Like most kids that end up pursuing a career in software development, I’ve always gravitated towards technology. Not a summer went by where I wasn’t tinkering with electronics in the garage, attending robotics camp, space game, or simply just programming away.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m a junior in high school. I get the opportunity to do a summer internship at a state university nearby. I was part of a small team that was tasked with inventing some type of assistive technology product. The idea I pursued was this tactile media interface that would provide educational information and entertainment for kids with Down Syndrome and Autism.
I was 15 at the time and the project barely got off the ground, but it was easily some of the most gratifying work I’ve ever done.
The entire allure of a career in software development for me was the ability to create useful things for people.
It didn’t have to be revolutionary or an overly novel contribution, as long as it provided some measurable benefit to someone — I was happy.
For the last two years, I was working as a software engineer for Porsche. While I’m proud of the work I did and loved the experience and the people, it’s a bit of a far cry from my original motivation.
So, I’ve decided to set myself a rather ambitious goal for 2020.
Across all of the content I’ve produced as a sole contributor — whether it’s YouTube videos, iOS apps, websites, Medium articles, whatever — I want to have provided utility to 1,000,000 people. This goal would be agnostic of niche, platform, technology, or scope — it just needs to be something I’ve produced.
I’m defining “utility” a bit loosely here — either video views, traffic on a website, app downloads, app sales, etc. Any metric that might indicate some piece of content was viewed by someone else is fair game for inclusion.
I want this challenge to only focus on content I’ve created individually. So, any work I’ve done as an employee, group projects, hackathons with friends, etc would be excluded.
I’ve always appreciated the accountability that comes with publicizing my goals, so this is my first step in that direction.
Let’s start by tallying up my contributions at the end of Q1 2020.
Starting Count: 0
I’ve always been interested in generative art and I noticed that low polygon art was becoming increasingly popular. I started messing around with a Photoshop script that could apply that effect onto any image and eventually released an open source version of that algorithm on GitHub.
Releasing this on ProductHunt really helped provide some additional traction. Since then, I’ve gotten messages from viewers saying they’ve enjoyed using the script for their own designs and they often use these pre-made backgrounds as phone backgrounds, wall art, etc.
Here are the lifetime website stats from Jetpack:
127, 757 views + 30 stars on GitHub
Writing is a relatively new hobby for me. I saw it as a chance to improve my writing abilities and to force me to really spend time understanding a technology or a concept before I could hope to write authoritatively about it.
I intend to write on Medium more often in the coming months, so hopefully the numbers from Medium become more significant contributions.
Here are the current stats:
A total of 6,809 views as of today.
I’ve been making YouTube videos on and off for a decade. I’ve included the links to the channels above, but trust me — it’s not worth watching; I had no sense of production quality at 13.
Due to issues on my original account, I started another one. That’s why there are 2 separate view counts below.
A total of 317,800 and 150,200 gives us a total of 468,000 video views.
This, if anything, is my claim to fame. I was only 16 or so when I built this and didn’t have the foresight to add analytics to the website early on. My recollection is I only added analytics support a couple of years ago far after the peak interest in this app had passed.
The only reliable metric I have to go off of is the views on the YouTube video as an indication of how many people visited the website, were intrigued by the application, and/or subsequently downloaded it.
We’ll consider the view count of 51,631 the most accurate value I have to go off of.
iOS Apps (See All Apps)
Currently, I work as an iOS engineer. So, I often build apps on my own time.
High School & College Years
- One Million Quotes — My first iPhone app, it allowed you to swipe through a database of cool quotes.
- SAT Timer Free — A timing utility to help students prep for the SAT test that allowed you to stack multiple timers in succession.
- SAT/ACT Test Timer — The 2nd version of the previous app that functioned in the same way, but added support for the ACT test.
- CatchMania! — A social word game, inspired by the game CatchPhrase.
- Surreal Earth — A project to catalogue really stellar travel locations — locations that were generally below the radar.
- Jabber — Similar to Yik Yak, but geared towards high school campuses
- Enroute Code3 — My college roommate was an EMT and he told me about some shortcomings in that field. This application was meant to be a real-time reference tools for paramedics on shift.
- CryptoWatcher! — A weekend project that functioned as a stock ticker for different cryptocurrencies on Apple TV.
- Game Show Buzzer — I use to be part of the “Quiz Bowl” trivia competitions in high school and I remember the buzzer systems being prohibitively expensive. I wanted to create a digital alternative so schools didn’t have to pay $1000+ for a basic buzzer system. Used web sockets and the local timestamp on the device to ensure fairness and allowed for up to 1000 players to play at the same time.
- Light Ship — I’ve never really been into video games, but wanted to experiment with SpriteKit and this was the result. Inspired by Cubefield.
- PhotographyCalc — This would be my most recent project. I’ve always been interested in photography and wanted to create a utility that would help beginners calculate the best camera settings for a particular shot in the field.
All of these numbers are taken from App Store Connect
Across the lifetime of all of the apps I’ve made, cumulatively they’ve been downloaded 42,600 times.
Q1 2020 Count: 696,827
So, there we have it. At the end of Q1 2020, all of the content I’ve single-handedly produced has reached just shy of 700K people. It’s the first time I’ve ever tallied it up in like this, but I’m pleased — it seems like a good starting point.
Now, looking to the future, I have another 9 months left in the year to add another 300K people to the list. I plan on updating this article with updated numbers and projects every quarter.
I’ll talk to you later, looks like I have a lot of work to do.
My Recent Projects
Personal Website: https://digitalbunker.dev/