Critical Thinking Design Mobile Testing Software Testing Technology

Iteration and feedback

What goes into a high quality product?

It goes through many iterations but also incorporates a ton of customer feedback while it iterates. I will be talking about software development in this post with examples from my career and video games.

Video Games

What makes a high quality video game? let us compare cyberpunk 2077 with Hades and the different development approaches.


Source: TheVerge; Hades is a roguelike with hot gods to kiss and kill

The Jimquisition YouTube channel awarded Hades game of the year for 2020:

They credit the many years the game spent in beta and incorporating customer feedback along the journey as main reasons why Hades as turned into the awesome game it is.

There was never any forced “crunch” time (think overtime and sleeping under your desk) and the game has been well received by the community at large.

Cyberpunk 2077

Where as cyberpunk 2077 has been the biggest hyped up flop of a game to be released in 2020. There’s an outstanding class action lawsuit, many reports of bugs and Sony pulled the game from the ps4 store.

Yahtzee only got their review copy unlocked 1 day before release, that’s not a lot of time to incorporate any user feedback:

Big Bang releases are bad

Hades had a team of roughly 20 people, they decided to do early access in 2018 on only one platform (the Epic Game Store) before porting to other platforms. It took them about 3 years of development. Source: Wikipedia.

Cyberpunk 2077 was announced in 2012, the team started at 50 people and grew to 500. It was released on all platforms at once and subsequently pulled from the ps4 store. Source: Wikipedia.

With all of the money, time and resources behind cyberpunk 2077 you think they’d able to release a solid game. However big bang releases and expensive projects don’t always get released as planned.

Pick one platform

If you are looking to develop a mobile app or website, pick one platform to learn and iterate on. Don’t start with an Android app + iOS app + Web app only to learn you built the wrong product. Depending on your situation you might pick one platform over the other.

When I was working at Tyro and we were working towards our banking licence, we built an iOS app first for managing your business bank account. Android came after we got our licence and a web banking experience wasn’t even on the tables by the time I left.

Incorporate feedback

My current team released version 1.0 of our app in March in 2020, we’ve since done monthly releases and incorporated customer feedback into each release. This has been a great way of starting with a basic app and fleshing out the features to be the best superannuation app on the market (look I’m biased).

Keep an eye on the app store

Tyro is still doing pretty well on the app store, especially compared to something like the myGovID app which has a similar number of ratings.

Delivering quality products

You don’t need a giant team or lots of $ to build high quality products. If you start small and incorporate feedback it’ll be money better spent than a big bang approach.

Check out :

to read more about my approach to quality and mobile apps.

Lifestyle mental health

2 week challenge: end thoughts

Well it was 2 weeks ago that I decided to focus my time on being the best version of me. I said I would write a daily journal but it fell off at day 7. I’m ok with this. I’d like to spend some time chatting about things that break habits.

a silhouette of 3 mountain climbers at the top of a cliff with the sunsetting into a valley in the backdrop

Falling off the horse

A few things slipped for me, I didn’t keep up the daily journal and I haven’t been on a run for a few days. There were a few things in life that came up and caused the disruption.

  • Partner went to hospital
  • Got badly sunburnt (blisters on neck)
A cowboy falling off a horse, head first into some gravel. It's not a great look.
Try not to get a face full of gravel when you fall off the horse.

My partner developed a bad case of tonsillitis, went to emergnecy and was admitted overnight. They didn’t need to be drained or anything and two rounds of antibiotics helped set them right. But making sure they were cared for, fed and their house hold chores were kept on top of was my priority for a few days.

Then I went for a walk along Cronulla beach and got very badly burnt. So bad I had blisters on the back of my neck for 3 days. That injury really sucked my motivation for exercise. I was still able to go rock climbing but I did not want to run. I wanted to hide from the world and rest up. One of those days was spent playing sims 4.

It’s ok to slip up

Given the circumstances I still achieved being the best version of me. I still got some exercise in, I still ate well and I still kept to mostly water. I’m going to consider this still a win for me.

Beating yourself up for not meeting your own expectations is the worse thing you can do in this sitaution. I know first hand what’s it like to live with a harsh critic who will take any opportunity to make me feel like a failure. But I’m trying to not let that voice take up too much space on stage.

I’m proud of me for succeding in this 2 week challenge.

What’s next?

Well I can’t run and climb everyday when I’m back at work tomorrow. So keeping the sleep routine, doing some daily exercise most days of the week, daily meditations and daily vitamins are all habits I want to keep.

