Issue #25 - Ben Patterson
Happy Monday, everyone!
We made it to the 25th issue! Thank you to everyone who read last week’s issue ❤️
📆 Today I’m featuring Ben Patterson.
👉 Please make sure to follow them or support them anyway you can! 😇 I’m excited to share their indie dev stories.
Lead Mobile Engineer at a Healthcare Startup and creator of Postly Pro
1) What is your name? Where do you live?
Ben Patterson, I live in Arlington, Texas (near Dallas/ Fort Worth) – born and raised here!
2) Introduce yourself. Education? Background? Main job? Interests outside of tech? Interests inside of tech?
I am a Christian, Husband, Father-to-be (8 weeks to go!), and Lead Mobile Engineer at a Healthcare Startup. I think I have a pretty unique background as I am 25 and a Lead Developer and I majored in Business in college (mistake HA!) but luckily my twin brother was a Computer Science major and he is actually the one that got me into tech, coding, and this whole world.
I first started developing apps in college because my brother and I owned a Software Dev business (that’s a whole rollercoaster story in itself) and we wanted to start offering apps as well, since I loved Apple, I started learning Swift. I started learning with Swift 2 and then I am sure most iOS devs remember what happened when Swift 3 came out and completely changed everything, let’s just say it was a tough time to learn
However, running a software business allows you to work with a lot of different businesses, technologies, etc so I got to learn by actually building which in my honest opinion is the best way, and the 3 years of running that business is what allowed me to get such a high ranking job with a great company in my opinion, so I wouldn’t change anything about it.
I now work as the Lead Mobile Engineer for a startup handling our iOS, iPadOS, and Android apps and completely love it, there isn’t a day I don’t learn something new and I work with some of the smartest people I have ever met.
Main interests outside of tech are spending time with my wife and our 2 corgis, Crossfit, and watching movies. I am also in the process of becoming a better cook so I enjoy trying new recipes as well
Inside of tech I really enjoy ANYTHING Apple and always look forward to their new releases, but I try to stay up-to-date in everything mobile
3) Have you ever considered yourself an indie developer?
Before I launched Postly, I didn’t, but now that I have I feel more entitled to be able to say that. It’s not that I felt like I didn’t belong, I just didn’t want to ever call myself one until I actually had a product released, so I guess you can say I felt like I earned it now haha
4) What got you started/interested in creating your own applications outside of your “normal” job?
Ever since college I’ve had an itch to create something people use everyday, something that can help them make money, save time, or just make life a little easier. There is nothing cooler to me than knowing someone uses and enjoys something you took from idea to product and built yourself. We live in such an amazing time where tech can help a lot of people do some really cool things!
5) How do you balance your time between friends/family, work, hobbies, and indie dev?
Honestly, Corona and the lockdowns have made this a lot easier, especially with my wife being pregnant. We try to be careful and limit our interactions with others and where we go. Plus with the pregnancy she’s been going to be pretty early which gives me perfect time from 8pm-12am every night to work on Postly with no distractions.
6) Postly Pro - Congrats on your launch of Postly! It’s been fun watching Postly’s progress on your YouTube and Twitter. I’m always unsure if it would motivate me more to do it or add more pressure 😅 What inspired you to build Postly out in the open? How do you think it went and would you do it again?
Other indies really inspired me and seeing the traction they would get and engagement by just being transparent and open about the process. When I would see their posts it would fire me up to create something of my own. So, one of the biggest reasons for building in the open is I wanted to pass that same fire on to someone else and inspire them to create. Also, I knew that devs/ creators were Postly’s target audience, so if I could build hype and anticipation by building in the open it could build some trust with me and the product and make them more inclined to want to invest into it when it launches.
7) Postly Pro - I always like asking where the idea or inspiration came from! Was Postly something you’ve personally been needing in your life? Or did it seem just like something fun to build? Or I guess both? 😝
Postly is definitely something I personally have always wanted and looked for, I am not really a huge fan of Canva or AdobeXd, they are good apps, but really weren’t tailored to what I needed, something to market my apps/ products.
I knew that there had to be others like me that wanted to be able to create GOOD complex marketing material straight from their phone/ iPad without having to get out Sketch and then save and then airdrop and take 30 mins for a simple graphic.
8) Postly Pro - I insta-bought Postly once I saw it was released! I’ve been meaning to open up Sketch to make a similar image that Postly could make for a new app I’m launching. I’ve been procrastinating on it because it’s just too much work. I made my image I wanted with Postly in under a minute 😁 Not a question but 🏆 for saving me so much time and making the process fun!
