Realizing something about building products for me. When I need to enable something new, I think about it in terms of verbs, not nouns.
For example, while taking another pass on the design of a new “categories” system for Write.as, I started asking myself the fundamental questions: why even add this at all? Does it add anything, besides satisfying a requirement for someone? What’s the galaxy-brain view on a feature like this?
At first thought, categories seem superfluous to me, personally. I don’t need or really want them — I hear “categories” and think “management.” Blech, no thank you. But some larger customers need it, and it will help things behind the scenes.
Still the feature didn’t make sense until I figured out the verb of it all. So on Write.as, categories won’t be about categorizing — putting things in constrained little boxes, for yourself and your readers, giving you new work to keep you busy and distracted from doing the real work (writing).
Instead, categories are the next, more orderly, stage of tagging.
For most writers, you might start tagging your posts only when you want to keep things organized. But it’s optional! You don’t have to organize anything if you don’t want to, and I love that.
But if you do, I feel like tagging is an organic growth from the content. The type of writers I want to build for don’t start a blog with a perfect, unchanging list of topics to write about. They write to explore, and then common themes arise from the writing itself.
So, categories are more like these organic themes or topics that arise from your writing. They solidify and bring more order to the previous stage, tagging — or they can be explicitly created if you feel the need. But first and foremost, categories aren’t things, but merely processes that are born out of your work.