Under the Radar

Under the Radar 94: Release Notes


00:00:00   welcome to under the radar of show about

00:00:02   independent iOS app development I'm mark

00:00:04   Worman and I'm David Smith under the

00:00:06   radar is never longer than 30 minutes so

00:00:08   let's get started so today we wanted to

00:00:10   talk about release notes and I guess

00:00:13   more generally about kind of like launch

00:00:15   communication strategies and approaches

00:00:17   oh so around talking about the podcast

00:00:19   release notes to the conference release

00:00:20   notes we're actually talking about

00:00:21   release notes what about the actual

00:00:22   things that you write and publish when

00:00:25   you release an update to your

00:00:27   application or you launch it initially I

00:00:29   think mostly release notes really come

00:00:31   into play when you're doing an update

00:00:33   it's the ways in which we communicate to

00:00:35   our users that things have changed you

00:00:38   know these can range in so many

00:00:41   different ways like from the actual

00:00:43   prose you write in terms of the how

00:00:46   details you go where you put these if

00:00:49   you actually do them at all like I feel

00:00:51   like there's a lot of things that are

00:00:52   worth kind of unpacking here because it

00:00:54   is a interesting opportunity for us to

00:00:58   communicate with our customers you know

00:01:00   we have the documentation and the things

00:01:04   that we write and put together with

00:01:05   screenshots in our app store page is our

00:01:08   initial communication with the vast

00:01:10   majority of our users from that point on

00:01:12   release notes are one of the other

00:01:15   venues that we really have to talk to

00:01:18   our customers unless you have some kind

00:01:20   of messaging system built into your app

00:01:22   which may or may not be a good idea or

00:01:24   not like it always drives me crazy when

00:01:26   I open an app and it pops up and it says

00:01:28   hey here's everything that's changed

00:01:29   it's like right I don't care I wanted to

00:01:32   use the app not to read right now but

00:01:36   still like the things that we submit to

00:01:38   the app store I think is probably is is

00:01:40   a common place for this I think release

00:01:43   notes are a funny topic now because I

00:01:45   think increasingly release notes for

00:01:48   most of the most popular apps have

00:01:51   become just a one-sentence thing that

00:01:54   says you know bug fixes and performance

00:01:55   improvements you can have ism very bland

00:01:58   very boring and I mean I guess in many

00:02:01   ways it's fair enough because since the

00:02:05   since was it Johnny was John McCain

00:02:07   complained to Tim Cook about having to

00:02:10   keep updated up updating apps in the App

00:02:12   Store and have getting

00:02:13   that badge and then somehow magically

00:02:16   the next Ellis iOS update we had

00:02:18   automatic up updating in the background

00:02:21   but ever since that day at least notes

00:02:24   probably are less read and less

00:02:27   important in that regard because I

00:02:28   imagine a significant proportion of

00:02:30   users never ever read the release notes

00:02:33   you know there they are there as a as a

00:02:35   reference and it's something that we

00:02:37   have to do but in in practicality

00:02:39   they're probably not actually looked at

00:02:40   very much but I don't know maybe it's

00:02:43   maybe it's a bit silly but for me I

00:02:44   still look at them as something that is

00:02:46   a a rare opportunity to try and make a

00:02:49   connection with my customers and for me

00:02:53   increasingly I've started to I used to

00:02:55   do the kind of like slightly more

00:02:58   developer II like more like treating

00:03:00   release notes as a change log you know

00:03:03   something that's like I'm something more

00:03:04   technical like this is here's all the

00:03:07   like a bulleted list of all the things

00:03:09   that I did and then more recently I

00:03:11   think I've moved over towards viewing my

00:03:13   release notes as like a letter that I'm

00:03:15   writing to my customers and in some ways

