Category Archives: Business

iPhone Development Resources

I promised a list of the websites I mentioned in my talk at the HTC on Wednesday. Instead of putting my own list together, I defer to the master: Ari Braginsky. This google doc is where I found most of the sites that I follow daily:

iPhone Resources

It’s a huge list, so I’ll give you a few must haves.

  • Mobile Orchard is a great iPhone Development Blog. There’s lots of great info there, and a pretty good podcast as well.
  • Games from Within – Noel Llopis writes about his experiences as an indie iPhone game developer.
  • Jeff LaMarche’s iPhone Development Blog – Jeff wrote the Apress book Beginning iPhone Development, and his blog is one of the best places to get started with OpenGL ES on the iPhone, especially if you don’t have any OpenGL experience.
  • – All about the business of developing iPhone apps. It’s also the home of the app store metrics.
  • TouchArcade is a great iPhone game review site, and a lot of developers are active in the forum there.
  • iPhone Developers on Twitter is a community maintained Google spreadsheet where you can find the Twitter handles of thousands of iPhone developers.

These three iPhone analytics companies also blog metrics periodically:

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

As promised, Here are the slides for my talk at the Houston Technology Center’s Web Based Startup School on 6/17/09. The slides aren’t really useful on their own since I only used them as a visual aid in the talk, but they might trigger some memories for those in attendance.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? – What it Takes to Become an iPhone Developer


Since the opening of the iPhone app store, many developers have turned themselves into true success stories. While these stories are more exception than rule, their telling has inspired countless others to give iPhone development a shot. The app store is a revolution in software distribution, and it gives independent developers the power to make their own success. If you are considering becoming an iPhone developer, or if you are just curious what it’s all about, this session is for you. You will learn how to get the SDK, how to join the iPhone developer program and some common iPhone business models. We will also look at the technical side of iPhone development and get a look at the tools of the SDK. Since this session falls on the day of the release of iPhone OS 3.0, we will also get a good look at the new features in the OS and SDK that enable even more rapid development and new business models.

[Download PDF]

I’m Speaking at 360|iDev in Denver 9/27-9/30!

I just got confirmation that I’ll be speaking at 360|iDev in Denver this September. I’m really excited about the conference! I was disappointed that I didn’t hear about the last 360|iDev until after it was over, and the raves of Jeff LaMarche and Owen Goss made me a little jealous. If you can swing it, come on out. It should be a great time!

Here’s what I’ll be talking about:

Using Core Animation to Build Complex and Attractive Interfaces

Core Animation plays an integral role in the iPhone user interface and is responsible for much of its intuitiveness. Careful use of animation can make even an average app a joy to use. In this session you will learn how to effectively apply the features of Core Animation in your own apps. After a brief introduction to the principles behind Core Animation, you will learn how it is used in UIKit. Then, we will dig into the meat of Core Animation and how to use it effectively. Using the open source FTAnimationManager as an example, you will learn how to tame some of the complexities of the Core Animation API. By the end of this session, you will be comfortable with Core Animation, and your apps will run more smoothly and be more visually appealing.

360|iDev Speaker

Virgin Mobile Buys Helio Out of Petty Cash

Helio’s demise does not come as a shock, but that price! [Engadget]( “Two years and half billion later, Helio sells for a song. But why? – Engadget”) says it best:

> We know Helio was burning cash like crazy, but that doesn’t entirely explain why SK Telecom was so absurdly desperate to dump their $500m investment. At a $39m acquisition price, SK didn’t just lose its shirt — it lost that, the shoes, and then the pants. You know, the pants with a half-billion dollars in them.

The [MVNO]( “Mobile Virtual Network Operator”) model seems to be a great idea. Mobile phone users should not care who owns the towers and runs the network. They should care about the phones, the software and the customer service. It makes sense. Let the network details be a [B2B]( “Business-to-Business”) transaction. I really don’t care who my ISP is as long as my Internet service can keep up with my daily [Hot Chicks with Douchebags]( “Hot Chicks with Douchebags”) addiction.

I’m not a marketer, and I don’t know what it will take for the MVNO’s to convince consumers that retail mobile phone service from someone other than the telco is better. I don’t even know that consumers understand that Virgin Mobile is really just a marketing and customer service organization. When looking for mobile phone service, I suspect that most people look for the biggest (aka most reliable) provider. After all, we all hate dropped calls. If any provider can make the MVNO model work, it’s the original one, [Virgin Mobile]( “Virgin Mobile”). Few are better at branding and providing an experience that people want than [Richard Branson]( “Richard Branson”) and [Company]( “Virgin Group”).

