Reinder de Vries

Programmer + entrepreneur. Adept app developer, coffee lover, blogs about app business. Teaches iOS app developers & publishers at

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The Not-To-Do List: Regain Focus By Killing Unimportant Tasks

“Your focus determines your reality.”

That’s what Qui-Gon Jinn tells young Anakin Skywalker in the first episode of the Star Wars saga, a blockbuster movie series. It’s sound advice the Jedi Master gives to Anakin. What does it mean?

 Tales Of Extreme Focus

Somewhere on a mountain in Tibet, a monk meditates. Meditation is, paradoxically, the practice of extreme focus. Anyone who’s ever tried meditation knows that it is important to focus on the now, to be in the moment. When you’re meditating, random thoughts appear in your mind. Instead of focusing on the thought, trying to push it out, you focus on something else: your breathing, a “center”, or simply the emptiness around you.

Experienced programmers sometimes refer to something called the zone. It’s a zen-like state of mind, one that’s extremely focused. It’s a time when a programmer is mostly productive, literally thinking in

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About Building A Network And The Hilarity That Ensued

Back in 2011 I signed up for an incubator in Utrecht (The Netherlands). For half a year I got coached as an entrepreneur, working on one of my app businesses. One of the things I learned, is this: get out there, rely on your network, to make your business thrive. This article is a personal account of how I came to that realization.

 Ivory Tower Syndrome

It’s the quickest road towards failure: not asking for feedback. Many entrepreneurs, me included, sit in their ivory tower and think they can change the world. An idea, an app, a business, they all need shaping and refining. You can’t do that on your own, you have to ask others for their opinions on your masterpiece.

Often, the people you ask for feedback come up with great additions. You hadn’t thought of them, because you’re so deep into the ideation of your product, making you oblivious to obvious thought.

 How (Not) To Build A

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What Inspired You To Learn Programming?

I think I started programming when I was 10 years old. I got a 66 Mhz i386 PC from a friend of my parents with Windows 3.11 and found a program on it that turned out to be a BASIC compiler. I got a book from the library and tried out different programs, largely copying chunks of code and attempting to change it.

Later on I got a newer Windows 95 and someone gave me a copy of Visual Basic, which I tried too. A friend gave me a computer powerful enough to run a PHP server, so I tried to code turn-based games in PHP. We found out together how to route a domain to that computer. I was lucky to have such opportunities, and I don’t know what motivated those friends, but I’m sure they thought their gift would be used well.

I think that curiosity inspired me to learn programming, and continue the pursuit. I’m not a good student and I rarely learn if I must, but don’t find it interesting. My

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App Ecosystem: What Do You Need To Know?

A while ago I was brainstorming topics for a short (and free) online course about iOS development. It occurred to me that there’s not much information out there, about what you should know when you’re not going to code apps. All of it is focussed on development and there’s a huge information gap for those who’re not necessarily at the coding end of the app world.

If you’re not going to develop apps, what do you need to know? I’ve put together some cool resources to answer that question.

 Pre-Development: What happens before an app is ready?

Any new app starts as an idea, and is then turned into a rough sketch: a mockup. I use Balsamiq Mockups for that. It works great because it’s simple and lacks detail, which makes it good for working out rough ideas.

The next step is transforming the mockup into a graphical design. This is usually done with Photoshop, which exports to a PSD file

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As a Beginner App Developer, Should I Learn Swift or Objective-C?

On Quora, several times each week I get asked the same question: Should I learn Objective-C or Swift? Together with Dale Grant I dove in to come up with a good answer to this question – read on.

In September 2014 Swift appeared, a new programming language from Apple. It’s used to create apps for Apple’s iOS operating system, and aims to create an easier programming environment for beginners as well as giving experienced programmers better tools for programming. Apple’s not new to designing programming languages, they’ve done so on several occasions since Wozniak’s BASIC.

The big blogs shout that Swift “is it” and is going to change the way we make apps, while opinions on Quora say the opposite. From befriended pro developers I heard, that Swift is giving tools to senior developers that they never got from Objective-C. Professional freelance developer Chris Hulbert says this:


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What To Do When Your MacBook Breaks Down On A Tropical Island

Yeah, I’ve been there: my MacBook broke down on a tropical island in Thailand, a client deadline 3 hours away and no Apple repair shop in a 500 kilometer radius. What do you do? You pray to the Apple gods to have mercy (see picture) and you get your MacGyver face on!


In 2014 I spent around 3 weeks with a friend in South East Asia, traveling to Thailand and Vietnam. We both work online and we’ve worked together on multiple occasions. The main reason for our journey was to attend the awesome DCBKK conference (for internet entrepreneurs) in Bangkok. Before the event we traveled to the tropical island of Koh Lanta (Krabi, Thailand) and after we went to hectic Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

At the time I was very busy with client work, working on several projects with tight deadlines. The dreadful day I had a stressful deadline, an app I’d been working on needed an urgent bug fix. We had

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My app design and development firm is called Interactionauts. With a team of remote freelancers, I create user-centered mobile experiences.

It’s this:

  • Design and develop apps for iOS, Android and HTML 5
  • Ideate and configure conversion funnels, optimize user acquisition and improve app retention and engagement
  • Integrate front-end apps with platforms like Elasticsearch, build a custom REST API or connect to ERP/CRM

My clients hire me, because:

  • I communicate clear, concise and on time
  • Usually I think with my clients, but often also against
  • Solutions I create save time and attention, they help my clients maintain their focus

Interested in working with me? Book a consulting call, get in touch via

Remote jobs only.


 What Clients Say About Me

Reinder listens very carefully to your needs and then goes to work completely independently. He ultimately

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