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TB#20: The Biggest Mistake in Building Online


It’s been almost a week since I launched the first iteration of BUILD28, my new (and currently almost the only) truly active project.

BUILD28 is a side business about teaching people to…build a side business!

Talk about inception!

I’m not going to lie, I’m doing it mostly for me. Obviously, it’s great if I can help or inspire you to build with it, but the main outcome from this round is consolidating my thoughts, knowledge and lessons under one roof.

And after the first round, I will just put a price tag on it, and move on to build something else (more on that later).

Because building…building never stops.

Anyway, this round reminded me of something that I also have done far more than I’m comfortable to admit.

“Oh, it’s free so there’s no harm in…”

Signing Up Just in Case

That’s it!

Signing up just in case:

  • In case you find the time one day,
  • In case you will be motivated one day to act on it,
  • In case you will miss out if you don’t sign up right now!

In case, in case, in case!

Here’s a hard pill to swallow: That “in case” has never happened in the history of mankind, and it never will.


That case simply does not exist.

Signing up just in case is another form of dopamine-driven feelgood that is just so incredibly common right now.

And eventually it will happen. The people collecting courses will realise they have wasted countless of brain cycles of precious bandwidth on thinking on taking action rather than taking action.

And collecting courses will not give the kick anymore.

Because we get fed up with everything eventually.

Jurassic Park had it Spot On

Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

Michael Crichton (Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park)

In a world where everything is easily and freely accessible, we all just can.

We can, so much.

The frontal lobe is the scientist of the brain. It does the thinking. But a free shiny thing seems to be irresistible even for its smart sensemaking devices, triggering an instant “give it to me now” reaction.

You know, just in case.

And because we can.

Just in case + because we can = disaster


OK, so I want us to think more about if we should.

So let’s do something about it.

Improve Decision-Making

Let’s keep this simple and actionable:

Before downloading yet another free course, ask yourself questions:

  • “Will I really use this?”,
  • “If I start to use this, how much time will it take?”, and
  • “If I start to use this, will if compromise my ongoing goals?”.

I guarantee, the answer to the last one will be “yes” quite often.

And that alone should signal you to not download it.

And now I can sense you thinking “but what’s the harm?”

The devil is in the details.

Every single freebie means you’ll get more email (what, you thought the people giving out these don’t have any long-term intentions in mind?)

Every single freebie means clutter in different places: Your Notion, different login details to dozens of places… and one day you’ll see it, and you’re tempted to login, just to waste another 5 minutes looking at the course of leaving it open in a tab somewhere. Then the tab steals your focus the next day…

Just ask me how I know!

We’re in this boat together.

Strategic Digital Minimalism

Finding the sweet spot is the goal.

To have enough resources at hand to learn anything you need, whenever you need, but not too much so that it becomes a burder.

And then apply what you learn, one thing at a time, one project at a time, one task at a time (tunnel-focus).

That’s the way to make the needle move.

Fight distraction.

Embrace focus.

And not to add more resources to complicate your life “just in case.”

Let’s do this!

And I’ll see you here next week again.


About the author 

Simo Hosio  -  Simo is an award-winning scientist, Academy Research Fellow, research group leader, professor, and digital builder. This site exists to empower people to build passion projects that support professional growth and make money.

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