From Spotify to Indie and Beyond: A Top Dev Interview With John Sundell

John Sundell, former lead iOS developer at Spotify and now the brains and energy behind Swift by Sundell, shares his thoughts on going indie, time management and how you can never be too-prepared for any talk. By Adam Rush.

Leave a rating/review
Save for later
You are currently viewing page 2 of 2 of this article. Click here to view the first page.


Hide contents

From Spotify to Indie and Beyond: A Top Dev Interview With John Sundell

20 mins


What tools do you use on a daily basis to help keep you focussed and on track?

My primary productivity/focus tool is Apple’s Notes app.

I’ve tried lots of to-do apps, productivity tools, time measurement software, etc – but for me and the way I think & work, using Notes is perfect. I have a couple of notes pinned to the top of the list – three of which are “Quick wins”, “Upcoming blog posts” and “Podcast planning”, which I use to plan most of my work.

I create to-do lists, write down thoughts and use tables to structure things like podcast episodes. I love the free-form nature of using notes this way since it lets me create my own structure that maps to the way I like to think about things.

It may sound like an over-simplification, but the key for me is to focus on one thing at a time. Think about it, if you only do one thing per day, you can do 30 things in one month. Again, “Quick wins” and managing my time is really key here.

I am an aspiring conference speaker. What is your ultimate advice and can you go into details about the preparation involved?

My number one tip for new conference speakers is to not only prepare – over-prepare. I rehearse most of my talks 10-15 times and spend around 30-40 hours preparing a talk.

Since I never have a whole week I can just block out to preparing a talk, that means that I have to start really early. I like to start preparing my talks 2-3 months in advance, which gives me enough time to familiarize myself with how I want to present the topic and make many iterations of the content.

It also helps to remove stress. I’ve seen so many people sit and work on their slides the same day as the conference, which I honestly could never do. I usually say that “I’m not a good speaker, I’m a good rehearser”.

For me, knowing my slides in-and-out, forwards-and-backwards, really helps reduce nervousness and makes it much easier to have a good flow when presenting. To prepare the content of a presentation (before I make the actual slides in Keynote), I use one of my favourite apps – MindNode. It lets me organize all the content in a mind map, which makes it easy to get an overview of what I want the talk to include.

John speaking at ADDC.

What does the future look like for John Sundell? Any clues as to what you will be doing in the future?

I’d love to be able to spend even more time on Swift by Sundell. I think there’s so much more I could do – including writing a book, hosting workshops and live streams, doing videos, more open source projects, more podcasts and much more.

I’m currently working with some really awesome companies – this wonderful site included – to sponsor my work and to enable me to spend more time on it.

I love iOS development and will, of course, continue to do that as well, but I think where I can make the biggest contribution to the community is by continuing to expand my work with Swift by Sundell, the Stacktrace podcast (that I do with Gui Rambo), and other initiatives.

We’ll see what the future has in store, but I’m really excited about it :]

Where To Go From Here?

And that concludes our Top Dev Interview with John Sundell. Huge thanks to John for sharing his journey with the iOS community!

John is a great example of how dedication and perseverance can pave the way to success. He uses short bursts of productive time to help break his large goals into small, achievable targets.

If you’re interested in becoming a speaker or writer, John’s excellent suggestions on networking and over-preparation will definitely help you achieve these goals.

If you are an app developer with a hit app or game in the top 100 in the App store, we’d love to hear from you. Please drop us a line anytime. If you have a request for any particular developer you’d like to hear from, please join the discussion in the forum below!