creativity · Software Dev

The Prototype Mindset

We developers spend so much time focusing on the details of our work that we sometimes forget about the big picture. The presentation below from try! Swift Tokyo has some really helpful perspective. 🀯

Think about building the right thing before building it right.

Why are you making software? Know your motivations. It affects how you do your job.

Who do you write code for? Think about how you relate to your company and the end user.

What happens when your tech stack changes? Be resilient in your career. Try new things while also shipping apps.

Be less precious about code.

Realistically, how long will this code last? How robust is robust enough? Be pragmatic. Almost all the code I’ve written in the last few years is gone by now, either retired or completely rewritten.

Don’t try to be perfect. Don’t hold back out out fear.

Real artists ship.

Steve Jobs

How often do you test? Unit tests are a means to an end. Passing unit tests alone does not mean it’s a good app.

Via iOS Dev Weekly.

creativity · You

Maslow’s Pyramid

A while back, I posted a link to the Artist’s Hierarchy of Needs. The idea seemed useful, although it was not a hierarchy per se, but more of just a list. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I think the idea of the artist’s hierarchy was inspired Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is more of a real hierarchy. So it’s kind of cool to see this post.

πŸ‘‰ SELF CARE PART 2: CREATIVE HIERARCHY OF NEEDS

Basically it says that you need take good care of yourself before you can aspire to your “ultimate self-actualization”. I guess that’s super obvious, but still it makes for a cool idea and a good visual. πŸ˜†

Picture

And the Creatively, LLC blog looks great overall beyond this post. I like their motto, “Create Your Best Life”. Via Fresh Ink Austin

creativity · You

Improv Class and Uncharted Territory

A few months ago, I took an improv class. You might think I did it to learn to be funnier. I mean, it did help a little. But mostly it helped my attitude, just being open and ridiculous. I do still have a stockpile of ready-made dad jokes, though.

Improv is not only about laughs. It’s about facing uncharted territory with curiosity, enthusiasm, and fearlessness.

The post below perfectly captures the real reason that I took improv, which is mainly dealing with fears and ambiguity when you can’t sit and think about it for more than, say, two seconds. I’m naturally a sit-and-think-about-it kind of person, so I needed some help on that. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

πŸ‘‰ Improv as a Crisis Management Tool: Tackling Uncharted Territory

Cheat sheet from the article… Improv helps with:

  • Helping people build out their ideas even if you don’t agree with or understand them
  • Learning how to make decisions on a shoestring
  • Fearlessness, bravery and getting comfortable with mistakes

By the way, Merlin Works, the same place where I took my improv class, is now offering online Zoom improv classes for the pandemic. If this thing drags on long enough, I might do improv 201 online. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

creativity · Software Dev

“It’s time for me to build an app”

Here is a funny and relatable perspective on being an app developer wanting to just make your own goddamn app. Via iOS Dev Weekly.

πŸ‘‰ Going indie, step 5: Suffer from crippling imposter syndrome

You want to build something that belongs to you, you want to pour your heart into it, and frankly, you’d like to find some success doing it. β€œIt’s time,” you proclaim boldly, β€œfor me to build an app.”

The post does spend a lot of time talking about social media stress and imposter syndrome, which doesn’t bother me too much. Personally, I have long let go of any dream of having a big, important Twitter or Instagram account. Or even making any money off of an app. I just want to make my own apps.

A big part of you still feels that, as someone who can competently design and build software, you are uniquely positioned to create your own life’s work… Wouldn’t it be a shame not to try? You’re tired of deferring your dreams to your future self; it’s time to act!

My own situation is further complicated by my additional dreams of writing a book and making some songs. I’ve actually made some progress on those dreams already. Can I really fit another dream into the rotation?

Stay tuned and see. Give me like a year. Baby, I want everything!

Reaching to place your app among the very best
creativity · You

Shi**y First Drafts

In a creative writing class I’m taking, our teacher pointed us to this great piece called “Shitty First Drafts”. It basically says what we all know but tend to forget: nobody ever just sits down and writes a great story on the first try.

