Author Archives: stevebalboa

Dreaming

When we were kids, we were taught to dream. Though somehow for most people, when we grew older, the lesson seems to get lost. My daughter recently watched Cinderella for the first time, and this is her favorite song. I find it very refreshing, hope you will too. Keep on pursuing your dreams!

 

Motivation

I once took a leadership training class, and the most valuable lesson I learned was the key to what motivates people. It’s actually very simple. There are three components, and how motivated you are is a result of multiplying all 3. Not a sum, but multiplication. Which means that if any of the three components is 0, then the end result is also zero. Here are the three components:

  1. How much you want the reward: For any tasks that you are motivated to do, there must be some reward that you want. Reward could be money, could be a pat on the back, could be anything. But it has to be something that you want.
  2. How much you trust the reward will come, if you finish the task: A lot of times, rewards in life are not guaranteed. If your boss says you “MAY” get a raise if you work harder and if the company does well, then you are likely only somewhat motivated. But if your boss says, finish this task and you will get a raise and you believe what he says, that’d be much more motivating.
  3. How confident you are in your ability to finish the task that you need to finish: Confidence is a significant driver of motivation. If someone tells you he will give you a million dollars if you can run 100 meters in 8 seconds, you’re not going to be too motivated even if you fully trust the reward is true. The world record is 9+ seconds, no matter how hard you train, it’ll be unlikely for anyone to come under 8 seconds.

There it is, 3 simple rules. Next time if you or someone else is not motivated to accomplish a task? Think about which component(s) is missing, and how you can address those issues.

 

How to be productive

Life is short, especially when you don’t use your time wisely. Time is indeed just like money; You can waste it, use it, or invest it. Here are some examples:

Wasting: Wasting include all activities that don’t provide any value now or later. Examples include channel TV surfing, doing chores, all wait times such as waiting for your friends to show up at a movie, waiting for late joiners to come to a meeting, miscommunication between people that causes duplicate work, pretty much doing anything you don’t want to do. Most likely you can’t avoid all wasted time because things like commuting to work is certainly a waste but not everyone can work from home.

Using: Using include activities that provide value right now, but once you used it the time is gone and you don’t gain anything in the future. Examples include watching a movie that you like, playing video games, hanging out with friends, and most other forms of entertainment.

Investing: Investing include activities that you may or may not enjoy right now, but they provide additional value in the future. Examples include taking a class, reading / researching, planning, internships, and any steps of a larger goal.

Sometimes it’s not all black and white. For instance, you could be taking foreign language class for fun which would be considered using time, but if you are able to apply this skill in some way or form for work or any other monetizable way, then it would arguably be investing. Though most cases it’s pretty easy to see which category the activities you do fall into. The ultimate goal, is to spend the majority of your life doing things that are considered “investing your time”

With this in mind, how do you become more productive? Here are some tips:

  1. Eliminate as much wasted time as possible: If you find yourself wasting time, think harder to see if they are avoidable. Very often things are not as unavoidable as they seem. For instance, are you stuck in traffic everyday? Moving is certainly a hassle but if you are wasting an hour or two of your live everyday just to get to work, you really need to look at your options. Household chores is another example that seems unavoidable. But one simple tip to minimize this is to do them in batches only. Whenever you switch between tasks your brain requires some time to adjust which decreases productivity. If you need to clean up dishes, fold laundries, take care of your kids… allocate a chunk of time and just check off all these tasks at once, so you can move on to tasks that are considered using / investing time.
  2. Minimize distractions: There are just too many of these in live. Emails, phone calls… if you really want to get something done, turn them off!! Emails can always wait a bit. Or if your spouse, kids keep interrupting you, well just take care of what they want first, and then come back to what you need to do later. A chunk of uninterrupted time is much more productive than bits and pieces of the same amount of time added up. Focus is key!
  3. Use less, invests more: One of the worst evil that holds you back in life are dead end jobs, which is an acceptable way to use your time, but there are better ways. You certainly need to pay your bills, so sure, go flip some burgers or do whatever else that you need to get some income if you need to. But more often than not, I see people hanging on to jobs that they pays ok money but they don’t enjoy, and they just can’t let go. Achieving your goals is like walking across mountains. While the final destination is way up high, your path toward the destination is not always ascending. There’ll be intermediate peaks and valleys, and it is ok to make some sacrifices in the short term so you can get to a better place. This video explains it best:

 

RevMob 2

The first few pennies finally rolled in. 64 cents actual revenue after over 2000 impressions. I guess actually this may not be too bad a rate?

revmob2

 

Maybe I’ll try it in a few more apps and see.

