Takeaways from Release Notes

Takeaways from Release Notes

Union Station Old Union Station in Indianapolis

This week, I attended Release Notes, and it was great. I sketchnoted the talks, and posted a summary with all of them. Before I came to the conference, my wife asked what I was hoping to get out of it, and my first answer was to meet new people. She was a little surprised by that, and reminded me that networking is not something that I typically enjoy or do particularly well. So I set a goal to talk with at least one person each day for an extended time and get to know them better.

Accomplishing that goal was easier than I had thought, although it still required me to push myself outside of my comfort zone. The conference was organized intentionally for a group of introverted developers who want to meet other people, but are not skilled at that. We had plenty of time between talks to have conversations, and long breaks for lunch and before dinner. It was perfect for me. The other big thing that helped was my sketchnotes. After the first couple talks, people began to notice the sketchnotes, and it was an easy jumping off point to begin conversations with people. It is so much easier when people come up to talk to you instead of the inverse.

Action items

I want to force myself to turn my thoughts into action as I leave the conference. I found myself talking about Pointedly every time that I introduced myself, and realized that it is my true passion project right now, and I should do more with it.

  • Designate different locations and positions for different kinds of work
  • Have a lawyer review my LLC
  • Get liability insurance
  • Form a daily writing habit
  • Set writing goals for my blog and journal
  • Experiment with pricing in my apps
  • Prepare Pointedly for a subscription model
  • Answer all outstanding support requests
  • Schedule daily time for support
  • Answer incoming support within a day
  • Say exactly what I mean, without trying to make someone feel a certain way
  • Plan a solid demo for each app I want to show off and practice it
  • Find an official personal board of directors

Many of these actions items come down to discipline for me. I need to be better at time management and making sure that I am focusing on my most important tasks. My adherence to a planning and execution system has fluctuated wildly, but I know that I am most effective when I am consistent and methodical.


One unexpected outcome of this conference was a rekindling of my passion for sketchnoting. I have done some occasional sketchnotes over the past couple of years, but since I started focusing on iOS development, I have done little else. One thing that I want to let simmer in the back of my mind is an app to help with sketchnoting. I have no idea what shape that will take yet, but it would be a perfect marriage of my two biggest professional passions. In the meantime, I want to make sure that this is a skill that I continue to hone and exercise regularly. Creating sketchnotes is incredibly rewarding personally, but the best part is the connections that it forms with others. People are drawn to them, and it makes for great conversations that could not happen otherwise. Like most things, I need to carve out time to practice so that I can progress and avoid regressing.

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to attend Release Notes this year. I look forward to working to implement these ideas and to continue to learn from others and nurture the relationships that I formed.

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