The Summit Blog

Ideas on design, code & everything else.

A look at Bitcoin in 2015

This article takes a look at the bitcoin landscape today, in terms of the changes we’ve observed around the digital currency during the past few years.

A critical design review of Xapo

To achieve widespread adoption, bitcoin products must translate the unfamiliar realities of the mathematical currency into concepts and usability models that are easily understood by consumers and organizations. This article examines, from a product design perspective, a leading bitcoin product, Xapo.

Getting ready for the Rego launch

We’re in the final week of beta testing prior to launching Rego, Makalu’s second product for the iPhone and I wanted to share with you a few reflections on the experience of getting here.

Going “off the book”

There’s a moment in chess when a game deviates from a well known sequences of moves each player has memorized. They call this going “off book” and it’s an interesting metaphor for modern software development.

About those unsolicited designs

Occasionally the internet spotlight lands on some designer’s unsolicited redesign of a popular product, rekindling the age-old discussion of whether unsolicited design can be good design. This article looks at that question.

How to calculate your hourly rate

Sometimes I get contacted by individuals who are planning to start a services company and are seeking advice on a variety of related topics. One of the most common questions is, “How do I determine an hourly rate?”

Reinventing the investment calculator

Matt’s book, Money for Something, is a straight-forward guide to investing. To help readers put theory into practice, we took a boring financial calculator and turned it into something that lets you experiment and create your unique investment plan. Read on to see how it all came together.

Communicating with blocks in Objective-C

Blocks make Objective-C much more expressive. They can also reduce the amount of code you need to write, which reduces the amount of code you need to maintain and debug. Any developer who has ever worked in a higher level language like Ruby, Python or Javascript should feel right at home using blocks. Once they get past the awkward syntax at least.

Design for great customer support

Our experience with RaceSplitter has taught us that customers love getting personalized service, from someone who knows the product inside and out. And that love translates to loyalty, retention, and word-of-mouth marketing.

Design of the Catalog Choice iOS app

It’s not every day an opportunity presents itself to develop a product for 1.5 million people. But that’s what happened when we were engaged to develop the iPhone component of Catalog Choice’s new suite of premium services.

Scheduling focus

Although we’re doing good work by other people’s standards, it often feels like we’re not doing our best work, by our own standards. This article explores what we can do about that.

Minimum viable products

Our aim for version 1.0 of RaceSplitter was to deliver a “minimum viable product”. This article discusses what that means to us.

The story of RaceSplitter

After a decade of successful client work, we at Makalu realized our dream of creating our own product—RaceSplitter, an iOS application for the timing of sporting events. This is the story of how it happened.