00:03:18   I'll even you know it's like I'm usually

00:03:19   I'm even still I having a you know

00:03:21   signing off with my name and the bottom

00:03:23   of it being like hey you know this is

00:03:24   what I'm this is what I'm thinking about

00:03:25   the app here's some of the things that I

00:03:27   worked on you know sex sincerely Dave

00:03:29   like and viewing it in that reproach and

00:03:32   I don't know if that's good or not but

00:03:34   it's you know I think release notes can

00:03:36   span such a wide range of things and

00:03:39   they also have to encompass so many like

00:03:42   like potentially really awkward

00:03:45   situations like if you have to like as

00:03:47   we mentioned in a couple episodes ago if

00:03:49   you happen to have to remove a feature

00:03:51   that people like or at least a small

00:03:53   group of people like the release notes

00:03:55   is how you mention that to them and how

00:03:57   you break that news and so how we do do

00:04:00   that and go about that is probably

00:04:02   something that tenure is important to

00:04:03   have at least some consideration and

00:04:05   care about to do you handle it in the

00:04:07   most sort of delicate way possible yeah

00:04:11   and I think you know in the case of a

00:04:13   feature removal like I guess we'll start

00:04:14   here then we'll get more positive

00:04:15   towards the end in the case of a feature

00:04:18   removal it's important to realize I'd

00:04:21   say two main themes number one as you

00:04:24   mentioned no one reads these like rel

00:04:27   speaking no one reads like it's not zero

00:04:29   but it's it's a it's a low percentage

00:04:32   number two if you change something like

00:04:35   a feature removal that people are going

00:04:37   to be mad about they're going to be mad

00:04:40   regardless of what you say many of them

00:04:42   are going to email you or tweet you or

00:04:45   leave a one-star review without reading

00:04:48   your release notes first of all they're

00:04:49   just going to be mad and they're gonna

00:04:50   do that many of them are going to read

00:04:52   your explanations in some form but will

00:04:56   still be mad and we'll still tweet the

00:04:57   one start review or you know suite you

00:05:00   or do the one-star review and there's

00:05:02   there's only so much you can do you know

00:05:05   so what you're what you're optimizing

00:05:07   for when trying to write good release

00:05:09   notes so we're trying to explain a

00:05:11   feature removal things like that what

00:05:12   you're optimizing for is not let me make

00:05:15   everybody okay with this instead it's

00:05:18   like you know let me do my best to give

00:05:21   a reasonable sensible summary of what

00:05:23   has happened or a reason why things have

00:05:25   changed or a list of major things that

00:05:28   have changed and for the very few people

00:05:31   who will read it and the very few people

00:05:33   who will actually like read it with some

00:05:36   consideration or like you know not hate

00:05:38   you immediately or not be mad or

00:05:40   whatever else you know I'll do my best

00:05:42   but that's all you can really do so like

00:05:44   in the case of my of my future move on

00:05:46   overcast where I remove the the

00:05:47   standalone watch play back and let

00:05:49   analyze update that you know I've gotten

00:05:52   a lot of negative reviews about that a

00:05:54   lot of negative tweets about that but I

00:05:56   think I did the best job I could of you

00:05:59   know in in the release notes I said here

00:06:02   this sorry I had to remove this feature

00:06:03   for more information go to go to this go

00:06:06   to market org and there's a blog post

00:06:08   there and you know so and in that blog

00:06:10   post I gave the whole story which I told

00:06:12   him this show a few episodes ago about

00:06:14   you know here's why I had to change it

00:06:15   I'm sorry and I hope I can bring it back

00:06:17   in the future and that's about the best

00:06:20   I can do there you know it's I think

00:06:22   there would have been more angry people

00:06:24   had I not explained it the way I did but

00:06:27   they're still gonna be angry people

