Developing Perspective

#216: The Hustle.


00:00:00   Hello and welcome to Developing Perspective. Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing

00:00:04   news of note and iOS development in Apple and the like. I'm your host, David Smith. I'm

00:00:08   an independent iOS developer based in Herndon, Virginia. This is show number 216, and today

00:00:13   is Thursday, April 23rd. Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes, so let's

00:00:17   get started.

00:00:18   All right, so I am recording this the day before Apple Watch comes out to the wide world,

00:00:24   which is the culmination of something that I've been working towards for a very long

00:00:27   So it's kind of an exciting thing,

00:00:29   but I wanted to make sure I got at least this episode out,

00:00:32   just for a more regular episode.

00:00:33   Before that happens, I may do another one tomorrow.

00:00:35   Who knows?

00:00:37   But it's an exciting time.

00:00:38   We're in the stage now where we all just

00:00:40   talk about tracking numbers.

00:00:41   And in some ways, I feel like the excitement that we have

00:00:44   and the--

00:00:46   I don't even know the process that we're talking about

00:00:48   of anticipating things is probably

00:00:49   in some ways even bigger than the excitement

00:00:52   for the actual product itself.

00:00:53   But that's how we do it.

00:00:55   Anyway, so what I'm going to talk about today

00:00:57   is something that's a bit funny to me. It's a thought I had over the last week, and I think I understood something slightly new about myself.

00:01:07   And any time I feel like I have one of these insights, where I think about myself more introspectively, and I come up with an observation that I think is interesting and applicable,

00:01:17   I try and share it on the show, because I think hopefully there are people who listen to the show are likely kind of like me. And so maybe it's helpful for you as well.

00:01:25   And when this came, I should probably, a quick disclaimer, anytime you talk about something

00:01:29   that is different than you are, it's often easy for it to come across as you are, you

00:01:35   know, judging, negative, in some way not on board with some other choice people make.

00:01:42   And so that's definitely not where I'm going.

00:01:45   And I wanted to add the disclaimer at the beginning that that's not what I'm saying.

00:01:47   These are different kinds, they're just different kinds of people.

00:01:49   Neither one is right or wrong.

00:01:50   They're just different.

00:01:52   And this is just something that I discovered about myself that I thought would be interesting

00:01:54   as a show topic. What I'm going to talk about is kind of what I'm going to call like, "Do

00:02:01   you have the hustle?" And I use that in, you know, in air quotes around in the same way

00:02:08   that you would like I've often heard it said with mathematics that some people have the

00:02:11   knack and some people don't, you know, some people just get things really quickly and

00:02:15   some people don't. And what I'm saying with the hustle is this perspective that I've started

00:02:20   to notice in people that is different than the way I see the world in some ways.

00:02:26   And a lot of this is just to come down to the comfort that you have around money, and

00:02:33   around asking for money, and around the more commercial and financial parts of life and

00:02:39   business.

00:02:41   I for myself often really struggle talking publicly about money and asking for money

00:02:49   and doing things that request money. It's something that I just have a bit of a hangup

00:02:54   on. And that's not necessarily a good thing. But what I see in some other people, and this

00:03:00   is the thing that caught my eye, and it's one of these random things where it got started

00:03:04   from this is bisping t shirt season. As we get towards WWDC, a lot of people are starting

00:03:09   to put out t shirts for their various product shows, whatever it is, they're putting out

00:03:13   t shirts for purchase. And it's something I've done in the past. I don't think I'm going

00:03:16   to do it this year? Who knows? But at this point, I don't have any plans to do a Developing

00:03:20   Perspective shirt this year. Not for any particular reason, just not something I'm planning. But

00:03:25   I see other people doing it. And I see a lot of podcasts, other podcasts doing things like

00:03:29   Patreon where they do this kind of direct support model for their shows. And it made

00:03:35   me think, why don't I do those things? Why don't I want to do shirts and do it or have

00:03:41   a Patreon thing where people can give me money for doing the show? I've been doing it for

00:03:44   for about four years and has a fairly wide audience.

00:03:47   But it's not to say that it doesn't support me financially

00:03:50   insofar as it's created a tremendous platform

00:03:54   to advance my products and my career

00:03:57   and those types of things.

00:03:59   But it does not directly provide any income to me.

00:04:01   I've never had sponsorships.

00:04:02   I've never had advertising.