I’ll do a climb with my partner on Wednesday’s and one day on the weekend. I’ll squeeze in a morning climb on Tuesday’s. I’ll do a run on Monday and Wednesday mornings. With a longer run on the weekend. I’ll keep tracking my daily meditations.

I’m looking foward to this year being a good year. No matter what the circumstances I will be the best version of me. I’ll be able to take all of life’s up’s and downs with a confident stride.

I might keep up a weekly journal just to ckeck in on myself and see how I’m holding up.

Lifestyle mental health

Bean Dad and bad parenting

Content warning; racism, swearing and dickish parents

On twitter today, Bean Dad is trending. Basically a bloke told the story of letting his daughter struggle to open a can over 6 hours and didn’t help. He posted the story to twitter in a proud parent/teacher kinda a way. He’s now deleted his twitter account. Here’s a reddit thread with more context.

But seeing other people telling stories of living with dysfunctional parents got me thinking about my up bringing and I might share some stories here.

My family

I describe my self as coming from a bogan family; think aussie low class. This Bogans “Royals” parody is actually filmed in Tasmania (the state I grew up in):

My mum had me at 19. I was definetly unplanned. My parents have never married but they are still together after 30 odd years and 3 kids together. I’m the eldest, my sister is 4 years younger and my brother is 9 years younger than me.

I’m the only one in my family to go to uni. We grew up poor low socio economic when I was going to school and transitioned to better off bogans by the time my brother was going to school.

My Mum

I get on really well with my mum. We can talk for hours on the phone and when she visits Sydney and we go sight seeing we never get sick of each other.

She works as a receptionist at a doctors surgery with some cleaning work on the side. We both have a history of depression, obesity and a history of not getting along with our respective fathers.

My Dad

He’s pretty yobo. Think tradie, blue singlet, tattoos, short temper, not many teeth left and 9.5 fingers (he lost half a finger in a sawmill accident). Dropped out of highschool in year 8 and use to struggle with reading and writting (the internet has done wonders to his literacy). I still love him but he really knows how to piss me off without even trying.

My dad use to drink a lot when I was growing up. Nearly every weekend he’d be pissed in his shed with a few mates playing loud music. Would probably go through a carton of beer with a friend or two over 1 night. He doesn’t drink so much now.

My harsh critic has my dad’s voice

My internal harsh critic sounds an awful like my father. I think that’s why he irritates me so much. I’ve internalised his short temper as my self talk.

When I say, “for fuck sake Sam, you can’t do anything right”, I’m remembering myself in my Dad’s shed trying to help him with some project and passing the wrong tool. He would just say stuff like that without even thinking but I internalised it.

I haven’t spoken to Dad since March

I’ve called on his birthday and christmas and exchanged pleasantries but I haven’t had an in depth chat since March and had a period of not talking to him at all.

We were chatting about the pandemic and supermarkets running out of toilet paper/supplies. He said, “It’s those fucking chinese tourists, going to towns on buses and taking everything”. I tried to tell him that’s wrong/misinformation but he wouldn’t have any of it.

He then responds, “I fucking hate them [chinese] cunts, it’s all their fault”. I broke down into tears. I felt like he was criticising my friends. Working in tech I often work in teams with more people born in Asia/India than Australia. He just hung up on me. I remember tweeting something angry on twitter and complaining to my partner. I said, “that’s it, I’m not talking to my dad any more. He’s a racist cunt.”

One time I tried to confront my dad with how he made me feel. He only told me to grow up and act my age. Real mature. The last time I had confronted him before that was when I 16 and wrote a fake suicide note just to try express how much his words had hurt me. I think he had called me a fat lazy bitch after an argument.

Continueing with therapy

I had a chapt with my psychologist today and we might try some Imaginary Rescripting or chair work to work through some of my child hood traumas as part of schema therapy. It sounds like it will be hard but I’ve heard it can be quiet healing. I’ll keep you posted with how I go with it.

Lifestyle Weight Loss

2 week challenge: Day 7

Woo hoo, I’m halfway through this two week challenge. The running is getting a little easier and I did a 35 minute run today. The daily meditation is feeling more like a routine, it’s the first thing I do when I wake up. Then I go for a run.

When I get back to work in a weeks time I hope I can maintain starting every morning with a meditation and some form of exercise (either a run or a climb).


Breakfast: Curried eggs on toast with avocado.

