Developing Perspective

#56: Meritocracy


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

00:00:05   news of note and 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. I'm now back from WWDC in Herndon

00:00:15   and looking forward to continuing the show. This is show number 56 and today is Monday,

00:00:20   June 18th. And today's just going to be a very, fairly brief show, fairly simple topic.

00:00:25   I'm mostly just going to talk about my experiences at WWDC this year as compared to the year

00:00:33   before because I think there's sort of an instructive lesson there for other developers,

00:00:39   other people who are trying to make a name for themselves in the community.

00:00:45   And so first I'm going to go back about a year ago to WWDC 2011.

00:00:49   So about a year ago, coming home from WWDC, and I remember very distinctly how just bummed

00:00:57   I was.

00:00:58   I was kind of sad.

00:01:00   I really wasn't sure if I'd go to WWDC the following year.

00:01:04   And the short version of why is that I felt like it was-- I've been doing this professionally

00:01:12   for three years.

00:01:13   I've been putting out successful apps.

00:01:15   I've been doing all the right things.

00:01:18   But as I went around at the conference, nobody knew who I was.

00:01:23   And there's a little bit of, I guess, arrogance in there or whatever, like, "Oh, no one knows

00:01:28   who I am."

00:01:29   But it was one of these things that that just really made me sad.

00:01:32   I didn't feel like a part of the community.

00:01:34   I really didn't feel like I was contributing, maybe is the best word for it.

00:01:41   And that made me really sad.

00:01:42   And it made me kind of bummed about what I was doing.

00:01:44   Am I doing the right thing?

00:01:46   Should I stop being independent?

00:01:48   Should I be part of a bigger team?

00:01:50   In a lot of the companies that come with big groups

00:01:52   of people, it's kind of nice to when it's like,

00:01:53   hey, I'm one of the omni guys.

00:01:55   I'm one of the panic guys.

00:01:57   You have a club and a clique that you are just built into.

00:02:02   And I didn't have any of that.

00:02:03   And I was sad for a few days or whatever.

00:02:07   And then I changed gears a little bit

00:02:10   and looked at how I could take that frustration

00:02:15   I was feeling and turn it around into something more useful, something more constructive.

00:02:22   And it was around that same time that I started blogging a lot and I started this podcast.

00:02:27   I started developing perspective.

00:02:30   And I started them with this goal of, you know, I want to be an active, vibrant member

00:02:37   of the community.

00:02:38   I want people to know who I am, not necessarily just so that people know who I am.

00:02:43   kind of a weak goal, just like, "Well, I want to be famous." That's not really it. It's

00:02:48   that I feel like I had a lot of experiences that would be useful to people, and I was

00:02:54   sort of frustrated that I didn't have a platform with which to help people with. I didn't have

00:03:01   a way that I could sort of take all the mistakes I've ever made and tell people, "Hey, if you

00:03:07   do this, this, and this, you can really avoid having these mistakes that have hit me, so

00:03:11   time in and time out. And so that's kind of what I did. And so I started blogging. And

00:03:17   so I started doing podcasts. And it wasn't anything fancy. It wasn't anything clever.

00:03:22   It started off, I just had a Tumblr site that was developingperspective.tumblr.com, which

00:03:27   was my blog, which has now been migrated to DavidSmith.org. But I just started putting

00:03:35   out information. I started sharing things that I think would be useful, things that

00:03:38   I personally find useful and other people share.

00:03:41   This is like I've had a huge amount of traction on my iOS stats post, which is just really

00:03:48   easy to do.

00:03:50   Anybody could do it who has an app.

00:03:51   It's just a question of sitting there and analyzing your server log data and analyzing

00:03:56   the HTTP headers to dissect which requests go to which device and so on.

00:04:04   It's fairly straightforward, but it's just putting in that effort.

00:04:07   And this year, and this is sort of I guess the happy conclusion, is WWDC 2012 was a totally

00:04:15   different experience.

00:04:16   I mean, it was night and day.