πŸ‘‰ Shitty First Drafts by Anne Lamott

This approach frees you up to have fun with it (another topic from the class).

The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later.

Anne Lamott from Bird by Bird

As a side note, this “shitty first draft” approach applies just as well to other creative endeavors such as making music or software. The key is to not actually ship the shitty first draft (although the occasional great album seems to be an exception to this rule).

Disclaimer: this blog consists entirely of shitty first drafts. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

creativity · Music · You

The Best Music for Working

According to research on the effect of music listening on work performance, music can indeed help your brain work better. But it depends what you are listening to.

πŸ‘‰ 5 Types of Music That Increase Your Productivity, According to Science

Official Recommendations

Classical music, especially baroque, can increased mood and concentration – see Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel πŸ‘‰example

Not really music, but nature sounds can increase cognitive function and concentration – rain, water, etc. πŸ‘‰ example

Epic music can inspire you if you’re feeling unmotivated πŸ‘‰ example

Video Game Music – this music is designed to help your brain feel better! πŸ‘‰ Sim City, Bastion, or pick a game! (Zelda?)

Ambient music can reduce stress (I’m not a huge fan, so no example πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜‚)

My Own Favs

I personally love classical adaptations of rock and pop, such as Kashmir: Symphonic Led Zeppelin or the Vitamin String Quartet.

I also like some of the Apple Music concentration playlists such as Swift Concentration.

And even though it breaks some of the rules above, I just find KUTX relaxing.

Also, Miles Davis. And the Isle of Dogs soundtrack.

Duke Ellington: Black, Brown, and Beige.

Shostakovich: Jazz Suites Nos. 1 – 2 – The Bolt – Tahiti Trot

For some chill beats, try Trappin in Japan (YouTube) (ο£Ώ Music).

Also, just any classical waltz music seems to work.

What Doesn’t Work

Not surprisingly, complex musical structure and lyrics don’t help. In fact, they make it harder for you brain to focus. (*Still, I can work to Johny Cash music, probably because it’s so familiar.)

Also, any music may hinder the especially difficult tasks.

And you have to be in the habit of listening to music to make it helpful. If you only do it sometimes, it doesn’t help.

creativity · Me · You

Focus On Your Craft

Okay, at first this seems like another one of those articles that says “get off social media” or “back in the days before the internet…”. But it’s better than just that.

πŸ‘‰ Make Peace With One Thing to Get More Out of Life

The core idea here is basically focus on your craft.

Creating authentic work that feeds your soul is all you need to do. It will fulfill you into old age, long after the Internet celebrities of the moment have moved on to late night TV commercials.

This article asks great questions, like:

  • Why do I want more followers? To what end?
  • What happens if I get them?
  • What would I do if I didn’t have an audience?

Get comfortable with digital irrelevancy. Get off the social media treadmill and figure out what you really love doing. Then set about learning your craft.

Reminder to Self

In my own case, I have a measly 120 followers on my Instagram account. Yeah, sometimes I wish I had 500 or 800 followers. But how would that change my life? It wound’t. What if I could make a living on Instagram? Well damn, that would ruin it. The pressure of having to post interesting stuff on a regular basis would make it no fun at all.

I like Instagram because it’s a place to share photos with cool filters. And I like seeing other people’s cool photos. And occasionally connecting with people. And finding good places to eat and stuff to do.

As for this blog… my About page says that I have an intended audience of one (me). I find writing these posts useful because it makes me really read articles and focus on what they’re saying. And it makes me keep writing at least a little bit on a regular basis to help keep my brain engaged. I also like sharing good content that I come across on the interwebs

If I tried to make this a popular blog that makes me money, I would quickly drive myself insane. I have a day job for that. πŸ˜‚

Much to my surprise, I have collected a few subscribers along the way. Hi, friends! Thanks for subscribing, and sorry for all the random posts!