June 24, 2005

Student Talk from WWDC 2005.

So, some innocent Apple employees asked me to talk to their "scholarship" students the Sunday before WWDC proper started, as their sort of "celebrity" speaker. Well, that's the word they used with me, but it may have just been to induce me to fly down early. Certainly, I hope the students weren't told they had a celebrity, because if you're expecting J-lo and all you get is W-il, you're p-ssed.

I spent three or four whole days working on this talk, and I was really tickled with how well it was received. One guy afterwards told me I'd inspired him to join the priesthood. Seriously.

A lot of the students (that is, more than one) asked me to put my slides online, and I found that old-skool PDF is the most compact way to do this. Sadly, without the audio portion you're missing most the jokes (and it's harder to tell what lines on the slides are jokes and which aren't), but I don't really have the time right now to make a huge multi-media presentation. Maybe I'll make a podcast later.


I should also mention that if you look at the slides you'll see another picture of my Ardent Red Lotus Elise. This bears mentioning because I actually agonized about whether to show off my car at all, ever. I decided that, in this context, it was OK, because essentially the whole talk is about how if you follow your dream you'll not only be happy, but you'll also be financially secure, and it's easier to believe that kind of advice when it's given to you by someone not LIVING IN A SHACK DOWN BY THE RIVER. I asked some of the students afterwards if they thought the car thing was totally pretentious and they said no, it came off the right way.

None-the-less, if you're a blog reader this will be the second time, for you, that you see a red Elise. For me, the second time I mentioned the Elise was the first time you saw it in the blog (the first time was in the student talk, weeks ago), and I figured the cork was already off the bottle and I can use it in jokes. Seriously, I'm not one of those people who is all about how cool he is because he drives a funny-looking car. (I'm cool because I'm so dang handsome. Snap!)


Because many sites are linking directly to this post and not the newer one with the podcast, I've added the podcast here, too:

Podcast, to go with the slides

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Blogger bbrown said...

It's "LIVING IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER" if you want the allusion to work.

June 24, 2005 6:39 AM

Anonymous Rafal said...

How are your cats?

One thing I would add to that is... If you're young, and live with your parents, and want to create something great, stay with your parents! Unless you have an unlimited amount of money, once you move out, start working a 8-5 or 8-4 job just to pay your bills, it's harder to be innovative...

You should post some more pics of your car by the way.

June 24, 2005 7:32 AM

Anonymous Some random guy on the Internet said...

I really enjoyed reading your presentation. Thank-you for making it available on the web.

June 24, 2005 7:41 AM

Blogger Adam Behringer said...

Nice slides. I'm still waiting for the car myself... I've written a few Mac applications and I'm just starting to port one of them over to the Windows side. I've never build the same application for both platforms (besides web-applications) so it will be interesting to see if it is as bad as your claim in your slides. Anyway, I'm blogging the experience so at worst, I'll learn something to share on the blog, at best, I'll have a "pimp ride" too.

June 24, 2005 9:09 AM

Anonymous FlyPenFly said...

Wish I was there for it because it was actually a pretty inspiring slideshow. We're discussing it in ArsTechinca forums:


Anyways, kinda inspires me to get off my lazy ass (grad student in the summer is like being a phat cat with a budweiser...). Time to pick up a good book on starting development on the Mac or XCode!

June 24, 2005 9:35 AM

Blogger dustin said...

Those slides were excellent. I'd love to hear the audio too. If only I was still a student...

June 24, 2005 10:29 AM

Anonymous Matt Thomas said...

I must say, the presentation was even better in person. It definitely put things into perspective while still being fun. Also Wil, getting sushi a couple days after that was awesome.

June 24, 2005 11:03 AM

Anonymous FlyPenFly said...

Ooops! Wrong link I posted above!

Here's hte right one:

correct link

June 24, 2005 11:12 AM

Blogger Mike Lee said...

What is it with you and guys named Mike?

June 24, 2005 2:11 PM

Blogger Wil Shipley said...

Rafal: Technically, I've posted _no_ pictures of my car. I actually found those pictures on the internet, and they are of random Ardent Red Lotus Elises. I think the one I used in my slideshow actually has the steering on the 'wrong' side, so it's not even a Federal Elise.

June 24, 2005 3:01 PM

Blogger Dustin MacDonald said...

