So, you wanna build an App…

“Apps” are the new thing, and everyone from President Barack Obama to local business owners are getting in on the action. But anyone who’s ever written Software can tell you that good Apps, just like Desktop Applications, or even Web Sites, take a LOT of work.

False hopes of finding someone willing to do the work for cheap, have folks “going overseas,” via Off-Shore companies in India, Russia, and indeed anywhere you’ll find Technology folks willing to work for a fraction of the rates charged by U.S.-based resources. Afterall, if these folks do the same thing Americans charge $50 to $100+ per hour for, what could possibly go wrong?

The true cost of Free (cheap)
Indeed there are people all over the planet capable of doing good work. But there are also people all over the world who are desperate, and when contrasted with domestic rates for similar work, it’s not surprising that people abroad will work for far less money. That, in and of itself, isn’t the problem.

The problem comes when things like different Timezones and Languages come into play. A very typical scenario involves missed deadlines, complete misunderstandings of requirements, and resulting “products” that at worst, end up being a complete waste of time and money. Sometimes it’s not that bad, but inevitably, as with any software project, Communication is paramount, and chances are, if you’re selecting a vendor, purely based on price, you’ll get exactly what you pay for, but not what you need or want.

One example, from a recent prospective client of mine, was an “app” that was supposed to be released as a native iOS App (written in Objective-C, using the iOS SDK), and a native Android App (written in Java). What was delivered, was a “cross-plaftorm,” HTML (*not* HTML5, mind you) mini-website that acted like an App. Needless to say, Apple was not impressed, and rejected the app at least twice before it was brought to me. The Android Marketplace on the other hand, accepted the HTML app as-is. But the actual Android users of the app are nonplussed at the lack of functionality and poor design. In the end, neither platform was properly built for, and the client isn’t happy. Oh, and he’ll never get a dime back of the money he wired to India.

Ultimately, this particular prospective client was so focused on money, and the fact that he had already wasted tens of thousands of dollars of his client’s money, that he wasn’t realistic about accepting the fact that the app needed to be completely re-written. The fact that the budget for the re-write was coming out of his own pocket was too much for him to deal with. In the end, he wasn’t realistic about the work that needed to be done, and what it realistically should cost. He still wanted something for nothing (especially since he’d gotten screwed the first time), and ultimately, I wasn’t able to help him for what he was willing to pay.

By the time he said “I wish I had found someone like you locally before I sent the work to India,” the damage was done, and his budget was gone.

If you’re considering the same approach, you may want to do a bit more homework on the process and the pitfalls of working with *any* vendor, not to mention one with whom you’ll have no legal remedies or recourse, should things go horribly wrong.

What is the goal of your App?
If you’re tantalized by sending Push Notifications to Users every time you have something new to promote, and you want an app that will allow you to alert your user of all your great deals, you may need some coaching on what’s possible, what’s worth spending the money on, and what will likely be ultimately approved (or with the description above, rejected) by Apple.

Let’s face it, all the neat features of Apps these days (In-App purchases, Push Notifications, etc.) make having an app, a very attractive proposition for small businesses, and individual entrepreneurs alike. But the reality is that a cheap, poorly implemented product not only isn’t good for any business’ image, but it’s not something Consumers are going to be happy about paying for. And features like Push Notifications aren’t cheap; they require a third-party service with ongoing costs.

In fact, what constitutes an App that will be approved by Apple (Android’s Marketplace is almost completely devoid of the same level of requirements) changes over time. An app that would have been approved a year ago, may not pass muster today (say an Art Gallery app, for instance). This fact, and Apple’s approval process in general, is another reason you’ll want someone local (or at least on the same continent) to help you through the process.

Gimmick or Gadget?
Is your app an actual functional piece of software that provides the User with lasting value? Or is it a cute parlor trick, lacking in any real functionality? It’s important to note that the bar (at least according to Apple), has been raised way higher than the plethora of Fart Apps that made some of the early money of the (mobile) App era.

And while that may seem trivial (of course you’re not building a Fart app), it’s important to realize that an Idea is only a *small* part of the equation. Successful apps are successful in part because they’re based on a great idea, but more so because the people who have developed those apps have had the experience, understanding (of Apple’s Guidelines), and ability to create something better than average. If your app isn’t “better than average,” you may be in for a difficult time getting the app approved and in the App Store.

