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2009 – The best year of our lives. Yes, it’s here. It’s been here for a while now. The false hope generated by new year’s resolutions is gone. The economy is free falling into depths not before seen. Millions are losing their jobs, companies are shutting their doors and debt is increasing many folds over. I can only comment from my perspective. I study at one of the most prestigious universities in the world and I pay US$40,000 just for one year of tuition and boarding fees. That’s astronomically high, especially for someone who is 20. I tried to get a job recently, but there were no openings. None. Zero. Every company is downsizing. Within 3 weeks, I had sent my resume to hundreds of employers with just a handful of them courteous enough to reply (I don’t blame the others, they’re cutting down costs) and point out why they couldn’t hire me. My government doesn’t want to support me. It seems the pile of debt is going to be endless. And I’m not trying to say I’m the only one in this situation. It’s everyone around you and their uncles. So how is this going to be the best year of our lives?

 

It’s simple, it’ll provide you with time to work on something you’re passionate about. No more dead end job, no more stupid classes with idiotic professors. Work on what you love. I don’t care if its gardening or modelling or programming or whatever. Start a blog about it. Gain some skills in that field. Start consulting in that field. Start your own business in that field. Bootstrap it. Nurture it for a year. Fail a couple of times and then develop the courage to stand up again. Hustle your ass off on something you absolutely adore. Something that gives you immense pleasure when you do it. It calms you down, you’ll keep on doing it even if you don’t get paid. And eventually, you’ll get good, really good at it. That’s it. Turn 2009 into the best year of your life. Stop wasting time, “stop watching fucking lost“, work harder, churn out 20 hour days on something you’re really really passionate about. Some decisions will be hard to make. Some decisions would not be approved by people around you. But please stop living based on other people’s perception of yourself. Live your dream

 

The first thing you need to do is find your passion. It can be anything. You have to be able to believe in yourself that you can make a living based on that thing. You have to believe that you can do that thing for the rest of your life. And that’s it. That’s something you’re passionate about. Step 2, blog about it. Share your passion with the world. Take pictures and videos and send out tweets. Show the world what your passion is and take pride in it. You don’t have to be a genius to blog, even I have started blogging just recently. Just do it. Next, take some time everyday to improve your passion. Correction, spend all of your free time on your passion. Hard work is quintessential to success. Don’t procrastinate or slob. Give it your 100%. Work on it days and nights. Stop watching TV. Find out your time sinks and work around them. Focus completely on your passion. 

 

And that’s it. The magical formula. Given that there are 342 more days in the current year and you follow the same routine everyday, I bet this will be your best year ever. I’m not a multi-billion dollar entrepreneur or a self-development guru. I’m just a 20 year old student who is passionate about hactivism and technology entrepreneurship. I started this blog, I’m transferring to a less prestigious university offering me a full ride and I’m working on my first startup. And this makes sense to me in order to get closer to my dreams. If you want you can dismiss my claims as childish and naive or you can join me and we’ll work through the best year of our lives together. What say?

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I’m no Apple fanboy. Infact, I even sold off my iPod. Not to say that I hate Apple. They make remarkable products with extraordinary GUI and they are constantly revolutionizing the tech sector, pushing new boudries. Like when they launched the iPhone. Though the iPhone does have it’s fair share of shortcomings, it’s application distribution platform, the AppStore is great for developers like me. You can code up an app within a couple of weeks, push it into the market, see if it makes it, or start working on another app. It cannot be more rewarding than that. And small time developers who coded apps in their spare time are earning hundreds of dollars every hour. So iPhone development is one thing I wanted to get into as soon as possible. 

 

After Apple removed the NDA, it became easier to work on the iPhone SDK but its still elusive. My university’s library only has one book on iPhone development (currently borrowed, I think it’ll always be in demand) and most of the classes we’re working on at university or at work usually focus on Windows or Linux based development. So, when I started searching for a reliable source to learn iPhone development considering that I was completely new to Mac programming, there were few and far between. But, the holy grail of all tech universities came to my rescue. 

 

Stanford introduced a new class called “CS193P: iPhone Application Development” last year. I think it’s the best source to learn especially for new programmer getting into Mac development because it is aimed at students, Stanford students nonetheless. I checked out some of the slides, and I think it’s the best thing I can get to a good book, to teach myself iPhone development. Even the applications that the current batch developed as a part of their final project seem professional and interesting. And the best part, all of the lecture notes are freely available. Starting tommorrow, I’m beginning CS193P from Week 1, are you with me?

As a fellow who is quite late to the whole blogging and social media scene, I have a lot of catching up to do. But I have been following a lot of blogs since long and one thing essential to success is networking. So I thought I’d give it a shot as Melbourne has loads of networking events for just about anything, ranging from entrepreneurial Silicon Beach drinks to Twitter user meet-ups. So I started attending all of these events just to meet new people. Today, I went to the Melbourne Twitter Underground Brigade. It’s a fabulous event and I think it’s a must attend for everyone who uses Twitter to attend. Special shoutout to the organisers and Michael Specht

 

Being my first event, and me being only 20, I didn’t have much to talk about with others except for computer science. Which brings me to the interesting part of the meet up. For the first half of the event, I sat down with computer science intellectuals with Ph.D.s and years of experience. All of them had one thing is common, although they had great paying jobs, it wasn’t what they wanted to do. They all wanted to work on something they felt passionate about. And that they did, on the side, since years. They all were working on pet projects, which they planned to launch “soon”. They were re-coding it, optimizing it, pythonizing it, and testing it. None of them had launched their product yet. But for the other half of the event, I was sitting with computer science newbies, who knew bare bones of HTML and were just out of university. Yet, they had launched their third company. Their plan was simple: they came up with the idea, outsourced the development, launched the prototype and interated with changes and improvements. And they’re doing millions worth of business. 

 

It was nice to see this contrasting view point of startups at the same event, though it wasn’t strictly an entrepreneurship event. As someone who is new to entrepreneurship, I found this amusing. On the one hand, I understand what the computer science people are going through. We love to ship perfect code: no bugs, full integration and scalable. We inherently like perfection, but it’ll take us months to churn out that perfect application. I think we keep on developing software and adding features for the fear of failure. A lot of people, especially people new to entrepreneurship, fear failure, the humilation that comes with it. Which is where rapid prototyping seems so tempting. Failure is an integral part of it, but the point is to learn quickly from failure, fix it fast and do it all over again and again. Therefore, for a startup, getting the product out of the door is half the battle won. I’ll always be prototyping my code, what do you suggest? Perfect Shipments or Rapid Prototyping?