What I'm Doing Now
I'm in Perth, Australia again. Right now I’m focused on:
- Making & selling software
- Tracking conferences for Indie Conference
- Writing / Producing Music
- Learning German
What I'm Working On
Making & Selling Software
I’m still making indie software products! Progress was slow in 2017, but things look bright for 2018.
I’m currently working on the FilterMeister VS framework (together with Harry Heim, Martijn Van Der Lee and Alex Hunter). It’s the tool many Windows Photoshop plug-in developers use, and Harry has been turning it into an open source framework compatible with Microsoft Visual Studio / Visual C++. My contribution is debugging code, writing instructions/tutorials for porting code to Visual Studio, and hopefully contributing some example code if I get time.
Plaid Lite 2 is my next Photoshop plug-in product, and I’m using FilterMeister VS to make it now. I have a working Mac version too. It's been "99% done" for a year, my current roadblock is the licensing code. Hopefully in 2018 I’ll get over my "perfectionism" (paralysis?) and just release it. My customers have been waiting far too long for 64-bit & Mac versions.
Meanwhile, my Android puzzle game Corner Case got an update, which adds support for the Galaxy S8 & Galaxy Note8 (and their unusual screen dimensions).
DashPlan, my project planning & estimation tool for Windows/Mac/Linux, is on hold for now. I still use it, and the Project Time Estimate feature has turned out well. (It runs hundreds of Monte Carlo simulations based on your previous track record of estimates vs reality, then draws a graph of probabilities for each release date, so you can tell your client “85% chance of project completion by 1 July”.) Unfortunately, the modelling is less reliable if you work irregular hours, as many indies & freelancers do... like me. So I also added Monte Carlo simulations to model your work habits. However, that complicates the user interface, as now I have to figure out how you enter your timesheet data (or maybe it should automatically pull your timesheet from Freshbooks / Harvest / Freckle).
Here’s a screenshot of the current DashPlan test build:
Tracking conferences for Indie Conference
My Indie Conference email list grew 40% in 2017. I got a spike in page views from Portugal during MicroConf, so I think some attendees at MicroConf must have heard about Indie Conference.
It’s a tiny email list though, and I’m still unclear on the audience. I made it for indies to find conferences they want to attend (ie I made it for myself!), but increasingly my subscribers are people who want to market to indies.
I spend a lot of time each month on Indie Conference, so I’d love to monetise it, but the subscriber counts are still to low to make advertising worthwhile. I think it will remain my sandbox for practicing email marketing through 2018 - and my excuse to search for indie conferences that I can attend in Berlin.
Writing / Producing Music
I spent a ton of time on music in 2017. More than I can justify.
It started with a friend joking about writing a song for Eurovision, I took the joke way too seriously & started building my studio again. (I used to write songs in the early 2000s and was nominated for a WAMI award, but I haven’t done much music since then.)
During 2017 I bought many of the studio toys I’d wanted in my 20s, and my Equipboard of the music gear I have is now substantial. I got a subscription to music production website Splice and spent a ton of time reading Sound On Sound articles, researching the techniques of my favourite producers (like Guy Sigsworth, Imogen Heap and Thomas G:Son).
The result is an incomplete song, but I think it’s the best mix I’ve ever done. It crams as many Eurovision and 2010s synthpop tropes in as I can. But the song still needs another couple of verses. At this point I don’t need more studio toys to finish it, I just need to put in the work. (Though I keep telling myself I "need" a pair of Yamaha HS-8 studio monitors.) The more perfectionist I get about this project, the more I forget that this whole idea started as a joke, and the less likely it will ever get released.
I’d love to publish a song on iTunes in 2018. It doesn’t even have to be a good one. I just want practice at the process of releasing a song. I don’t have much excuse for not having a song on iTunes now.
Now that summer is here, I’m posting good numbers again: I’m averaging 16,000 steps, or 14km / 8.5 miles every day. A friend also recommended the MyFitnessPal app, and using it to track my macros/nutrients has made a big difference.
During 2017 I dropped from 20.4% body fat to 16.5%. That 20% is the heaviest I’d ever been, while 16.5% is my best result in 3 years. I’m happy with that progress, but there’s still a lot of work to do if I want to hit 15%, or the 12% I was at when I had a personal trainer.
(But yes, I still drink Coke Zero & a Large Mudslide Mocha every day. I'm not giving up my mochas.)
Learning German (and French & Swedish)
I hit a 1-year streak on Duolingo in 2017! I’ve been doing Duolingo language lessons every day for 412 days in a row now.
I completed the German Duolingo tree, reached Level 25 (maximum) and hover around 63-65% fluency now. As I’ve run out of German lessons, I sometimes do French & Swedish lessons just to keep my daily streak going.
But I’m still not fluent in German. I’m okay with reading and a bit of listening (especially songs), but I’m not good at writing or conversation. Those aren’t skills Duolingo helps with. Maybe in 2018 I’ll focus more on conversation, maybe by signing up for iTalki.
I travelled a lot in 2017, bouncing between Sydney, Melbourne & Singapore. It’s been a mix of family obligations, opportunities to see distant friends, and cashing in hotel loyalty points before they expire. I miss airport / hotel life. But visiting Sydney & Melbourne also helped me appreciate Perth more. I think I’m happier living in Perth than I would be there.
I’d love to visit Berlin & Malmö again. I miss them a lot. I can’t justify the cost of another 1 - 3 month trek across Europe right now though.
Things I'm Not Doing
Facebook and Instagram... and Twitter. I deactivated Facebook, Instagram & Medium and don’t miss them. I’m also taking a temporary Twitter break. Twitter is my favourite social network, but some of my favourite (and most positive/upbeat) tweeters disappeared around the same time Twitter changed from 140 to 280 characters. I miss them, and Twitter hasn’t been much fun ever since. You can still reach me via email though.
Eurovision: I'm not doing ESC work at the moment. For Eurovision interviews with an Australian perspective, I highly recommend Jasmin Bear from Eurovision By Jaz and ESC Insight, or Renee Pozzi, founder of ESC Daily.
What I'm Reading Now
Since I deleted Twitter from my phone, I’ve been reading Kindle books on the bus & train instead:
- Retail Truths: The Unconventional Wisdom Of Retailing by Chip Averwater (5 stars)
- Win Bigly: Persuasion In A World Where Facts Don’t Matter by Scott Adams (4 stars)
- Tools Of Titans by Tim Ferriss (3 stars)
- Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday (3 stars)
- Singapore 2014 by Derek Sivers (3 stars)
- Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide To Building Your Business by Ramit Sethi (2 stars)
What I'm Listening To Now
Lots of well produced & catchy pop/rock while I research music production techniques:
- Bon Jovi - Keep The Faith
- Seal - Crazy
- Imogen Heap - Headlock
- Nickelback - How You Remind Me Of Someday Mashup
- Charli XCX — Break the Rules
- Alibi - Eddie Razaz
- Wir Sind Die Gipfelsturmer - Unheilig
When my activities or priorities change, I’ll update this page.
This page was inspired by Derek Sivers' Now page idea.
Last Updated: 5 January 2018.
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© Kohan Ikin.