Developing Perspective

#9 - Just Getting Started


00:00:00   Hello, and welcome to Developing Perspective.

00:00:03   Developing Perspective is a near-daily podcast discussing the news of note in iOS, Apple,

00:00:08   and the like.

00:00:09   I'm your host, David Smith.

00:00:10   I'm an independent iOS developer based in Herndon, Virginia.

00:00:13   This is show number nine, and today is Tuesday, August 9th, 2011.

00:00:19   The format of Developing Perspective is that basically I'll cover a handful of links,

00:00:22   articles, things I found interesting in roughly the last 24 hours, and then move on to a more

00:00:26   general discussion towards the end.

00:00:28   The show will never be longer than 15 minutes.

00:00:31   And without further ado, let's get started.

00:00:33   All right.

00:00:34   Our first article today is over from the Omni group

00:00:37   on their main blog talking about lion adoption.

00:00:41   And it's quite an impressive thing.

00:00:42   They have a chart on there talking

00:00:44   about for across their various platforms.

00:00:47   They can see the OS version that each of those users have.

00:00:52   And then they charted the percent adoption

00:00:54   based on the number of days since release.

00:00:57   And the pretty impressive thing is

00:00:58   that Lion is-- far exceeds by quite a margin

00:01:02   all previous releases that they show here.

00:01:05   Looks like by around day 20, almost 30% of their users

00:01:09   are using Lion.

00:01:11   Whereas it took Snow Leopard, for example, 50 days

00:01:15   to hit that same mark.

00:01:17   So Lion is certainly on track to being very quickly become

00:01:20   the de facto standard for Mac OS, which is quite impressive.

00:01:25   I guess it's helped by its relatively low price,

00:01:28   but also just Apple's marketing seems to be working.

00:01:33   So if you're a Mac developer, that's just good news

00:01:35   that you'll be able to quickly take advantage of all

00:01:37   the cool stuff that Lion has with full screen apps,

00:01:40   versions, et cetera, iCloud coming out this fall.

00:01:43   All right, next, just a quick little note.

00:01:45   This is over from the Pragmatic Bookshelf, who

00:01:48   are purveyors of excellent books for technical reading

00:01:54   and a variety of other things.

00:01:55   I just wanted to point out this week,

00:01:57   they're having a discount where all of their books are 40% off.

00:02:02   If you use the coupon code AgileWeek,

00:02:05   there's some conference, the Agile2001 conference

00:02:08   or something's going on.

00:02:09   But definitely worth looking if you're

00:02:10   thinking of grabbing one of these books.

00:02:11   There's definitely some good ones that they have.

00:02:13   So this is a good time to pick one up if you're interested.

00:02:18   Next, over on Stack Overflow, there's

00:02:20   a great thread that was started talking

00:02:22   about trying to create a definitive guide to forms-based

00:02:25   web authentication.

00:02:27   And essentially, this is trying to collect

00:02:30   a collection of best practices for if you're ever creating

00:02:33   a web application for setting them up,

00:02:36   what kind of form should you use?

00:02:38   Always remembered.

00:02:40   It's like Remember Me links, those types of things.

00:02:42   It's trying to kind of create a compendium of things of note

00:02:47   and best practices for that.

00:02:48   So if you're looking to make a website

00:02:50   or just curious about that kind of stuff,

00:02:52   Definitely worth checking out.

00:02:54   Next, over on-- this is on the newyorktimes.com,

00:02:58   but they have an article about Kickstarter

00:03:01   and talking a bit about its beginnings, how it's worked,

00:03:04   those types of things.

00:03:05   And Kickstarter, if you're not familiar,

00:03:07   is this really interesting site that sort of crowdsources

00:03:10   investing in new projects.

00:03:12   So say I come up with an idea, hey, I

00:03:14   want to build an iPod stand.

00:03:17   I can go on Kickstarter and say, I need a couple-- say $2,000

00:03:20   to build that, to get the prototype going,

00:03:22   to get the molds, et cetera.

00:03:23   And I can essentially sell that via QuickStarter

00:03:27   in small chunks to lots of people.

