Under the Radar

Under the Radar 71: Apps as Annuities


00:00:00   welcome to under the radar a 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

00:00:11   start what is largely going to be a kind

00:00:14   of the two-part series about I guess

00:00:18   more the financial business side of

00:00:21   being an app maker and specifically

00:00:25   we're going to be talking through

00:00:26   viewing your apps in two different so

00:00:31   sort of in turn through two different

00:00:33   lenses one we're going to talk about

00:00:34   today is kind of viewing your apps as

00:00:37   though you're creating annuities that

00:00:40   pay you back over time and then in next

00:00:42   week we're going to be talking a little

00:00:44   bit about viewing your apps as sort of

00:00:46   assets that you are building up for the

00:00:48   purposes of selling down the future data

00:00:50   down the road and they're just kind of I

00:00:53   think this is one of those topics that

00:00:55   is very much outside of the typical like

00:00:59   developer II kind of topics and the kind

00:01:01   of things that we would normally you

00:01:03   know discuss in the sense that you know

00:01:05   we're not talking about xcode we're not

00:01:06   talking about design there's gonna be

00:01:08   AWC session about how to sell your

00:01:10   business yeah like this is a topic that

00:01:13   is very much you know this is like a

00:01:15   business topic you could be we could be

00:01:16   making anything it doesn't the fact that

00:01:18   it's an application is in some ways kind

00:01:20   of immaterial but I know for myself when

00:01:23   I started off being um you know started

00:01:26   off doing this I gave no thought to this

00:01:29   these types of topics at all I was

00:01:31   focused entirely on the development side

00:01:32   of things I was focused on the design

00:01:33   side of things and the marketing to some

00:01:36   degree but like thinking of these kind

00:01:38   of broader business things wasn't really

00:01:39   you know something that was on my radar

00:01:41   at all and now you know whatever eight

00:01:44   and a half years later it is something

00:01:46   that I think about more and I realized

00:01:48   the importance of thinking through

00:01:50   mostly just because depending on what

00:01:53   how we will you know what you want your

00:01:55   business to look like how you want it to

00:01:58   pay you and again both now and in the

00:02:00   future you know what your ultimate goals

00:02:02   are you know will impact the types of

00:02:05   business the types of apps that make

00:02:06   sense for you to build you know

00:02:08   different apps have very different like

00:02:10   revenue curves you know if you make a

00:02:12   I paid upfront app UUM far more likely

00:02:15   to have a big burst of Revenue at once

00:02:18   and then it will fall off you know

00:02:20   fairly dramatically if you have free

00:02:22   with at you know free with ADD or free

00:02:24   with in-app purchase application you're

00:02:26   more likely to have kind of this slow

00:02:30   hopefully growth of revenue that is

00:02:32   fairly stable over time or at least you

00:02:34   know shifts in these kind of more

00:02:35   seasonal you know in these kind of

00:02:39   seasonal waves and depending what you

00:02:42   know what you like there will make a big

00:02:44   difference but you know for the purpose

00:02:45   of today what I'm going to talk about to

00:02:47   start off with and this got started for

00:02:48   me by I've been doing a lot of work

00:02:51   updating my app audiobooks which I think

00:02:53   I've mentioned a few times over the last

00:02:54   few episodes and as part of it I as part

00:02:59   of this update is it kind of the

00:03:00   realization that I haven't done a real

00:03:02   up haven't done any work on this app

00:03:04   realist really for about 18 months which

00:03:07   is not a good idea isn't great you know

00:03:10   but is because other opportunities they

00:03:11   presented themselves have been doing

00:03:13   much more work on the health and fitness

00:03:14   side of things recently in this app that

00:03:16   for a while was like my bread and butter

00:03:18   was the thing that was paying you know

00:03:19   sort of like paying my mortgage each

00:03:20   month it kind of had fallen a bit to the

00:03:23   side but as a result I got this

00:03:26   opportunity to have some really

00:03:27   interesting data about of course I did I

00:03:30   made a spreadsheet I took a look at just

00:03:33   what just just one you know or two or

00:03:35   three it's fine I don't have a problem I

00:03:37   can stop anytime the I took a look at

00:03:41   the revenue of this app over the last 18

00:03:43   months because one of the things that

00:03:46   I've always been curious about is what

00:03:48   happens to an app you know when you stop

00:03:51   working on it when you stop maintaining

00:03:52   it when you stop marketing it when you

00:03:54   stop doing anything with it like what

00:03:55   does that actually look like because in

00:03:57   the back of my mind I've always had this

00:03:59   thought of like you know sales won't

00:04:01   immediately drop to zero like that is

00:04:04   you know that's just not the reality

00:04:06   because you know I go for weeks or

00:04:08   months between updates typically you

00:04:10   don't you know let them go out to 18

