029 : Novice No Longer goes back to apps

Ask a Developer on Novice No LongerI was still working retail when I truly felt what it was like to be a novice. I was just starting the second chapter of a book on Objective-C (after two other books and a video course couldn’t help me) and the words were beginning to sound like gibberish. I just couldn’t make it any farther in my journey to learn programming.

Each of these resources contained a small disclaimer in the intro: some prior programming experience required. At that point in my life, I had done a little HTML and CSS, and figured that experience was a solid foundation for learning more advanced programming with the right guidance.

But nothing made sense. And it wasn’t a matter Googling terms I didn’t understand — I didn’t even know what I should be Googling or how to determine a helpful answer. Everything I read went over my head, and it was impossible to sort the helpful information from the advanced stuff that I really wasn’t ready for yet.

That’s when I discovered Programming in Objective-C by Stephen Kochan. It taught a language I was interested in learning, and didn’t require any prior programming experience. I didn’t need to learn C before tackling Objective-C. The book simply started from the beginning. It was for novices like me.

Programming teaches you a new way to think. Yet even after finishing that book, I still remembered what it felt like to be in the dark. When I talked to other people interested in learning to code, I saw them in the same place I was years before…and I wanted to help.

That’s why I launched Novice No Longer, to help people build apps even if they had no prior programming experience. I launched the podcast in order to further this goal. Over time, the podcast drifted away from this vision, and became more a business/entrepreneur/lifestyle design podcast. It’s been amazing, and I’ve had some amazing guests on the show, but it’s time to get back to the original vision.

I’m taking a break from the podcast for a short while for the revamp. When we return, we’re going to have some top app developers on the show, like Jeremy from Tapity and Dan Councell from Realmac Software.

Is there someone you’d like to see on the show? Let me know.

I’m also introducing a brand new segment to the show, called Ask a Developer. Each week, I’m going to play a question asked by you, the listener, and my guest and I will do our best to provide an answer. It’s a chance to get your biggest questions answered by the masters.

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028 : Better products through storytelling with Donna Lichaw

Donna LichawStorytelling has been a part of the human experience since the beginning of history (one of the reasons that we even have history). Our brains are wired to respond to stories — whether it’s an urban legend told to us around a campfire as a child, or the tale of an obese man who lost weight with an all-Subway diet.

Donna Lichaw knows a thing or two about the importance of narrative, having studied film for both her undergrad and graduate degrees. She now uses the power of the narrative arc to build compelling products that engage the user by leading them through a carefully crafted experience. She’s worked with companies such as Seamless, Citi, Bloomberg, and Atlantic Records, diving into the user experience and building products that stick.

This episode is amazing. My favorite part is when she applies the narrative arc to an app I’m working on, and we get to see the entire process in action (starts at 52:45).

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027 : Growth hacking Guides.co with Franco Varriano

Franco VarrianoThe growth tactics you use when your company is just starting out are different from when the company is a few months old. They change even more as the company grows to handle more and more users. Applying the wrong growth tactics, at the wrong times, can be just as bad as not acting at all.

Today, I have Franco Varriano of Guides.co on the show. He shares how Guides.co started as a company called Startup Plays, and the exact moment when it grew into its current form. As the company gained momentum, Franco has been there to guide its progress — fostering communities of both guide authors and users. He shares some of his insights on this week’s episode.

Even if you just have an idea, Franco has insights about how to collect the most valuable feedback. This is a great episode for entrepreneurs of all levels.

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The reason why you haven’t made an app yet

I had the idea for my podcast long before it actually launched. In fact, I even had “launch podcast” on my to-do list for months, but it just kept getting pushed to the next day, and then the next day. It never actually got done.

But while I was procrastinating, I started thinking about the actual logistics of creating a podcast. What would I need in order to launch this project? I’d need basic things, like a microphone, and guests.

Eventually, I changed my to-do list. I took off “launch podcast” and added a small simple task: get a microphone. That one was easy — it took just five minutes on Amazon.com.

The next day, I added “find guest for podcast” to my to-do list. I shot out four emails to potential guests that afternoon, inviting them on the show. It took about ten minutes. Check.

Then, I figured out all the other individual steps I’d need to get my podcast published. I thought about things like audio recording software, editing tools, and a podcasting plugin for WordPress. My to-do list filled up with items such as “write podcast description,” and “get intro music.”

Two weeks after my microphone arrived, I launched the Novice No Longer podcast.

So why did it take me so long to get started? Was I just being lazy? Continue reading

026 : How to hire a coder without learning code

Dann BergYou have an idea for an app. Maybe you’ve even made some sketches or you have the full wireframes done. Now it’s time to hire a developer…but you don’t have any idea where to begin.

In this episode of the podcast, I share exactly what you need to do to get an app in the app store. We start with your mockups then move into finding a developer, communicating with that developer, and submitting your app. This is the entire process.

If you’re ready to finally get that app in the app store, listen in.

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