Woohoo! We’re in the App Store! – Now what?
As exciting as it is to get an app approved and on the App Store, it’s only the first step. You’ll need to get your app in front of lots of eyeballs before you start seeing any consistent revenue. And that’s not an easy thing to do.

Marketing apps has become it’s own industry, and there are almost as many people offering App Marketing Services as there are people offering App Development Services. And good marketing, as with good development, isn’t generally (save for the 0.0001% of folks who luck out) a cheap prospect.

How much is the success of your app worth?
It always surprises me when I talk with people who say something like the following,

“I’ve got this Killer idea for an app, and $1,000 to spend on it”

I get that we all have limitations to our budgets. But step back for a minute and think about this kind of position. It says that despite how “killer” the idea is, the person is only willing to spend an absolute minimum on it. Is it any wonder that the end result may not be the Killer success you hope for? It may sound silly, but this mentality, that one can simply hire someone to build an app, pay them the equivalent of $5/hr, and then reap Millions of dollars, is ridiculous, and if you’re caught in that belief, do yourself a favor and reconsider.

“But people are making money on small apps all the time,” you may be thinking. And you’d be right. But it’s the people building the apps who are making that money, generally speaking, NOT the person who hired someone to build an app. And in today’s “I can get it for cheaper” world, not only are these apps not Best Sellers, but they’re the bain of any decent App Developer’s existence. It makes it that much harder to help people when they’ve spent money, have little to nothing to show for it, but need help getting their product/app to market.

If you really have a great idea, and you find the right resource to help you build it, why wouldn’t you want to give it every opportunity of succeeding? If you think that you’ll be one of the 0.0001% of people who strike it rich on Apps, and aren’t willing to spend a reasonable amount of money to see it built and marketed properly, I can tell you, from experience, that you probably won’t find the App riches you’re expecting.

Getting your iOS App approved by Apple Today (vs Yesterday)

Having been developing iOS Apps for 3 years now, I’ve become familiar with almost all the possible paths through the Approval Process. I have 5 apps on the App Store, and I’ve had apps rejected and subsequently approved several times. But the rules are evolving, and what was approved a month or two ago, may not be approved today.

More to the point, iBooks, and the corresponding Creation/Publishing Process wasn’t in when I started my gallery app. The end-game for me will be to help my artist friend create an iBook, essentially achieving the same thing as I sought to do with the app I created (that was ultimately rejected, and is the topic of this post). So, if you’re a Developer, working on a book-like app, you may want to take a look at iBooks.

In a recent post, I talked about an iOS App I’ve been working on as a side project that was Rejected by Apple. As it turns out, the world of iBooks has superseded what many App Developers try to incorporate into their apps.

Specifically, if your app is simply a book/brochure/gallery (no matter what the UI or bells and whistles are like), it’s probably better suited as an iBook than an App. Take my word for it.

But even though it’s a bummer that I created an app that ultimately won’t see a place in the App Store, I understand why it is the way it is, and I agree that this app (a simple Gallery of Paintings) is truly better suited to an iBook than a true “App” in the App Store. Ultimately Apps should have some Productive value beyond pretty pictures. As a longtime Software Developer, I can agree with drawing the line where it is. Especially since there’s an alternative that provides much the same business opportunities via revenue share with Apple.

Interestingly though, I had a very pleasant and insightful conversation with someone from Apple’s Review Board this morning, and with his help, we did arrive an alternative for what *should* pass the “App” test, i.e. be Approved (were this something I needed to pursue for a client, or otherwise felt strongly about it being an App).

The suggestion was to create a Slide Puzzle where the User could Interact with the paintings beyond simply viewing them. If there was also a Slideshow/Gallery feature, that would probably be okay, but if I pursue that route, I’ll start with a simple Puzzle Game instead of the previous path/product we were working on. In the end, Apple wanted to work with me to define an App that provided User Value, and I appreciated their input, especially over the phone with a bonafide Developer Advocate.

So, Kudos to Apple for still being there to work through the Gray Areas with Developers, and for providing another Option in iBooks, and providing a way to monetize projects, despite the fact that it won’t be in App form. See if iBooks are something you can offer your clients, but be warned, you’ll have to think outside the box you max be stuck in (from an App/Functionality standpoint).