00:04:04   It's never done anything like that.

00:04:06   It's just something that I do.

00:04:07   But a lot of people do those things.

00:04:10   And it isn't so much that there's

00:04:12   difference between doing the thing and not doing the thing. The difference I

00:04:17   find in some ways is the perspective of the person making that choice and the

00:04:21   way they feel about it afterwards. Whenever I do something that involves

00:04:27   asking other people for money or starts to get into the more commercial sides of

00:04:32   what I do, I feel nervous. I feel awkward. I feel uncomfortable. It's just

00:04:37   something that it isn't necessarily that I feel like ashamed about asking people

00:04:42   for money or that in any way that I feel like it's inappropriate or not a good thing to

00:04:47   do, but it makes me feel weird.

00:04:50   And I noticed that about myself.

00:04:52   And then I was noticing, especially when you have the effect of once you have a thought,

00:04:57   you start noticing it everywhere.

00:04:58   I start noticing that there are other people, other people I follow, people I interact with,

00:05:04   for whom that's not at all how they see that part of things.

00:05:08   They have complete comfort and in the best possible way are utterly shameless about asking

00:05:14   for money.

00:05:15   And I don't mean shameless insofar as they should feel shame, but it is not at all something

00:05:20   that registers as a negative to them.

00:05:23   And that's in many ways a really powerful positive thing that it allows them, I imagine,

00:05:28   to take advantage of a lot more opportunities than my perspective allows me to do.

00:05:34   But I thought that was really interesting because especially as we enter into, I don't

00:05:41   even know what chapter this is, like the third chapter or maybe perhaps more dramatically

00:05:45   calling it the third act of the App Store ecosystem, where things are very different

00:05:52   than they had been perhaps in the past, where it was much easier for me in years gone by

00:05:56   to do what I do, to be someone who makes a pretty good living from making apps in my

00:06:02   basement.

00:06:03   something that I'm still able to do at this point, and I'm very grateful and thankful for that.

00:06:07   But the margins by which I'm playing with are not what they used to be. There was a time when it was

00:06:14   much, much, you got a lot more output for the same amount of input. And that just isn't the

00:06:22   case at this point. And in some ways, that makes me start to think about, well, where does that

00:06:28   Where does this trajectory lead?

00:06:30   At some point, if things go like they're going,

00:06:33   it will be very difficult for me to do what I do.

00:06:37   This is by no means me saying that I think that's soon,

00:06:40   or that's something that I'm too worried about.

00:06:42   But it's more something that I think about.

00:06:44   Can I ensure a nice, steady, even level off to my business?

00:06:52   And hopefully even grow it a bit.

00:06:54   But there was a period in the App Store for the last six

00:06:56   years where it sort of went up, up, up, up, up.

00:07:00   And every year, my business did better than the year before.

00:07:04   And that peaked probably about two years ago in terms of--

00:07:08   I just finished doing my tax season and stuff.

00:07:10   And so not last year, but the year before,

00:07:13   was I think the apex of my business in terms of its size.

00:07:17   And then it's gone smaller since.

00:07:19   It seems to have stabilized fairly well recently,

00:07:22   but it's certainly interesting.

00:07:24   And it made me start to think in the terms of like, I'm somebody who does not have that

00:07:29   hustle, like that sense of another day, another dollar, like finding every opportunity to

00:07:35   commercialize something or in feeling empowered and confident in doing that.

00:07:42   That's just something that I don't have in a lot of ways.

00:07:46   And so what that means, though, I think in many ways is putting me at a disadvantage

00:07:51   compared to a business owner, a competitor, an app that is more open to those things,

00:08:00   that is really feels comfortable going out and pounding the pavement, shaking down all

00:08:08   the trees and finding every opportunity that they possibly can to make their products a

00:08:14   financial success and their business a financial success.

00:08:16   they don't do anything unless it has a financial income to them.

00:08:21   And I see that in some people I know.

00:08:25   And that is increasingly something that I admire and respect.