00:06:29   whenever you change or remove anything

00:06:30   and so you just kind of have to be okay

00:06:32   with that because again this is good

00:06:34   this is kind of a a best-effort but low

00:06:36   low response and low comprehension

00:06:39   medium that you're communicating

00:06:41   yeah the thing that's tricky though I

00:06:43   find is AK so what you did there where

00:06:45   you you your actual detailed explanation

00:06:48   went in a different place in your case

00:06:50   went on your website like it's kind of

00:06:54   an awkward thing I find I mean and I

00:06:55   understand why Apple doesn't allow us to

00:06:57   have links in our release notes where I

00:07:02   mean I sort of understand why like you

00:07:04   could see it as an avenue for abuse or

00:07:07   being problematic but I do kind of wish

00:07:09   that they did for these for situations

00:07:12   like this where the thing that's awkward

00:07:16   there is I can't like the note that had

00:07:18   the number of people who went to the App

00:07:20   Store saw the saw your release notes and

00:07:23   then open Safari and remembered the URL

00:07:26   to type in that you'd like they can't

00:07:29   even copy/paste it out of there like

00:07:31   they I mean you have a short URL but

00:07:33   it's still like it's that lap barrier is

00:07:36   in my mind is so high that it's very

00:07:39   unlikely almost anybody did that that

00:07:42   and so if you have if that's true which

00:07:46   means it's speculation but my guess is

00:07:47   that's reason a reasonable expectation

00:07:49   that very few people did that beyond the

00:07:52   people who read your blog regularly and

00:07:54   are like oh heroes who wrote something

00:07:55   about this let me go and and read it you

00:07:59   know who knew what marker org was

00:08:00   beforehand but for the rest of folks

00:08:03   like it's a tricky thing where I almost

00:08:05   wonder if it's better to try and you

00:08:08   know concisely

00:08:10   you know couldn't boil down that blog

00:08:12   post into something that you could put

00:08:14   just there and there release notes and

00:08:15   you know this isn't it I've I've gone

00:08:17   back and forth on many times myself

00:08:18   where usually when I'm doing something

00:08:21   like any any making it a big update in a

00:08:23   positive sense like hey here's all these

00:08:25   great new features or on the negative

00:08:26   sense here's some thing I had to change

00:08:28   that you may not like those I often will

00:08:31   write a blog post or related to that but

00:08:33   I tend to in my release notes just say

00:08:35   hey you know I could turn to try and

00:08:38   turn that like the four or five

00:08:39   paragraph blog post into you a one

00:08:42   paragraph explanation because it seems

00:08:45   like it's just more likely that act that

00:08:46   people are actually going to read it and

00:08:50   honestly probably have the patience to

00:08:51   read it that it's just you know it's

00:08:53   it's unlike I

00:08:55   people's attention spans for this type

00:08:57   of stuff you can get very short very

00:08:59   quickly and so just trying to be as

00:09:02   concise as I can as possible and then I

00:09:04   have the blog post is there is a

00:09:06   tremendous resource when doing customer

00:09:08   support after the fact you know so in

00:09:10   terms of waiting someone then reaches

00:09:12   out and says hey cuz the reality is most

00:09:14   people couldn't reading the release

00:09:15   notes like when you have to remove a

00:09:17   feature as I guess which is a good

00:09:18   example of where this is probably most

00:09:20   tricky the what it will often the the

00:09:23   customer support request you get is the

00:09:26   hey so I used to use this thing and I

00:09:28   can't find it anymore like what what

00:09:31   happened right there's from their

00:09:32   perspective they don't even know it's

00:09:33   gone they may just think that it's in a

00:09:35   different place or it's moved or they

00:09:37   configured something incorrectly and in

00:09:40   that case having a blog post or

00:09:42   something to point them to and say hey

00:09:43   you know here's what's unfortunately had

