An Open Letter to Oakley.com

photo by Keith Tsui https://www.flickr.com/photos/t6mdm/

Dear Oakley.com,

I spent many hours in the mall in Columbia, Maryland, this weekend, trying to buy a pair of prescription eyeglasses. I started with the Oakley store, where I picked out the frames I wanted. I had actually decided from your web site which frames I wanted, but the Oakley store didn’t carry those frames in the color I wanted – they said their selection was very limited because they didn’t sell the prescription frames very well. I soon found out why.

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5 years of iOS

Ash Furrow

A really nice insight following how Ash Furrow got into iOS development and contracting.  I would urge any new aspiring iOS developers to read this.  It’s a lot easier than you might think to get started.  I think some important take-away lessons are:

  • scratch your own itch – think of a simple app idea that solves a real world problem (even minor) that you have, and
  • build your ideas – it’s better to get started and start building stuff, rather than just ‘book learn’ all the time and never actually try building something on your own.  Yes, you will make mistakes.  That’s the whole point – by building, we make mistakes.  By making mistakes, we learn.  If you don’t build, you never really learn.
  • iterate – go back and improve after you learn from your mistakes.

I’ve been through a lot of iOS interviews.  One of the first and frequent questions that comes up is, ‘what apps do you have on the (public) app store?’  I’ve also learned, from working on large enterprise iOS apps that were already on the app store when I joined the project, that some really crappy stuff can make it onto the app store.  i.e., it’s a lot easier to get your app on the store than you might think.  So don’t be afraid to try.  Remember, you can always go back and improve on it – this is a learning experience, after all.  If you’re just starting out, don’t worry about making the best app out there or making it super polished (to the point that you never actually ship, anyway).  Just get it out there, maybe even for free and not worry about making any money off it.  This is just an exercise for you.  The ROI might come in a job or a contract later on – not necessarily from any sales on the app store.

Also by keeping your initial app ideas limited to very simple / limited scope, you have a better chance of actually completing the app.  Going through the submission and acceptance on the app store, is a learning experience in itself – so don’t focus on just making stuff run locally and never ship anything.

As Seth Godin says, lots of people have great ideas, but few ever actually execute on them.