Sound Generation on iOS/Cocoa

Generating digital audio is a complex topic. In my search for understanding how sounds are generated using Core Audio on iOS and Cocoa, I came across lots of great tutorials, blog posts, etc., and found Matt Gallagher’s ToneGenerator project on his site, CocoaWithLove.com. It was the closest thing I’d found to what I needed in order to generate tones for a music game I’ve been working on. But there was one element that really cemented my basic understanding of what’s required to generate a musically accurate tone.

When you think about Sound, there are tons of details, and tons of Math behind what makes things “work.” i.e. the physics behind the air pressure changes, and how your ear-drum “processes” that. It’s a very complex thing.

But when you break down what it takes to *digitally* create sound, the two most critical things are the Frequency of the tone, and it’s Sample Rate, or how often it’s being represented by what a speaker produces (or what a microphone records).

So, when you take those two elements, Frequency and Sample Rate, from a programming perspective, things become doable.

Matt’s project was a great start, but for me, until I added in the Sample Rate and saw how that element changed the sound being generated, I was still stuck.

With the variable Sample Rate, I was finally able to create actual Musical Notes, without even touching his Tone Unit code. The only thing I added was an array of values (Frequency and Duration), another slider, and a handful of buttons. His code, that already had a variablized Sample Rate, did all the work, I just had to find the right values to supply it with.

In this screenshot, you can see the two sliders, one for Frequency and one for Sample Rate. You can also see 12 buttons, each of which set the Frequency and Sample Rate for the corresponding 12 notes.

The source is available below, and is definitely worth taking a look at if you’re muddling through the beginning stages of Core Audio like I am. The simple UI lets you create familiar tones (i.e. Musical Notes), while seeing the corresponding Frequency and Sample Rates of each Note. You can also play with the sliders to see what variations sound like.

Hopefully it’s a good visual exercise that helps you through the first steps of creating Sound in your Apps! Feel free to download the SoundGenerator iOS sample project and give it a whirl.

Facebook IPO Debacle Surprising? Hell no.

The mere fact that a company like Facebook has completed an IPO, IMHO, is absolutely  ludicrous. Nobody will argue that they are a Household Name, and a ubiquitous part of how we communicate today. And that fact, that they are so well-known, and widely used, around the globe, is impressive. But that’s where the value ends.

Profitability it seems, is no longer an interest or requirement for Investment Capital, and indeed an IPO. And Facebook’s not the first such vaporware investment to come along. In fact, if Google hadn’t gotten so aggressive about offering Products (software, advertising, etc.), they never would have broken out of the “worthless” category (strictly from an Investment position). Can Facebook be as successful? Who knows. Maybe they can. And I truly hope they will. But to allow them as a company to complete an IPO in the first place, at this early, cash-hemorrhaging point in their young life is ludicrous at best, and the cause of our economic crisis continued, at worst.

Here’s where I really have trouble. Not with the fact that Facebook hasn’t been vetted or proven worthy of becoming a Publicly Traded Company, but that people are entering Mass Hysteria (I exaggerate) when news of “mistakes” or “poorly communicated” things come to light. Still don’t see what I see? Let’s take a step back…

Why does anyone invest in a stock?
Because they *believe* the value will increase over time. And the long-standing tradition of what a “Stock” used to mean to the Average Joe Investor, was usually a good thing to put some money in for a long term investment. A diversification if you will.

But fast-forward to Facebook, and you find a series of transactions (i.e. the IPO process) which are now under scrutiny. Alas, some people made a bunch of money, and others are pissed off because they didn’t make enough. And worse, the cat is out of the bag that those first precious hours are the only time you can make money on a company like Facebook.

So now, the Shareholders of Facebook are angry. And they carry torches, fueled by the nation’s attention to the media and all the fear and controversy around the IPO. And lawyers a flocking to perform the litigious process of getting their fair share of that money. And the Government is going to see that everything was done properly. Headlines read, “Oh, Zuck,” (a shining example of CNN’s Journalistic Standards) and if the last fiasco I saw that was exactly like this is any indication, this will drag on, stay in the media, be the most bitched about thing for who knows how long.

There’re all kinds of challenging things awaiting Facebook. Their IPO shows that getting to “The Top” Today is still possible if you’re greedy enough to lay your Soul down upon a Crossroads.