00:09:45   to remove that and here's a detailed

00:09:47   explanation why it's like it feels a

00:09:49   little bit better but yeah it's a it's a

00:09:51   weird thing to not be able because we

00:09:53   can't link people directly to those

00:09:56   release notes to do anything kind of

00:09:57   like linking or just say like hey go

00:10:00   read this over here like I don't know in

00:10:03   my mind no one's actually going to do

00:10:05   that yeah and and that's why you know

00:10:07   and part of it is again it's like you

00:10:08   know you do what you can like I just

00:10:10   said go to marker that org I didn't give

00:10:12   a full URL for like a permalink page

00:10:14   which I helped here of my in frequency

00:10:18   of vlogging this is like it's going to

00:10:21   be the top post for a while probably and

00:10:23   and if it isn't the top post it'll be

00:10:25   like the second post damn it the third

00:10:27   post down for you know the whole time

00:10:28   this version is likely to be in the

00:10:30   store probably yeah so you know I'm

00:10:32   helped out there but also you know I

00:10:34   feel like again it's like so few people

00:10:36   read that that I don't think it's really

00:10:39   a problem worth optimizing too much for

00:10:41   like I gave a short version I gave a

00:10:42   short explanation in in the in the

00:10:44   description I said like sorry I had to

00:10:46   remove send to watch you to watch OS

00:10:47   changes details at market org like

00:10:50   that's I figure like that's the best I

00:10:52   can do because I almost no one's reading

00:10:54   this to begin with the few people that

00:10:55   do read it are not going to read

00:10:56   anything long so you brevity is your

00:10:59   friend here and so it's this is simply

00:11:01   three bullets the things I changed in

00:11:03   the app and that's the third one so and

00:11:07   I feel like also you have to consider

00:11:08   like

00:11:10   when you do a blog post as part of an

00:11:14   update that's really the marketing post

00:11:16   that is the marketing material if

00:11:17   there's gonna be any news stories

00:11:19   written if you're lucky enough to have

00:11:20   press coverage of your app that's gonna

00:11:23   be what people refer to not the two or

00:11:26   three lines you put in the changelog in

00:11:28   the App Store and so it's it's partially

00:11:30   a different approach like it's a

00:11:32   different style of writing you should

00:11:33   use in like in like an announcement post

00:11:36   you should cover different things in

00:11:38   different ways just because it's it's

00:11:40   more of a general audience thing it is a

00:11:43   little important though to also consider

00:11:45   the the downside of doing the blog post

00:11:47   thing is that again when you just put it

00:11:52   in the changelog almost no one reads

00:11:54   that if you make a blog post out of it

00:11:56   that you that people might link to or

00:11:58   the press might cover you draw attention

00:12:00   to it and that could be good or bad if

00:12:03   you're doing a big new version great

00:12:05   draw attention to it if you're removing

00:12:07   a feature that is or do another or like

00:12:10   if you're basically announcing bad news

00:12:12   drawing attention to it might not be

00:12:15   what you want it that might be actually

00:12:18   a bad idea

00:12:19   in the case of this feature I I made the

00:12:22   decision to do this because I thought it

00:12:23   required some explanation about why I

00:12:25   had to remove it I have removed other

00:12:28   smaller features before like there used

00:12:30   to be an option called seek acceleration

00:12:33   where you know as you as you hit

00:12:36   fast-forward everyone in a podcast more

00:12:39   and more if you hit it like a lot in a

00:12:40   short time it starts jumping by larger

00:12:42   intervals cuz it seem like you're trying

00:12:43   to get further this used to be optional

00:12:46   it was on by default

00:12:47   I found that almost nobody turned it off

00:12:50   and I figured it wasn't even worth

00:12:52   having the option anymore so now it's

00:12:54   just always on and I removed the option

