Outrageous Side Projects

Adrian Hanft
2 min readMar 17, 2018

The joy of side projects is that you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself.

Free from the bureaucracy of your day job you can listen to those little voices that would normally get shouted down in business situations.

As Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” But when you are off the clock, you can indulge in outrageous ideas that wouldn’t stand a chance in the face of opposition from professionals with opposing agendas.

Take my side project, Whisper. It grew out of ideas that you wouldn’t dare utter in most corporate environments. For example…

“Do we really need web technology X?”

“I don’t think we need a CMS.”

“Let’s remove our data gathering mechanisms.”

“Let’s get rid of the ads.”

“Let’s reduce our design and let the words stand on their own.”

“Let’s ignore the SEO value of our headlines.”

“Let’s just do the entire website in Markdown.”

Blasphemy, right? Whisper spits in the eye of nearly every professional I know — marketers, designers, developers, SEO gurus, content strategists, data junkies, pretty much anyone that has anything to do with websites.

And that is precisely why Whisper was so much fun to create.

Despite our best intentions, most of our side projects lose steam. We end up binging on Netflix instead of creating things. Is this because we can’t silence the voices from our day jobs telling us no? Remember, when you are working on your own time, you set the rules. Don’t let the limitations of your day job follow you home.

The projects we squeeze into our evenings and weekends need to push limits, otherwise what’s the point? The secret to fulfilling side projects is finding the joy that comes from indulging your most outrageous ideas.

Thanks for reading. I write outrageous things every Saturday so follow me so you don’t miss the next one. Stay creative.



Adrian Hanft

Author of User Zero: Inside the Tool that is Reshaping Dystopia