this a lot of thought until we became a small software vendor with the launch of our product Perch in 2009. When you make a thing that other people use; you really care about your product and the experience people have with it. I can’t stress enough how happy a positive bit of feedback can make you. Equally, a harsh review from a frustrated user can feel devastating.
Armed with this knowledge I try to remember to tell makers when I love their product, rather than just assuming my continued use shows that I am happy. I also try to phrase criticism in a way that is constructive, kind and helpful. We often find that our greatest fans are our toughest critics. They love the product and want us to continue improving it and their suggestions often go into the product. Makers want your feedback as well as your praise.
Have a look at the products and services you use. Which are made by individuals or small teams? Which of them would you really miss if they disappeared? Have you ever dropped the maker a note via email or Twitter to say how much you love using their work? If not, why not do that today?