00:03:29   So I get several, several hundred people each give me $20.

00:03:33   For that $20, I'll send them a stand when it first comes out

00:03:35   and so on.

00:03:37   This is just a really interesting article talking about its

00:03:39   origins and start and just some of the dynamics of it,

00:03:43   which is definitely worth a read.

00:03:46   Next, this is a more general link,

00:03:49   But recently, if you are at all paying attention

00:03:54   to markets and the economy, you'll

00:03:57   notice that it's been a pretty rough week for the economy.

00:04:01   I think yesterday, I think it was the S&P was down 6.5%,

00:04:06   all kinds of crazy things like that.

00:04:08   And most I'm bringing this up, it's not necessarily

00:04:10   developer related, but it's more related.

00:04:12   If you're an independent person, financial management

00:04:15   is certainly something that you need to be aware of

00:04:18   and be far more involved in than you would be potentially

00:04:22   if you were just a salaried employee.

00:04:24   However, so there's some interesting articles

00:04:29   over on Mark Cuban's blog, which is called Blog Maverick,

00:04:33   talking about different stocks and investing things

00:04:36   that I've just been finding very interesting recently to get

00:04:38   some perspective, get some depth about investing

00:04:43   and what's currently going on in the market.

00:04:45   So just a thought I'd throw it out there.

00:04:48   All right, and our last link today is over on coffee habitat.

00:04:52   And so now we're getting back a bit more into developer

00:04:55   territory talking about coffee.

00:04:57   But basically, there's an interesting article

00:04:59   talking about what organic really means for coffee.

00:05:03   As someone who buys a lot of coffee, especially

00:05:06   whole bean, single origin kind of things,

00:05:09   it's actually something that I've been curious about.

00:05:11   What does that actually mean?

00:05:12   What does it mean that they're not using?

00:05:14   What are they actually-- how does it

00:05:16   impact the actual farming of the beans and so on?

00:05:19   Is it something that I'm benefiting from when I buy organic beans as opposed to buying,

00:05:25   I guess, conventional beans?

00:05:26   This is a really interesting article.

00:05:28   It kind of walks through the things that they can use, the things they can't use, who's

00:05:33   doing the certification, some of the things to avoid, and really the benefits thereof.

00:05:37   So definitely worth checking out if you are at all interested in kind of what organic

00:05:43   coffee is and how it's different.

00:05:46   All right, and then now I will move over

00:05:48   into our more general discussion.

00:05:50   And today is kind of a special day for me.

00:05:53   So this is episode nine, like I said,

00:05:56   which as a result of having 11 beta episodes

00:06:00   at the beginning of a developing perspective

00:06:03   when I was kind of getting the kinks worked out,

00:06:05   means that this is the 20th episode of Developing

00:06:07   Perspective.

00:06:09   That number in and of itself isn't especially significant.

00:06:11   It's 20 episodes.

00:06:13   It isn't a very large number, but it's important to me

00:06:17   because of the origins of the podcast itself.

00:06:21   So about a month ago, I was listening to Back to Work,

00:06:24   which is a five by five show with Merlin Mann and Dan

00:06:27   Benjamin.

00:06:28   And back in-- it was July 5, 2011.

00:06:32   They had a show, and essentially what they were talking about

00:06:34   was starting.

00:06:36   They were talking about what it is to get going,

00:06:38   it is to start working on a new project, working on something new, and kind of getting started

00:06:48   on that. And what are the things that hold you back? What are the things that get you

00:06:53   going? And one of the things that during the show, Merlin had said, was his best advice

00:07:00   to someone who wants to start a blog, and this is an example, is you need to just do

00:07:07   it. Sit down for 30 days and write every day and publish once or twice a week. That was

00:07:15   his advice. And he says that will allow you to A) see if it's for you, see if you really

00:07:20   like it, see if you have the ability to make this work, etc. And that was interesting advice

00:07:26   to me. For a long time, I thought about starting a podcast. I like blogging a little bit, but

00:07:32   I'm not an especially good writer, I feel like I'm a bit more able to communicate verbally

00:07:37   than I am in the written form. And so I was like, "Well, let's give that a go. I've been

00:07:42   toying with this idea for a long time and it's something that I've thought about, and

00:07:45   rather than just wasting all this time thinking about it, I may as well just do it, see what

00:07:49   it's like." And so Developing Perspective was born. And so for me, it was insignificant

00:07:55   to finally get to the one-month mark. That's where I am today. This is the 20th episode,

00:08:01   I do five episodes a week.

