Building The Future of The Web Takes Builders: Are You One?

When I say the word “builder” what comes to mind? Drudge work? Hands on work? Creative work?

Let’s take a step back in time…

I was sitting in the audience at BlogWorld Expo, listening to Amber Naslund‘s keynote. She had the audience riveted and explained that we’re all really Wayfarers, forging our own paths and leading people along with us in the wild west of the internet.

While that message definitely resonated with me, the piece that made my ears perk up was the idea that we all want to be strategists. We don’t want to be workers, makers, or builders anymore. We want to be thinkers.

This struck me because I’ve often talked about myself as more of an idea person, a strategist, rather than a doer and a builder.

Yet, I know that all the amazing things in my business and life have come from actually taking action and making shit happen.

I was so enthralled with the idea that I went up to the microphone and asked Amber what she thought we could do to encourage more people to be builders.

Her analogy was pretty spot on: We all think the architects are amazing, but the construction guys are pretty hot are they not?

How can you not agree with that kind of logic?

Where are you shirking from your builder self?

As a software engineer I’ve worked at the lowest nitty gritty programming level… all the way to the design specification “big picture” part of a project. I think I enjoy both sides of the coin here, and that’s why I’m able to do the work that I do today.

Without an understanding for what’s going on under the hood, it’s hard to make informed business decisions or come up with strategies when you can’t be sure you’ll be able to implement them.

I always recommend that as a business owner you hire people to do the things you don’t know how to do… with the caveat that even if you’re not the one doing it, you should still learn the basics of how it works.

I’m not saying that we all need to understand how electricity works in order to use it, but it helps when a fuse blows to be able to go in and fix it.

Motivating our builder selves

Make something. Build something. Do the work to bring an idea to life. If it’s not something you actively do anymore, why not?

I love and appreciate my ability to create web sites, and to watch my team design a site, create it, and unveil it.

Is becoming a builder the solution to our economic woes?

It’s easy to think that we shouldn’t have to do the building anymore, that we can outsource it, offshore it, or have someone else deal with it.

That kind of attitude can only lead to less jobs, less control over the quality and sustainability of what we build, and more apathy for our youth.

How can you be the thinker, the strategist, and the idea person without ever playing with the building blocks first?

I speak to a lot of young people who want to become investment bankers. Or maybe they want a cushy “thinking job” that’s removed from all the hands-on work. Guess what? All of these types of jobs tend to be removed from the “real value” that we can create as today’s workforce.

Someone somewhere has to do the building and take action on all this data crunching and idea-churning. Otherwise ideas are useless.

Instead of wanting to abstract yourself from the work, why not get your hands dirty? Dive in, make shit happen, and see what results you get when you’re THAT engaged in your work.

Build on!

I love builders, and if you are a builder I want you to leave a battlecry in the comments.

Let’s use all of our capabilities when it comes to creating and building our businesses.

Keep on building, hiring builders, and encouraging the builders you see around you.
Nathalie Lussier


  1. HeatherT on November 18, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Loved this post Nath. I think this is a struggle that a lot of new entrepreneurs have, not to mention those folks who are still stuck in either a doer or a thinker position, but want a bit of both, and don’t know how to get there! Thanks for posting this. :)

    • NathLussier on November 18, 2011 at 8:42 am

      @HeatherT Yes I totally agree Heather, it’s hard to find the right balance… because you can’t be 100% doer without some thinking, or 100% thinker without doing. :)

  2. ambernaslund on November 18, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Nathalie, LOVE THIS. I think the truth is that even the most strategic of us can’t really get very far unless we’ve spent time actually building on our ideas. Otherwise how do we know that they have potential? I think it sounds like you’ve got a really good grasp on where you are and where you’re headed, and THAT makes me excited. Go for it.

    • NathLussier on November 18, 2011 at 9:02 am

      @ambernaslund Thank you Amber, and thank you for planting that seed and making building important again. :) Yay!

  3. kjellfish on November 18, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Great post Nathalie. I believe you and I walked out of the LA Convention Center together discussing @ambernaslund keynote. I too was blown away by her comments and insight.

    Make something. Build something. It’s a great battle cry. And one I truly believe in as well.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • NathLussier on November 18, 2011 at 10:08 am

      @kjellfish@ambernaslund Yes absolutely, it was great! I’m so glad this message is being spread further because I feel like it’s one of the keys to the big changes and success I see in the future. :)

  4. alisonmacleod on November 23, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    This whole conversation is pretty much why I decided to stop being a researcher and start being someone who helps people construct good stuff (website, online presence and all that jazz). There is something immensely satisfying about making a thing. :-)

    • NathLussier on November 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm

      @alisonmacleod YES Alison I love it! There most definitely is something satisfying about creating. We’re all creators after all. :)