Getting Back Into Android

This week I am trying to get started on an android demo of the Click Date Love site. To help get up to speed reviewing the Android fundamentals to see how much has changed was a great place to start: Android Fundamentals. It must be said that documentation has improved a lot in the last couple of years and getting started is pure child's play these days. This project is an exercise but, with a little luck it could turn into a full product that we launch on the android App store.

Before getting started with any project like this it is good to think about the design. When I say design I really mean the user interface. It can go a long way to helping define the data model and operations of an app at a lower level. In this case I am following the main layout components of the Click Date Love website as a starting point. See below for some of my initial sketches for activities.

Android Studio

Android Studio Preview

Last time I tried to get into Android development the best (only) choice was the Eclipse plugin and tools which were probably the worst thing about creating an app at the time for me. Now though there is android studio

The initial setup of studio was hampered for me by some of the hard linking meaning I was missing certain system libraries compared to a Ubuntu target build. Once I had rebooted into Kubuntu all was good and I had my first sample app online in a few minutes.


Discover Other Users

One of the things that we wanted to make work really differently with Click Date Love was the way that people discover other people that they may be interested in.

[caption id="attachment_216" align="alignright" width="300"]Click Date Love Discovery Activity A new way to discover people[/caption]

One of the truths of dating that also applies Online is that first impressions count. With our site we are trying to do a few things to help out our lovers to be make the right impression and we want to translate that into our app too.

The thing that makes Online dating different is that it is possible to browse through literally thousands of people. Even picking someone you know out of a crowd of a thousand people can be hard. Imagine how hard it is to pick out someone you like. Sure, browsing photos at a rate of one per second can be fun, but are you really giving those people a chance to make an impression? Chances are you are probably just playing 'hot'-enough or 'not'!

As a social experiment, we are going to see how behaviour changes is you take away the opportunity to search through every single profile. There are probably a few people out there who are right for you so the trick is to help you find them. Ultimately that probably doesn't mean scanning ten thousand profiles thumbnails a day.

When you are discovering new people you really only need to have a vague idea if you would consider them based on that all important first impression. If you would then you go on to learning more about them.

View your Favourites

[caption id="attachment_218" align="alignright" width="300"]Click date love favourites View your favourites[/caption]

Once someone has piqued your interest you will want to get to know a little more about them and perhaps break the ice. Like with discovering new potential matches, how you deal with favourites is really important. Let's face it, most of us that have used Online dating know at least one person (or have been on a date with someone) who spends all of their time doing first dates. Perhaps that girl (or guy) has twenty or fifty different chat threads going with different people. If the goal is to have more than a hundred first dates a year that is probably going to work out fine for you.

The other problem is the 'one that got away'. It is far too easy to fixate and hang on to the hope that someone will respond to you rather than moving on. Or perhaps you keep a spark of a conversation going from time to time just because, who knows right? Wrong: If you haven't clicked, move on, discover new people! There are always more fish in the sea!

The point is to choose, that is why we are going to limit the number of favourites you can have, and, you guessed it, if you want to add someone new to your favourites you might have to give up on one of those 'old hopes', dropping them from your favourites to add the next Mr or Ms right.

View A Profile

In our launch blog post Why The World Needs Another Dating Website, we know that for lots of people, breaking the ice is tricky and there are ways to make it easier. Looking at a profile should be as much about starting a conversation as it is getting to know someone.

Click Date Love profile activity

Click Date Love doesn't have any long forms to fill out and you don't have to write an essay. A lot of the time the things people write don't tell you anything anyway. It is understanding when you think about it that people don't want to say too much in their profile. Unlike in a real chance encounter every word will be poured over and debated as potential reasons not to respond to the message you spent hours writing, or in some senses, milliseconds pasting. Why bother, most people are terrible at describing themselves in the way that other people see them.

Keep an eye out for future announcements on the click date love blog about how we are making breaking the ice easier.

Chat With A Favourite

The biggest headache for the build if this demo app is the chat application. Not just on the app but on the main site, chat is a pain and there are lots of vendors doing it well out there. Hopefully I can find one.


Services in Android allow you to run background tasks. For the initial build of the demo app it is unlikely that we will do more than is presented in the web UI but services that would seem to make sense are:

  • Updates of your favourites.

  • New discovery updates.

  • New message sync.

  • Caching profiles and data about a user.

  • Syncing your profile.



Startup Founder's Crisis of Confidence

The chances are that if you have ever tried to do something totally new to you, like starting your own company, you have had to find away of dealing with your own fear of failure.

The thing with being at the "top" is that you need to make a lot more decisions, and a lot of the time you won't have good data to help you choose. Having a vision for your venture will help you make polarising decisions based on whether they agree with the vision. For a great deal of the time you will need to rely on your intuition.

"If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine." - Jim Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape.

Launching a startup, like with any unproven product, means that you are going to have to deal with doubters. You are going to have to be comfortable that you can sell your idea in the face of scepticism and doubt. For those, like me who are used to having a brand behind them, this can be a real challenge. On the up side it will make you grow by finding the strength that comes from doing something you believe in.

"The more time you spend in control the more you will feel confident... " - Anon sports coach.

The thing you need to remember about running a startup is that your main role is to sell your concept to customers, investors and others. Unless you are blessed with the salesman's touch of being able to 'sell ice to Eskimos' you need to find your way of selling. The first and most important thing to remember is to be confident. If you need to step up your game then there is one little trick that can help: confidence is transferable. By that I mean that you can boost your confidence using an unrelated activity and use that to help you in other situations.

"If you aren't falling off then you aren't trying hard enough" - Anon sports coach

It's important to remember that whatever you do to help you keep your reserves of Confidence topped up; if you are truly trying to change things, you have to start with changing yourself, and expect to fail and use what you learn to move forward . Lots of very successful athletes have talked about how many times they failed in order to succeed. Perhaps it is also fair to say that they never accepted that bitter taste of defeat. Instead they learn from their mistakes and continue to push themselves beyond their current understanding of their limits.

One of the most common issues working on an unfunded startup is that you have to become a jack of all trades. While it is important to be flexible, spending a lot of time doing things you are just learning can present challenges. Remember that in a startup you have the best chance of everyone is maximising their potential.

Bottom line : even if you are a CEO, take the time to enjoy what you are good at and challenging yourself to grow outside of your job. Your feelings about your wider life will translate into you being a better leader and ultimately to your bottom line.