I wish Apple would get into the MVNO game. It has already taken the carrier out of the software and phone business. Now, all we need is for Apple to start selling the phone service. A world where I could deal with Apple’s user experience and customer service instead of AT&T’s is a world I would gladly pay a little extra to live in. Who knows, AT&T might get better. [It had the sense to get the heck out of San Antonio](

*(via [Engadget]( “Two years and half billion later, Helio sells for a song. But why? – Engadget”))*

Get Out of Dodge (or San Antonio)!

In an only slightly surprising move, [AT&T announced]( “AT&T moving headquarters to Dallas from San Antonio”) this week that it is moving its corporate headquarters from San Antonio to Dallas. I’m surprised that it took so long.

While I’m sure that there are numerous reasons for the company’s departure, its primary excuse is air travel. I know, from personal experience, that non-stop flights from San Antonio to any major city outside of Houston and Dallas are as rare as a south Texas winter snowstorm. Trying to fly out of San Antonio on a regular basis is an exercise in patience and frustration (and lots of connecting flights). As airlines cut schedules and ground aircraft, this problem will only get worse. Still, I doubt that air travel is the *primary* reason for AT&T’s exodus. I share [Stacey Higginbotham’s skepticism]( “Blaming Airlines, AT&T Takes Flight – GigaOM”):

> Perhaps the lack of good flights is a scapegoat to help Randall Stephenson avoid insulting San Antonio’s technology credentials. Although after a decade and a half in the city, the fact that few technology related startups grew up around one of the top 25 companies in the U.S., is a damning testament to the city and the company itself.

That a sea of tech startups have failed to materialize in the home of AT&T and Rackspace exposes a reality of life in San Antonio: it’s boring. For a city of its size, San Antonio has a remarkably small town feel, and most people are comfortable and content with their lives and surroundings. While admirable, this contentment is a vise that relentlessly squeezes the entrepreneurial and creative spirit from the city. There is nothing wrong with San Antonio being boring. Many people would love to live in a place where they are comfortable and content, but a boring city will not encourage creative and daring entrepreneurism, and a boring city will not attract young, creative talent. I suspect that San Antonians are content with that as well.

Even so, AT&T is not moving to Dallas because it is less boring than San Antonio, or because it is a more entrepreneurial city, or even to make air travel a little easier for its executives. Dallas is bursting with telecom companies and employees, and it makes much more sense for the nation’s largest telecom company to be headquartered there. I doubt that there is little more to it than that.

*(via [GigaOM]( “Blaming Airlines, AT&T Takes Flight”))*

Where do software developers get paid the most?

According to data from the [Department of Labor](, it’s Houston. The blog at []( crunched the numbers from the DoL for us and adjusted them for cost of living. This wasn’t even a close race, folks. Here are some highlights from the post:


Top 10 Bottom 10
Rank City Adjusted Salary Rank City Adjusted Salary
1 Houston $102,908 1 Honolulu $38,766
2 Austin $93,844 2 San Francisco $44,937
3 Fort Worth $91,614 3 San Diego $48,181
4 Arlington $91,614 4 New York $50,492
5 El Paso $85,741 5 Oakland $51,428

> …

> Who knew that a developer in Houston had more than twice the buying power of developers in San Francisco.

> …

Well, I didn’t **know**, but I’m far from surprised. Houston is a serious bargain for anyone who wants all the amenities of a major US city for around half of the cost. The city boasts top notch [cuisine](, [opera](, [regional theatre](, [symphony](, [sports](, [rodeo](, and [parks](,_Houston,_Texas), and that’s just the stuff that I care about :).

Houston also has a large, thriving developer community supported heavily by the financial, biomedical, and energy industries. The [Python](, [Ruby](, [Java](, [.NET](, and [Agile Development]( user groups each consistently draw at least 20 members to almost every meeting. That’s not bad for a city that spans more than 600 square miles.

Houston also has a burgeoning tech start up community powered by its favorable business climate. It’s not a stretch to say that a $100,000 investment in a company in the Valley will probably burn out in about half of the time as the same investment in a startup headquartered in Houston.

There is no scarcity of programming talent in Houston, either. With [Rice University]( and the [University of Houston]( in the city limits and [Texas A&M University]( a mere 90 miles away, the market gets pumped full of eager developers at the end of every semester. As for experienced developers, who do you think has been powering the space program and the energy industry all of these years?

It’s no secret that I love Houston, and, yeah, I’m a bit of a cheerleader, but I hear a lot of negative things about Houston from people around the country. Most of that negativity is baseless, and it comes from people who have visited Houston only briefly or not at all. Try spending a couple of weeks here, and [I’m sure you can find something about the city that you love]( So, if you’re a developer, and you want to live and work in a big city, hop a flight to Houston (you can get here non-stop from pretty much anywhere in the US). [There]( [are]( [a]( [lot]( [of]( [software]( [companies]( [here](, and I’m sure one of them would love to have you.