Sometimes I use my fitness pal to check the macros of a meal. I’m mostly just looking for total kJ and grams of protein. I don’t care about much else.

After my weight loss surgery the nutrionist only gave me 2 goals for each day: 60gm of protein and a daily multi vitamin. So I look for around 2,000 kJ and 20gm of protein in each meal.

But I find my fitness pal focuses too much on calory counting and it can be easy to feel bad or to skip a day.

Lunch: mushroom stroganoff. Dinner: Tandoori chicken sandwich. I met my < 7,000 kJ and 60gm of protein goal today.


3.49 km, 35 minutes, average page 10 minutes per km. The ankle didn’t take as long to warm today which was an awesome start to an awesome run. I’m really proud of this one.

More steps this year

I know we are only 3 days into the new year but my average is nearly double last years numbers.

I’m going to leave with this comic by the Oatmeal on creativity that I read today. Hopefully it inspires you.

Job hunting Lifestyle mental health Weight Loss

2020 in reflection

ah, 2020. You started with such promise. So much potential for those perfect vision jokes. What a complete and utter dumpster fire you turned out to be.

Goal Setting?

I was going to use this blog to reflect on some goal setting for the year ahead but I didn’t achieve any of the goals I had set out last year. Im summary last year I said I’d do:

  1. Beat the overweight label
  2. Release a mobile app
  3. Start a podcast
  4. Pay off half of my credit card debt
  5. Practice 4 magic ceremonies

I didn’t achieve any of these things but I still had an ok year and survived a pandemic. So instead of setting goals I’m going to set intentions.

2021 intentions

I intend to be the best version of me for the next year. What do these intentions look like?

  • Continue therapy with my psychologist
  • Continue saving towards a house deposit
  • Continue paying off debt (I’ll get to 5k outstanding by the end of 2021 based on current rates, today it’s 15K outstanding)
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle (climbing and running both 3 times a week)
  • Continue study
  • Daily meditations/reflections

Setting the bar low

Source, but I think the pole might snap

By setting an intention to be my best me I’m already doing an awesome job and we are only 3 days into the new year.

Physical health

The rest of the year still has too many questions for me to be able to set anything more. I’d still like to lose weight and beat the overweight label but I don’t care if I don’t achieve that this year. Surviving and looking after my health is more important than the number I see when I step on the scales.

Side projects

I still want to write a book and release an app but again I’m not going to beat myself up this year if I don’t do them. I’ve always had a tendancy to over load my plate too much. Study + Work is already going to be plenty too much for me.

Career goals

I’d like to try a different role this year, I’m leaning towards UX researcher but it’s also not the end of the world if this doesn’t happen either. Maintaining a job so I can continue to pay down debt is more important.

So yeah, I’ll set intentions this year and see how that goes. I’ve felt like 2020 was a shitty year but I did also learn some things about myself too.

Lifestyle Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing Gyms – Sydney

I enjoy a spot of bouldering. I’m not very good at it, mostly sticking to beginner climbs but it’s an activity that makes me feel good. I started noting down what gyms I could go for a morning climb and created this PDF listing all of the places I know of in Sydney.

9 degrees – Waterloo

This is one of my favorite 9 degrees gyms. It’s big and centrally located. It’s also one of the newer gyms too.


21 Danks St, Waterloo, NSW 2017


Mon: 10am – 10pm

Tue: 6am – 10pm

Wed: 10am – 10pm

Thu: 4pm – 10pm

Fri: 6am – 10pm

Weekends 8am – 9pm

9 degrees – Lane Cove

The parking at Lane Cove can get a bit akward.


1a/21 Mars Rd, Lane Cove West, NSW 2066


Mon: 10am – 10pm

Tue: 10am – 10pm

Wed: 4pm – 10pm

Thu: 6am – 10pm

Fri: 10am – 10pm

Weekends 8am – 10pm

9 degrees – Alexandria

Also another one of my favourites. I did break my ankle here but they’ve now changed the mats which is nice. It’s also close to the rocks brewery.


85 O’Riordan St, Alexandria, NSW, 2015


Mon: 10am – 10pm

Tue: 10am – 10pm

Wed: 6am – 10pm

Thu: 10am – 10pm

Fri: 10am – 10pm

Weekends 8am – 10pm

9 degrees – Parramatta

A bit on the smaller side but still a nice gym.