00:12:56   I did that how do you remember when

00:12:57   probably six months ago at least maybe

00:12:59   probably more maybe a year ago and I

00:13:02   didn't announce that anywhere because

00:13:03   who cares like it was it was a feature

00:13:06   that almost no one used it is a really

00:13:08   minor inconsequential thing sorry for

00:13:10   like the three people who hate it but

00:13:11   you know they probably stopped using my

00:13:12   app already you know it's a very minor

00:13:15   thing and so it wasn't worth writing a

00:13:17   huge apologetic blog post saying I'm

00:13:19   sorry I've decided to remove this

00:13:21   checkbox in the app be

00:13:23   is I you know I wanted simpler settings

00:13:25   and I wanted the fewer things to test

00:13:26   and everything it it wasn't worth

00:13:28   drawing attention to it that way because

00:13:30   that was that would be that would have

00:13:31   been a bunch of negative attention and a

00:13:33   lot of people who who might be angry

00:13:35   about that are people who might not even

00:13:38   notice if the option goes away it's like

00:13:42   you're kind of like you're taking on

00:13:43   additional negativity when you don't

00:13:44   need to similarly I like I had to be

00:13:47   very careful when we are in this blog

00:13:48   post because again keep in mind people

00:13:51   don't read things very carefully

00:13:53   especially stuff on online but I think

00:13:57   probably everywhere comprehension is low

00:13:59   and so I was I had to be very careful

00:14:02   when when wording this to be very clear

00:14:04   about what I was removing so I've

00:14:07   learned from past things where I haven't

00:14:09   been so clear or you know things I've

00:14:11   tried to announce like only on Twitter

00:14:12   and a short form or whatever else if you

00:14:15   announce that like oh I need to remove

00:14:17   this page for I'm considering moving

00:14:18   this feature half the crazy responses

00:14:21   you get are from people who are really

00:14:23   mad that you're removing something that

00:14:25   you're actually not talking about like

00:14:27   that you're talking about something else

00:14:28   and either you didn't communicate it

00:14:30   properly or they misunderstood or

00:14:31   whatever you know whoever's fault it was

00:14:33   they didn't get that memo and so I

00:14:36   wanted to be very careful in writing

00:14:37   this to be clear that I'm talking about

00:14:39   these send to watch feature and I called

00:14:42   it I kept referring to it I send to

00:14:43   watch not standalone watch playback or

00:14:46   offline watch playback because those

00:14:48   could be very easily misunderstood to

00:14:50   mean the entire watch app or playback on

00:14:53   the phone when you're offline that

00:14:54   happens to be controlled by the watch or

00:14:56   something like that like this could be

00:14:57   very very easily misunderstood so I

00:15:00   carefully thought about it I've wrote

00:15:02   this post weeks before I published it

00:15:04   and I was editing it frequently that's

00:15:07   making it shorter more concise more

00:15:09   clear because it's you run such a big

00:15:13   risk if you announce some kind of

00:15:15   negativity or removal or like other

00:15:18   things that people don't like late like

00:15:19   a change to your business model you have

00:15:21   to be so clear with how you communicate

00:15:23   it because again keep keeping my no

00:15:26   one's going to read every word you write

00:15:27   and those who do might be skimming it or

00:15:29   might be already mad and maybe then not

00:15:32   comprehending what you're saying or not

00:15:33   focusing too much on the details so like

00:15:35   you

00:15:36   to be so overly cautious about how you

00:15:38   word things and what you tell people

00:15:40   what you call things because so many

00:15:44   people are going to want to jump and be

00:15:46   mad on that and you have to know kind of

00:15:48   like what triggers to avoid and and how

00:15:51   to be absolutely clear so that you're

00:15:53   not being unnecessarily blamed for the

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00:17:50   show blue apron a better way to cook so

