Archive for the ‘Why’ Category


Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Like many of you, I have a love/hate relationship with notes. I need a way to record what happens in meetings, in class, or when listening to a speaker, and notes provide that mechanism. Unfortunately, those notes are frequently lacking details, which makes them difficult to understand after the fact. Even worse, I, like many of you, sometimes get involved in a discussion (or zone out of one) and miss large chunks of time. Even when I do manage to get the right information written down clearly, it’s usually quite an ordeal to find it when needed. Consequently, while better than nothing, my notes historically haven’t really served their purpose well.

Looking at the problem, I believe there are really 3 main issues:

  1. Understandability. I need to record enough context to make the notes understandable.
  2. Completeness. I need to consistently record all the information I’ll need later.
  3. Findability. I need to be able to find the right information quickly when I need it.

Through the years, I’ve tried a number of things to address these issues. I’ll talk about these in reverse order.


The Problem

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Wanting to build good, useful software is a great goal, but one of the first questions raised in this quest is what to build. That is the question I wrestled with last year when contemplating starting Useful Fruit. As an avid Mac user, I was pretty set on the platform to target, but that didn’t help with figuring out the problem to address.

At first, I looked for problems in the security space, as that’s where much of my background is. This space is mired with “magic bullet” products that customers don’t understand and that don’t solve those customers’ problems at all. There were two problems with this space. The first was that security is hard, particularly to do in a general way for consumers. That’s one of the reasons that there are so many useless security products out there. The second reason security was a problem was that I was working a day job for a security company, and they felt it would be a conflict of interest for me to build a security product on the side.

So, a security product was not in the cards. I wasn’t really disappointed, as I was ready for a change of pace anyway. Of course, I still didn’t have a problem to solve. Thankfully, with no direction I fell back on the advice of I kept hearing over and over – solve your own problem. What problem was that? Let’s just say I’m the kind of guy that walks out of a meeting, looks at his notes, and realizes that I missed the last 20 minutes and I’m not sure what the notes I did take mean.


Saturday, May 24th, 2008

The state of software today is somewhat depressing. It seems like companies keep putting out products that many of us in the industry would be embarrassed to be associated with. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of companies with a standard of excellence, and I commend companies like Apple and Google for maintaining that standard of excellence as they’ve grown. That said, far too many companies have lost the drive to take pride in their software, particularly as they’ve gotten bigger. They focus on building something their salespeople can sell to users, rather than building something their users will appreciate and help them sell.

This is why I’ve started Useful Fruit. I want to be proud of the fruit of my work. I want to create software that my users will find useful, software that improves the lives of my users. I’ve realized that the best way I can accomplish this is to strike out on my own. So, Useful Fruit is that endeavor to create software that users will find useful and well-made. Now you can be the judge of how well I perform.