An inspiring article by Roger Ebert. Rest in peace.
Especially when it saves lives…
I’ve never worked so hard in my life.
I’ve never had so much fun in my life.
Imagine a world where 99.975% of the population is illiterate.
illiterate: unable to read or write.
If you’re a cellphone subscriber, unfortunately, this is the world you live in.
If you can read or write code, you’re among the 0.025% lucky few software literate.
If you can’t, you’re part of the 99.975% who are being left out.
software illiterate: unable to read or write software code.
This is a tragedy, and it’s getting worse year over year.
But you can do something about it, so continue reading.
According to numbers recently published by Apple, there are 248,000 registered iOS developers in the U.S. While official numbers have yet to be released, it is safe to assume that the total number of iOS developers worldwide is 2 to 3 times what it is in the U.S. alone. For the sake of the argument, let’s assume that it is around 750,000.
According to CNET, there are about 500,000 iPhone apps on Apple’s App Store (700,000 when iPad apps are added in), 600,000 Android apps on Google Play, and 100,000 on the Windows Phone marketplace, leading to a total of 1.4M apps. And if we add apps for smaller platforms like BlackBerry and Symbian, we reach a grand total of about 1.5 million apps. Taking into consideration the fact that the number of developers is roughly equal to the number of apps, as is the case in the iOS ecosystem (750,000 developers for 700,000 apps), we can safely assume that there are about 1.5 million mobile developers today.
At first glance, 1.5 million developers might seem a lot, but it’s actually tiny when compared to the number of mobile subscriptions. According to the International Telecommunication Union, there were 6 billion mobile subscriptions at the end of 2011, and about 1 billion of them were for smartphones (Source: mobiThinking). Today, only 0.15% of all smartphone users could develop a mobile application. And that number drops down to 0.025% if you include all mobile subscriptions. In the mobile world we live in, the Software Illiteracy Rate is 99.975%.
And things are actually getting worse. A lot worse.
According to the Computer Industry Almanac, there were 1.6 billion PCs in use around the world in 2011. And if we believe the rather conservative estimates computed by DZone, there might be as many as 43 million developers in the world. This translates to a 2.687% Software Literacy Rate in the PC world, which is 107.5 times higher than the Software Literacy Rate in the mobile world. In other words, when transitioning from the PC era to the mobile era, our Software Literacy Rate actually dropped by two orders of magnitude.
“Houston, we have a problem.”
Granted, the community of mobile developers is growing rapidly. According to World of Apple, there were only 125,000 registered iPhone developers worldwide back in 2009. If the total number today is around 750,000 as assumed above, this suggests a yearly growth rate of about 82%. But even if we manage to sustain that rate for a while, it will take close to 8 years to get back to the 2.687% Software Literacy Rate that we enjoy in the PC world today. And 97.3% illiteracy is nothing to be proud of…
Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm believed that “literacy is democracy’s basic ingredient.” As“software is eating the world” (Cf. Marc Andreessen), our very democracy is threatened by a rapidly dropping Software Illiteracy Rate. While improvements to our education system would certainly be a step in the right direction, they will be slow and incremental only. For more dramatic change, we need to rethink the way software applications are developed, and create tools for the 99.975%. This is what STOIC is all about, and we need your help to make it happen.
Spread the word!
Thank you Jim.
Thank you John.
Thank you Mark.
Thank you Vincent.
Regrets are the cancer of life.
I was originally exposed to stoicism through a KPFA show which quoted a fantastic book by William B. Irvine: A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy. It’s one of the few books that I can honestly say really changed my life. During this trip in Asia, I’m reading another one from the same author: On Desire: Why We Want What We Want. I’m enjoying it thoroughly.
To be creative, we must forget what we know,
But to forget, we must learn first.
Learn, learn, learn.
Being back from a swim with the kids on the Kaua`i South Shore,
Eating poke with cabbage and soy sauce,
Looking at the waves breaking,
Feeling a cool breeze,
Listening to Schubert,
Writing minimalistic jQuery code.
When the going gets tough, the best and the worst comes out of people. Some will let you down or take advantage of the situation. Others will lend a helping hand. The latter are the people you really want to be associated with.
When we started Sutoiku, we found ourselves in such a position. And while we could have dwelled in rehashing the offenses made to us, we decided to focus on the bright side of things, look at all the opportunities that were presenting themselves to us, and nurture the relationships we had with the few good people who really rose to the occasion.
One such person is our first investor. On our very first day in business, he gave us an office space, a consulting gig, and seed money, without having the slightest idea of what we would do with it. Another made the most significant contributions to our business plan and product roadmap, while introducing us to our new VP of Engineering. Yet another gave us the funding we closed yesterday. All three are either members of our Board of Directors, or have visiting rights to it.
On behalf of all of us at Sutoiku, to these few good people, I say “thank you!”
And I can’t wait to introduce them to you!
Three months ago, I regained my freedom. Today, I gained my independence.
Happy 4th of July!
About two years ago, one of our main sources of inspiration passed away. As we prepare ourselves to release our new product, we remember this wonderful man, his family, and Japan. Fond memories of intelligence, passion, and mutual respect.
“Grace is all that is left when everything else is lost.”
When the going gets tough, the true character of people comes out. Some act with grace. Others don’t. I got to experience this a few months ago when I was about to transition to my new company. Bad things were happening in the background, and a few trusted partners were graceful enough to warn me about the imminent danger. I heard one loud and clear, while essentially ignoring another, mainly because of my hubris and limited understanding of the English language.
In pure diplomatic style, this partner suggested that I should become selfless. I thought I knew the meaning of this adjective. In reality, I did not. Here is its definition, according to dictionary.com:
having little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to fame, position, money, etc.
Had I known the proper meaning of the word when it was mentioned to me, I would have better understood what was going on, and probably managed things a little bit differently. The outcome would have been the same, but I would have been more prepared.
So, what did I learn from this experience?
- One should never trust one’s own understanding of infrequently used words.
- One should learn to forgive and appreciate the blessings of grace whenever encountered.
- One should consider graceful behaviors as the exception, not the norm.
Today, I got another experience of unprofessional and disgraceful behavior. But because I was fully prepared for it, both emotionally and professionally, I simply ignored it, like any stoic should. All that remained was an impetus for this post.
PS: If you’re looking for file storage in the cloud, Google Drive is all you need, really.