Monthly Archives: March 2016

Cynicism in Tech

I am still surprised at the level of cynicism I see from people in technology. During the Apple event that just finished, where they announced the 4-inch iPhone SE and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, my Twitter stream was filled with snark, doubt, anger and attitude about every product, service and initiative they announced. Including, at the beginning, as they talked about the environmental and recycling initiatives, and the health initiatives, ResearchKit and CareKit, the complaints were about being bored, why aren’t they talking about new products, and so on. Of course, as soon as they did move on to new products, none of them were good enough either. The watch bands are nice, but nothing special. The watch price drop is cool, but what it REALLY needs is thinner faster better hardware and software. iOS 9.3, no mention of the developer that they “sherlocked” Night Shift from. iPhone SE, too expensive, still starts at 16gb, people have been begging for a 4-inch iPhone 6s but they just took the 6s and shrunk it down. iPad Pro, camera bump, so expensive, nobody uses iPads. And so on.

I shouldn’t be surprised by the cynicism anymore, but I still am, and I’m not sure why. People seem to want to be blown away by every announcement these days, and that’s simply not the way things work. It actually never was anyway. For me, technology is a tool, a means to an end. It helps you achieve your goals, but it isn’t a goal for its own sake. I’m a pragmatist, while it seems many of my friends, and many of the people reacting to Apple events on Twitter, are futurists. Tech for tech’s sake. If it’s not making revolutionary jumps, what’s the point of it?

For me, I like the incremental upgrades. I like making software for devices people use. I like the steady, predictable, business-supporting path that we’re on right now. Cynicism doesn’t do much. Maybe it makes you look snarky and cool to other cynical people on the internet. Maybe everyone is just trying to get a laugh. But I think the attitude you put on reflects on who you are, and just ripping on everything doesn’t feel very good to me.

Apps are a business

If you have any interest at all in mobile apps, you should read this:

I’ve said for a long time that if you treat your business like a business, you can be successful in any market. The mobile app market isn’t a gold rush, the way it was in 2008 or 2009. You can’t just put any old app up on the store and expect the world to beat a golden path to your door. You have to market it, the same as you would in any other mature market.

There’s more to “marketing” than just advertising, of course. You need to make an app that people want to use. That accomplishes what it’s supposed to. That fits into the user’s life in a meaningful way. If you make something, get the attention on it, and it still doesn’t do well, you might have to accept that you didn’t make something people want.

I know this won’t be the end of the “you can’t make money in the app store” meme. But at this point, that attitude is an opportunity for you. The people saying that won’t try. If you choose your market, choose your strategy, and build something people want, you can build a real business in this industry.


It turns out I’m a planner. I feel like I probably knew that, but I’ve never really admitted it as a driving part of my personality before today.

Here’s the story. I hate the carpet in my living room. It’s original to the house, which is about 12 years old right now, so it’s “builder quality”. Which means, not great. It wasn’t in the best quality when we moved in two years ago; now add three cats and a four year old half-daughter/half-tornado, and it’s essentially ruined.

The living room has been making me uncomfortable for a while now, and I never really tied it to the carpet in there before. I just didn’t want to use the room for some reason. While doing a family clean the house day last weekend, I started picking up in there and realized just how awful the carpet had really gotten. So I started thinking about what would be better.

Nicole and I had talked about putting wood floors in “someday”. I started researching. I pulled up a little corner to see what was underneath: concrete, of course. #floridahouse. I sure can’t afford to redo the whole open plan main floor anytime soon, so whatever I do will have to go with the tile for now. Maybe once the kid had gotten a little older, I’ll do the whole place, but for now I want something that would look good, not cost too much, and something that I could ideally do myself over a weekend. I decided on a laminate floor.

Here’s the interesting part though. Once I made the decision, I started loving the room again. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t actually done anything, I had a plan. Maybe not even a plan, just a direction to go in. I don’t know the first thing about installing floors, I don’t know what color or style will look best in the house. But I know that the clock has started on the horrible carpet, and now all I see in there is potential.

It didn’t hit me until driving into the office this morning that it was the plan that made the room livable again. Instead of letting the problem overwhelm me, I can start sorting through the options for the solution. Now that I realize that about myself, maybe I can use it.