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.

2022 Vancouver Election Guide

September 21, 2022

9 parties. 59 candidates. One ballot.

Sep 21: With three weeks still to go before election day, this guide will evolve somewhat as polls, platform details, corrections, and other info continues to come in. Vancouver is cursed with an interesting political scene. We have a relatively engaged electorate compared to other cities, and a disproportionate supply...

21 min read →

A Password Autofill Surprise

September 1, 2022

On psychological safety.

A lot of things turn out the way they do because of how we safe we feel. Let me give one example. Some time ago my wife Karen asked me for help with her computer. Ever since she’d migrated to a new Mac, Chrome’s password autofill feature would no longer...

4 min read →

How to Go Over Budget

August 1, 2022

On working within an estimate.

Assembling a good project estimate can be hard. Unless you’ve shipped something similar before, you’ll probably need to consult experts, investigate risks, do product definition work, and gauge a thoughtful “iteration and surprises” buffer that considers the chance of external surprises, scope grenades, and shark attacks. There’s a reason many...

6 min read →

Setting Two Spies Free

July 14, 2022

An update on a beloved side project: In 2019, we launched Two Spies as a little side project with cosmetic-only monetization. It exceeded our wildest dreams, with 800,000 folks trying the game, and rating it more than 4.7 stars on average. Still kind of hard to believe this little game...

1 min read →

Giving a Shit as a Service

July 1, 2022

A mental model for service businesses.

A few years back, my team decided to get a custom meeting room table. In our search for something great, we were referred to a small studio that does great work: East Vancouver’s Union Wood Co. The team there met with us, showed us various samples, and asked thoughtful questions...

2 min read →

Someone Wants to Learn From You

June 1, 2022

How writing habits pay odd dividends.

It’s common for people to feel hesitant about writing. Before somebody even types a word, I often hear objections like “I don’t have anything important to say” or “I couldn’t really add anything, I’m not enough of an expert.” If that’s the kind of thing you might say, I have...

3 min read →

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...

10 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...

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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...

5 min read →

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