00:04:19   And I say this mostly just as an encouragement to other people, more than necessarily to

00:04:25   brag or whatever.

00:04:27   But if you really try, this community that we're in is very responsive to good information,

00:04:35   honest, earnest effort for people to try and kind of give something back. And so that seems

00:04:42   to be sort of what happened. And it was kind of remarkable that for the first time in my

00:04:46   life, you know, I've been a developer a long time, but for the first time in my life, it

00:04:52   was crazy to walk around and have people I've never met or people who I've only met online

00:04:58   recognize me and say, "Hi, are you David Smith?" I say, "Yes, yes I am." "Hi." And I say, "Hi,

00:05:05   "Hi, how do you know me?

00:05:07   "How do you know my name?

00:05:08   "Oh, I like the show, that was great."

00:05:10   And starting these conversations

00:05:12   with these really interesting people

00:05:14   who have really interesting stories

00:05:16   and it made me feel awesome that many of them,

00:05:20   it's like, you know, I love what you do.

00:05:21   It really helps me do my job better.

00:05:23   It really is interesting and motivating to me.

00:05:27   As like all the things that I'm trying to accomplish,

00:05:29   it's awesome to go to a place

00:05:31   where those things are tangible.

00:05:35   You know, there are people who are shaking my hand

00:05:37   who are saying that.

00:05:38   And then on the flip side,

00:05:39   and this is the part where it gets a little bit

00:05:41   into a humble brag,

00:05:43   you know, it's meeting people who I admire,

00:05:45   people who I respect,

00:05:46   people whose work, in my mind anyway,

00:05:50   I consider sort of in a class above mine.

00:05:53   I mean, running into them,

00:05:54   and rather than me and have,

00:05:55   you know, rather than them necessarily recognizing me

00:05:58   and having to introduce myself, fair enough,

00:06:00   but then once they know who I am,

00:06:01   like, "Oh, David Smith, I know you. I listened to your podcast, I've read your website."

00:06:06   And that is the best validation of effort ever. And it's great that coming back, I'm

00:06:15   excited, and I'm motivated, and I'm looking forward to, I guess you could say, the next

00:06:21   year of writing and podcasting and putting out information that helps other independent

00:06:27   iOS developers, other independent Mac developers, putting out information and hopefully just

00:06:33   making people's lives a little bit easier, making things work a little better for them,

00:06:38   and doing it in a way that is hopefully interesting, engaging, and fun.

00:06:43   And so that's kind of the topic for today.

00:06:46   It's a fairly short one.

00:06:47   Today has been a crazy day.

00:06:48   If anyone who went to WWDC I'm sure knows, it's a little bit nuts when you first come

00:06:53   back.

00:06:54   Your inbox is going crazy.

00:06:55   try to get things done while you're at WWDC, it just ultimately just doesn't make sense

00:07:00   to do anything other than the conference because that's what you're there for. You've spent

00:07:04   a lot of money to be there, socializing with people, going to sessions and doing all that.

00:07:10   So that's it for today. It'll just be a short show. Just kind of hopefully just motivating

00:07:14   people and saying, you know, if you really if you are frustrated with the voice and the

00:07:19   the position that you have to just, you know, our community is nothing if not a meritocracy

00:07:26   that good content will find a home.

00:07:30   And the best way to do that is to just start.

00:07:32   You just, you know, it's like our developing perspective, the podcast started, you know,

00:07:36   from episode of Back to Work where Merlin was like, the best advice I have for someone

00:07:40   who wants to blog is to write an article every day for 30 days and see what they like, see

00:07:46   if that works for them, see if they actually do want to blog.

00:07:49   And I'd say the same thing.

00:07:50   If you want to feel like, oh, man, I wish I had a voice,

00:07:52   I wish I had a popular website that everyone wanted to go to,

00:07:56   it's like, well, start writing.

00:07:58   There's nothing more complicated than that.

00:08:00   Start writing.

00:08:01   You want to do a podcast?

00:08:02   Start a podcast.

