Wednesday, December 19, 2012
As the youngest of six kids, my role was often that of the listener...but I wasn't always a good one. I try harder now. I make an effort to trim the noise and listen. Really listen.
It's a great way to learn; learn about other people, methods, process, insight, ideas, best practice, new practice, etc. Learning enables me to change, improve and adapt. I've found that I do my best work when I follow this formula.
Listen. Learn. Adapt.
Monday, December 10, 2012
This is the story of how my girlfriend kicking me out (for a weekend) led to a rooster being pardoned in Iowa.
Monday evenings in KC is known to a circle of designers, developers and entrepreneurs as "Geek Night." Anyone who wants to join is always welcome. We geeks meet at various venues around town to work on side projects, collaborate, ask for advice, give feedback and of course, take advantage of happy hour. In other words, Geek Night is my poker night. It's the night that my girlfriend lovingly kicks me out of the house and tells me to get the "geek speak" out of my system. Oh, how I love her...and Geek Night.
A few weeks ago, fellow geek, Chris Morris, said to me,
"Hey, let's go to Iowa."
"Dwolla is hosting something called the Old MacDonald Hack Day and the first three prizes are a cow, a pig and a rooster."
"You want me to road trip to Iowa with a car full of boys to win a farm animal? I'm a vegetarian!"
"So what! Did you hear me? We could actually win a cow, a pig or a rooster."
When I got home, I told my girlfriend how funny Chris was. "Drive to Iowa...Old MacDonald...win a cow, a pig or a rooster." By the time I was done rambling, she said, "I just signed you up. You have to do this!" I know, I have the coolest girlfriend in the world, right? She buys me video games, too...and looks up cheat codes. I'm lucky, to say the least.
The boys and I met to discuss potential ideas and landed on a top 5 list. The challenge was to use fresh code and build something really cool that best utilized Dwolla API. Dwolla makes paying anyone, anywhere easy, and it's better for business. Unlike traditional payment networks where a business is charged a percentage (2.0% or higher per transaction), Dwolla charges .25 cents for transactions over $10. Under $10 is free. Learn more about Dwolla, here.
Friday rolled around and the boys piled into my car. We had a 3 hour ride ahead to choose our hack and decided on Chris M.'s idea: to build something that made paying rent easier. We all chimed in expressing current frustrations about the tenant/landlord process and the fact that rent is one of the only checks that we still write. We discussed how cool it would be to build a messaging component for landlords and tenants to communicate that would solve everything from late notices to maintenance requests, electronic reporting options, building neighborhood discussions, and the list goes on. It was settled. This was our idea.
The last hour of the trip was spent annoying each other with potential names for our rent app:
Rentwa (mashup of Rent and Iowa).
You get the idea. We started looking up synonyms for "Money" and "Paid" and found "Pony up." Suddenly, we yelled out, "Rent Pony." Maybe it was the drive, maybe it was the full moon, or the fact that we'd never said "rent" so much in our entire lives, but we all agreed: Rent Pony it is.
Friday night, we partied with the Dwolla staff, and pitched our idea to Ben Milne, Dwolla CEO. He loved it...and that was all the confirmation we needed.
|Rent Pony Team with Ben Milne and Michael Schonfeld|
|Building the Rent Pony Logo|
|Turning Dwolla Employees into Pony Portraits|
|Sneak Peek: Select Rent Pony Screenshots|
More to come on building out Rent Pony and publishing our app. If you're in KC, stop by Geek Night where you'll be sure to find some of us speaking geek. Just look for a bunch of people with laptops and we'll welcome you with open arms.
Rent Pony Team:
- Albert Tong, iOS Architect, Designer & Developer, @alberttong
- Andrew Evans, Developer, Beergrammer, Back End, @agius
- SPN recently featured him here: Read About Andrew Evans
- Chris Morris, Interactive Web Developer, @bishop81
- Igor Kantor, iOS Developer, @iiiggs
- Chris Lewman, Designer, Marketing, Branding, @chrislewman
- Show support: Rent Pony on Backly - if you like the idea, let us know
- Rent Pony on Twitter
- Dwolla Blog - Photos & Old MacDonald Recap: Read Story Here
- Silicon Prairie News: And The Cow Goes To...