00:08:02   Here we are.

00:08:03   20 episodes, I've hit my goal.

00:08:06   I've got to say, it's kind of satisfying and very interesting

00:08:08   to actually hit that point.

00:08:10   It's really enjoyable to finally be at a point where it's like,

00:08:13   you know, I did it.

00:08:15   It's not something that if I had just started

00:08:17   and it kind of falls off over time, it's no, I did it.

00:08:21   And here we are.

00:08:23   A couple of things that I learned

00:08:25   that I think would be very sort of more generally applicable.

00:08:29   First was, A, it was good to have a goal, a very specific

00:08:33   goal.

00:08:33   I wanted to make a month worth of podcasts.

00:08:37   And my goal, obviously, more generally, that broader goal

00:08:40   is, oh, I want to create a successful podcast,

00:08:42   those types of things.

00:08:43   But by making the goal very specific, by making it--

00:08:48   I'm only going to do--

00:08:50   I think they call it a smart goal.

00:08:51   But I want to do 20 episodes, one month worth

00:08:55   of daily podcast.

00:08:59   Let's do it.

00:08:59   And that was really the only--

00:09:02   having that goal be so specific made it much easier

00:09:04   to get going.

00:09:05   If I had said, hey, I want to start a podcast,

00:09:08   and it's not really in a specific way, it's like, oh,

00:09:11   I'll record an episode whenever I have good content,

00:09:13   whenever something crosses my mind as good and worthwhile,

00:09:16   I probably wouldn't have gotten to this point.

00:09:18   It would have been something that I would have done, hey,

00:09:20   I did it once.

00:09:21   Then maybe a week later, I do one.

00:09:22   Then maybe it's 10 days till my next one.

00:09:24   And then it's like a month until I'm like, wait,

00:09:26   do I do a podcast?

00:09:27   I think I do.

00:09:30   So having it be daily, I think, was important.

00:09:32   And having it have a specific goal that I'm trying to hit,

00:09:35   that I wasn't going to give up until at least I

00:09:37   got to that point.

00:09:39   Something else I learned that I thought

00:09:41   was also very helpful for me was to have an intermediate goal

00:09:44   as part of that.

00:09:46   So for me, that was I started off--

00:09:48   and if you go back and listen to episode one, which

00:09:50   I'd be kind of embarrassed if you did, but if you did,

00:09:53   you'll notice that it was recorded using a USB headset.

00:09:57   And you'll notice that because the audio quality is terrible.

00:10:00   It is just an awful sound.

00:10:02   And you know, that's what you kind of expect.

00:10:05   It's just a cheap USB $15 headset that I was recording with.

00:10:08   But I'd said to myself, I'm not going to allow myself to kind of get wrapped up in the

00:10:14   technology and the process of what I'm doing until I'm sort of committed to the craft

00:10:20   itself.

00:10:21   You know, essentially, I'm not going to worry about which pen I'm writing my novel in until

00:10:27   I have a good idea and I'm actually committed to writing the novel.

00:10:31   And so instead, what I said is, once I got to about the halfway point, at that point,

00:10:37   I would allow myself to buy the setup that I wanted.

00:10:40   Specifically, I'm recording this using a Rode Podcaster, which is the microphone recommended

00:10:46   by Dan Benjamin, who runs the 5x5 network.

00:10:49   And so for me, that was kind of cool.

00:10:51   That was, I'm a big fan of 5x5.

00:10:53   I really like what they do.

00:10:55   And so it was kind of fun to, OK, now I've

00:10:58   got Dan Benjamin's recommended mic.

00:10:59   Now this is the mic that John Gruber uses

00:11:02   when he records the talk show.