00:17:52   one of the thing with release notes that

00:17:54   and I've had to learn over the years is

00:17:57   remembering that I am writing my release

00:18:00   notes like unless maybe you're unless

00:18:01   you're making a developer tool like

00:18:03   remember that I'm writing my release

00:18:05   notes for a different audience than

00:18:07   myself and specifically the thing that

00:18:11   I've had to make sure that I walk walk

00:18:13   myself back from when I'm writing

00:18:14   release notes or doing this kind of

00:18:15   launch communication is recognizing the

00:18:18   things that I thought were interesting

00:18:21   problems to solve or technical

00:18:24   challenges and in the development of the

00:18:28   update that I thought were cool from a

00:18:30   technical perspective but from a user's

00:18:32   perspective are not relevant or not

00:18:36   interesting or wouldn't make any sense

00:18:37   and so often it's like I like one of the

00:18:42   things that was draw like how if I'm so

00:18:44   frustrating is when I do this like I

00:18:46   spent a lot of time on an update that is

00:18:48   doing some big you know overhaul

00:18:50   refactoring in the bottom of the app and

00:18:52   it's like it's really you know ended up

00:18:54   with what I think is a really elegant

00:18:55   clever solution to a problem and I go to

00:18:58   write the release notes and I have to

00:19:00   remember I'm not writing this to someone

00:19:02   who is also an iOS developer I'm writing

00:19:05   this to just a general user who doesn't

00:19:08   really care that I solved some you know

00:19:10   GCD threading problem with Morse you

00:19:13   know with with clever uses of semaphores

00:19:16   like that's not something that they're

00:19:19   going to care about or understand and

00:19:23   that can be tough when you spend all

00:19:24   this thick you spend like three weeks

00:19:25   working on an update and your release

00:19:27   notes are actually just kind of from

00:19:30   this user's perspective it's like

00:19:31   performance improvement like will crash

00:19:34   less often like those kinds of things

00:19:37   can be so frustrating because like I

00:19:39   want to tell it like I want to tell the

00:19:40   world like hey I wrote I did all this

00:19:42   really cool like hard work down below

00:19:45   the surface but from a user's

00:19:46   perspective nothing changed you know

00:19:49   like the app just crashes less like

00:19:50   that's a good improvement but they're

00:19:52   not four they're not going to notice

00:19:53   that in a tangible way and you know it's

00:19:57   also after my myself like I kind of love

00:19:59   when I get insights into how other

00:20:03   developers

00:20:03   you know solved trick tricky technical

00:20:06   problems or when they kind of get into

00:20:07   the weeds with things and I kind of like

00:20:09   appreciate it when I see that in release

00:20:11   notes but just because I see that like

00:20:13   if anything that's a good indication

00:20:15   like no no I really need to not take

00:20:17   that as a good as a example of something

00:20:19   good because I'm a very narrow and

00:20:23   specific kind of user who you know we

00:20:26   like that maybe if you're making a

00:20:28   developer tool you can kind of get into

00:20:29   the weeds a bit more but for a general

00:20:31   purpose general audience application

00:20:33   it's important to remember that like I'm

00:20:35   trying to explain what's happened in a

00:20:38   way that will you know make this make

00:20:40   this user want to keep using the app

00:20:42   well bringing them back into it if

00:20:44   perhaps they haven't you know they just

00:20:45   happen to be in the App Store and see

00:20:49   something pop up there that might grab

00:20:51   their attention and bring them back into

00:20:52   the app like I need to be writing this

00:20:54   in and as accessible of a way as

00:20:56   possible and in some ways I just need to

00:20:59   swallow my pride and be okay with the

00:21:01   fact that the world may never know about

00:21:03   this like really hard problem that I

00:21:06   solved that no one that never actually

00:21:09   you know comes above the surface of the

00:21:11   application and like that's okay I have

00:21:13   to just like accept that and move on and

00:21:15   not you know publish something that is

00:21:18   just gonna confuse or alienate my users

00:21:20   as a result yeah oh yeah it's definitely

00:21:22   like by far the most interesting

00:21:24   technical things I've ever done in

00:21:25   programming it in apps were summarized

00:21:28   in the release notes as minor fixes and

00:21:31   improvements yeah it is harsh but like

00:21:36   but I'm gonna you're writing it from

00:21:38   their perspective right from there even

00:21:40   though for me I consider it a major

00:21:42   improvement or a major fix but they

00:21:44   would consider it minor like if you fix

00:21:47   a bug you don't even need to list which

00:21:49   bugs you fix unless there was like some

00:21:51   massive crashing bug and the previous

00:21:53   version that everyone knew about you

00:21:55   know otherwise and an image case you

00:21:57   couldn't even say the next version fix

00:21:58   the crashing bug for the last you don't

00:22:00   even have to go into details otherwise

00:22:02   when you fix bugs or when you make

00:22:03   things better

