Taming Monkey Number One: Second Update

It’s February 2nd, which means there are already 2 days past the initial liveline for taming my first monkey. If you just got here and have no idea what I’m talking about, you may want to read first why I ditched my new years resolutions (and decided to tame some monkeys instead), and also how to find those monkeys, if you want to tame yours too.

Now, very briefly, what was my monkey about: to have a new iOS app in the AppStore. It was something I was wanting to do for a long time, but postponed it indefinitely. The app is relatively simple, but it does require some external storage in the cloud. So it’s not only on the iPad, it’s also on the web.

Last time I shared my progress, I was having a website set up, the CoreData model ready and so was the basic functionality for adding and editing data on the device. What changed? Well, now I have the functionality for adding, updating and deleting data on the website too. For those of you with a little bit of a technical touch, I had to create a small API for that. I also bought the artwork for the app and finished the basic layout and design on the iPad.

So, was I able to tame my first monkey in the allotted timeframe?

Short answer: nope. The app is not finished yet and it was not submitted to AppStore.

Long answer: it’s complicated. 🙂 Let’s talk about that.

It’s Not A Monkey, It’s A Symptom

The moment I started to work on that monkey, I realized that there was much more to it than I thought it was. At the surface, it was just another app. But deep down, it was a symptom for some of my deeper issues. I don’t use the term issues in its negative sense, but rather as a description for something that needs to be clarified.

First of all, my desire to build a new app was not isolated. I had many more ideas and plans related to other apps. As a matter of fact I think I have around 20 separate iOS ideas. All with a clear description and some of them even with mindmaps or project stubs in Xcode. This one was just strong enough to resist at the border of my active focus, and also was “advertised” as a personal plan in several conversations.

But the moment I allocated time and energy for something that was just floating around, everything that floated around exploded. It was like instead of a single monkey I had a whole pack. Dozens of monkeys dancing in front of me, waiting to be tamed.  What seemed to be a single monkey activity became a herd management activity.

Outcome Number One

So, the first thing I learned was that this monkey was not just an app, was a way to organize my ideas and put them in the right order. Prioritize. Allocate resources properly. And build a stronger stream of value for this channel.

Wait, There IS A New App In The App Store

One quick consequence of this approach was that I realized I needed much less energy and time for some of my apps. They were relatively simple. All I needed was under an hour per day for some of them. So, I started to grow those too. And one of them is finished. Exactly 🙂

Let me detail on this. A few months ago, after I launched iAdd, my productivity app, I wanted to publish some of my ebooks in the AppStore too. It made sense from many points of view. The IOS platform offers a very easy way to consume this type of content, the ebooks were already made and so on. But somehow, I couldn’t find the time to build a template app for all my ebooks.

Well, while working on my first monkey, I stumbled upon an open source framework which does exactly what I want. It’s called Baker and it allows to create standalone apps as ebooks on the iOS (currently only on iPad). So, I started to reformat “Natural Productivity“, I put it in this framework, test it, and, hell yeah, submit it to the AppStore. Which is exactly where it is at this very moment, waiting to be approved.

Outcome Number Two

Although I didn’t have my designated app in the AppStore, I did have a new one. And it’s a very timely app, giving the fact that iAdd is getting a lot of traction lately, especially since the free version, iAdd Lite is also public in the App Store. Now the ebook will be available on the same media.

How Much Can I Really Chew?

Not much. I can only chew the size of my biggest bite. And we’re all designed like this, it’s just a fact. But I have this constant habit of biting more than I can chew. Trying to tame this monkey revealed this to me so clearly, that I cannot hide it anymore. And this is a real problem. The monkey, as I said, was just a symptom for something way bigger.

One of these “way bigger” things behind my first monkey is my attempt to get on exaggeratedly big projects. It may be because I enjoy doing them so much, but it may also be because I try to prove myself worthy of something. As you can see, we’re not talking about apps in the App Store anymore. We’re talking about some inner insecurities that are in big need to be addressed.

I somehow had a little bit of an intuition of this when I first decided that I will tame those monkeys “while still having a life”. Somehow, this was touching the core of the problem. One of the reasons I wasn’t able to finish the app in time was the fact that I did have a real life outside my work. Spending time with my kids, traveling, relaxing. And you know what: I realized it’s ok to be like that.

Outcome Number Three

One of the most important results of this taming process is that I kept having a life outside work. It may sound very counterintuitive, but, in a way, the fact that I didn’t finished the app was a good “result”. It proved to me that I don’t need to prove anything to anybody. And still have nice life in the process.

Where To With This First Monkey?

As you can see, although I didn’t have my monkey tamed in time, there was a huge process of cleaning up and evolution. In only 4 weeks.

So, I still want to tame this monkey. I wasn’t able to do it in time, so I will postpone it. The new liveline for it is the end of February. I don’t know if something else will interfere again, but if it will, I know it’s for the better. Will manage it somehow.

The Second Monkey

As a matter of fact, I know there will be something that will interfere, and that will be the second monkey for this year. Namely, the monkey related to my New Zealand company. This month I’ll be in New Zealand, taking care of this baby. There are a few logistical loose ends and there are also some strategical moves that I need to evaluate. At the end of the month I expect to have a growing and much more manageable company in New Zealand.

As always, I will keep you posted on the progress. I kinda enjoy this.

Oh, I do love my monkeys 🙂

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