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Archive for March, 2011

Stuck in Your Startup? Get Over Yourself!

23 Mar
Startup frustrations?

Photo by: Zach Klein

There are a lot of challenges to getting your own startup off the ground. The one thing that no one mentions, though, is the challenge of getting out of your own way!

If you are serious about your first start up—not just as a hobby—then you will need to push yourself, hard. There is too much work to do; there are the product creation issues, there are business and promotion issues, and there are issues that you could never anticipate. There are not enough hours in the day to do it; and that is even if you don’t have a spouse and you don’t have kids and you don’t have a money earning “day-job” to tend to!

If you are starting your first company and you don’t feel stress and pressure,  you are not taking it seriously enough.

Through this stress, you should learn something that you don’t read about:  you are your own worst enemy.  If you have the desire to start a company but haven’t done so or you are stagnating early-on, what is impeding you? Oh, you can blame it on “There isn’t enough time,” or “The idea is not good enough,” or “It will cost too much,” or “It has already been done,” or a myriad other excuses. There will be “roadblocks” at every stage of your entrepreneurial endeavor; from getting started to planning and execution. The real reason you can’t move forward is because you are inhibiting yourself.

During those frustrating times where you are not making progress, it might be worth your while to look inward to see whether it is your own psyche, habits, or preconceived expectations that are keeping you from moving forward. Once you begin to realize why you are not executing, you can begin to find solutions to break those patterns and beliefs.  Climb out of that box that you have spent your whole life building around yourself!

Learning and understanding yourself, then changing and growing… that may be the most valuable part of pushing yourself through the challenges of starting your own company.

 
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Posted in Startup

 

I Just Want to Create a Frickin’ iPhone App! (Part 1)

15 Mar
Hand Things Down’s first iPhone application

Hand Things Down’s first iPhone application

We had a big deadline, yesterday, to have an iPhone app running. For those of you who who’ve heard about the multitude of hurdles that you have to cross in order to get an iPhone app working, I will summarize my experience over the past couple of weeks. I am not even talking about submitting an app to the Apple App Store, only to get it running on a device.  If you read no further, know this: DO NOT WAIT until the last minute and think you can do this in an hour; there are logistics that involve faxing(!!) and people at Apple, so it will take days. Hopefully some hints, here will help to trim that down.

Here are the steps (from memory):

  1. Join the Apple Developer Connection (developer.apple.com).  This is free and it will give you access to bunch technical information and videos (but not all!). This step is quick and painless.
    1. Find your way through one of the Dev Center links or just go to developer.apple.com/programs/register.
    2. Be sure that the email address and name are what you want to use because they will verify subsequent information, later (in the certificate used to run your app on your actual device).
    3. You will need to verify the email address through the email they send you. This is automated, so it shouldn’t take long.
  2. Once you have registered, you can also download the iOS SDK so that you can develop an application and run it in its simulator. This, of course is the same SDK you’d use for iPod Touch and iPad development.
  3. You have to have Mac OS Snow Leopard (10.6.4) or later to install the SDK… expect an upgrade from 10.5 to take 2-3 hours, after the update patches that might be required, are also applied.

  4. To run your application on an iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad, you need to join and pay for the “iOS Developer Program.” This process isn’t specific to iOS; you will be able to opt into one of Apple’s three developer programs, iOS, Mac, and Safari. The first two cost $99. and the latter is free.
  5. I needed to register our company as the “developer” so that any applications are released under the company’s name, rather than my own. Apple wants to verify that it is a legitimate entity; so they sent an email asking me to fax proof of the company’s validity (Fax?!! Really, Apple?! Really?!!). They manually review the paperwork before anything else happens. By taking the time to read this blog-post, you can avoid the time and frustration I had to go through (they never processed my fax):
    Apple Dev Program company paperwork request

    Apple Dev Program company paperwork request

    Call Apple Developer Support at one of their phone numbers—for the US, call (408) 974-4897 or (800) 633-2152, Mon-Fri, 9:00AM-7:00PM CST. Tell them that you’d faxed your paperwork in 3 or 4-days ago. If you are nice, they will send you an email where you can attach your paperwork and email back!

    That little tid-bit might save you days of waiting. If you are an individual developer, then this might not apply.

  6. You will get another confirmation email, “Information Received Regarding Your Enrollment,” from them as soon as the support person does whatever they do. You’ve yet to pay, however. I had to wait for another 2-days to receive an “Apple Developer Program Enrollment Update” email. If you do not receive this email, you can try writing your support contact again or try the link that you will eventually get, to see if you can proceed: developer.apple.com/ios/enroll/purchaseProgram.action. It took me two days to get this email. I was then able to pay.
  7. The next day I received an invoice and the confirmation email “Thank You for Joining an Apple Developer Program,” and I was no longer beholden to the black-box procedures of Apple (as far as I know… see my next posting). Now I have access to the additional technical information and I am able to go through the logistics of deploying my app to my iPhone, for the first time.

Total time, for me: 11 days, most of it waiting on Apple!! Hopefully this post will allow you to cut a week off that time. Happy programming!

 
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Posted in Technical