Developing Perspective

#189: In the Loop


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

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

00:00:09   an independent iOS developer based in Herndon, Virginia. This is show number 189. Today is

00:00:15   Thursday, June 26th. Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes, so let's

00:00:19   get started. Okay, so this last week there was a little bit of drama about the role podcast

00:00:25   networks play in terms of distribution, discoverability, and so on. And while I don't intend to wade

00:00:30   into that discussion, it sparked something that I thought would make an interesting show.

00:00:37   And specifically, I wanted to talk about, I guess, the role that linking and recommendations

00:00:42   can play in expanding your own audience. I can speak for myself and say that it is a

00:00:47   very considerable part of growing your audience, whether that is your app audience, whether

00:00:53   that is in terms of things like your followership online and whatever media you prefer to put

00:00:58   yourself out there. And it's quite considerable and quite measurable. I mean, I know this

00:01:03   show, Developing Perspective, would not be heard by nearly the volume of people that

00:01:08   it is if it hadn't been linked to by a variety of people over a long period of time. And

00:01:14   so what that made me want to do, though, for this purpose of this show is to return the

00:01:19   favor in some ways, or maybe pass it on anyway, and talk about how I stay informed about the

00:01:26   goings-on in the Apple community, and more generally, how I stay up to date, what are

00:01:32   things that I think are worthwhile to keep up with, the ways in which I challenge myself

00:01:37   and I learn new things, and so on.

00:01:40   And this isn't exhaustive.

00:01:42   My purpose is not to talk about absolutely everything that I do, but to hopefully give

00:01:46   a very solid coverage to the various types of things that I try and keep up with. And

00:01:53   so this is the result. First thing is probably for her to say, one thing that I used to do

00:01:57   a lot that I don't really do as much anymore is you rely on Twitter to keep up with these

00:02:02   types of things. I found that even with a lot of muting and things you can try and do

00:02:06   to shape your feed, the signal to noise ratio isn't that great. And so I tend to rely on

00:02:14   podcasts and blogs a lot more because I find that you just get a lot more, it's a much

00:02:19   higher quality output for the time that you have to put into it. And for me, the majority

00:02:24   of learning that I do in a given week about what's going on is coming from podcasts. I

00:02:31   listen to a large array of podcasts. I love podcasts. They're awesome. And I listen to

00:02:37   a variety of things that aren't work-related, certainly. I listen to a variety of other

00:02:42   shows, and a few of which I'll mention at the end, that I love and it's my preferred

00:02:47   form of entertainment. I'm listening to a podcast every day for several hours a day,

00:02:51   probably. But as it relates to work, or specifically as it relates to iOS app development, what

00:03:00   podcasts allow me to do is to get, it's as though I have a variety of people who I work

00:03:05   with, who I get together with in the lunchroom every day at work, who I then kind of-- I'm

00:03:12   overhearing conversations, maybe is one way to think about it. I'm in this office place,

00:03:17   this imaginary office place with dozens of really smart people, and I'm sitting there

00:03:21   overhearing conversations at lunch to try and get a sense of what people are thinking,

00:03:25   how things are going. And it's a different kind of feel than I think you get from a blog

00:03:29   post because with a podcast, it has inflection, it has personality. If someone's excited,

00:03:34   really comes through in a way that it doesn't, or if they're depressed or they're sad or

00:03:38   whatever. It gives it a flavor. And so, as someone who, for the most part, just works

00:03:44   by himself, that's an important part of my week, is trying to stay connected on a more

00:03:50   human level with how things are going in the industry that is so important to my livelihood.

00:03:56   And so here's the shows that I listen to and kind of the groups in which I try and think

00:04:01   about them. So the first things I try and keep up with are on programming and design.

00:04:08   And so these are shows that I listen to whose purpose is primarily to try and keep me thinking

00:04:13   about technology, about what design is involved, was involved in design, and those types of

00:04:17   more lower level or perhaps more tactical things. And these are debug, iterate, and

00:04:24   mobile couch. Those are three shows that I listen to as soon as they come out. They have

00:04:29   a lot of just good information in them and probably worth mentioning. The links to all

00:04:33   of these are in the show notes, so don't worry about trying to find them. And those are shows

00:04:38   that I find keep me thinking on a more technical level about what's going on in the community.

00:04:44   And I've quite enjoyed sort of those. They're much more lower level, and so you sometimes

00:04:49   have to pick the right time to listen to them. But they definitely serve a solid purpose

00:04:54   in keeping, exposing me to things that I wouldn't necessarily otherwise, especially iterate

00:04:59   which is a design-oriented show, I find is very helpful to kind of stretch me a little

00:05:04   bit or at least make me aware of things that I just wouldn't be otherwise because design

00:05:08   is not my background. Design is not something that I think about quite as much, and so it's

00:05:13   important for me to expose myself to that.