00:22:04   no one cares you care you get

00:22:07   satisfaction out of it you know

00:22:08   developers care your users do not care

00:22:10   at all and they shouldn't need to care

00:22:12   and they never will care no matter what

00:22:13   you say so best to keep it short fixes

00:22:15   and improvements and then

00:22:17   you know use the rest of your allocated

00:22:20   space in that field to talk about some

00:22:22   maybe some new thing that they might

00:22:24   care about that you know some new

00:22:25   feature or new ability in the app and if

00:22:27   there's one leave it out it's fine it's

00:22:28   fine to be brief you know there is a

00:22:30   place if you want to share technical

00:22:32   details there are ways to do that

00:22:34   they're called blog posts and this is

00:22:36   something that should not even be

00:22:37   probably in your marketing blog post

00:22:39   like if you're going to do a separate

00:22:41   blog post for the for like a major

00:22:43   release I would say this is not a good

00:22:46   place to go into technical detail if you

00:22:49   did something huge like you converted

00:22:51   the whole app to swift something like

00:22:53   that maybe submit that that might

00:22:55   deserve one sentence in your marketing

00:22:58   blog post but it certainly does not

00:23:00   deserve to even go in the changelog in

00:23:02   the app store and you know because like

00:23:04   who dear do your users care if you

00:23:07   convert the whole app to Swift do users

00:23:08   care if the app is now 20% faster no all

00:23:11   you can say like converting the entire

00:23:14   app to a different programming language

00:23:15   to me would qualify as minor fixes and

00:23:18   improvements which is take these things

00:23:20   I'm getting used to and I think we just

00:23:22   it's like having to just and I guess

00:23:23   there's a certain humility and just

00:23:25   being able to be like yeah like that

00:23:27   work is just the cost of doing business

00:23:28   like that work is not you don't get like

00:23:31   poor extra brownie points for solving

00:23:32   something like that like you get brownie

00:23:35   points for coming up with interesting

00:23:37   features and finding new ways to solve

00:23:40   user problems but solving technical

00:23:42   problems like that's just table stakes

00:23:44   that's just what the costs are that's

00:23:46   just the bare minimum you have to do and

00:23:48   so you don't get credit for it just for

00:23:50   doing something like that I think and

00:23:52   then also this should kind of help focus

00:23:54   where it's worth allocating your effort

00:23:57   and energy during ordering a new you

00:23:59   know new product release yeah

00:24:01   it's is it like whatever your whatever

00:24:03   is going to be worth spending your time

00:24:05   on are gonna be things that users might

00:24:07   actually notice and might actually care

00:24:08   about and things that might be worthy of

00:24:10   user relevant to bullet points in that

00:24:13   change Locker in that marketing blog

00:24:14   post if you're gonna spend a ton of time

00:24:17   tackling some you know hairy technical

00:24:21   problem or converting your app to a

00:24:23   different language or switching to a

00:24:25   different database layer or something

00:24:27   like that like those are things that are

00:24:29   massive time and effort

00:24:30   syncs that are going to be worth zero in

00:24:33   your marketing it like your users are

00:24:35   not gonna care at all your marketing

00:24:37   blog posts and the press that you hope

00:24:39   will cover them will not care at all you

00:24:42   are like that's gonna get you nowhere so

00:24:44   that's not really worth investing tons

00:24:47   of unnecessary time into if you have to

00:24:50   for like technical debt reasons fine

00:24:52   then you have to still shouldn't spend a

00:24:54   ton of time on it if you could help it

00:24:56   sometimes you can't help it

00:24:57   but oh well but if you're thinking about

00:25:00   like okay I have to I have to tackle

00:25:02   like you know these like five big

00:25:05   difficult time-consuming bullet points

00:25:07   on our on our wish list here we can

00:25:09   afford to do maybe two of them for this

00:25:11   release if if neither one of them is

00:25:14   something that's going to be

00:25:15   representing you know a major thing for

00:25:18   your users that you can mark it and that

00:25:20   people will love and care about it might

00:25:22   increase your sales I would strongly

00:25:24   reconsider your priorities and so like

00:25:26   if you if you're spending an entire

00:25:27   release cycle doing something that's

00:25:30   only paying off technical debt or only

00:25:32   doing interesting hairy problems behind

00:25:34   the scenes that are not representing

00:25:37   major improvements for your users your

00:25:40   users are gonna have a really hard time

00:25:41   getting excited about that or justifying

00:25:43   paying for an upgrade or things like

00:25:45   that yeah and I think that's just the

00:25:48   reality we have to deal with like it's

00:25:49   it's in some ways it's it's kind of like

00:25:54   I almost wonder if in some ways it's a

00:25:55   good it would be a constructive exercise

00:25:57   to write the release notes for the

00:25:59   update before you do the technical work

00:26:01   to do the update as it just is you at