00:11:04   That made it kind of fun.

00:11:05   That made it kind of exciting for me

00:11:07   as I'm sitting down and doing it.

00:11:09   And that was something that I could look forward to,

00:11:11   not necessarily all the way at the end of the goal of hitting

00:11:13   a month, but it was hitting it just about halfway through.

00:11:17   And so that's where I'm right around episode 11, episode 10,

00:11:20   I think it was 11 or so, was the last one I did

00:11:23   without using my new mic.

00:11:25   I got the new mic, recorded episode one,

00:11:28   sounds much better, as I'm sure you'll appreciate.

00:11:31   But that was a very big help for me

00:11:34   in terms of really keeping me motivated,

00:11:35   because that was the first thing that I was looking forward to.

00:11:38   And looking forward to a goal that's only a week or two away

00:11:40   is much easier even than a month away.

00:11:43   So that was definitely a big help for me.

00:11:45   So I think more generally, I would just say,

00:11:47   it's something that if you want to get started on something--

00:11:49   and so maybe tying it back to iOS development a little bit--

00:11:52   If you want to make an app, I think it's very important that you say, "Okay, I'm going to

00:11:57   make an app in a particular time frame," and you're going to ship something at that point,

00:12:03   irrespective.

00:12:04   That's the...

00:12:06   And I think having that kind of discipline will really help you get something out the

00:12:10   door.

00:12:11   You say, "Hey, I have this great idea for..."

00:12:14   Who knows?

00:12:15   "I have a quick game.

00:12:17   All right.

00:12:18   first app, what I'm going to do is I'm going to say 30 days from now or whatever makes

00:12:23   sense for you, but I really recommend keeping it into about 30 days or so. Say, "I'm going

00:12:28   to ship it. I'm going to ship it however it is. Whatever it looks like, I'm going to ship

00:12:32   it." And this is my first app, and it may not be the absolute perfect thing, and that's

00:12:38   okay. The process of actually shipping something, of actually getting something out the door

00:12:43   has tremendous value for your ability to ship other things later.

00:12:47   Because A, you've proven to yourself that you can do it.

00:12:51   It's not this amorphous thing that, "Oh, I wish I could do this.

00:12:54   Oh, I wish I could do that."

00:12:56   You've actually shipped something.

00:12:58   And two, it creates focus and creates discipline in what you're doing.

00:13:02   That, "Okay, I can't just go wandering around with toy features.

00:13:06   I can't go wandering around with pet projects.

00:13:09   If I'm going to ship it in a month, I'm going to ship it in a month."

00:13:13   And so that's just something that I would recommend to tie it back down to that.

00:13:17   And then like I said, additionally, to have intermediate goals is very important.

00:13:21   To have something that you're trying to do in the middle.

00:13:24   That's a reward for yourself.

00:13:27   And that could be all kinds of things.

00:13:28   That could be allowing yourself to get that new computer that you've been wanting if you

00:13:33   hit that goal.

00:13:34   Or it could just be something simpler.

00:13:36   It's like going to, it's like, hey, if I really am focused and work on this well after a couple

00:13:42   of weeks, I'll take my wife out to dinner. I'll do something like that. Or, you know,

00:13:48   I'll go buy an Aeropress so I can make really good coffee. It doesn't have to be expensive.

00:13:54   It doesn't have to be this big and, you know, intangible thing. It's just creating something

00:13:59   that you're sort of denying yourself that you want, so that it creates a desire and a motivation

00:14:04   to keep going. All right, so that's today's show. Hope that was interesting. Hope that's enjoyable.

00:14:09   Like I said, it's a big episode for me now that I hit 20.

00:14:12   I expect at this point to keep going,

00:14:14   because I enjoy what I'm enjoying making the show,

00:14:16   and hopefully you are enjoying it too.

00:14:19   As always, if you have any questions, comments, thoughts,

00:14:21   complaints, hit me up on Twitter.

00:14:22   I'm @_davidsmith.

00:14:25   And otherwise, I hope you have a good day.

00:14:27   Happy Tuesday, and happy coding.

00:14:29   Bye.