 

In my head, it’s kind of funny though
When I picture the whole Facebook IPO situation, here’s what I picture:

[Powerful voice asks…]
“Will you put $20 and pass the hat, please?”

As the hat circles through the crowd, the Voice continues… “You see, if you put your money in that hat, as does the next person and so on, and so forth, we will have a LOT of money.”

People fervently put their cash in the hat and pass it down the row to the next lucky guy or gal. They’re all their to make it rich, you see.

But then, the hat gets lost, a Hockey Game breaks out, and hilarity ensues.

 

That’s just what’s happening now, and the only people who are crying are the ones who didn’t get a turn to make their fortune overnight, because they weren’t allowed to be at the “right” place at the “right” time…

Suffice it to say that it should be pretty obvious that (and this is why people are mad), the whole point of the IPO was for the wealth it created in the first 24 hours of trading. You can skip watching this train-wreck, and just move along. Nothing to see here.

Time will pass, courts will eventually make some of these sue-mongers wealthy, and the next ridiculously worthless IPO will come along soon.

While we’re on the topic, anyone here remember Groupon?

Apple Rejected my App!!! What do I do now?

If you’ve been developing iOS apps for a while, you’ve probably had an app rejected. Usually, you forgot an icon, or had some small revision to make, and you resubmitted it, never losing your place in line. But what if Apple wholeheartedly passes on your app? What if they tell you that it’s not worthy of being on the App Store, or worse, is better deployed as an HTML 5 (read: non-monetized) “app.” It’s disheartening to say the least,. Revenue is one of the biggest reasons any of us want our app on the App Store (or any Marketplace), so when the whole premise of your submission essentially isn’t good enough, you’ve got two options.

Give up and go home – OR – Redesign/Refine/Refactor your app

Sometimes, the app was built at a client’s request, and according to their Specs. It’s a hard conversation to have, to say that their idea isn’t good enough, but I would suggest having that conversation early, instead of after your app has been rejected. You’ll be providing better service by being honest with your client about the strict standards and referring them to Apple’s list of Requirements/Guidelines, found in the “App Store Review Guidelines” available on Apple’s website.

But sometimes, it’s your own app or idea, and you feel that it’s worthy of a spot in the App Store. In my case, it wasn’t that the app wasn’t polished enough, or didn’t support all the iOS devices, it was said to be better served on a website that nobody will ever find (I’m paraphrasing, and added the part about never seeing the light of day). Well, in my case, Apple sited the following:

We found that the features and/or content of your app were not useful or entertaining enough, or your app did not appeal to a broad enough audience, to be in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.

Ouch. My app is a Gallery app for an Aviation Artist, and while the 1.0 submission was a bit bland, only containing 9 (High-Resolution) images, and a Slideshow feature, but as I told Apple, that’s just the beginning. My neighbor happens to be a phenomenal artist, the very one whose work is featured in the app, so we’ve been planning on adding videos of him describing the history and personal stories behind each of his paintings, as well as extending the app to contain other works. Maybe not the re-play-ability of Angry Birds, but he’s got fans who would love nothing more than to spend an hour every so often with an iPad and his Gallery app. Sure it’ll work on a simple website, but monetizing it, one of the biggest reasons we’re building the app, is not quite the same animal when you’re talking about a website versus an App that someone can buy in an online store.

General advice

In the end, as an iOS Developer, I’m quite familiar with the “App Store Review Guidelines,” and IMHO, my app belongs in the App Store. But, the final word rests with Apple, and always will. So, never forget that if you’re not creating a Killer App, it may not make it to the store you originally intend. It’s kind of a bummer, but is also understandable, as with over 500,000 apps in the Apple App Store, they’re getting pickier and pickier to maintain a marketplace with the best apps available.

That being said, two things you can do as a Developer will help you tread these unknown waters with a bit more confidence. First, always be honest with your clients about the Guidelines you face as a Developer, and the fact that sometimes as great an idea as they think it may be, if Apple (or any other vendor) doesn’t see value in it, it may not make it to the store. And secondly, always design your apps to take advantage of the features of the platform. In other words, ask if your app would be almost the same as a simple web site. If the answer is “I don’t know,” you may want to get a friend or colleague’s professional opinion. Never be afraid to make improvements, or ask for help in doing so. Otherwise, you’re just giving up and going home. And I don’t have any advice for pussies. ;)

Takeaway

So, for my app, I’m still waiting on Apple’s Approval Board for a final decision. In the meantime, I’m thinking about ways to either take the app, add functionality to make it more  befitting of a spot in the App Store, or, how to take those same assets and either deploy a website that may not be the same as an app, but might be able to offer things that we wouldn’t have been able to in an app.