00:26:05   the very least has a thought exercise to

00:26:07   try and understand how is this like it

00:26:10   how rather than sitting down at the like

00:26:13   at the very low technical like level

00:26:15   like looking at it from the other end I

00:26:17   mean like I can put in this work what is

00:26:19   that going to end up looking like from

00:26:21   my customers perspective what kind of

00:26:23   release notes would come out of this

00:26:24   update and doing that exercise ahead of

00:26:27   time it may be very constructive as a

00:26:29   way to be like huh yeah that that makes

00:26:32   it that takes a bit of the the shine off

00:26:34   this if all I'm gonna end up with like

00:26:36   all I get from you know all this solving

00:26:39   this hard technical problem is you know

00:26:41   minor improvements exact

00:26:43   big app 2.0 minor fixes and improvements

00:26:47   yeah that has not very compelling

00:26:50   exactly yeah I like throw some bones

00:26:52   your users like you know if you're in

00:26:54   the position where you have to you know

00:26:56   spend a lot of time on technical stuff

00:26:57   that yours won't care about that's a

00:26:59   really good time to also tackle like

00:27:00   easy features like a couple new options

00:27:03   that maybe a nurse in your settings

00:27:04   screen that are easy to implement that

00:27:06   people have asked for a lot you know

00:27:08   stuff like that like easy things like

00:27:09   that like you know like I when I added

00:27:10   my 3x speed that took very little effort

00:27:12   that was mostly good testing to make

00:27:13   sure it performed well on on slower

00:27:15   devices and to make sure it was

00:27:16   intelligible at all to anybody with any

00:27:19   content which is tricky but that that

00:27:22   was a relatively easy

00:27:24   gimmie and it was the kind of thing like

00:27:25   I had to do a bunch of other technical

00:27:27   stuff in these releases and so I threw

00:27:29   that in as kind of like a bone like I

00:27:31   needed something easy to you know keep

00:27:33   people interested and to keep the mood

00:27:35   happy and everything else so I threw

00:27:36   that in you know that if you if you're

00:27:39   forced to do a lot of technical work and

00:27:40   and you you are not going to have a lot

00:27:42   to show for it to the users that's a

00:27:44   good time to do features like that the

00:27:46   last thing I just wanted to mention that

00:27:48   I think it's just a serve as a personal

00:27:50   experience with release notes is that

00:27:52   don't be too afraid of like I don't love

00:27:56   super like the cutesy release notes when

00:27:59   they get like people are like telling a

00:28:01   story from the perspective of the app

00:28:02   and it's this like like this long should

00:28:05   like the writing a little short story

00:28:06   about the update like that's a little

00:28:07   far but don't be afraid of being a

00:28:09   little bit fun with it and then Luigi in

00:28:13   my experience what thats comes down to

00:28:14   is being a little bit personal like

00:28:15   talking about the story of why the

00:28:17   feature came into k into existence or if

00:28:21   there's an any kind of interesting human

00:28:23   element like i the rienne pedometer plus

00:28:26   plus you get confetti when you hit your

00:28:28   goal

00:28:28   and when you double your goal you get

00:28:30   blue confetti and when you triple your

00:28:32   goal you get pink and when you quadruple

00:28:33   your goal you get purple and the reason

00:28:36   there's blue pink and purple above that

00:28:37   is because my kids asked me to add that

00:28:40   feature to the app and i thought that

00:28:43   was kind of fun and like i put that in

00:28:44   the release notes and i got a lot of

00:28:45   really positive feedback from people who

00:28:47   kind of like that little insight that

00:28:49   like you know my son thought that there

00:28:52   should be blue confetti and you should

00:28:53   get it when you're double your goal and

00:28:54   like that's where that feature came from

00:28:55   like that's a nice human

00:28:57   connection that was also kind of cool or

00:28:59   like being a little bit silly like once

00:29:00   I had a feature an update where there's

00:29:03   a bug in the confetti system and it

00:29:04   wasn't firing all the every time that it

00:29:08   was supposed to and in my release notes

00:29:09   I said you know this but this this

00:29:11   update is it includes bug fixes to avoid

00:29:14   a situation where confetti wouldn't fire

00:29:15   when you know when you should have

00:29:18   gotten it as compensation please accept

00:29:20   10% higher confetti rates from here on

00:29:22   out and I increase the confetti rate by

00:29:25   10% in the app and it's like exactly

00:29:27   like it's kind of cute it's kind of

00:29:28   silly but I think those are the kinds of

00:29:30   opportunities where hopefully you can

00:29:32   make an actual meaningful connection

00:29:34   with a customer because you can maybe

00:29:36   you make them laugh maybe you make them

00:29:37   smile and if you can think of an

00:29:39   opportunity to do that take advantage of

00:29:41   it yeah most people won't read them but

00:29:43   for the few that do reward them yeah

00:29:46   alright we're out of time this week

00:29:48   thanks for listening everybody and we'll

00:29:49   talk to you next week bye