I’m back

I quit my job at The Verge a little over a year ago because it was time for something new. I retired this blog, IAmDann.com, and launched Novice No Longer, a website and podcast dedicated to teaching people how to build apps. I maintained that blog, while consulting full-time, for about a year before a new full-time job literally fell on my lap with an opportunity too good to pass up.

Novice No Longer has been quiet for a while (although I’m definitely launching my app-building course for realsies this spring), so I’ve been lacking an outlet for my random thoughts and musings. Rather than clutter NNL with off-topics posts, I decided to bring back IAmDann.

So, here’s where you can find me:

  • IAmDann.com – Random thoughts and musings on a variety of topics that are of interest to me
  • Novice No Longer – My new app-building course, and content related to building apps and becoming an entrepreneur
  • DannBerg.me – Portfolio of my work and projects around the web

I’m not sure how regularly I’ll be posting here. It mostly depends on whether anything particularly peaks my interest at a given moment. But it will certainly be more often than I’ve been posting to my other blogs, since I don’t have any particular goals with this blog beyond sharing my thoughts.

Come join me at Novice No Longer


Pssst. I moved!

*deep breath* This is my last post on this blog. From now on, I’ll be spending my time on my new website: NoviceNoLonger.com.

*exhale* Phew! It’s so nice to finally tell you what I’ve been working on!

I didn’t just create a new website. I also wrote a book called 8 Things to Learn Before Making Your App (which I’m really exited about!). If you head over to Novice No Longer and join my newsletter, I’ll send you a copy for free.

8 Things to Learn Before Making an App Cover

I’ll  be writing the same type of content, but this is still a huge transition for me. I’ve been blogging at IAmDann for years, and it’s been my home base throughout my time at Laptop Magazine and The Verge. It’s where I first shared the story of my magnet implant, which has since made its way into corners of the internet that I never could have expected. This is also where I first told the story of building my first iPhone app, which inspired me to create The Non-Programmer’s Guide to Getting an App in the App Store workshop.

The new site is going to be bigger and more badass than IAmDann ever was. It’s going to be home to a TON of amazing resources for people interested in building products and being more productive.

There are some important things I’ve realized I’ve the years, which helped inspire Novice No Longer:

1. You can’t ask questions if you don’t know what to ask

Whenever you’re trying to learn a new subject, people will tell you to always ask questions. I find this advice to be insanely frustrating. When I’m learning something new, I don’t know what questions to ask, so I can’t ask questions! That doesn’t mean I’m not trying to learn, it means I’m fumbling around in search of the direction.

At Novice No Longer, I want to give you that direction. If you want to build an app, but don’t know where to start, I’ll help you find the right path and give you step-by-step instructions how on to get where you want to go.

2. The best ideas come from the most unlikely people

I helped students from all walks of life — from lawyers to accountants to nutritionists — in addition to the typical young tech-savvy startup enthusiast. I’ve found, somewhat surprisingly, that the best ideas usually come from people outside the tech community. Why is this? Because they have unique insights into professional fields that are largely untouched by technical advances.

People are generally inspired to make apps that address the needs they see in the world around them. The problems that are observed by members in the tech community are much different from the needs observed by people in unrelated fields. Therefore, it’s the non-tech people who are able to find ideas with the biggest potential.

At Novice No Longer, I aim to empower these people to build their ideas into products. Without a tech background, it can be difficult to break into the app world. I want to show everyone that it can be done.

3. There’s only so many people I can help locally

Up until this point, The Non-Programmer’s Guide to Getting an App in the App Store has only been taught locally in New York City. I get emails every week from people who want to attend but live in a different state or country. This is always so frustrating for me, because I really want to help these people learn to build apps, but I haven’t yet found a good way to bring this content online.

Until now.

