Why are you losing the iPhone developers?

We have all heard and understood the words “User Experience” (BTW, what exactly make someone a title of User Experience Expert?), how important it is to our industry. However, there are other “experiences” people, especially the devevelopers/engineers care or should care too – for example, “Development Experience”, “Engineering Experience”, and “Project Experience”. These are things to help developers/engineers decide whether they like their current working environment and eventually whether they like their employer.

Unfortunately those experiences have not been in the radar of majority of corporations except some places like “Google”, “Facebook”, “Twitter” etc. The reason is, for the past 10 years, the supply of programmers have been flooded by offshoring. Management don’t need to care about developer’s feeling – because they essentially are viewed as “resources”, and most programmers don’t ask for either. This is extremely true in the Java industry.

However, if you, the management, get used to this mentality and take it to the iPhone developers, you will be screwed. Why? Because iPhone developers as a community has different culture from the other “mainstream” “Corporate IT” type of developers – iPhone developers take innovation seriously, have much higher bar regarding the working environment, tend to work solely or in very small team, demand more control over how the project is designed. And, they enjoy a very good supply-demand. Many of them have side projects (sometimes back-logged) and products at App Store.

They care of their own feeling or experience, and they will just leave if they are unhappy.

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