38-46 South St Rydalmere, NSW, 2116


Mon: 4pm – 10pm

Tue: 6am – 10pm

Wed: 10am – 10pm

Thu: 10am – 10pm

Fri: 6am – 10pm

Weekends 8am – 10pm


This place is awesome. It’s huge and there’s some top out climbs. It’s a little different to 9 degrees but nice when you want to mix things up a little.


49 fitzroy st, marrickville NSW 2204


mon: 6am – 10pm

tue: 10am – 10pm

wed: 6am – 10pm

thurs: 10am – 10pm

fri: 6am – 10pm

sat & sun: 9am – 10pm

public holidays: 9am – 9pm

Sydney Indoor Rock Climbing – St Peters


1-7 Unwins Bridge Rd, St Peters


Monday 9:30am–10pm

Tuesday 9:30am–10pm

Wednesday 6am–10pm

Thursday 9:30am–11pm

Friday 9:30am–10pm

Saturday 9:30am–9pm

Sunday 9:30am–9pm


Nomad is another bouldering gym. I really like it. There’s more of a focus on strength over balance when compared to 9 degrees but it’s also good to mix things up. It’s also close to wayward brewery.


12 Chester St, Annandale


MON – FRI: 6AM – 10PM

SAT – SUN: 7AM – 9.30PM

Climb Fit – St Leonards

More of a belay climb place, they do have a bouldering training section but the bouldering sections in climbing gyms is often concentrated and has harded problems.


12 Frederick Street,ST LEONARDS


MON – FRI 6am – 10pm

SAT – SUN: 8am – 8pm

Climb Fit – Kirrawee


23 Waratah Street,KIRRAWEE


MON – FRI 6am- 10pm

SAT – SUN: 8am – 8pm

The ledge


Western Avenue, Camperdown


MON – FRI 12.00pm – 10.00pm

Saturday 11am – 5.00pm

Sunday Closed

Turbo Climb


8 Greenfield Parade, Bankstown


MON – FRI 10am–5pm

Saturday 10am–8pm

Sunday 10am–6pm

Sydney Indoor Rock Climbing – Villawood


850 Woodville Road, Villawood


Mon, Wed, Fri:  Midday – 10pm. Tues, Thurs: 9:30am – 10pm.

(Open at 9:30 during School Holidays)

Saturday, Sunday: 9:30am – 9pm

Public Hols: 9:30am – 6pm

Other Gyms

Edge Rock Climbing (Castle Hill)

Northern Beaches rockhouse (Brookvale)

Skywood climbing (bouldering, freshwater)

The Climbing Centre (Penrith)

Umbrella nine (kids bouldering, Warringah)

Climb Oz (blacktown, no website)


2 week challenge: Day 6

This is day 6 of me trying to be my best version. Happy easter:

Too soon? It’s only the second day of the year and the easter chocolates are in the shops.

Got a run in

But I ended it early because of the rain.

Also got a climb in. I know I said only water but really wanted a cold beer afterwards and it was right next to a brewery. So I had a sneaky pale ale. I picked up my badminton racquet of an old friend at the pub.


Breakfast was avo + cottage cheese on toast, lunch was the beer and a protein bar. Dinner was a rice with chicken and corn. Had some chocolate fudge in the afternoon.

Rainy weather

I mostly just got rained on a bit today. It wasn’t heavy rain but getting around on my motorbike in the drizzle left me feeling cold by the time I got to where I was going.

So I’m feeling tired and don’t have much enerygy to write. But I did achieve all of my daily goals today.


2 week challenge: Day 5

I did not want to go on my morning run today. But I did it and achieved my best pace so far during this challenge. It’s a nice win to celebrate today. It’s day 5 of my 2 week challenge of being my best me.

On my run I met a cockatoo, a bush turkey and saw a lovely house with a garden.


I had another non 2/3 veg day today but that’s ok. Breakfast was avo on toast with some cottage cheese. Lunch was a beef stroganoff and dinner was ramen again. I had some peanut butter fudge during the day and a salted caramael icecream.


I spent $44 on groceries today, bought some beef for stragnoff and chicken for my partners place.

Watched the legend of Korra season 1

My partner and I just finished watching Avatar, the last air bender and have now started watching the legend of Korra. It’s bee a lot of fun and I enjoy the steampunk esk vibe of that world now. Both series are on netflix.


Overall it was another good day. I slept in a little but that’s ok. I’m feeling a little sore from all the running but also feeling good from seeing improvements and it’s only been 5 days.