Man’s Search For Meaning: An Author’s Take

Meaning

Victor Frankl‘s widely read masterpiece unlocks a part of the brain not often used in the fast-paced 21st century: Introspection. His story is a tragic one, wrought with the kind of death and despair so common during the Holocaust. Still, he managed to find meaning in those hard years. For him, it was about helping others find meaning in their lives. As a neurologist and psychiatrist, perhaps he was uniquely qualified to do this.

Meaning in Writing

After reading the book, I found myself asking myself what exactly my purpose was on this Earth. I’ve known since I was about eight that I wanted to be a writer, but beyond that I’ve always found it hard to discern what it was I was doing.

This begs the question: why do I write?

A Writer’s Curse

Do I write for fame, money, or influence? Do I write to entertain? To answer that, I had to look deep inside to realize that a lot of what I had done in my youth was directly related to what I’m doing now. I’ve played the guitar since I was eleven years old, acted in plays growing up, and was in the background of many a TV commercial, TV movie, and network television shows. I suppose I’ve always liked to entertain. The world has so much darkness in it, at times it’s hard to see the light. I enjoy showing others that there is a better way to approach life.

A way that includes introspection and enjoying the little things that make you happy.

Now, if only it paid the bills.

Chasing Delta

I once watched an interview with Elon Musk in which he mentioned the concept of delta in regards to changing the world. You can either create a large delta, or change, to a small amount of people, or a small delta to a vast amount of people if you want to change the world.

My goals for delta are two-fold.

First, I intend to reach the most readers I can and entertain them with my writing. However, beyond writing, I intend to do what I can for my community, mentoring others when possible and giving back in any way I can. In this way I can touch a large amount of people in a small way and a small amount of people in a large way.

For more on Elon Musk, consider reading the recent biography of him. It was well-written, definitive, and definitely an eye-opening journey into his world.

Writing for money

Although my ultimate goal is to entertain, I also need to eat. That’s why some of my books are free while most are not. However, I believe if my meaning is to entertain, then eventually I will make enough doing it to support myself solely with it. Given the trend in my sales figures, that time is coming fairly soon. Most writers, I believe, don’t write solely for money. If they do, I think the reader would be able to tell pretty quickly.

The Machine

Writers often find themselves in this sort of conundrum. Should I eat? Or, should I follow my dreams?

I’ve been there myself a number of times. However, at the end of the day, even if I’m doing a job to make ends meet while writing at night and in the early mornings, those moments while I’m writing make the rest worth it. It can feel at times like you’re a machine, working and working and seeing little return. Given enough time and dedicated practice, it does get better.

I’ve seen it with myself and I’ve seen it with my dad’s writing career, which only really took off after about twenty years of pounding out manuscript after manuscript and chaining himself to his desk. However, in the last 5-7 years he’s seen more success than most authors ever will.

Man’s Search For Meaning

Even if you don’t find your meaning upon completion of this book, the story is one worth being read by all. It is critical that the experiences of those who suffered through the holocaust are remembered for generations to come. I can’t recommend this book highly enough for all readers. It is a necessary read. It is a read that will turn your attention inward during times of strife.

Startup Interview: Devan Stormont, Creator of the Popular Weather Route App

Startup Interview: Devan Stormont, Creator of the Popular Weather Route App

Weather Route

Startup Interview: Devan Stormont of Weather Route

Background: Weather Route is an app that displays what the weather will be at any given stage from your present position to your destination, based on when you’re expected to be there.

Hello, Devan.  Thank you for
joining me for this interview. Why don’t we start by having you give a
little background about yourself?
Hi Trevor, it’s my pleasure to join
you. I’m a software engineer at a mid-size company here in Reno, where I’m
heavily involved with product development and internal training. On the side, I
wrote a little app called Weather Route.
What inspired you to create the
Weather Route App?
Two winters ago, I had plans to visit
my out-of-state parents for Christmas. A large weather system moved in that
wasn’t completely a “bad storm”. It had areas of being clear, but
they would shift around as the weather system moved. I tried for a while to
plan a road trip through the storm, but getting information about which roads
were clear and which were not was almost impossible from existing weather
sites, especially when long hours of driving were factored in.
Eventually, I gave up and canceled my
plans for the trip. But, Weather Route was born!
Currently, Weather Route is limited to
the United States.  Do you have plans to expand to International Markets?
Yes. I just completed a big overhaul
in the weather forecasting that will allow the app to work internationally.
I’ve begun rolling this out to some foreign markets.
I understand you’re coming off some
pretty significant gains in membership after this holiday season.  What can
you tell me about that?
Absolutely! This was a very exciting
winter for me. Once the weather started turning bad, I began getting very
consistent user growth – about 12% user growth a week, very regularly, almost
like clockwork. By the time that had slowed down with the winter trailing off,
I had 5x as many users as I’d started with.
Reno has been getting some buzz lately
for a number of tech startups in the area, how does it feel to be a part of
this movement and have you had a chance to work with any other entrepreneurs in
town?
It’s very exciting to see the local
tech industry growing with such momentum. I haven’t been as involved as I
should be, but I have participated in a couple of hackathons (the annual Space
Apps Challenge). That has been a great way to meet other entrepreneurs and see
what they’re working on. Colin Loretz at the Reno Collective, Eric Jennings at
Pinocc.io, and Joe Chavez (who runs the local Space Apps Challenge) are each
fantastic local entrepreneurs.
Will Weather Route be available in
other languages?
Yes. Right now, it is English-only,
but I am planning on providing multiple languages, if the international version
picks up well.
How can I find Weather Route?
The app is available on Google Play.
Just type in “Weather Route” and it will pop
right up!
What kind of users make up your core
demographic and what markets are you trying to expand into?
I wrote the app to target vacationers,
originally. What took me by surprise was the number of truckers that have
started to use it. One thing I’d like to do is target that segment more with
app solutions.
Can you tell me any future plans for
Weather Route?
We’ve already touched on a couple
areas – expanding to international markets and providing localization for other
languages. I’m also examining porting the app over to the iPhone, as well. I’ve
gotten some requests from coworkers to do so, indicating that the demand is
there.
Customer satisfaction is arguably the
core reason apps exist.  How do you keep your customers satisfied and do
customer suggestions affect the development of future versions of the app?
I pay very close attention to what my
users are telling me. Some of the best ways to get users impassioned about your
product is when they complain to you about a problem or a missing feature and you
go above-and-beyond in response. There’s always some part of code I’d like to
fix or some new feature I’d like to put in, but I take a “drop
everything” approach with user feedback. If a user reports a problem, I’ll
hunker down until it’s fixed. And if I start to hear about a wanted feature
from two or three users, you can bet I’m working on implementing it!
Ultimately, it’s users who drive
adoption of an app forward. If a developer gets in the way of that adoption,
they’re only hurting themselves. Plus, it’s just great to hear directly from
users that you’ve fixed their issue!
Thank you for taking the time to
answer some questions, now get back to work!