Hi, I'm Allen Pike. I run Steamclock, where we design and develop nice apps in beautiful Vancouver. At least monthly, I write an article and publish it here.


How to Buy a Family EV

May 1, 2022

Doing battle with the global supply chain.

When our second kid was born a couple years back, I started working on getting us a bigger car. This proved… challenging. The requirements My quest had two key requirements that I thought were simple, but weren’t: Big enough to haul around two young kids, plus stuff. Nothing huge; just...

12 min read →


Coda vs. Notion, and Emoji Pickers

April 1, 2022

On tools for building knowledge together.

At Steamclock, we like to share docs. Guides, notes, plans – writing helps get think and working more asynchronously. Google Docs is okay for this purpose, but by early 2021, we knew we’d outgrown it. We’d seen glimpses of what more modern knowledge base and note-taking apps could do, and...

10 min read →


How Two Spies Closes Cities

March 1, 2022

A little story about iterative experimentation.

Recently my team has been putting together some case studies. You know, telling the story of things we’ve built in a more timeless way than a 6-year-old blog post exclaiming “this is launching today, check it out!” with a link that has since become a 404. When it came time...

4 min read →


What Doesn't Need to Be Done

February 1, 2022

Finishing things requires simplification.

Project management is, roughly, the art of ensuring a team gets what needs to be done, done. Given that, a lot of the focus ends up being on those needs. Checklists, breakdowns, schedules, updates – all focused on the things that need to be done. While that’s all very important,...

2 min read →


Beyond Optimism

January 1, 2022

On a mindset for doing hard things.

We’re often called on to consider future events. While you may endeavour to be a realist – evaluating what may come based on the facts and odds – the future is inherently uncertain. Whether we like it or not, gut judgement drives a lot of how we anticipate and prepare...

4 min read →


The Burgeoning Need for Focus

December 1, 2021

How increasing resources can decrease effectiveness.

One of the core building blocks of effectiveness is focus. Much of leadership training, business strategy, executive coaching, and personal development comes down to focus: how do we choose what to focus on, and how do we stay focused on it? One of the reasons startups and small indie teams...

6 min read →


Fresh Air Life

November 1, 2021

On getting out in the rain.

Many of us live in a place that has weather. While weather has certain benefits, it presents us with an annual challenge. Each year, at a certain time, the weather gets worse. Warmth gives way to rain. Long days give way to short. The dark closes in. When this happens,...

4 min read →


Fight for Outside Perspective

October 1, 2021

The case of too many team meetings.

To build a product, you need to talk to people. You need to talk to potential customers, and to potential employees. People whose expertise you could use, and people who could use yours. Any leader that isn’t getting outside perspective is going to eventually get stuck. Unfortunately, with our own...

5 min read →


The Persistent Gravity of Cross Platform

September 1, 2021

Coordinating a large product org is hard.

Agilebits recently caused a stir with their announcement that they’ve rewritten 1Password 8 as a cross-platform Electron app, replacing their well-loved native Mac app. The takes came hot and fast. Like many developers, I love and appreciate a well-crafted native UI, and I’ve been somewhat skeptical of the consistent trend...

8 min read →


How to Write Docs People Read

August 1, 2021

On the power of a guide.

I like to write. Well, I like to have written. And I especially like when people read what I’ve written, and find it useful. It brings me joy. Writing useful things also helps me do my job. When you’re growing a team, you only get so far on oral tradition,...

5 min read →


Amazing Atelic Activities

July 1, 2021

On doing things for the doing.

Early in one’s life, it’s easy to be driven by goals. Pass the test, get the grade. Get a job, buy a car. Get into university, finish university. Get married, have a kid. There are a lot of things to do! While the specific goals vary from person to person,...

4 min read →


The Teams You Worked on May Have Sucked

June 1, 2021

On who we compare ourselves to.

As we grow at Steamclock – we’re now at 14 and hiring our 15th – we’re getting more intentional about how we do things. I worry less about how to do the work, and more about how to build the team and our processes. Which is great. But it’s a...

2 min read →


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© Allen Pike. You can find me on Twitter, contact me, or check out Steamclock.