RWDevCon Inspiration Talk: Folklore by Marin Todorov

Enjoy some of the stories of how the team began and grew, attracting individuals from all over the globe to join in on the fun. By Marin Todorov.

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Note from Ray: At our recent RWDevCon tutorial conference, in addition to hands-on tutorials, we also had a number of “inspiration talks” – non-technical talks with the goal of giving you a new idea, some battle-won advice, and leaving you excited and energized.

We recorded these talks so that you can enjoy them, even if you didn’t get to attend the conference. Here’s our next talk – Folklore by Marin Todorov – I hope you enjoy!


I often speak at iOS conferences in Europe and people always ask me:

  • What is it like to write for
  • How many people are on the team?
  • Does Ray actually exist?

I thought it would be cool for my session for RWDevCon to answer all these questions and give you some behind the scenes stories and give you some folklore from the team.


If you attended Ray’s Keynote, you know that the site started as Ray’s personal blog and grew to be 100 people plus team, scattered around the world.

In my talk, I’m going to revisit the same timeline, but I’m going to try to highlight some interesting stories along the way and fun moments.

How It All Began

To actually do this, we’re going to going back to the very beginning of time.


We’re going to go back to January 24, 2010. This is how it all starts.

This was the very first post on It’s called ‘Drinking from a Fire Hose.’


It’s still online, you can still go to the website and read through it, but it’s just mostly Ray ranting about how web technology advanced since the 90’s and he has to learn many new stuff to put his blog online. It also features this weird image of bursting water.

After posting this, Ray probably worked very hard throughout the night to make the website work.

On the next day, on the 25th of January, he was like, “Duh, this is not what your blog post should be.” So he posted, “What is this Blog About?” which is good, but the post itself is mostly about how he much he loves C++, and Python. And he used this weird PHP code image on the side.

He just slightly mentions that he also does iPhone apps. It’s really funny; it’s a shaky start at best. But it was 2010, so nobody knew that this was going to be the most popular iOS development blog on the internet.

There was no team behind the launch, there was no product of any kind. It was just Ray in his mother-in-law’s basement.


He was just there putting what he thought was best online.

Not only that but he wasn’t the best designer either. I’m sure how his website was designed, and particularly how he snipped off the top of his own logo, really sent people around the globe into seizures.


Ray Has Fun

Not only this, but he wasn’t really the business type that will have a successful blog. In fact, he was pretty goofy.

You can now call me Ray-droid!

When he first said that he was ditching iOS development for Android, many people didn’t exactly know what to think. He was making some pretty solid points:

  • One app store just isn’t enough
  • Java is the bomb
  • Visual interface design is for pansies

Of course, that was the April Fool’s hoax for April 2011, but it still told a lot who Ray was.

The Team is Formed

Seemingly against all odds, it turned out that content is king and people really liked what Ray was writing. The website started gaining popularity.

In 2011, as Ray mentioned in the keynote, he finally realized that he cannot do it on his own.

He did a call for authors on the website in 2011, so that’s how the tutorial team was born.


Fun fact, 30% of the initial 10 people that started are still on the team. That’s me, Matthijs, and Adam.

There’s also many guys that joined in the first couple of months that are still around like Cesare, Felipe, Jake, and actually many more. These are guys that have been together a long, long time.

A Store is Born

With the help of the tutorial team, the website started rolling out products.

The first newsletter came out in August 2011, and also introduced the idea of The iOS Apprentice coming out soon. Another feature that was possible thanks to the tutorial team the same year, a little bit after the newsletter came out was the store page.


If you have been recently to the website and have been looking to the store, this old page is hilarious because it has this one single product in the top left, kind of like suggesting there’s going to be more, but actually everything else is just empty.

That image shows the first product for sale, which was the Space Game Starter Kit for the iPhone and iPad.

Matthijs Writes The iOS Apprentice

Speaking about early team members, I want to take a moment to speak about Matthijs Hollemans.


He has been on the team from the very start, and he has a story of one of the early team members.

He quit his job in 2010, and wanted to make it on his own as an iOS indie. In 2011, he joined the team, and shortly afterwards, he wrote the missing book on beginning iOS development: The iOS Apprentice.

For sure, many of you recognize the bull’s eye app, which is the first part of the iOS Apprentice.


Many people started developing for the iPhone with exactly this tutorial.

Not only did Matthijs write the book, but he also keeps updating it. He wrote it and released it for iOS 5. Then he updated for iOS 6. Then he updated for iOS 7. Last year, he updated for iOS 8. And because he is just that crazy, he updated all source code to Swift. It’s a thousand page book!

Every year, he says, “No more!” but Apple introduces something and he’s like, “Okay, let’s do it.” This is one of the things people really love about the books because they come with free updates each year, just like this one.

This is also great because Matthijs is now making a comfortable living off The iOS Apprentice and his other iOS books of course, but when you give, you also receive the love of everyone.