Dec 30

I think we programmers always have projects that never seem to get finished. It could be an app that you’ve been working on for a long time, but it still needs some polish before you think it’s ready to ship. Not to mention all those great ideas that you have for new apps that you haven’t even stared working on.

Today Seth Godin has a great post about shipping something that scares you. He includes an intimidatingly long list of things he shipped in 2010. And then encourages readers to post their own lists.

So here’s my list of apps that I worked on and that shipped in 2010:

In addition there are a few projects in progress that are in review or are almost ready to submit. But that doesn’t count in this context.

The reason for publishing this list is not to brag (although I am quite proud of it), it’s to emphasize that the goal is to ship things. In our case that means getting the apps live on the App Store.

Need help getting things out the door? Checkout Seth Godin’s latest book Linchpin. And the accompanying ShipIt Workbook.

What have you shipped this year? Write a blog post, or submit a comment below. Don’t just post a link, write a story and tells us why shipping this product was scary.

written by Nick

Oct 15

How often have you been approached by somebody who has a great idea for an iPhone app, and they will tell you the idea if you just do the programming, and then you will both share in the profits?

As an aside, I wonder if this happens to book authors as well. “I have this great idea for the next blockbuster novel, if you just write it, we can both share in the profits from the book sales and the sure-to-come movie rights.” Why is programming generally considered to be a simple task once you have hatched the idea? It can’t be because of all the shining examples of software projects that go over budget and never deliver anything useful to its users. End of soapbox.

I was reminded of the old adage about ideas vs. execution when I watched the episode about Mark Zuckerberg in the Bloomberg Game Changers series. In the program the Winklevoss twins and Divya Narendra alleged that they gave Mark Zuckerberg the idea for Facebook. And therefore they demanded to be compensated for their contribution to the success of Facebook.

Of course they didn’t write a single line of code, they didn’t contribute a single hour of work to Facebook, but they had The Idea. In my book, that contribution is infinitesimally close to zero. To make the lawsuit go away, Facebook/Zuckerberg settled for $65 million. My advice would be to take that money and run. And maybe use it to pay someone very well to execute on your next idea if you’re unable to do it yourself. Instead they are now rejecting the settlement and are looking for a larger handout. Lame.

Another episode in the Bloomberg series is about Steve Jobs. Jobs and Apple represent the polar opposite: they are masters of execution. Many of the most successful Apple products were not original ideas hatched at Apple: GUI, MP3 player, laptop computer, smartphone, app store. But the key differentiator is that Apple executed on these ideas better than anyone else.

written by Nick