00:05:16   The next category of things that I try and make sure that I'm exposed to on a weekly

00:05:20   basis are more kind of the business-y aspects of doing development, you know, especially

00:05:26   So being an independent iOS developer, this is how I make my living.

00:05:29   I make my living by selling apps in the store.

00:05:32   And so there's a lot of things that go into that that are very complicated and that have

00:05:38   a lot of implications.

00:05:39   Things like pricing, things like how you handle updates on the actual business side of that.

00:05:48   Not the technical side, but should you charge for those?

00:05:51   How do you manage that?

00:05:52   Doing support.

00:05:53   There's a lot of those types of business kind of issues that hearing other people's experiences

00:05:57   are incredibly helpful. And so the two shows that I found that most inform and improve

00:06:02   my outlook on those types of things are Release Notes and Core Intuition. And there are shows

00:06:09   that, you know, I guess I could talk about Release Notes is Charles Perry and Joseph

00:06:15   Plinske, and they're talking about just the business of iOS development pretty straightforwardly.

00:06:21   And on Core Intuition, it's Daniel Jalkut and Mitten Reese, who talk a bit more generally

00:06:26   about things, but it seems like their conversations often end up in relating to the business side

00:06:33   of things. And what I love about these two shows in concert is that they come at it from

00:06:38   such totally different sides. So on Core Intuition, there's some guys who have been doing this

00:06:43   for a long time, and Daniel has especially been coming at this on the Mac side for years.

00:06:49   And then on the release notes side, it's much more iOS. It's a bit fresher. It's a bit more

00:06:54   kind of new thinking, if you wanted to say. And so the tension and the differences between

00:06:59   those two perspectives is really helpful in helping me find my path in between, because

00:07:04   I'm not necessarily, you know, everyone ultimately has to find their own kind of path in business

00:07:10   and decide what's important to you and what isn't. But I find having that kind of tension

00:07:14   really helps. Next, are kind of some more of, I guess you sort of call them the general

00:07:20   news shows. So these are things that I just listen to, in some ways just for entertainment,

00:07:25   but also just to kind of get the broad, more topical things of what's going on in the community.

00:07:32   What are things that I should be aware of? What are things that I should be thinking

00:07:34   about? And the two shows that I find best for that are The Prompt and The Accidental

00:07:39   Tech Podcast. And so the prompt is a show that's Federico Vittucci, Mike Curley, and

00:07:46   Stephen Hackett. I find that they do a very good job, kind of more of a rundown style.

00:07:51   There's a lot more. They tend to cover a pretty good breadth of topics. It's certainly thoughtfully

00:07:58   considered, but they tend to cover a lot of what happened in the week, which is sometimes

00:08:02   just useful to have in a kind of a fairly concise way that I can listen to their show

00:08:06   for a little over an hour and get a pretty good sense of what happened, which is especially

00:08:10   helpful, say, over the summer when I'm away on travel or those types of things. It's good

00:08:14   to kind of just have a quick check in. And then the Accidental Tech podcast, which is

00:08:18   Marco, John, Sir Kusa, and Casey Liss is a bit more, I would say a bit more discussion

00:08:25   oriented. It's a bit more just kind of them feeding off each other in a discussion environment

00:08:31   about generally topical things. But I find that it works well in terms of trying to expand

00:08:36   of the thoughts that I have on the implications of the news. So that's why I enjoy that one.

00:08:42   And then that's mostly the sort of the podcasts that I listen to. As I said, there's obviously

00:08:48   a bunch more, but those are the kind of shows that I find even if you just listened to those

00:08:54   seven shows, I think you'd have a pretty good handle on what's going on in the iOS development

00:08:58   community, in the Apple community, Apple hardware, just general tech news, you know, what happened

00:09:02   at Google I/O this week, these types of things. And that's an important part of being able

00:09:07   to make good decisions, is having good information. On the blog side, one thing that I did -- there's

00:09:14   a couple of blogs that I really find incredibly helpful that have helped me as a developer,

00:09:19   and I want to just kind of quickly run down those now. The first is The Inessential, which

00:09:24   is a blog by Brent Simmons, who is talking about -- it varies from time to time what

00:09:29   he's talking about. Recently, he's been doing a lot of talk about sync in an app that he has called

00:09:33   Vesper. But the way in which he approaches problems is something that I think I, the actual

00:09:40   details of what he's talking about often don't aren't particularly necessarily relevant to me.

00:09:45   But the way in which he approaches problems is very constructive to help me think about my own

00:09:51   thought process. Hopefully that makes sense. And, you know, he has a very clear way of describing

00:09:56   how he attaches, attacks a problem, and seeing other people attack a problem, you know, you're

00:10:01   not dealing with that same problem yourself, is often helpful in helping you kind of craft

00:10:05   the way you should approach particular problems that you're going to encounter.

