Feb 07

Meet the Staff: Justin Stravarious

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 08:32 — julie

Every week we’ll introduce you to an Envato staff member or team. This week we meet Justin Stravarious, AppStorm writer and techie. This interview was originally published on Web.AppStorm.

The AppStorm network has an amazing team of editors and writers that are always lurking in the shadows of the AppStorm sites and are often missing a human element in the minds of our readers, mostly thanks to the disconnect the internet can create.

We enjoy creating that human connection with the people behind the scenes and today you’ll meet and learn a little more about Justin Stravarious, Web.AppStorm’s lead writer. Justin came on board in early March of 2010 and has since become one of our most published writers.

I hope you enjoy getting to know yet another core team member of the AppStorm network; feel free to leave a few questions for him in the comments!

Which Envato sites do you write for and how did you get started?

It all got started on March 9, 2010 when I mailed in my first review under a pen name. The idea was if it gets rejected, I could still try under different pen names. ;) To my surprise it was published the very same day and Jarel (Web.AppStorm’s Editor) asked me to pitch some more ideas. I hope he is not regretting doing that. :)

Editors Note: Absolutely not! ;)

From that point on I’ve considered Web.AppStorm my home, irrespective of where I wrote — Envato or other blog networks. I have this bad habit of delivering articles only on the day of publishing (among other quirks) but Jarel has been patient and kind enough to put up with me. Calling him my mentor would be a gross understatement.

I tried my hand at writing for WorkAwesome, but after publishing one article (to this day, that remains my one and only article that isn’t tech related) I knew non-tech is not my cup of tea. If my plans go ahead smoothly (which they usually don’t), I might be submitting my first tutorial atNettuts+ or Mobiletuts+ in February.

Look Backward, Look Inward, Look Forward for Success

Look Backward, Look Inward, Look Forward for Success

Be it Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela or any of the other 6 billion or so people in the world, we all have one thing in common.

Everybody loses.

Beneath all the victory, power and flamboyance lie the painful scars of failures. Failures are the checks and balances put in place by God, nature, Darth Vader or whoever else you consider the omnipotent.

Passed on for a promotion for the umpteenth time? Denied all of the projects you bid on or applied for? Can’t get the cute blonde girl to go out with you? That’s sad. What exactly can you do about it? Read More

Which AppStorm post are you most proud of having written?

I am so very proud of all my published articles at AppStorm as it such a prestigious thing to be writing for a network that gets over a million pageviews a month. But, if I still gotta pick, I am proud of the how-to articles of Open Source self-hosted apps and the now defunct “This Week in Web Apps” series.

Which desktop and web apps couldn’t you live without?

First off, I cannot live without the Internet. I have personally enlisted to be the lab rat of sorts for living the life on the web. Over the years, I have moved my life totally online and hence desktop apps don’t mean much to me.

My DesktopMy Desktop

When it comes to web apps, the first one I would never let go is Google Reader. Even before turning into a full-time blogger, I used to read hundreds of articles everyday via RSS feeds. And then there is LastPass. All my passwords are locked away safely with LastPass and thanks to them, all my passwords are ridiculously lengthy and strong.

Gmail, Google Docs and some iPhone apps (Moneybook, Twitter, NewYork Times) are in my list of essentials as well.

Talk us through your computer setup – both hardware, and software!

I have a pretty lean setup. Since I don’t do any coding or design work, I have not upgraded my PC setup in the past couple of years. My desktop is a self assembled AMD machine running Windows 7 with a 19” Samsung LCD monitor and I use every waking minute.

My DesktopMy Desktop

A couple of months ago I got a brand new 13” MacBook Pro for writing reviews for Mac.AppStorm. Currently I’m using it for learning iOS development (Titanium and Xcode). I also have an iPhone 3GS and HTC Wildfire. Yes, you guessed it right! Both of them were bought to review apps for iPhone.AppStorm and Android.AppStorm respectively.

As for the Windows software set up:

On the Mac:

What do you get up to when you’re not writing awesome articles for AppStorm?

It’s actually the other way round. When I’m not watching a movie or TV show marathon, I write for AppStorm and think about my future. Jokes apart, I watch a ton of multimedia, read a bunch of blogs and think about how to get my startup off the ground.

Google Reader TrendsGoogle Reader Trends

What’s the best thing you’ve watched, listened to, and read this week?

I loved the Crunchies 2010 coverage over at TechCrunch TV. Despite a lousy MoC, the show was so inspiring and I got huge adrenaline rush. Being there is a huge accomplishment.

Part of My Comics CollectionPart of My Comics Collection

I am currently reading (again), Sam Walton’s “Made in America”. It’s such a candid story about how he took Walmart from rural Arkansas to the retail giant it is today.

I also enjoyed the article The Inside Story of How Facebook Responded to Tunisian Hacks on The Atlantic. Great read!

If you could give one piece of advice to potential future AppStorm writers, what would it be?

Wow! I am totally not qualified enough to give advice to potential writers. Maybe I will share how I work. Even after 150+ articles, I still go through twice before submitting and read it again as soon as it is published to see if it has been edited. If edited, I check the text to ensure the mistakes, wordplay and sentence structure that were edited are not repeated again. Then I troll the internet for apps and article ideas and submit my email ID in every beta request queue. The Envato network in general has set the bar high for the content quality and you have to be consistent to get articles published.

Personally, writing for AppStorm changed my life for good and I am pretty sure it could change yours too. They pay well, the editors are polite and professional (Jarel rocks), give credit where it’s due and recognize people without fail (case in point, this interview). So, if you are on the wall, it’s time to jump aboard the AppStorm ship.

Editor’s Note: If you’d like to try writing for Web.AppStorm, please see our Write for Us page.

22 Web App Tools For Editors & Writers

22 Web App Tools For Editors & Writers

Writing is an interesting career that carries with it a sense of instant gratification. Not all writers and their bosses, editors, are tech savvy, and there’s hardly any reason for them to be. The web 2.0 era has spawned numerous apps that sweeten the task of researching, writing and editing content.

After the break, we’ve put together a list of apps that can bring a new wave of productivity into your life if you’re a riter, blogger or editor.

Thanks Justin!

Thanks, Justin, for taking some time to share a little about yourself, your involvement in Web.AppStorm and your working environment! I’d like to personally take a moment to thank Justin for the hard work and passion for web apps he brings to Web.AppStorm.

If you have any questions for Justin, perhaps about web apps in particular, feel free to ask in the comments below. You never know, your questions may just lead to another quality review, how-to or roundup from Justin. :)




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