The Dispatch
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Finding clarity

clarity-01

Volume 1, Issue 17

The forecast is clear

This week I have two stories to share with you, one funny and the other a real kick in the pants.

The first story is about my relationship with my parents. They’re not technology people, they’re slowly coming around to the touch screen age and they’ve long avoided the internet (Facebook especially). Further still, they’ve struggled to understand my profession for as long as I’ve had it – with two Architecture degrees under my belt, they often ask me if I still work with ‘buildings’, or if I’ll go back to being an architect.

The concept of a multi-faced career is a bit too vague for their liking.

Last weekend I caught up with the family for birthday dinners & lunches. With the recent launch and success of my app on the app store, I finally felt I could sum up the efforts of my work in a small glowing box of tangibility. I described how the app worked, that it’s a stress management tool designed for kids, and that it’s now for sale online. So far so good.

In the very next breath, my mum starts telling me about an app she’d seen on Channel 7 News, one which helps kids calm down in hospitals when they’re getting needles (things like botox injections for kids with Cerebral Palsy). An artwork that helps you manage stress.

In short – my mum was telling me about my app! You could have blown me down with a feather.

I reflected on this experience recently with the Fishburners mailing list, and the insight I gained is worth sharing: if you have people in your life who struggle to understand what you do, simply arrange for a major TV network to cover your project on their prime time news slot. Problem solved!

The second story is about Seb. Seb was a code camper at the last camp, coming to camp in week 1. He’s only 10 but he’s a keen bean and quickly I saw that he didn’t need the same hand-holding that the other kids did. He picked up the lessons quickly, even being able to help the kids around him get up to speed.

I was impressed with how quickly he learnt, so much so that I gave him the ‘code champ’ award at the end of the week.

But Seb had been hiding something from me. During class, as I wandered around helping mop up errors and helping the campers make cool things, Zac had been building a new game, from scratch. As I talked about the mechanics of game points and how you can use data to log & track progress, Seb had been implementing his own game logic and scoreboard. He’d been putting into practice these very abstract ideas.

This week Seb put that app into the App store. Something many pro level coders have never done. A 10 year old dude put an app into the app store. It’s called Old Football, it’s quite hard to beat and it can be downloaded for free from your phone.

Talk about a kick in the pants! If you’re thinking about that great app idea, but worried that you don’t know how to build it, I can only say this: If a 10 year old kid can learn how to make an app, there’s nothing stopping you. Take an iTunes course, do some online tutorials, heck, sit in on the next Code Camp! The information is there, the only thing stopping you from getting involved, is you.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Tips

Design has won a seat at the table. Is it now about to lose it?

Matt Gemmell is a programmer-turned-writer. Here are his tips for maximising small screen productivity.

I struggle with this every day: Selling the vision, not the reality.

Have you ever performed a Diving Save?

Here’s the ultimate 10-slide deck structure for any business.

Why are startup biz dev deals so unlikely to happen? Jason Cohen (founder of wpengine) tells us why and what to do about it.

Tools

Brett Terpstra shares his favourite xcode plugins. Lots of nerdy goodness.

Facebook App Links recently lauched, allowing deep linking to specific pages of an app, be that iOS or android. Looks very promising.

This week I discovered that you can merge notes in Evernote. Boom, productivity gain!

Resources
Basecamp are launching a new online magazine called The Distance, about hard-working, long lasting businesses and the people behind them. Got your attention?

Patrick Rhone has some choice words to share about James Altucher’s latest book, ‘Choose Yourself’. In short, go buy it.

Oddities

This clip of 3 Japanese olympian fencing pros facing off against 50 opponents shouldn’t be so fascinating and relevant to business – and yet it still is. Watching how people in a crowd work against each other reveals a lot about how we think about collaborating and strategy

That’s all for this week. I’ll be waiting to hear all about the apps you make and release by the next time we speak..

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