Amy Hoy on shipping:

Get real about what you can really ship and when. Grind your big idea down until it’s a fine and indivisible atom of an idea. Realize that only you see the big picture when you look at your tiny atom of a product… other folks aren’t privy to your plans, and won’t feel like it’s “unfinished.”

And if you’re thinking of quitting your day job and doing something you love—but are having nagging doubts—Amy’s whole piece is a gem to read.

Starting Objective-C for iOS development

Some people have been curious as to what are the resources that I’ve used to pick up Objective-C in a relatively short amount of time (about 3 months, including the time taken to develop and ship the first release of Due in September 2010). There are two books have been indispensable in my learning that I’d recommend to anyone picking up iOS development:

Programming in Objective-C 2.0 (3rd Edition) by Stephen G. Kochan

Best introduction to Objective-C. Mostly command-line (so it can be quite boring), but that takes away the distraction from learning the language as the learning curve is really steep (mostly in memory management). If you’ve some programming background, you don’t need to go through the entire book, and you’ll know which to skip.

iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (2nd Edition)

This runs you through the graphical user interface development (the fun part) on the iPhone. But I really recommend to start with Kochan’s book first as the language learning curve is steep. Having the GUI stuff coming in can be even more confusing for someone new to programming or Objective-C.

Updated both title and and links with newer 2011 editions.

You can’t just ask your customers what they want

Because customers don’t know what they want exactly:

So you conduct a survey, asking customers: would you like Walmart aisles to be less cluttered? And they say, “Yes, now that you ask, yes, that would be nice.” And you check the box by “customer input” and report back, hey everyone, good news, yes, customers like the idea.

Walmart spends hundreds of millions of dollars uncluttering their stores, removing 15% of inventory, shortening shelves, clearing aisles. Yes, it’s expensive and time-consuming, but this is what customers said they wanted, so you barrel through it…

Sales went down. Way down. I mean waaaaaay down. I’m talking, from the beginning of that project until today, Walmart has lost over a billion dollars in sales. (Yes, billion with a “b”.)

Henry Ford, the American businessman credited for mass production of automobiles, once said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

How not to provide feedback

Justin Williams on how you shouldn’t be a dick just because you’re on the Internet, or how not to provide feedback to just about anyone who has poured in heart and soul into their work:

Here is a tip for all the non-developers out there. When you email your favorite developer with a feature request or bug report never, ever, ever use the word useless to describe their product. Useless is kryptonite to developers and puts us on the defensive instantly…

The Internet makes it really easy to be a jerk to someone because you don’t have to insult their product to their face and can instead shoot it off to an email address in the sky without any idea or care about who is on the other end.