It is interesting to see how little things can turn into much more interesting things in life. At BDConf back in November, one of the presentations was something totally out of left field but might be one of the most important presentations I will ever see.
I had never heard of John Saddington before he walked up to the podium to speak. It did not take long for me to realize that this was not a normal tech presentation. John proceeded to go through his experience as an iOS developer, having his app explode in popularity and then the turmoil it caused in his life after. It was a completely honest and candid story about failure and what it can do to you and the others around you. There is a good chance that John will never give that presentation again, he even said that it was more for him than it was for the rest of us. Still, it was striking to have something so honest said to a community where failure is never talked about, just your successes.
I had the chance to catch John walking to lunch that day and thanked him for the presentation. Later I found that John is followed by over 100,000 people on Twitter and there is a good chance he would never remember that encounter, not just cause it was some random guy saying thanks, but after an emotional personal experience like that, the next bit of time can feel like a blur.
After I got home though, I followed him on Twitter and found out about the Mac app he was developing to stratch his own itch to write better. Soon after it came out, I started seeing it pop up all sorts of places, sponsoring Shawn Blanc and then Daring Fireball. I saw it featured on Beautiful Pixels and then in the Mac App Store. It was like I was being told that I need to be doing something.
Over the next month or so, I started really processing John’s message of sharing your story. What would it mean to really share my story, what is my story to tell? I still don’t know the answer to these questions, but I started taking some small steps here and there to see how it felt. First, I scrapped the last version of my web site and went back to simple WordPress. I didn’t even write a theme, just grabbed the latest one WordPress provides.
Next, I figured out how to share links, videos and my posts easily. Now I can do it from my iPad, laptop or even phone if I want. Finally tonight, I decided to buy Desk. I had been thinking about it for awhile, but when I saw that it was included with the productivity sale on the App Store right now, it made it a no-brainer. This app is fantastic and to know that John will be getting some money from the purchase makes me feel even better.
Thanks again John, I appreciate your talk and your work. I hope to keep working on telling my story.