Dude, you rock.

June 24, 2005 3:02 PM

Blogger Will said...

Cool talk, would have inspired me when I was in college, if I could have afforded to go to WWDC that is. :)

So, the question is, how does one who desperately wants to get out of the status quo corporate america mega company across the lake stand out among zillions of Cocoa-programmer-hopefuls when there are only a very few small companies doing Mac software? Assuming for a moment that not everyone can start their own company because of things like debt (aka school loans) in which they are tied to a paycheck for at least a short time.

June 24, 2005 5:03 PM

Anonymous Mike Paquette said...

Excellent presentation as usual.

“Why don’t you port to Windows?”

Nice response. I need one of those...

"Taxes - King County Monorail"

Every time I see this, for some reason I think of "The Simpsons". Those fast talking monorail salesmen...

“Doing what ‘everyone else’ is doing is the surest route to failure.”
Wil Shipley, just now

Oh, yeah. That one goes on The Wall.

June 24, 2005 9:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

too bad you're fat and ugly, heh?

June 24, 2005 10:53 PM

Blogger mmalc said...

As the "innocent" "inviter", I can assure you that you are regarded as a celebrity (although the students weren't told in advance—that might have spoiled the surprise for one of the exercises!). Your readiness to give your presentation just once was greatly appreciated; that you were gracious enough to give it twice(*) marks you as one of those rare individuals who despite their status is still willing to be flexible in a difficult situation and to put in extra effort to ensure the success of an event.

Many thanks again.

(*) For those who weren't there: to different groups to accommodate a logistical problem on the day — the event location had had to be changed at the last minute (of course on Monday we found out why...).

June 25, 2005 2:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your talk was a blast. I got to see it in Track One of the student session, and then I caught some bits of the repeat in Track Two. If this "software" thing turns out to be a flash in the pan, you can always fall back on the stand-up act.


June 25, 2005 10:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, great slides, wish I had been there... (Perhaps the slides could be exported to QuickTime with the audio added?)

I started my own business 2 1/2 yrs ago... Never in the red, but still haven't made enough to pay myself a salary.. (covers the health insurance at least!) But this year is going well.. landed my first big client, that will be adding additional projects in the next few months.. also starting, to *shudder* advertise!

Great slides, hope the cats are well, mine is basking in recent glory of stalking and catching a large lizard outside...

June 25, 2005 10:52 AM

Blogger Wil Shipley said...

You Apple guys are too nice to me. I feel guilty accepting compliments from youse guys because I've known you forever. It's like having my sisters say, "You know, Wil, you're OK!" I'm like, "Well, duh, you have to say that!"

I hope I never think of myself as a real celebrity. Enough people hate me already. (Also, real celebrities aren't fat and ugly.)

June 25, 2005 6:42 PM

Anonymous Dan said...

Hahahahaha goodstuff. Great slides and I love your sense of humour.

Tempting to go stop coding php and pickup objc now...

June 25, 2005 6:58 PM

Blogger summer said...

Your talk was interesting and yeah, you are our "celebrity". ;oP

June 26, 2005 8:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting slides, but I do have a question about not porting / developing on Windows. It is true that a successful Windows program has to compete in a larger market with many more developers and eventually with Microsoft, but isn't this the same on the Mac? Look at what Apple did to Konfabulator... Apple basically wiped out their market by bundling Dashboard with Tiger. You can't really escape competition.

Also, what prevents a Windows developer from copying a Mac application? If you build a Windows version, you may not own the Windows market for it, but at least it is additional revenue on top of what you make from the Mac market. Of course, there are costs associated with building Windows software: less productive tools and platform API, training, etc, but you could just hire a couple of experienced Windows developers to do it.

June 26, 2005 10:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any recommendations on who to use to form an LLC?

June 26, 2005 1:39 PM

Anonymous Dath Sidious said...

I'm not sure I agree with the Page 43 3rd point.

In an old Develop issue, it was stated that declaring variables and initializing them on the same line was not good as it was causing maintenance issue. I tend to share this point of view.

Page 17: "Delicious Library = 8 months, me only."