00:04:12   months but you kind of get the sense

00:04:15   that over time you know sales will

00:04:17   likely fall if they don't like stop

00:04:19   working on it you know if doing nothing

00:04:21   makes your revenue go up and like you do

00:04:23   nothing that's awesome but that's not

00:04:25   realistic and so

00:04:26   what I did for audiobooks is I took a

00:04:28   look over the last 18 months and looked

00:04:29   at what the revenue curve looked like

00:04:32   you know for this app with no

00:04:34   maintenance no anything it just been

00:04:36   sitting on the App Store and the app

00:04:38   makes its money from advertising and a

00:04:40   small very small degree is some a net

00:04:42   purchases for some kind of like premium

00:04:43   ebooks and what was interesting to me is

00:04:46   that the the curve that the revenue took

00:04:49   matched pretty closely to kind of a

00:04:52   exponential decay curve like I said

00:04:54   around with some best fit lines and

00:04:55   things and essentially what it meant is

00:04:58   the sales went down by half a percent I

00:05:03   think it was per day sort of compounding

00:05:07   and so you know say for argument's sake

00:05:10   the app had been you know selling for

00:05:12   $100 a day a day and then I stopped

00:05:16   working on it like the next day it would

00:05:18   lose 50 cents in revenue and the next

00:05:20   day like night noon for a forty nine

00:05:23   point eight cents and then forty nine

00:05:24   point five cents and so on like it it

00:05:26   loses less each day because of there's

00:05:28   less from it and that that curve of

00:05:30   about a half a percent a day seemed to

00:05:34   match fairly closely to it and which

00:05:36   meant that obviously as it falls down

00:05:38   you start losing less and less and you

00:05:41   per day and you become it almost surf

00:05:43   starts to stabilize and level out

00:05:45   obviously it's still losing as it goes

00:05:48   but it gets slower and that was really

00:05:50   interesting to me because that you know

00:05:53   like that number and that that

00:05:55   multiplier is I'm sure very variable

00:05:56   based on a lot of things but it's

00:05:57   instructive to think about how an app's

00:06:01   revenue will sort of to have that almost

00:06:05   certainly have that kind of a decay

00:06:06   curve and like the the slope of it and

00:06:08   the steepness of it will change but

00:06:10   that's a really helpful tool for me as I

00:06:12   think about apps because now I have I

00:06:15   can sort of I have some data to back up

00:06:17   this notion that I've always had that in

00:06:21   many ways the business that I like to

00:06:23   build is I want to have you know a

00:06:25   steady even income from my applications

00:06:28   that in an ideal world requires the

00:06:31   relatively small amount of constant

00:06:34   maintenance and input I'm coming from a

00:06:36   background where I used to do consulting

00:06:37   where I all of my income was

00:06:40   I guess you could call it like prepaid

00:06:42   in the sense that I see I have a

00:06:44   contract with someone that says I'm

00:06:45   going to work for them for you know I'm

00:06:49   gonna work for them for 80 hours and

00:06:50   they're gonna pay me $100 an hour so

00:06:52   they are going to pay me $8,000 and

00:06:54   that's the contract and that's the most

00:06:56   I'll ever make from that project and

00:06:58   it's all kind of prepaid and shifting to

00:07:00   a world where everything's postpaid

00:07:01   where in the I do all this work for

00:07:04   nothing essentially I would released the

00:07:07   app and then hopefully it pays me back

00:07:08   over time and in many ways that's the

00:07:11   kind of the same kind of a thing that if

00:07:13   in the financial world that you would

00:07:15   call something like an annuity which is

00:07:16   where you take ace a large sum of money

00:07:18   and you give it to a bank or an

00:07:20   investment institution and they pay you

00:07:22   a you know a mint amount of money back

00:07:25   each month that you know you're shifting

00:07:29   the risk for them generating that money

00:07:31   onto them and you're getting a steady

00:07:33   stream of income and like that model for

00:07:36   what an application is I find is really

00:07:37   kind of nice because you get the sense

00:07:40   of my goal is just to build up a broad

00:07:43   diversified pool of these little income

00:07:45   streams that each individual one is kind

00:07:48   of slowly decaying over time and my job

00:07:50   you know is to I can increase the or

00:07:55   reduce that ability the degree to which

00:07:57   they're decaying or in some case

00:07:58   hopefully grow them you know by putting

00:08:00   in work but if I don't if I want to go

00:08:03   on vacation or if I get distracted or

00:08:05   things happen my income will very slowly

00:08:08   decay over time but in general we'll

00:08:11   keep going and we'll have a pretty long

00:08:13   runway um and I think this is actually

00:08:16   before under the radar but back when we

00:08:20   were talking about it on my old show

00:08:21   developing perspective where there's a

00:08:23   period of time a couple years ago where

00:08:25   I had to take for a variety of kind of

00:08:27   personal reasons I had to take that six

00:08:30   six or so weeks off of work basically

