Michael Simmons, Flexibits

michael simmons

Michael is one half of the OS X and iOS software development company, Flexibits.

  • What do you currently do?

I’m 50% of Flexibits and our apps are Fantastical and Chatology. I love designing user interfaces, user experiences, and ultimately make apps that help make people’s lives better.

Michaels Simmons Fantastical_for_iPhone_512

  • How did you get started in Mac and/or iOS programming?

Even though I did programming back in the 90s with the Commodore 64 and Amiga, it was primarily hacking around and creating what were known in those days as “demos”. In 2000, I attended the Big Nerd Ranch and it inspired me to write an app, so I wrote an app called PiXel Check for OS X that checked LCD pixels. I stopped coding to focus on design and business development, but I keep a strong passion in maintaining my knowledge and education of the latest and greatest frameworks and technologies. This helps me to know how long something might take or what’s (easily or not easily) possible.

  • What was the first app you created and what did it do?

The first app I created was when I was around 12 years old and was written in BASIC, on a Commodore 64. It was an app that solved basic math equations.

  • Where did you get the idea for the app?

I wanted to learn how to make the computer do something and solving a math problem seemed like a fun thing as I recall.

  • What went well? What could have gone better?

I remember it worked the first time because I kept it simple. Having it work right away inspired me to add more functions and I remember eventually having it do advanced equations.

  • What is your favorite among the apps you’ve developed?

Fantastical, for sure. It saves people time, helps them manage their businesses and lives, and the feedback we’ve received is so rewarding and inspiring.

michael simmons screenshot-1-dayticker

  • What advice do you have for young people who want to make apps?

Never give up! Programming isn’t something that can be learned right away. Ask any good programmer and he or she will tell you that it’s trial and error. LOTS AND LOTS of trial and error. If something is confusing or not clear, try again. And again. And again. And use documentation and Google. Using Google to search for an answer is a good way to find an answer because most likely someone else had the same problem and there’s never anything wrong with learning from an answer. But that’s the key: learn from the answer. If you just search, find the answer, and don’t try to understand how the answer works, you won’t learn and you won’t improve your skills.

Follow Michael on Twitter.

Help more girls learn software development. Contribute to the App Camp For Girls Indiegogo fundraiser, get a cool perk, and enjoy the feeling of having helped the next generation of software developers.

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