For instance, with a website, we can actually sell prints, etc. and still offer a Slideshow (perhaps with ads… yuck) so that people can enjoy the paintings on their mobile device(s). In an app, you have to either use In-App Purchasing (Apple’s API for buying things inside an app), or totally leave out the ability for people to click a button and go somewhere else (outside Apple’s control) to purchase something.

And of course, there’s the Android market. Which for me personally, for this type of app, would not be a good alternative, IMHO. Why not? Well, for starters, even for a simple Gallery app, that could easily be developed with something like Corona and deploy to Android, it can be a support hassle troubleshooting the difference between Android devices that you don’t have with the homogenous Apple hardware, but more importantly, the Android market provides little to no protection against piracy. For something like a bunch of High Resolution images, even though you can’t prevent sneaky people from finding ways to get them off the device, the Android market is more akin to showing up with a truckload of beer to sell at a biker rally. You may sell a case or too, but eventually, someone’s going to come along and take the whole truck. That’s my take on the Android market, as it applies to Intellectual Property and Piracy at least. :)

I’ll update here once I get the final, fruitful word to let you know where I’m going from here. But in the meantime, has anyone else rebounded gracefully from the Rejection process, only to re-submit a better product? What can you share about the process and your lessons learned? Could you have seen it coming, or were you surprised and unprepared for your app’s rejection?

Happy Apping!

Enjoying a lit crowd

Wow. This has been a really fun week for me. I did two Open Mics on Tuesday night, and hosted the weekly Comedy Open Mic last night at Kick Butt Coffee. It was a fun week for a lot of reasons, but what all three had in common was not only a bona fide audience (i.e. non-comics were actually there), but all three audiences were pretty lit. Inebriated. Intoxicated. That can be terrifying for a Stand Up Comic, as many of you can attest, but all three nights were actually really fun, despite more audience participation and borderline heckling than we had hoped for.

Taos Co-Op – Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Hosted by Wes Corwin

This was a fun room. A handful of comics performed in the nasty basement of a co-op just off the 40 Acres. The room alone, with it’s grafittid walls provided the comics with plenty of material, but the puke covered toilet, Al-Qaida-esque workout room, and dank hallway where the Cat Shit Ghost lives, made it all the more charming. The crowd was a lively and fun bunch of coed Undergrads. They were a great crowd, and I appreciate them hosting us.

Oh, and they were lit. After a couple hours of listening to comedy, passing the bottle, and I’m guessing maybe sharing a pan of special brownies prior to the show, they were full of energy, but made the comics work to keep their attention. It was a good exercise for me, and I ended up mostly riffing and doing crowd-work. I knew I had to pull the right material for a younger crowd, and riffing with a few jokes thrown in, ended up working pretty well. I didn’t kill, but felt like I had a solid set, and enjoyed it, which has become my only benchmark for a “successful” set.

East Avenu Lounge – Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Hosted by Aaron Arocha

Somewhere between Taos Co-Op and a Biker bar, East Avenue Lounge, with convenient access to I35 South, just mere feet away, it was very interesting. The crowd was very small, but by 10:30ish, when I went up, they too were well into the spirits. Aaron is becoming a master of “treading water” and this is partly why. Lots of mic time to just work through some shit. I’ve had the same experience hosting Kick Butt, and sometimes, you’ve just gotta fill up some time. Being able to stuff out of your butt, and not losing the few people you’ve got is a tough task.

Again, I just kind of riffed and mixed in some material, and really had fun. As a side note, for a long time, I’ve been trying to have 6 or 8 jokes decided upon, every time I go up. It’s been a good way to work on material, tweak things here and there, etc., but it’s also be a hinderance in that there is often more topical or relavant material than any jokes you choose ahead of time. So, my current approach is really more winging it, throwing in material I’ve fine-tuned, but focusing more on connecting with the audience and making funny about something that’s happening at that moment, rather than just telling jokes.