Did you detail it in the live presentation? Just reading it, I have troubles believing it. I don't think this can be formulate like this. An application is not just code. An application is about design, graphic ressources and tests. I don't think you did all these 3 parts alone. Otherwise, I don't see the point of other developers. So I hope it was a bit more detailed in the presentation. Moreover, I find it a bit surprising you're counting only one developer when another developer (from Omnigroup) helped from what I read.

June 26, 2005 2:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A MP3 of this talk would be great, any chance of that happening....


June 26, 2005 3:59 PM

Blogger Greg Bennett said...

Great discussion/slides. I happened to stumble across your blog after the article was posted on digg.com - great stuff. As someone who is just wrapping up my MBA, my dream job would be to work for Apple. I love the company, the innovation, the culture....

June 26, 2005 4:07 PM

Anonymous tylor said...

your slide has made me really want to learn code. i'm really into logo design, web design, animation, and photography... i've always liked coding too (i've only learned a little bit of java)

what code is most beneficial to learn, and where do i learn it?

June 26, 2005 4:07 PM

Anonymous Dave Sopchak said...

Would love an MP3 of your talk to listen to on the way to work. The slides were great, but I can tell I'm missing a lot ;) As coder at home and as part of my job (fuel cells!) I can tell you that your words “Doing what ‘everyone else’ is doing is the surest route to failure.” ring true in other fields as well.

June 26, 2005 8:04 PM

Anonymous Ben W. said...

Told you they would like it.
Now wait 'til Slashdot catches wind...
If they do, it wasn't me that submitted it...

June 26, 2005 8:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice presentation. I'm slowly learning Cocoa, and it's a good motivator. Now all I need is a nearby Mac dev shop that needs a networking guy who is willing to learn programing on the side.

So, obviously, I'm just working on learning as time permits and not holding my breath for that dream job.

June 27, 2005 10:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the $54 000 first week is pure marketing bullshit.

June 27, 2005 1:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to hang out with you! Do you drink beer? Georgetown Brewery is very tastey! -Todd (incognitomail@mac.com)

June 27, 2005 5:13 PM

Anonymous cesar said...

great presentation! I share it with some friend at work...

any possibility of posting an H.264 (video) download? or at least, a podcast?

June 27, 2005 7:27 PM

Blogger bulgarconcept said...

LOL, man you rock, not becouse you ride "Pimps" car:), you try to enspire other people to jump out the Corporate
matrix and go fly and work on theyr dream, thats cool.
First to say somethning about Me /and sory for my English/
I am some kind of Jurk, Artist, Designer or maybe none of this things:), I am from one of the F--king Countries in the World, one place where
nothig is Normal, and everything is Oposite of Wright. This is Bulgaria.
Here you can Study 6 years and be the best of your profession but in the end you may work for living like dog for Minimum payment.Its alright here afterall is Gangsters paradise
in Our country You can bay everything including Law.
My point of view is that i share same principles like you. 7 months ago i started my own busines, and Lay foundation of this experiment only on Quallityyy of Work. Huh. Its works. I pay the price everyday, but chasing the dream /not only sucsess/its absolute freedom.
Man here comes the pain:))
I don't understand how someone
in big USA or Europe may go to work
for salary and Corporate slavery when you have BIG market, big Real market a place where IF you Work with your hart and soul You have 120% chance of Sucsess,If you made good Product, you have Highway to Paradise.
Huh another thing that is wright, i like Omni products and I dont wont them ported to Win, why?
First Apple market is Growing Seriously and with last Jobs Adventure /p4/ it may be will Explode in way that No one expected.
Second: OsX is platform of the Future and when you work for Future
you have to Focus on some End Point, not on all Horizont.
First principle to save your Soul in Big Business World, dont be Greedy, just work and be Happy with what you have, everythig else is Temptation that may put You on Corporate Matrix that automaticaly lead you to Dead circle of Compromises and 100% will make you Unhapiest person in the World.
Lol,man i hope that You will be the same person even you ride Bugatti Veyron, keep working an keep smyling
and dont get your self seriously more than is needed./ lol horrrrryble english, sorry/.

June 27, 2005 11:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sent you an email expressing my love of your presentation. Oh, and Elsie is a looker ;)

June 29, 2005 9:23 AM

Anonymous cjwl said...

