The Short Stack 🥞 Vol #25

First emailed to newsletter subscribers on June 10, 2017

Good Morning All ✌️

Yo, you out? I’m going in on the intro this week.

Anyone who knows me well knows that for the past ~1 year, I’ve been on a radical self-discovery path. I’ve always been into “self-improvement,” except the past year has been entirely different. The most important distinction is that for the first time, I began evaluating my life in terms of self — by looking inward instead of examining external factors. Real discovery. It’s funny because, in retrospect, I’m not sure exactly what I was assessing before. I can now conclude it wasn’t me.

Without diving too deep here, I believe I’m in the midst of a[nother] breakthrough — one that’s allowing me to start sharing my education more confidently and with a wider audience. Anthony’s ability to share frequently and openly has definitely helped. It feels sort of invigorating. I’m ready to start giving back what I’ve been taking in. I haven’t planned precisely how I’ll share, and I intend to outline my experiences so they can be more clearly absorbed. A good place to start, I think, is by sprinkling my learnings in this intro. I promise to (try and) keep it refreshing and fun. (And shorter.)

This week’s theme is learning vs. goal setting. Instead of setting multiple goals this week, like completing X number or projects, my “goal” was simply to learn. This includes work, romantic relationships, friendships, and family. The result was one of the most productive weeks I’ve ever had. I inevitably completed all the projects I wanted to, found more time for inspiration, and most importantly I did it all in stride. I felt light, free, and happy. How!? Why!?

When you focus on goals, you become too focused on outcomes. For me, this leads to stress and sometimes severe anxiety. “What if I fail?” “What if I miss a deadline?” “What will that mean for my appearance?” What will it mean for my bank account?” “What if I don’t do my best work?” “What if the client doesn’t like it?” “What if I upset a friend or someone I’m dating?” The answer to all of these questions for me this week was the same — just learn. The “What if’s” became learning opportunities and nothing more. Miss a deadline? Determine how to hit it next time. Not your best work? Excellent opportunity to improve. A client doesn’t like it? Great! Let’s have an open discussion on what they want, and how we can deliver. This all works in relationships, too. Partner, friend or coworker seemingly upset by something you did? Cool, ask them what they want and find a solution that’s workable on both sides. Remember, you can’t control the outcome. You can, however, monitor the process and how you respond.

Our newsletter below is packed with great content. We’ve got Episode 025 of our video series where Anthony opens up about his relationship with money. A sensitive topic that takes real vulnerability. Thanks AT. Read on for our take on Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) and what it means for our product offering and for consumer technology at large. Big thanks to our iOS Developer Jay for providing incredible insight.

We’ll be popping in and out of the Northside Festival this weekend in Williamsburg, BK. If you’re around, give us a shout.

Come thru,
Mike 👋

Making Movies 🎬

Episode 025, by our CEO Anthony Tumbiolo.

Inside the episode:

  • Traveling home to San Diego (1st time in ~4yrs)
  • Investing in a new media site
  • Hiring for sales and marketing
  • Poor hiring decisions are costly
  • My relationship with money
  • Company health review with Mike

Thoughts 💭

👆 Here are the things we’ve been thinking about this week

Smart Home With A Twist, AR Gets A Lift — Takeaways From WWDC

This week Apple hosted its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), showcasing the company’s latest software advancements which will roll into its next major iOS release and new hardware too. From machine learning to voice, Apple’s announcements were very much in-line with our expectations here at Jakt and closely matched our vision for the future. (In fact, surprisingly so. Watching felt like re-living our weekly technology meeting on the WWDC stage.)

If there’s any one big picture takeaway, it’s that Apple isn’t waiting to make a larger push into new frameworks that support advanced technologies. While Apple maintains one of the dominant mobile operating systems, mobile is only one part of the equation. (Though it [mobile] still happens to be the most important part.) Google and Amazon are making anecdotal strides toward garnering at consumer mindshare through new interfaces like home. Along with rolling out its home solution (HomePod) in competition with Amazon Echo and Google Home, new APIs for technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) are positive for iOS development and the Apple operating system as a whole.

Aspects of WWDC we found particularly interesting were —

  1. ARKit. ARKit is a super stable and high quality augmented reality framework that made our maw drop. We’ve developed with older AR frameworks like Vuforia and Wikitude which both produced a shaky, jittery experience that felt more annoying than immersive. With this new release, Apple validates a view that AR is moving mainstream and gives developers a valuable tool to create great content. It’s important to note that the onstage demo used a dual camera device which is most likely how they’re getting such a stable environment. While most devices on the market today lack the necessary hardware, we’re betting on Apple including dual cameras on all devices and wouldn’t be surprised if all iPhone’s released in 2018 have the setup.
  2. Core ML. Core ML (machine learning) will also be a game changer. While machine learning algorithms aren’t new, Apple is making implementation easier, faster, and accessible to the average iOS developer. And in real Apple fashion, it’s simultaneously pushing its own framework to the forefront in iOS 11 — from smart notifications to better image tracking. iPhone users will soon start expecting apps to learn with them, intuitively knowing their intent as they interact with their devices. With improvements to SiriKit and the release of Apple’s vision and language API’s, machine learning can quickly become the norm even in even entry-level apps.
  3. Voice. Voice seemed at the forefront of WWDC, showcased not only through SiRi enhancements but via new hardware (HomePod). HomePod is a direct competitor to Google Home and Amazon Echo and bridges the gap between a voice-activated mobile experience and the emergence of smart home technology. While it’s too early to gauge ultimate success, being untested and costing $350 (a much higher price point than Google or Amazon), we like Apple’s chances here. If there’s anything Apple is good at, it’s hardware. Moreover, HomePod comes with a twist. Sticking to its roots in music, Apple’s HomePod is a real speaker (and a good one) that bolsters Apple’s already dominant position in music and could simultaneously be the Sonos killer. Maintaining its strong footprint in music is of particular importance as AppleTV becomes increasingly commoditized and the value shifts towards content. (Apple also said “uncle” to Amazon and announced Prime availability on AppleTV this week.) Lastly, HomePod shows momentum toward voice activated products and away from the keyboard, a trend we particularly like and are preparing for at Jakt. (Read further — Android co-founder announces voice activated smartphone.)
  4. iOS 11. Mobile still dominates, and iOS 11 came with several big upgrades which protect and enhance the Apple ecosystem. Protectionary features include a new and improved app store UX (a recurring cash source for Apple) and peer-to-peer payments via ApplePay in competition with Venmo, Squarecash, and Messenger. Enhancements include an increasingly seamless consumer experience across interfaces and devices (now including home), a game Apple has been playing to win consumer loyalty for years. Guilty as charged, Jakt’s entire offices is Apple. With iOS 11, voice activation becomes more ubiquitous and seamless across devices. AR could emerge as a more viable interface on iOS instead of a gimmick, though near-term uses cases will likely be limited to gaming and a few others.

Overall, we’re excited to see Apple’s announcements in-line with our product roadmap. Oh, and here’s an iOS 11 app store GUI design sketch we did for fun.

Jay Chmilewski, Lead iOS Engineer @ Jakt
Michael Saloio, COO @ Jakt