In addition to the new blog, I’m working on turning my popular NYC class into a massive online course. It goes into way more detail than can fit in the two-hour workshop, and will be the ultimate guide to building and releasing an app with zero previous experience. It’s not quite ready yet, but as a way to help people now, I’m giving away a TON of content for free to my newsletter subscribers. They get my best content delivered directly in their inboxes, and they will be the first to know about the online course launch. My goal is to be able to help every single person who finds my website or sends me an email.

It’s been a blast writing at IAmDann, but I can’t tell you how excited I am for this new chapter. I really hope you come along with me for the ride.

See you there!


Apple is losing the living room to Microsoft on the Tech Night Owl


Gene Steinberg invited me to be a guest on this week’s Tech Night Owl, airing Saturday, November 23rd. We talk about Microsoft and Apple’s visions for a world of computers in the cloud and every device a display. We also touch on the Xbox One and how Apple is really losing ground in the living room. It’s a pretty fantastic discussion, if I do say so myself.

You can listen to the live broadcast stream from 7:00 – 10:00PM PT, 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM ET (I’m the second half, so that’s pretty late!), at http://www.technightowl.com/radio/. Or, if your local station picks up the GCN network, you can listen live.

An archive of the show is available for downloading and listening at your convenience within four hours after the original broadcast.

Check it out!

I’m still searching for the ideal tracker.

Every fitness device promises to help you get in shape by measuring and understanding your activity data, but can trackers actually help you become a healthier person? I strapped on eight different devices and apps and set out to learn everything I could about my body while taking a jog.

Check out the rest of my piece on The Verge!

Tell a Compelling Story, Dammit

Colin Lee for Medium:

I have learned that people decide what they think based upon narratives. A good story always has better results than merely listing out facts. Every good narrative has both characters and a plot.

Edward Snowden has been releasing shreds of a story without characters while his opponents have created a complete narrative about his personal ambitions. All that government officials must do is to blunt his message is to weaken his credibility.

I was six years old and excitedly dumping out my orange jack-o’-lantern-shaped bucket — nearly overflowing with candy — onto the beige carpet of our living room floor. It had been a successful night of trick-or-treating and I greedily counted the candy with my eyes. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Baby Ruths played the part of crisp $100 and $50 bills and my lowly pocket change consisted of Smarties, Necco Waffers, and the single travel-sized tube of Crest toothpaste.

My mother sat next to me, also eyeing the candy carefully but with very different thoughts running through her mind. One by one, she slowly ran her fingers across each fun-sized piece of candy. She eyed the left and right ends inspected the seam that ran along the side. She was looking for a sign; searching for a piece of evidence to show that things might not be exactly as they seem.

Unbeknownst to the younger me, a story had made its way through the elementary school, running rampant from parent to parent like a wildfire. It was transmitted through whispers and tangled corded wall phones while we played within viewing distance but just out of ear’s reach. The child of a friend of a friend spent last Halloween in the emergency room, mouth and throat cut to shreds by a razor blade hidden inside an innocent fun-sized Snickers bar.

My mom continued examining my stockpile in our brightly lit living room, thoughts of razors and other sharp objects on her mind while I waited patiently to choose my allotted two pieces — three if I asked nicely — before changing out of my Ninja Turtle costume and into my pajamas. My mom had always said to never take candy from a stranger but there was something different this year. The lesson stuck differently.

There’s a reason why Edward Snowden currently appears to be on a journey plucked straight out of a Robert Ludlum novel. It’s the same reason that John McAfee was able to escape the authorities by publishing carefully calculated posts on his blog. It’s why the organization Wikileaks and the person Julian Assange are practically interchangeable. It takes a compelling story to get people to care. It takes a story to get people to remember.

It’s not enough to leak a document. It’s all about the story. Telling a good story is not about manipulation, it’s about releasing something into the world that’s in the proper format. It’s about submitting your resume as a PDF rather than a plain text file.

Create An App In Your Free Time

I was working 50 hours a week as a retail slave (read: no computer!) when I created my first app, Reader Tracker. Now I help regular people make their own app ideas a reality. Join me and get monthly updates and exclusive content, guaranteed spam-free.

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