5 min read

License to Suck™️

License to Suck™️


The License to Suck™️ (also LTS™️) solves a multi-trillion-dollar interplanetary problem.

Humans with knowledge/value (Creators) withhold it because they're afraid to suck in public - a product of insecurity and false belief.

Humans who need their knowledge/value (Consumers) are robbed.


The LTS™️ is a pact between Creators and Consumers that allows publication of Work that materially or immaterially sucks.


The License to Suck™️ renders the following rights and responsibilities unto creators:

  • To Give Imperfectly: Under the LTS, Creators commit to give the world value as fast as defensible. To release ego and aesthetic preference for the good of others. The LTS™️ permits publication of work as soon as it fulfills its purpose/intent. It allows elements of those works to suck, as long as they benefit one other person.
  • To Iterate Shamelessly: Under the LTS, creators reserve the right to iterate, revise and republish works to improve them for prior and future audiences.
  • To Give More: The LTS™️ fosters careers of contribution. Under the LTS, Creators commit to creating more.
  • To Contribute to Any Audience of One or More: The LTS™️ permits publishing work that benefits anyone, even if it isn't ready for "everyone." It prohibits withholding from the essential few to prepare for the trivial many.
  • To Appreciate Your Audience Today: While striving for stardom or any metric of success, Creators are required to appreciate current audiences, valuing each individual and continuing to create for them.
  • To Create Out of Order: The LTS™️ lifts the illusion that there is a proper or ideal publishing order. It liberates creators to publish, even if desired introductions/sequels aren't ready. Over a lifetime, order of publication will not be remembered. Therefore, as long as one person benefits, the LTS™️ permits immediate publication.

    Remember Star Wars.
  • To Cultivate Habits of Sucking in Public - Under the LTS, creators don't need to fixate on excellence. Excellence is the product of repetition and feedback. Therefore, Creators may focus on developing 2 primary habits, Creating and Publishing.

    Creating develops skills.
    Publishing returns feedback.

    Creators should find the smallest, easiest, most enjoyable ways to do both. In perpetuity. Given enough time and basic aptitude, these habits will produce excellence.

    (Adopted from Atomic Habits, the Bible on habit development).

The License to Suck™️ renders the following rights and responsibilities unto Consumers:

  • To appreciate what is, rather than bemoaning what is not.
  • To contribute constructive feedback, questions and requests.
  • To withhold harshest criticisms or accept your inner troll.
  • To remember that pointing out obvious exceptions communicates that either the Creator isn't smart or you aren't. Be clear. (Credit)
  • To allow some work to suck for you while being good for others. If it can become valuable to you, communicate what's missing/desired. If it cannot, the LTS™️ gives you permission to move on.
  • To offer Creators the benefit of the doubt. To grant opportunities to improve what sucks. If invested in the creator/work, share issues found and paths to resolution. Accept that your definition of suck may differ from the Creator's.

The License to Suck™️ is itself published under the License to Suck™️.
It is intended to be improved over time.

It is a work of Alex Pyatetsky, creator of stuff for smart people.

For updates to the License to Suck™️ and other things that suck to varying degrees, subscribe here.

How to Publish Under the LTS™️

You can publish under the LTS™️ whichever way sucks least for you.

Here's what we recommend:

  • Text-Based: Begin your work with one of the following statements
Version Suck.0 published under the interplanetary License to Suck™️.
This work published under the interplanetary License to Suck™️.
  • Graphical: Embed the following badge that links back to this page at the beginning or end of your work.
This Work Published Under the License to Suck - Badge
Note: White background will automatically appear on non-white pages.

Additional Ideas for Easier Publication (Optional)

  • Consider including "Release Notes"


Release Notes:
Version Suck.0 published under the interplanetary License to Suck™️.

These bullets teach you XYZ.
They assume you understand ABC (link) first.
Sorry for the typos.

More complete, less sucky version to come.
  • Publication doesn't require immediate promotion.

    Creators can Publish sucky versions today so they can share with who they want, how they want.
    Creator's don't have to promote their work while it still sucks.
    They can promote less sucky versions later.

Credits & Stories of Successful Sucking

Nothing is new under the sun.
The ideas formalized in the LTS™️ were born long ago.

  • In 2012, my friend, David Kadavy, multi-time author and host of the Love Your Work podcast, wrote Permission to Suck. Growing up in a house where "A" stood for "Acceptable," "B" stood for "Bad" and "C" stood for "Can you find yourself another family," his post was invaluable to me. The License to Suck™️ synthesizes many of his ideas into a tool for today's Creator. Credit and gratitude to the OG.
  • David Perell is likely the most influential writing teacher today. He keeps a  Notebook on his website. In his words, "if my essays are finished paintings, these are my intellectual sketches." In my words, the Notebook is where David allows himself to suck in public. If the world's best writing teacher does it, maybe you should too.
  • Whether it's the MVP (minimum viable product),  the Alpha or Version 0.01, software developers have embraced sucking in public for decades.

    The LTS™️ does the same for ideas coded in natural language and traditional mediums.

    Linux is likely the greatest open-source achievement of all time. It powers half the internet and most mobile devices.

    Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, famously embraced sucking in public.

    In his words, when you think a version is ready for release, you number it 1.0. Before that, you number it to indicate how far you are from 1.0.

    The first version of Linux posted to ftp was v0.01. It wasn't ready for much.

    Despite its obscurity and uselessness, a tiny group of nerds took interest and sent feedback and bug reports. Linus developed the habit of squashing bugs and improving his OS. Three months later, he released v0.11.

    That’s when a wider audience started using Linux meaningfully.

    At v0.11, Linus suggested that he was 89% away from v1.0. But he already had engaged, grateful users.

    Linus eventually released Linux v1.0.
    And Linux eventually took over the world.

    That's the power of sucking in public.

Invocation to Suck

Now, go forth and suck,
early and often.

In winter and spring,
summer and autumn.

Suck in writing and graphics,
in music and speech.

Suck for the benefit
of all whom you reach.