Hello everybody. Today I’m very proud to present you the interview of the kindest, smartest and prettiest IT girl I’ve ever met ;-). Her name is Peach Pellen (@peachpellen in Twitter) and she lives in Sydney (Australia). She’s an Entrepreneur, Technical Consultant and Support Engineer at Ansca Mobile. She’s «only» 22 years old but has a lot of experience. Please enjoy her interview…
- Many developers start creating apps trying to do games that will make them rich and famous, and though you have many published apps you seem more interested in teaching developers, Why did you choose this ?
People measure success in different ways; money, fame, knowledge, etc. I believe that the ultimate success is in helping others succeed. Anyone who works hard enough can get money but it takes a special skill to teach others and help them reach their untapped potential. If you have that skill then you have a responsibility.
I have written several apps for myself and for clients, I enjoy it – but my real passion is in assisting someone who never thought they could write their own app create something awesome. When they achieve one of their dreams then I feel I have succeeded because I have played a part in that – I believe that helping others is the most rewarding thing you can do in life and I have been lucky enough to make a career doing that.
- We know that you’re currently working for Ansca, ¿How did you start working for the best well known startup in this world? ¿What are the tasks that you take on?
Like I said, my passion is helping people. When I started using Corona the community was smaller and the resources were limited, which led me to create Techority. I wrote a huge number of tutorials for people with no experience looking to learn about creating apps.
Like myself, Carlos Icaza, former CEO of Ansca Mobile, has a passion for helping others – so it was easy for him to recognize that same quality in me. He offered me a job and I officially joined the team in April 2010.
My role varies a lot day to day, I offer support to users of all skill levels, I do a lot of troubleshooting and code snippets, some work with bugs, testing new features, one-on-one tuition and training, the odd presentation and finding creative solutions to difficult problems. At the end of the day I’m fairly versatile which is a huge advantage when you work with many people who have many different requirements.
- Could you tell us some stories that you remember with special affection since you started developing apps?
One of my favorite memories since I started out was creating a simple Boggle clone in under 90 minutes and less than 350 lines of code in Corona SDK and filming it. I did it because a developer using another SDK created something similar in around 2:30 hours and issued a challenge, “Let’s see you do that in Corona!”. It was nice to have some friendly competition.
Another standout memory for me was dealing with a writer I met last year, she was a self described technophobe and wanted to make an app but felt like it was beyond her – I knew it wasn’t and was hell bent on showing her the same. Over the next few months I worked with her and taught her how to use Corona, now she has several apps, she’s an official Corona Ambassador and we make sure to touch base at least once a week. I feel immense pride in how far she has come and that I could be a part of that.
More recently I was able to put out a Plants VS Zombies template on Techority – it was a collaboration between myself and a very good friend of mine, Alejandro Jimenez (creator of ChocoRun). This month a Corona developer actually made a really awesome game using that as their foundation; we took an opportunity to work together and create something for the community and seeing someone pick it up and run with it was incredibly rewarding for both of us.
- Just browsing through the forum of CoronaSDK it’s obvious you’re the most known and beloved member of this community, Do you know why?
I believe there are three reasons-
1) When you put your heart into something, when you genuinely care about people, it shows. If you genuinely want to help people you go out of your way and they see that, they know you care about them – not just as developers but as individuals – and they appreciate that.
2) I try to be very accessible; my email, my Skype and my contact numbers are all available on my website and I encourage people to contact me not only with technical issues but also with personal ones. Indie developers sometimes struggle with motivation and I’m always happy to give a pep talk when it’s needed. When you work this closely with the community you end up forming not just professional relationships but personal ones too.
3) I give everyone special treatment. I don’t differentiate between trial users and licensed developers. Everyone matters. Today’s trial users are tomorrow’s pros and today’s pros could very well be tomorrow’s big success stories. People never expect to get good treatment when they are testing out a product and have not yet bought a license – when you show them that you value them they get an idea of what you’re all about and of course they are going to remember you for it.
Despite having a good understanding of why I am so well liked in the community I still never cease to be amazed and humbled by it – nothing compares to the feeling you get when someone tells you that you helped them do something they thought was impossible, you pulled them out of frustration and found an answer or you helped them create a killer app and as a result a new income stream that will improve their quality of life.
- What is it like to have Carlos Icaza as a mentor?
Mind blowing. He can teach you more about the industry, about business and about life than you could possibly imagine unless you have had the benefit of his guidance; every time we talk I learn something new. His presence in my life has had an impact that can only be described as “profound” and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for his mentorship.
- What do you think of the other Lua based SDKs such as Gideros and Moai? Is there rivalry there?
I think there is always going to be some healthy competition but no, I don’t think there’s significant rivalry. I’ve used Moai and Gideros and both are really impressive, though neither are as friendly to the entry-level developer as Corona right now. At the end of the day I’m really happy to see three popular SDKs using Lua, it’s a fantastic language.
- Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
So much can happen in 5 years, especially with the rate technology changes. That said, I know I will be in the same industry and if I am lucky I will still be in a role where my primary responsibility is providing support and advice to others while evangelizing a product I can be passionate about.
- What is it like to be a woman in this industry?
The only time my gender even crosses my mind is when a male colleague does something gentlemanly, like opening a door, “ladies first”, etc. I think when you work with a great team everyone values each others skills, personalities and what they bring to the table so gender doesn’t play a big part. The main impact it has is actually on my social life, almost all of my closest friends are men because I primarily meet people through work.
- You have previously mentioned that you don’t have a college degree, do you think that puts you at a disadvantage compared to your peers?
A degree means spending years of your life learning about a number of subjects; some of which end up serving no purpose in your chosen career. I’ve spent the last few years learning about things that interest me and that directly and indirectly make me better at what I do. I believe in many cases this actually gives me an advantage.
- What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
I’ve been given a lot of good advice in my life but I think the thing that has stuck with me the most is “Do what makes you happy”. It sounds so simple but it’s easy to forget, plus it applies to all aspects of life.
- What would you say is the most valuable advice you could give others?
Find your rock, your inspiration, your counterpart, your better half – whatever you want to call that person who motivates you to better yourself, who will be there when you need them and who will give you real feedback and constructive criticism, who is ready with a pep talk when you’re flat. So many indie developers work alone and it’s all too easy to forget that no man (or woman) is an island.
- What are your plans for the future of Techority?
I’m getting more and more traffic each month and am currently trying to formulate some kind of schedule which sees my updating the site at least twice a week. I’m also planning to revamp the content of the Techority store at the start of June after I have returned to Sydney. (I am currently in California.)
- Do you have plans to relocate to Silicon Valley in the future?
I do have plans to relocate within the next few years and I love the area, though I think there are many cities in the US where I would enjoy living.
- Alejandro Jiménez (@dunkelg) told us that with Carlos Icaza they sent you a cake for your birthday, Was it good ? ;-)
That was a magnificent cake. It was this crazy huge, beautifully decorated chocolate cake and was the first “fancy” cake I’d ever had for my own birthday. Carlos and the team, Alejandro and Graham Ranson (a fellow Corona SDK developer and creator of Lime) got together and totally surprised me. I still remember the note; “From your extended family and friends” – that note meant so much to me.
Here ends this interesting interview. I hope you loved it as much as I did. Have a nice day. See you soon…
Louis-Philippe (AKA @Louesfera)