Kick Butt Coffee
Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
Hosted by me

We had a Rockin’ good time. The loudest band I’ve ever heard at a coffee shop played an ear-splitting set just before the Comedy Open Mic, and we managed to keep much of the crowd there for quite a while.

There were some lit folks there, before we even arrived. It made for a very interesting “clash of cultures.” There were some notable audience members, including a fat baby, and a few gals who where not impressed with the barrage of jokes involving bodily functions or forced sexual scenarios. I don’t know why, but a lot of comics think that Rape makes for awesome material, and let’s just say that a few people in the audience weren’t enjoying the show quite as much as others. There were words. There was borderline heckling, but honestly speaking, I think that all the comics who went up had better sets because of the friction. It’s a neat thing to see, and even neater to experience.

At the end of the evening, I had enjoyed myself way too much, flirted more than I have in 20 years, and otherwise really had a good time.

So, if you’re a comic, and you end up in front of a bunch of drunks, you may be surprised at how great a time you end up having. After-all, we’re just trying to make people laugh, and when you can take someone who’s had a shitty day, and is perhaps looking to unload on you, and see the humor completely disarm the adversarial situation; audience members can be very defensive, and when that element goes away, and everyone is just laughing and enjoying the moment, well, that part will never get old for me.

Sing low…

For someone who’s tried damn hard to sing the praises of things, and people, I’m finding it harder and harder to find nice things to say. I’m known for being a positive guy, always looking on the bright side, and finding opportunity in the unlikeliest of places. I tend to believe in things when others flee at the first fault they can find. From my perspective, that’s their loss. After all, life is pretty amazing, and the human existence is the most awesome and quirkiest thing I’ve found.

But when you deal with certain “facts” in life, say seeking employment/business, you deal with people who are shitty at their jobs, miserable in life, and not the least bit aware that they are shitting on everyone else’s parade. Life is what you make of it, and it’s harder to give a shit about other people than it is to not. And in today’s me-first, I’m in a bigger hurry, have a bigger problem, or need something more than anyone else mindset, we all tend to experience the worst in our peers. All the time.

It stems from a breath of wisdom, an understanding that you and you alone control your path through life, and every one of us has the potential and opportunity to be something amazing. But it’s easy to forget, harder still to remember, and almost impossible to live on a daily basis. I try to be happy. I try to be positive. But sometimes I wonder when it’s going to be my fucking turn to succeed.

It would be different if I was always shitting on people, their ideas, their creations, and their efforts. But I don’t. You could paint me something that looked like a gorilla shit on a piece of paper and smeared it around, and I’d probably find something expressive, something creative that proves it was a worthwhile effort. I say paint randomly, it could be anything; any human effort. I see that things take time, effort and passion. I can’t not see that fact in everything around me. But what I don’t see is any sign that all my soul-searching, creative investment, or risk taking, has me on any other course than I’d have been on had I kept drinking heavily, daily, and shitting on everything I loved.

I had jobs, wrote great code, built cool products, all while being miserable day in and day out. I was not the father or husband I wanted to be, but I was putting food on the table. I wanted to just get away from myself, but I was providing for my family.

Now, I’m actually comfortable in my own skin, capable of more than even I can imagine, have shared my time, effort, meals, cigarettes, etc. even when I didn’t have enough for myself. But still, I sit here, on yet another day, wishing that just a few people whom I happen to cross paths with, would give a flying fuck about their jobs, and other people’s time, and value. Just once, maybe someone would follow through, not just with an idea – I’d rather have more toilet paper, but with the passion, budget and confidence to actually see something to fruition.

Put on a happy face, lord knows I’m trying to, and give whatever you find yourself doing, 100%. You’ll feel better, other people will feel better, the wold will suck that small fraction less, and we’ll all just get through another day in paradise. Okay?

Kick Butt Coffee – Here I go again…

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be taking over for fellow Kick Butt host, Andrew Tompkins, at Kick Butt Coffee, Music and Booze‘s Airport location, on Wednesday nights from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Come join us for a cocktail and some laughs! :)

Here’s a Facebook event with a map, etc. The event says it’s for 4/18/12, but we’ll be there every Wednesday evening!

See you there!