Nice presentation, rings true in a lot of ways, and hopefully inspires some kids to bust out on their own. However, you completely skipped the marketing, advertising and self-promotion part of owning your own company. You have a knack for self-promotion that a lot of people don't have, and a lot of Mac developers would kill for, and perhaps since it's more natural for you, you forget it's a necessary thing for survival. Delicious Monster may not have an advertising budget per se, but you don't get an article in Wired and followup with front page on slashdot just because you exist. You've also got some hellishly talented artists on board, consider yourself lucky to know them and maybe give them some kudos too, although maybe you don't need to if they're getting hot paychecks too :)

I would also have to add that someone with 10+ years Cocoa experience has a definite advantage in the Mac world than someone just starting out. There was a lot to be learned from the whole progression from NextStep 1.0 to OS X, stuff like Core Data and Cocoa Bindings is a no brainer to pick up when you've used EOF, but is a leap of faith for a lot of kids who have been polluted with C++ or Java. Never pick up an employee who has been using Java for years, you'll be bashing your head against the wall constantly.

Enjoy the hot car, I traded mine in for a loaded minivan recently. Ouch!

June 29, 2005 10:21 AM

Blogger Tailwind said...

Wil, the way you used the Elise came off very cool. It's like that TV ad where two college age guys are hitchhiking and talking about making pottery for a living. Then a good-looking couple (hot wife) in a Range Rover picks them up and they sit there in awe for a moment, then one of them says, "Well, maybe the pottery thing could be a sideline while I work on a real career."

It's a very real reminder of the choices you gots to make when you're young.

June 30, 2005 8:03 AM

Anonymous T James Catt said...

You should lay off even the light beer…
and put the remote on the shelf. That beer gut will improve then.

And the "no advertising" claim is a chain-yank:

Apple's networking model is its killer sales and advertising method…
with such a tight knit connected organisation of gossip-loving user groups, anything put out on the network gets concentrated attention.
I watched a couple of users sign up for Delicious Library at the local user group's demo and I know they both have just enough books and records to be able to catalogue them on the back of an envelope during a footy match in the ad breaks. They don't need Delicious Library but they certainly wanted it.
This isn't to say that they won't need it later on.

So be a Mac developer because the advertising is sophisticated and managed for you in one of the most well-trained captive audiences in the market.
As long as you get in the user group loop.

July 02, 2005 12:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

..i just stumbled across your presentation via slashdot and was very impressed.

Thank you for making it available..
..I'm not in the software biz, but i think i can use it in other fields.

so, tell me again, how i get to convince you to hire me for those non-programming tasks and shift my life from london to your locality ??


July 11, 2005 12:42 PM

Anonymous Greg Pinero said...

I was curious about the LLC thing as well. Doing a search just turns up a lot of junk. Is this a state thing I file, or Federal, Do I use my own state or choose one with good tax laws?

July 19, 2005 10:22 AM

Anonymous Sergey said...

Thank you, Wil!

July 29, 2005 4:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your WWDC 2005 podcast, thanks for putting that together.

I suspect some of your opinions on things might change someday when/if you have children, even with politics.
It clarifies and focuses your entire perspective on things.

September 13, 2005 10:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly, your quickbooks messing up AOL situation is quite possible. Quickbooks, quicken, etc. under windows do all sorts of wacky IE integration bits so that you "browse" within the program. The saddest thing is that windows users actually accept these as normal windows quirks, they don't realize the user experience doesn't have to suck.

November 07, 2005 2:44 PM

Anonymous Michael Fey said...

You know Wil,

It's just over a year and a half since you posted this student talk, and I love it. It is EASILY one of the most inspirational things you've ever written, and I just wanted to say "Thanks for the inspiration".

So....thanks for the inspiration!

February 08, 2007 2:23 AM

Blogger oneironaut said...


Dude... that commercial is poison. It's designed to get you to give up your dream job (pottery) and sell out working a crap job so you can afford a luxury SUV, and of course, hot women go where the money is right? Happiness is extremely underrated. Take it from a guy who tried the sell out path and hit a wall at 40. The car doesn't make me happy and I divorced the babe. Now I'm too old to go make pottery for a living.. I'm addicted to my income. Wil loves what he does, and he got rich as a by-product. Trying to get rich and not caring how is trouble.

December 19, 2007 12:55 PM

Blogger Wil Shipley said...

I wouldn't mind the babe part, myself.

December 20, 2007 3:13 AM


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