00:08:31   Whereas there were times in the past where I feel like it is easy for me to kind of be

00:08:37   on my, I don't even know, like my purest soapbox where I would almost like, I don't want to,

00:08:44   this is like a horribly potential sounding thing to say, but it's the best I can do. And it's not

00:08:50   meant pretentiously is it's like, I don't want to sully myself with commerce. And like that, you

00:08:56   know, like, that sounds like an awful thing, like an aristocrat says, while he's smoking a cigar,

00:09:01   like, that's not really what I mean. But it's that part of my business, the part of that was the

00:09:06   commerce part, is the thing that I wanted to think least about that I wanted to, in some ways,

00:09:14   delude myself into thinking that I didn't have to focus on, that I could just focus

00:09:18   on the part that I'm good at, the part that I like, the part of making this stuff.

00:09:23   And it was this wonderful, awesome sort of synergy that that thing that I made happened

00:09:27   to somehow make me money.

00:09:30   And that that was like this nicely virtuous cycle.

00:09:32   That was, of course, not really the reality.

00:09:35   And obviously, that's an exaggeration.

00:09:37   There was obviously I thought about the business parts of my applications.

00:09:40   But it is not something that I ever sought to maximize or ever sought to probably give

00:09:48   the attention that it deserved.

00:09:50   Because at the end of the day, the big part of why I do what I do is because it makes

00:09:54   me money.

00:09:55   It allows me to make a living, to pay my mortgage, to put food on my table, etc.

00:09:58   That is what I come downstairs each day to write apps for.

00:10:04   And so if we enter into a point where the ability to do that is more difficult, is different

00:10:10   than it had been in the past, it makes me wonder if I need to work on my hustle, right?

00:10:17   If I need to start thinking about the projects and the time and the things that I do and

00:10:23   perhaps be more judicious about only doing those things that I can justify the time that

00:10:29   they take financially.

00:10:32   And being more comfortable that in some ways that's going to involve me asking my audience,

00:10:39   my customers, the people who like what I do for money.

00:10:45   And that's an interesting thing for me.

00:10:47   That sounds incredibly scary.

00:10:51   And I don't really have, I've only just started unpacking this internally, but it is something

00:10:56   that I feel.

00:10:58   And I'm starting to pick up on it, like I said, where once you start keeping your eye

00:11:02   out for these things, you start seeing how other people handle this.

00:11:06   And it's probably less scary than in my mind.

00:11:09   It feels like it is.

00:11:11   That people genuinely are, if they like what you do, they're often very happy to support

00:11:16   you.

00:11:18   And don't worry about that.

00:11:19   Take advantage of that.

00:11:20   Like these are the things that I'll be starting to tell myself, I think, over the next several

00:11:25   months, year to a year.

00:11:27   Like that is the reality probably of running a business in times that aren't just milk

00:11:34   and honey, right?

00:11:35   That when you are, we're having to be more judicious and be more thoughtful and find

00:11:40   every little opportunity that an aggregate can make your business sustainable.

00:11:46   And so that's just a thought I had.

00:11:48   And I think that's an interesting thing.

00:11:49   And if you are somebody who has that hustle, right?

00:11:51   Like if that's how you see the world, like that is really cool in many ways.

00:11:56   and this is where I'm coming at it from now,

00:11:58   that you have that ability to be able to say, you know what?

00:12:02   Yeah, I can do that.

00:12:03   I see the world as a one big opportunity.

00:12:07   And if I see something that I can take advantage of, I will.

00:12:10   That is really cool.

00:12:11   And it's probably, in some ways, a lot easier

00:12:13   for you to make a sustainable business than somebody

00:12:15   like me, who has this kind of odd hang-up about the money

00:12:19   part of being in business, which is kind of silly,

00:12:21   because that is, at its core, what a business is.

00:12:23   So good on you.

00:12:25   And it's an area that I think I have a lot of growth potential to do.

00:12:30   And that's it for today's show.

00:12:31   As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns, or complaints, you can email me

00:12:34   david@developingperspective.com or I'm on Twitter, underscore David Smith there.

00:12:38   And otherwise, I hope you have a great rest of your week, especially tomorrow if you are

00:12:41   one of the fortunate few with a truck number in hand and an Apple watch on your wrist in

00:12:46   about 24 hours.

00:12:47   Hope you enjoy it.

00:12:48   It should be fun.

00:12:49   I've got eight apps.

00:12:50   I'll put a link in the show notes to a post I did about it.

00:12:52   So I have eight apps if you have any interest in that.

00:12:54   See, look, there I am promoting my applications.

00:12:57   Otherwise, have a great week.

00:12:59   Happy coding, and I'll talk to you next week.