00:08:03   I started this, if you listen to their first episodes,

00:08:05   just with a USB microphone and Audacity,

00:08:09   like the free open source MP3 editor.

00:08:11   You don't have to have anything fancy.

00:08:13   It's very straightforward to get up and going.

00:08:16   and then you just keep at it.

00:08:18   And if what you're doing sticks, then it

00:08:20   means you're doing something good.

00:08:21   If it doesn't, maybe not.

00:08:22   Maybe that's not a skill you have.

00:08:25   But more likely than not, if you're

00:08:27   putting passion into something, people

00:08:30   are going to recognize that, and it'll be successful.

00:08:33   So that's kind of the message is just keep at it.

00:08:36   Because I really, when I started,

00:08:38   I really wasn't sure what would happen.

00:08:40   And I had a whole week of people validating the work

00:08:44   that I've been doing.

00:08:45   So thanks.

00:08:45   I ran into many of you listeners, and it was awesome to meet you.

00:08:49   I'm glad to put a face and a handshake to the amorphous download numbers that I can

00:08:54   look at.

00:08:55   I look forward to seeing you soon.

00:08:58   I'll be at CocoConf in DC in a couple weeks, so if you're going to that, I'll see you there.

00:09:03   I don't typically go to a lot of conferences.

00:09:05   That one just happens to be down the street, so I'm going to a center for travel.

00:09:10   Otherwise, I hope to be at WWDC next year, assuming I can get a ticket, assuming that

00:09:14   they don't do something crazy next year and that prevents me from going.

00:09:18   But otherwise, it was fun and let's have a good year.

00:09:23   Let's dive into iOS 6.

00:09:24   Let's dive into all these fun things that are coming up that it's an exciting time

00:09:28   to be an iOS developer.

00:09:29   I'll probably have a new phone probably this fall.

00:09:32   We definitely have a new version of iOS to work with and a whole bunch of new

00:09:36   stuff that I can talk about, some stuff that I can't.

00:09:39   But definitely, it's an exciting time to be a developer.

00:09:42   And I don't think there's any other platform that I'd want to be on.

00:09:46   All right, so that's today's show.

00:09:48   One note, I'm going to be migrating DevelopingRespective.com off

00:09:52   of its current host.

00:09:53   If you've had any problems loading the site and things,

00:09:56   it's been a little flaky.

00:09:58   It's still on the original free WordPress host

00:10:01   that I set it up that year ago when I thought

00:10:04   it was just going to be me talking into a microphone and no one listening.

00:10:07   And that worked fine to start with, but it doesn't really work great now

00:10:10   that it's somewhat popular.

00:10:13   And so I'm working on migrating it over to a static web

00:10:16   system, the same way that I do for my website, which

00:10:19   I use Octopress for, and just kind of migrating it over.

00:10:22   So it'll just be a simple static site hosted

00:10:24   with Nginx, which can scale to more users

00:10:29   than I'm sure I'd ever have.

00:10:31   So that'll be happening in the next probably day or two.

00:10:34   And so if you have any problems, please let me know on Twitter.

00:10:37   I'm @_DavidSmith there.

00:10:39   And just let me know if you have any issues, problems.

00:10:42   I'm doing it as best I can to make sure

00:10:43   that you won't have any weird duplicate issues where

00:10:49   an episode shows up twice or anything like that.

00:10:52   If it happens, I apologize.

00:10:53   But moving forward, it'll definitely

00:10:55   be better to be a new host.

00:10:56   So that's the direction I'm going.

00:10:59   So if you have any problems, let me know.

00:11:00   You shouldn't have to change anything.

00:11:02   Everything should just happen transparently

00:11:03   behind the scenes for you.

00:11:04   And the site should just look better,

00:11:06   and the feed should load much quicker.

00:11:09   Otherwise, as always, if you have questions, comments, concerns, complaints, hit me on

00:11:13   Twitter @_davidsmith.

00:11:15   The feed for the show is @devperspective.

00:11:18   And with that, happy coding.

00:11:19   Welcome back if you're at Dub-Dub, and have a good week.

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