my first iphone app

It’s the middle of the night.

You have this non-stop craving for something delicious.

Something worthy of your taste buds.

For me that urge is only fulfilled by the middle east taco known as shawarma. 

Sometimes after a night out, I had trouble finding the nearest shawarma restaurant to my location. I would then have to do a google search. My fingers would usually mess up the spelling.. it was too much of a hassle.

I would then ponder late at night in my bed, while staring at my ceiling fan, and ask myself the really BIG questions of life. One of them was:

 “Why isn’t there a simple app that.. with one press of a button could DO THIS FOR ME!?”

So I put these two ideas together (iphone app & shawarma locator) like a genius, and decided to create  something.

It’s called Nearest Shawarma.

home screen

So please check my app out, FINALLY in the App store after two rejections (I explain why later). Click below.

app store button 

Once you download it to your Iphone,  you can see it’s a fairly simple app that shows you the closest place  you can chow down on shawarma goodness from ANYWHERE in the world. For free.

How cool is that? It’s pretty cool.

Now please repeat after me:

Thou shall never go to bed without a shawarma in ze tummy.

Thou shall never go to bed without a shawarma in ze tummy.

Just doing my bit for society.

So a question I got from friends while making the app was:  what about the money?

Well the goal wasn’t to make money on this first one.  It was just to learn the process behind making an app.

And it’s definitely been a learning experience. I’ve outsourced some things before, but this was different stress. When I use the word stress, I really mean eustress – one that’s healthy for you.  Figuring out how to do something you’ve never done before is always uneasy at first, in this case –  working with Apple and finding a good Iphone App Developer.

Drawing out the idea, communicating it’s functionality, learning a little about enabling google API’s (this is what finds the restaurants) and other nerdy stuff, etc.

It wasn’t that difficult either, but it required some persistence.  Lots of email/skype chats early morning/late nights since my developer, who I found on,  lived in Eastern Europe. I oddly enjoyed it.

The reason why it was rejected a few times because it was reviewed as too simple of an app. I had to add features, such as the Favourites button, to make it of higher quality. Or perhaps the Apple reviewer  was having a bad day when I first submitted it (I’ve heard of some people’s app being approved without much in changes).

Also  – It helps to type out the procedures of re-submitting the app as well.

This is where the design for the App icon came from.  Remixing ideas. I knew a RED icon would stand out on the screen. I sent this to my developer’s team.

app icon idea

Make sure you find a developer who can speak English clearly and will communicate with you at least every 2-3 days. Take your time hiring the developer as it will save a lot time. Hire slow, fire fast.

Anywaaaays, I’m now off to the bar to celebrate.  Just in case you’re too lazy to scroll up and check it out:  Here’s the link again.

Any comments or feedback welcomed.



tweaking your environment

Maybe you’ve heard the joke about the fish in water:

Fish 1: How’s the water?

Fish 2: What the hell is water?

It’s a funny way of saying that when we’re part of something for long enough, we don’t notice we’re part of it. It becomes all there is. Despite all my rage, I’m still just a rat in a cage!  Anyone remember that line from that Smashing Pumpkins tune (click here) ?


I was reminded of this when reading Ikigai by Sebastian Marshall, who talks about very simple tweaks – ie such as placing your gym bag next to the door of your room – physical reminder that makes it easy to pick up do that activity.

I keep my guitar directly in front of my bed to remind me to practice.

A book next to your bed, a book in your bathroom – to keep reading.

The purpose behind this is to create an environment in which the change you seek naturally occurs.

I mean this is just changing the things around you, what about the people that are around you?

signage with emotional appeal

I was browsing Dan Pink’s website the other day ( I like his books A Whole New Mind and Drive, check em out!) and came across some posts on emotionally intelligent signage.

It got me thinking of what makes me slow down while driving.  The only deterrent to speeding is a consequence such as paying a fine. Think about it. If you knew that there would be no consequence, would you slow down? I doubt it.

I snapped a photo of this sign from my car, while it was raining!  No one was harmed, relax.

This sign creates an emotional appeal on why you should slow down. Quite different than the usual threatening of fines. Dan Pink finds these emotionally intelligent signs everywhere, click here to see some other ones.

what others are saying

How do we build trust?  Well I ll start off with a well known principle in life: We deem more trust in products value when other people mention how amazing it is, thus the use of testimonials. Saying that I find one-two line testimonials to be kinda useless. Actually when others say “don’t read this” – this makes me more intrigued to read the book. Why did it cause such a strong reaction? Maybe that’s just me.

These SAP ads, a boring company to talk about, make them sound like an amazing company by showing off their clients.

a thousand years

Been reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac recently.

“When I get all these nails out of this I’m going to build me a shelf they’ll last a thousand years!” said Bull, every bone shuddering with boyish excitement. ” Why, Sal, do you realize the shelves they build these days crack under the weight of knick knacks after six months or generally collapse? Same with houses, same with clothes. These bastards have invented plastics by which would make houses last forever. And tires. Americans are killing themselves by the millions every year with defective rubber tires that get hot on the road and blow up. They could make tires that never blow up.

Same with tooth powder. There’s a certain gum they’ve invented and they wont’ show it anybody that if you chew it as a kid you ll never get a cavity for the rest of your born days. Same with clothes. They can make clothes that last forever. They prefer making cheap goods so’s everybody ‘ll have to go on working and punching time clocks and organizing themselves in sullen unions and floundering around while the big grab goes on in Washington and Moscow.” He raised his big piece of rotten wood. “Don’t you think this’ ll make a splendid shelf? “

I sometimes feel the same way about most electronic goods. Put some glitches on the first edition, so get the 2nd or 3rd edition when all the errors are mostly gone? Okay fair enough there is some legitimate kinks that are sometimes only noticeable after many user tests.

But what if something was actually built to last long?  So we don’t have to keep replacing it? I’m not sure if there is a big conspiracy to make crap stuff. The question to ask yourself, in the fast-food culture of North America, when was the last time you considered the time and cost it took to make something? How long something would endure?

No Surprises: make all costs known

I was looking for a travel deal on the excellent, but when I got to the checkout I almost had a panic attack.

Why are they scaring us at the checkout? When you get to  the finish line, they add a whopping 174.91 in tax!  I thought I was getting the most amazing deal ever, but they ruined the experience right at the end.  I just wanted to exit the browser. Not sure if they A/B test this? Cos I am guessing it might lead to some exits.   I do like how they give a 12.00 discount to take the sting off a bit.

This also reminds me of how the brilliant Australians have the taxes and tipping (at many restaurants) ALL included in the price. You know exactly what you are paying for from the get go. The price looks  inflated in the beginning, yes, but in the end you don’t have to worry about calculating everything. You leave happy.