Co-Working and Innovation

One of the things that I try to do, every month or so, is work at a co-working site.  My current favorite is  Bull City Co-Working.  The reason I like co-working sites, is that you feel a vibe in the space, of people doing great things.  People who come to co-working sites, realize that while we can all work at home nowadays, being around other people is important.  Yes you can use Twitter, or instant messaging, or Facebook to “socialize” while you work, but those activities, are still “removed” from actual people.  When I look around the room, and see other people hunched over the computer (well, hunched is probably the wrong word…), and hear the background hum of people using a conference room… I am at work.

You may ask, well, why not just go to a traditional office?  I do have one, but that is a  cube farm.  Cube Farms, do NOT inspire me to be creative or innovative… they are actually the antithesis of inspiring.  Cube farms, make me feel like a drone, I feel I should be wearing a green visor and sleeve garters, with a gigantic in box full of forms…”Oh, we loath, the old one… Oh, we loath, the old one…”  bring out the flying monkeys my pretty!!!

I feel like I come up with Innovative ideas, when I can talk to and work with people who have no idea what I am talking about.  Or when I can talk with people who have different reference points, but some level of common vision.  Co-Working sites, put you in a space with other people who are working on very different things than I am.

I am sure I will post more about co-working, but I’ve been meaning to post something for a while.  Is there a co-working site that you go to?

App development and promotion

One of the big things I keep trying to figure out is why so many of the popular apps tend to be developed on the west coast of the US. I don’t mean the Angry Birds of the world (which are built and grow so popular due to their first in class status), but I mean the popular utilities, camera apps, and other various social apps,

Years ago, when I was working on my MBA, a classmate of mine created a site called EZ2FindMe. It was a social network for business and college students to keep up with each other. It was built right before Facebook was being built at another college. Why didn’t it catch on?

I believe it has a lot to do with the network effect. And given that the West Coast is also the global media capital of the world – thank you Hollywood, the network economy is strong. This means that people are used to self promotion. That self promotion mind set is how you make it in Hollywood.

Those of us who are working on mobile apps need to realize that you can’t just right the best app. You have to work hard to code, but you have to work even harder to promote your app. For many this is not our natural tendency, we like the instant feedback if the compiler. The code we’ve
been working on has magically transformed into a tangible app and we can play with it. In promotion, we spend time tweeting, blogging, going to events, and talking about our app – or our vision if the app, and we have to wait for the network to take hold.

Yes it’s hard, but you have to do it. Go out there and talk to people about what you are doing. Show off your hard work. It can be fun…and the more people who see and get your app, the more opportunity you will have to get back to writing the code.

Books I am reading now

I tend to buy a lot of technical books, and I read many of them. Very free of them are just used as reference, Right now I am take a break on the technical books and am re-reading the Hobbit in time for the upcoming movie.

So what books am currently in progress on? Two of them… One is a book on AppleScript Automator for Mac OSX 10.6 – by Ben Waldie. I’ve had this book for a couple of years, since seeing Ben at Macworld Expo in 2010. I’ve decided that I am doing too many repetitive activities, and figured it’s time to learn how to automate them. Ben’s session was very informative, and his teaching style is very hands on. At the time I didn’t have anything to actually use it on, so the book has become more of a refresher to the course I took.

The second book I am reading is iPhone programming the big nerd ranch way. I recently was struggling with some coding on my iPhone game, and went to the Big Nerd Ranch’s objective C book to help me straighten it back out. Their books and examples are well structured, provide you with the information you need, and provide meaningful challenges to expand your skills beyond the material.

I find that both of these books are examples of the right way to reach technical topics. Definitely looking forward to many more books to read and learn from.