Thank you, that’s exactly why I created the app – imagine you’re in the car driving to dinner and you realize, wow, I just got my 1,000 download that’s amazing! Would you rather have to wait until that evening or the next day to get on your computer and create a cool graphic for it or whip out your phone really quick in the car and create one and post it before you even get to the restaurant? Idk about you but I’d much rather capitalize on the moment and create/ post it right then from the convenience of my phone and that is what makes Postly so powerful. Marketing, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME
9) Postly Pro - I really love how the new board selections have options that are named after social media apps. I would have no idea what sizes to actually use 🤷♂️ How did you choose the initial size offerings? Do you plan to add any more sizes or allow for the user to add their own custom sizes?
I wanted to keep the initial offering simple enough with the basic places everyone posts too: Twitter, IG, and FB. I have A LOT more canvases coming including Horizontal Twitter post, Twitter/ FB header, Fleet, and more! I definitely want to add custom sizing as well, just haven’t figured out all the details yet for that one
10) Postly Pro - The image editor is so nice and easy to use! I can imagine that I would face a lot of frustrations along the way if I was building this myself 😝 What were some of your biggest hurdles? Did you learn anything cool along the way?
Thank you, my main goal was for it to be simple, not crowded with buttons and options that scare you from even creating
The biggest hurdles were definitely all the moving parts, literally! When users want to move, resize, rotate, etc any element on the screen there were a lot of things I had to improve my knowledge on especially around frames, bounds, etc. Most of my UI work in the past has been autolayout based but I barely used any constraints in Postly because everything is so customizable. I did learn a TON about UIKitDynamics (thanks Jordan Morgan!)
My biggest hurdle was also just realizing where I had to stop and say ok, just launch, you can get the rest out later which was a very hard decision to make
11) Postly Pro - GRADIENTS!!! I think I’ve mentioned gradients in a few other issues. I love them but I’m so bad at making them. This might be the easiest to use gradient maker I’ve ever used 😃 I might have a few more background requests! Are you looking for requests from users on what to make next? If so, what is the best way for users to contact you about feature requests?
I am so glad! I knew this app HAD to have gradients to be competitive and it’s actually one of the first features I implemented, thankfully Apple made my life easier with UIColorPickerController for selecting colors! YES YES YES! I want every request everyone has! I want ALL feedback good and bad! Let’s make this the best freaking app for creating marketing material! 1000 brains is better than 1! The easiest way is either DM me on Twitter (@bennpatt_) or you can click the Contact Me button in the Settings page of Postly
12) Postly Pro - I have really only been using Postly on my iPhone and I’ve been loving it. I didn’t think to use it on my iPad 🤦♂️ The iPad experience is so great! Did you have both iPhone and iPad in mind when making Postly? Were there any major things you had to take into account when designing for both form factors?
I actually was going to make it only for iPad at the beginning but changed my mind because I wanted to offer the best experience on BOTH no matter where you were to create awesome marketing material. And the biggest struggle in designing was making sure the experience fit the device, so on iOS you have a lot more menus and closed functionality but then on iPad I could take advantage of the sidebar and spread everything out. Of course designing is a bit easier on iPad because of more space but I had to make sure that even on a smaller phone like the 12 mini, you could still navigate everything without a million clicks and create complex designs.
13) Postly Pro - What are your future plans for Postly?! Do you have any directions or future features that you can share with us?
Wow, I have sooo many cool features coming, I will share some below:
- Manual textview resizing
- Rotating all elements
- Fonts fonts and more fonts
- More canvas sizes
- New background features like blurred colors
- New iPhone and iPad frames for screenshots
- Font effects
- Drag and drop for iPad
- And more!
Something else I am implementing is an Inspirations page which will feature graphics Postly users have created with a link to their social profiles which will show off the cool things you can make with Postly so if you make cool things with the app send them to me so I can include you in it!
14) Is there anything else you’d like to tell the indie dev community about you?
Nothing I can think of, but, if you’re on the fence about creating something, just do it! You might change your mind/ direction half way through that’s fine just start building, you will find out all the details later!
15) Do you have any other indie devs that readers should follow / lookout for?
Jordan (@jordanmorgan10), Charlie (@_chuckyc), Mustafa (@mufasaYC)
Also, SPECIAL SHOUTOUT to Mikaela (@mikaela__caron) on her first iOS job! Congrats!
Also Also, PLEASE if you’re reading this go send something nice, special, funny, or cool to Kim on Twitter at @kaydacode! She said she’s been having a hard time lately with just everything going on so let’s try to cheer her up a little and send her a funny meme or something nice! Also follow her because she’s a badass Senior iOS dev!
Thank you to everybody who made it to this footer! You either spent the time to read or took the effort to scroll 😊
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