RevMob

One of the things that the dollar app report suggested is RevMob. I have never heard about it before, but it seems like an interesting idea. Basically it shows a full screen ad, that takes you to a free app that user can download. If the user downloads it, you get paid. So I tried it with one of my apps, so far it’s a disaster. Seriously! It’s only been a few days, and this app is not super popular, but look at this:

RevMob

 

Out of ~1000 impressions, there were ~300 clicks, and ZERO installs, which mean I also get ZERO. Bleah!!!! How many clicks do I need to get like one install?!??

 

How do you make money with iOS Apps

There are a ton of advices on how to monetize iOS apps, it’s not a big secret these days anymore. Though I am sure while all strategies are sound, your own results may vary. One of the most interesting advice was found through this so called “dollar app report”, by Trey Smith. It was recommended by some other website, and I decided to give it a try. The video on the website looks promising enough, and hey, it’s just a buck! I think I can afford a dollar. So I paid for the report and promptly received it, and it is pretty nicely done! 50 tips, some I’ve heard of already , but still, it’s a very nicely organized report, definitely worth a buck.

Though then, something quite strange happened. I received this DVD labeled “the jump pack story” in my mail, also by Trey Smith. In the beginning I was quite excited to see what this is all about, since the app dollar report is nicely done. However, the more I watch it, the more I feel sick to my stomach. What the heck is this?? Here’s the website to the same story:

http://www.jumppackstory.com/optin.html

This video seems more and more like a gimmicky “work from home” business and make tons of money scheme. It keeps talking about oh, you don’t need much money, you don’t need to know much skills… outsource everything for cheap, and then wahlaa… you get an app. Bleah…. disappointing. Exactly the same type of commercials you see at late night TV… probably someone COULD get rich like this, just like someone will win the lottery and it just not gonna be you…

In anycase, I am going to test out some of these proven strategy. Without revealing all of Trey’s great work for the dollar app report, some of the things I’m going to try is:

  • Add more in app purchase
  • Game Leaderboard
  • Facebook Twitter integration
  • A really kick-ass tutorial for the game
  • Freemium business model

It’ll probably take a month or so to get these features in. I’ll track my progress in later posts.

Almost ready to go to the mattresses

In just a few more days, I will be free! Free from my cubicle, free from my daily commute, free from working for someone else. And of course the pay check stops too… but that’s ok. I have carefully planned this, I know I will be in acceptable financial shape to take a shot as an indie game developer. Since my wife is still working full time, the bills will get paid and we likely won’t get kicked out of our house any time soon. But still it’s a very strange (and wonderful) feeling to be on my own.

As my time as my own boss is coming, I find myself SUPER productive. Starting your own business is a huge amount of pressure. There’s no one else to blame now, no more finger pointing possible. It’s the 4th quarter, the game is on the line, and the ball is in my hands. Of course, it’s a good position to be in, I want to take the shot instead of watching on the side line. Though unlike a final shot in a basketball game, this will be a very very slow shot. I am starting to take the shot now, it’ll be a lot of hardword and sweat, and likely won’t be able to see any results in a few months.

My last day at my day job will be next Friday, and there is still some wrap up work that needs to be done to make sure everything transition nicely. But still, I must admit my heart is already starting to plan for my next steps. There’s some paper work to do to setup the LLC, a lot of prioritization decision for the hundreds of things that I wanted to do, and also a lot of things to learn.

I can hardly contain my excitement! I see myself dribbling, spinning, getting closer and closer to the basket… the game winning shot is coming!