00:10:10   The next blog I'd highly recommend is Jared Sinclair's blog. Jared Sinclair is the maker

00:10:16   of many things. I think most recently he'd be most known for Unread, which is an RSS

00:10:20   client. And he, what I love about his blog is that he tends to do these design reviews

00:10:29   or DD compositions on a roughly, doesn't do them necessarily every week, but he's done

00:10:35   quite a few of them where he looks and takes an app and kind of just looks at its design

00:10:40   from top to bottom and tries to identify areas that it's strong areas that it's weak. And

00:10:44   I really just enjoy being exposed to that kind of thinking. And helps me think more

00:10:50   constructively about my own designs, trying to think, "Hmm, would that apply to me? And

00:10:54   if it does, how could I fix it?"

00:10:57   On the very technical side, the blog that I found I've learned a lot from is by Ole

00:11:02   Bergemann, which hopefully I pronounced that even vaguely right. He just blogs about really

00:11:09   interesting technical details, and it is just one of those things, as soon as he posts something,

00:11:13   I always saw what I'm doing and I read it. Because it's almost, I always learn something

00:11:17   from the things that he writes. And I like the way his style in writing, it's very clear

00:11:21   and concise. And then lastly, on the blog side, MacStories.net, which is Federico Vittucci's

00:11:29   site, is what I found to be probably the best general overview of what's going on in Apple.

00:11:36   Currently, it's fairly focused on Apple, which I like in terms of it's not trying to cover

00:11:40   a lot of different areas. And it covers it at a good level where it's not this kind of,

00:11:45   If you subscribe to the Verge slash Apple's RSS feed or something, it would just be a

00:11:50   fire hose of who knows what.

00:11:52   But it's a really nice, I find Mac Stories to be a very nicely curated list that works

00:11:56   pretty well.

00:11:57   And that's pretty much it.

00:11:59   Those are the resources that I can commend to you and say, you know, go and check out.

00:12:04   If you're not already familiar with any of those podcasts or blogs, I highly recommend

00:12:08   that you expose yourself to it.

00:12:10   These are the things that I have found that help in, you know, keep me moving forward,

00:12:15   keeping me thinking about and challenging the way my perception's on things.

00:12:19   Because the most dangerous thing for me is an independent.

00:12:21   And if this is, if you're someone who is coming at development and are expecting to do a lot

00:12:25   of it on your own, is the most dangerous thing you can do is to get stuck thinking about

00:12:30   things only in the way that you naturally think about things.

00:12:33   If you do that, you're necessarily not growing.

00:12:36   You're necessarily not getting better.

00:12:37   Your desk is only not challenging yourself quite as much as you would if you were thinking

00:12:42   about things from someone else's perspective. How would they solve this problem? I wonder

00:12:46   what Brent would think if he was dealing with this problem. And so thinking about things

00:12:49   in those terms, it's a pretty constructive process that I found. It is, you know, I've

00:12:54   been doing this now for five and a half, six years now, pretty much working on my own.

00:13:00   And these are the tools and the things that I found that I need in order to stay current,

00:13:05   order to keep what I'm doing fresh, and so that I don't kind of, you know, get petrified

00:13:09   at some point and just get stuck there. So those are the things I'd recommend to you.

00:13:14   A couple of random, more just general recommendations that I'll finish off the show with, but on

00:13:20   the technical side, that's what I'd strongly recommend. So it's just because I kind of

00:13:25   have the floor and I'm talking about things I'd like to expose to other people. A couple

00:13:29   of podcasts I've recently started to really enjoy that I thought I'd just commend to you.

00:13:33   The first is called Hello Internet, which is by CGP Grey and Brady.

00:13:42   And they talk about who knows what.

00:13:44   It's just this fascinating show.

00:13:45   It's kind of like the classic two guys talking show.

00:13:48   They're just going to be talking about who knows all kinds of things.

00:13:53   Sometimes it's topical, sometimes it's more general.

00:13:57   But generally speaking, they just cover a lot of really interesting topics.

00:14:00   And the fascinating thing about this is I always thought that John Siracusa was a singular

00:14:06   person and he certainly is.

00:14:08   The way in which he can critique and challenge things and the way in which he can do it in

00:14:13   an engaging, entertaining way.

00:14:15   CGP Grey is, if anything, he is the closest to anyone else I've ever discovered to a Siracusa

00:14:22   to have that same type of engaging critique of topics and interesting things.

00:14:27   So if you like Type or Critical, you like ATP, there's a good chance you'll really like

00:14:31   Hello Internet.

00:14:32   So I wanted to recommend it to you.

00:14:34   And lastly is Pragmatic, which is a show that just talks about technology in a really interesting,

00:14:40   compelling way.

00:14:41   And so I recommend those two to you.

00:14:43   As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns, or complaints, I'm on Twitter @_davidsmith.

00:14:47   You can email me david@developingperspective.com.

00:14:50   Maybe you have some recommendations, some suggestions I would always like to hear, because

00:14:54   that's how I expand and get better.

00:14:56   All right.

00:14:57   Have a great week.

00:14:57   Bye!