Kick Butt Comedy Showcase – Tuesday, March 13, 2012 – Come Laugh With Us!!!

Looking for a fun alternative to Live Music while you’re in Austin, TX for SXSW? Come laugh your ass off with us, Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at Kick Butt Coffee’s ‘Triangle’ location, between Guadalupe and Lamar, in North/Central Austin.

We’ve got a great lineup of funny Austin Comedians who are ready to welcome you to Austin’s Exploding Comedy scene! Come joing us for Drink Specials and a FULL night of Stand Up Comedy.

Showcase from 5 to 8 p.m., Open Mic following the Showcase.

Here’s the Lineup (updated 3/13/12):

Luke McClory, Gene Getman, Katie Pengra, Frank Rios, Mike Provenzano, Duncan Carson, Jami Shofner, Fred Bothwell, Denis Sokolov, Maggie Maye, Jacob James Garcia, Isaac Harigle, Tony LaMarr, J.D. Darley, Bob Khosravi, Dre LaJames, Kelly Stone, Adam Hrabik, Norman Wilkerson, Jimmy Preston, Gregg O, Derick Fields, Lane Krarup, Hilarious Darius, Doug Lewis, Torrence Brown

Come out on out and see us, y’all!!!

 

Another one bites the dust… AppRanch closes it’s gates.

So, after bootstrapping (using every penny of mine, family, and friends possible), i.e. not taking Venture Capital, either in proper form, or that of today’s Angel Investor’s terms, it wasn’t for me, and I decided a long time ago that I was going to build something outside the norm. While the company I started with that intent has failed, I wouldn’t change that single element. In short, without casting any judgement, I didn’t want to “sell out,” by taking money from people who had either no idea or a very different idea than I have. I want to build my own stuff. I’ve built products that have generated MILLIONS of DOLLARS for companies who follow the march of Today’s Corporate Drum. Yet I’m the one struggling to make ends meet and provide for my family. It’s sad, but true, so I’m on to the next flavor of me.

I started AppRanch[.com] in May of 2009, as I wound down my most recent Corporate Gig, one which made me irrelevant once I had re-architected and built the vast majority of it. Anyway, I saw iOS (Apple’s Mobile “platform,” i.e. Apps) as my next move, and one that I needed to do quickly. For months and months and months and months, I struggled to learn a whole new approach to Software Development, and one which, for a 40 year-old, was my last chance to stay relevant in a Technical sense, for the larger market.

For me, AppRanch represented a natural next step, despite not having any funding, savings, back-up plan, etc. It was quite frankly out of necessity, and I saw it as an opportunity to launch a company founded on realistic, human-based actions and reactions. A company that was more of a family than a job. 30 Hour Work Weeks, Full Benefits, the whole nine yards. It was my chance to build something in the shape of what I thought a company should look, and act like.

It’s no secret that I’m cynical at best and absolutely correct at worst, when it comes to my views on Corporate America, Financial Crisis, Wall Street, etc. It’s greed; money, beyond all else. It’s building “companies,” with the same and sometimes better rights than Individuals, with the only target being that of an IPO, and then forever bound to provide Shareholder Value. It’s a failed model, yet it remains the status quo and the standard by which we judge fortunes.

You don’t have to be too paranoid to realize that the only options are to roll with it, or change your own personal course. My problem is that I’ve held that belief and intention, despite that the very market (Austin, TX) I’m trying to compete in. It’s a veritable Who’s Flashiest of “Mobile App Developers.” Form over function takes over, and whoever has the sexiest sales pitch, wins. The rest of us dredge through impossible relationships with impossible clients, believing that we’re doing the right thing by trying.

And I’ll keep trying.

There are tons of Lessons Learned during the past almost 3 years, starting a “startup” in Austin, Texas, being part of Technological Tsunami (Mobile), Client Management, Contracts, Flakes, Identifying the key indicators, early in the process, of Mental Illness, Self-Loathing, and Spontaneous Human Combustion. But alas, there are too many for this post, or really a Blog, so, I’ve decided to write an eBook detailing, discussing and dissecting AppRanch, and my experiences as an Entrepreneur.

“Ranch for Sale” – an Autobiographical Literary Dissection of a Failed Technology Startup

Would you buy a copy? What would you want to know more about? Any feedback out there?

Please leave a comment…