Putting more focus in my focus

Time to focus!

Your focus needs more focus

Recently my wife and I saw the Karate Kid remake at the second-run theater (yes, I’m a cheap date), and the “your focus needs more focus” scene grabbed my attention. It prodded me to clarify where I am on my iOS development path.

One of the few drawbacks to being an indie developer is finding ways to make and keep myself accountable to someone. I made a commitment to make iOS development a major component of my work, and I am pleased with my progress. I am proficient in key areas; knowledgeable and growing in others; and am actively doing iOS contract work. But, I still have not published one of my own apps on the App Store. I could come up with a long list of reasons, but I don’t want to feed those thoughts.

Instead, I want to put some more focus in my iOS focus, so I will be using my iDevBlogADay posts as a method of accountability.

My options

I have sketched out dozens of app ideas both on paper and in iMockups. I have prototyped or brainstormed dozens of game mechanics and themes. I have downloaded dozens of apps and games looking for inspiration. One thing I know for sure: I no longer need more ideas, I need to choose.

In evaluating my current development skills and knowledge, I am:

  • very strong in overall development and design,
  • getting pretty good in iOS development,
  • not far past the novice stage in game design.

So, I believe my best option is to refine one of my non-game ideas, develop it into a viable app, polish until it shines, and release. I am not giving up on my game ideas, but my shortest path to a polished app in the store does not lie that way.

My plan

Early and continual engagement with real users is important, so an on-going task will be to involve a variety of other people. I hope to get at least one new person involved each week, as well as building on previous contacts throughout the process to:

  • solicit feedback on my ideas, sketches, and mockups,
  • watch new and old users try out the app with limited instruction,
  • ask what features are missing, and what ones should be dropped,
  • do usability testing.

I will keep each development iteration short to keep momentum and see regular bits of progress. I will not be able to devote myself full time to the project, so I need to do things that will keep me passionate about it.

To that end, by next week’s post, I will have:

  • chosen an initial app idea,
  • developed a clear focus for the first version,
  • produced one or two mockups to share,
  • built a description of my target customers,
  • discussed my idea with at least two people that fit that description.

Defeating the “Squirrel Factor”

I plan on posting each week on my progress, and hope for some feedback from others from time to time.

So, if you see me chasing after squirrels, I’d be thankful if you follow me on twitter and give me a tweet slap, or post comments demanding some progress so I don’t end up like Dug from Up!


As an indie developer, one of the best things you can do is to find like-minded developers that will provide encouragement and motivation while pursuing a commitment. A great collection of indie iOS developers have helped me stay on track, most of them are either developers associated with iDevBlogADay, or those I have met through the 360iDev conferences. If you can make it to Austin in November, I highly recommend it for it’s content, the friendships you’ll develop, and the passion it will bring to your iOS development.

Also, here is a little more information about me, Doug Sjoquist, and how I came to my current place in life. You should follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog. Have a great day!