Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why Apple's Developer ID Freaks Me Out

I've been considering life on the other side of the iOS/Mac platform for awhile, but receiving the mail on the Developer ID program might have been the straw.

I've happily adhered to the AppStore requirements in the past. Accepting it as a necessary requirement for access to a nice marketing and distribution channel for independent apps. The rub now is here "Apple wants to help you steer clear of malware EVEN WHEN YOU DOWNLOAD APPLICATIONS FROM PLACES OTHER THAN THE MAC APP STORE". (source: http://www.apple.com/macosx/mountain-lion/security.html)

I would image the user experience would be similar to that of a browser warning: "WARNING: this site may harm your computer". No one clicks through those warnings unless they are illiterate or stupid. However, in the case of OS X, this type of warning could potentially create a barrier of entry for completely legitimate software composed by an independent developer who choose not to use the AppStore distribution method.

I completely recognize the arbitrary and hypocritical line I am personally drawing here, as I have done quite a bit of iOS development in the past 4 or 5 years, but this literally flies in the face of 30+ years of personal computing hacking. Are developers literally going to get warned about their own unsigned software under development, or worse will my PC become like my iPhone, where I can't even run unsigned software (assuming the device is not jailbroken). What's next? We remove "interpreted" software, again like iOS? Is Apple out to kill Ruby, Python, Javascript or even BASH?

I admit it. iOS was slippery slop and we are sliding. I'm not sure the quote, but here is a crappy paraphrase: "How long will they strip away our freedoms? As long as we let them."





Wednesday, February 8, 2012

RE: Startup Accelerators

We are respectfully dropping out of the application process. As I found the request for a coding entrance exam both insulting and irrelevant.

Nothing stands between and entrepreneur and a successful enterprise other than his own follies. Therefore, I'm finding it more and more concerning that accelerator programs are inserting themselves as the educational institutions of entrepreneurism.

The obvious analogy I'm drawing is between accelerators and higher education institutions such as universities. Both promise hard assets such as access to knowledgeable individuals, invaluable network creation, and tool set for a promising career. They also both promise soft assets such as "the time of your life". There are, however, many negative sides to higher education.

I primarily want to focus on the fact they create a barriers to entry that may be difficult for some individuals to overcome. These people maybe incredibly intelligent, creative, or energetic to fault. They may not test well or function in a class room environment. Sadly, such individuals may be disregarded via standardized testing or traditional grading methodologies.

It is exactly these people who are changing the world through entrepreneurism. Call them "the dreamers", "the crazy ones", whatever, but they are the ones who invent the future.

I find it absolutely reprehensible there is a trend of startup accelerators seeking to streamline the process of validated entrepreneurism through the use of standardized testing, essays, applications and other admissions processes parallel to systems that have already failed the exact individuals who need affirmation, funding, and mentorship.

Furthermore, I believe metrics collected via standardized means will do nothing to ensure successful a startup, and hence a strong investment portfolio. Building a great business is an art; building great software is an art. If you are going to invest in art you have to love the art, the artist, or both. Investors and mentors for startups have to be as visionary as the entrepreneurs themselves.

Thank you very much for considering our application. I wish you the best of luck in finding meaningful products and driven visionaries.

JBG