00:08:33   and it was lovely that during the course

00:08:36   of that my income didn't fall off

00:08:38   dramatically it wasn't like all of a

00:08:41   sudden you if I'd been a consultant that

00:08:42   would have been a really big problem

00:08:43   just suddenly just like not have any

00:08:45   income and so instead like my income

00:08:47   fell and it kind of slowly decayed but I

00:08:49   still had this kind of annuity that was

00:08:51   paying me back

00:08:52   and you know as a and so I love that and

00:08:55   so what I do now is I think I structure

00:08:57   my business around that that's why I

00:08:58   have so many apps that's why I have so

00:09:00   many of these little streams coming in

00:09:01   in the hopes that kind of building that

00:09:03   layer cake that will average out to

00:09:06   something that is you know somewhat

00:09:08   dependable and somewhat reliable I love

00:09:10   the idea that you're like living off of

00:09:12   background noise like like the the

00:09:15   asymptotic tales of all these curses

00:09:18   just like pile out off of them up and

00:09:20   here I have like a background radiation

00:09:22   income essentially yeah I mean that that

00:09:26   is that's kind of wonderful I mean and

00:09:28   that's the thing that is kind of nice

00:09:30   about it though is that it is assumed I

00:09:33   think so often in software development

00:09:35   we kind of get the thing that you hear

00:09:37   most often about is the kind of the big

00:09:40   impressive first month of the sales of

00:09:44   an app or a new update or anything like

00:09:47   where you kind of you have it's easy and

00:09:49   it's not it's not easy but it is more

00:09:52   easy to focus on the that big exciting

00:09:57   part of it where like you do a big

00:09:59   update and everyone loves it and like

00:10:00   sales go up and everything's exciting

00:10:02   but what's more interesting from a lot

00:10:06   more like a lifestyle perspective is the

00:10:08   what happens six months down the road

00:10:11   with that and is there a way to make

00:10:13   that make your living on that noise on

00:10:16   that kind of that slow easy part down

00:10:19   and below where you're not putting

00:10:21   having to put in the effort that you did

00:10:23   upfront and you know just is obviously

00:10:26   you need enough enough either enough

00:10:29   apps or Toofer for them to delay decay

00:10:31   at a slow enough rate that it's still

00:10:34   you know haven't like sums up to a

00:10:36   reasonable living but if you can or at

00:10:41   the very least if you can get close to

00:10:42   that and you know be hoping that you

00:10:44   know you have some big bursts that build

00:10:47   up your reserves and then you have this

00:10:48   this noise then in the middle that you

00:10:50   can live on it it is it is an approach

00:10:53   that seems to have worked a couple times

00:10:55   for me and isn't something that I think

00:10:58   like the math checks out and that's what

00:11:00   I was kind of really excited to have the

00:11:02   opportunity to sit down and like really

00:11:03   dive into that with audiobooks because

00:11:06   now I can kind of prove to myself the

00:11:08   that the experience I've been having of

00:11:10   like this seems to be working you know

00:11:11   for the last couple years like the math

00:11:13   checks out and it kind of follows a

00:11:15   pattern that is somewhat you know

00:11:18   predictable or at least reasonable to

00:11:20   you know to base a livelihood on it's

00:11:23   funny like you know in other areas of

00:11:25   web-based work you know things like

00:11:27   blogs the the idea of like building up

00:11:31   stuff upfront that then has a very long

00:11:34   tail of revenue over time is not a new

00:11:37   idea like in the blogging world you know

00:11:40   you you have straight up blog ads and

00:11:42   things like affiliate links where you

00:11:45   can write a blog post and then you know

00:11:47   it might get a certain number of views

00:11:49   from like the main subscribers you know

00:11:51   active audience that that day or that

00:11:53   week but then over the next ten years it

00:11:57   could be getting search traffic and then

00:11:59   you can be slowly building up more and

00:12:01   more ad money over time from your from

00:12:03   this big back catalogue that you have

00:12:05   and for me like on my site I I never I

00:12:08   never made a ton from the ads but I but

00:12:10   I actually started in the last few years

00:12:12   making a pretty good amount of Amazon

00:12:14   affiliate revenue because I have over

00:12:17   years I have written a pretty good

00:12:20   number of product reviews things like

00:12:22   you know headphones stuff coffee stuff

00:12:24   the baby stuff guides and those have

00:12:27   slowly built up search relevance over

00:12:29   time and you know at first when I was

00:12:33   when I started out with Amazon links

00:12:35   forever ago like Amazon affiliate links

00:12:37   I would make effectively nothing it was

00:12:39   like in maybe like 20 bucks a month for

00:12:41   a while and I stopped looking for a long

00:12:43   time because it was so low I stopped

00:12:45   paying attention and then eventually it

00:12:48   became real money like it became you

00:12:51   know after a few years of doing it and

00:12:53   slowly building up from like 10 20 bucks

00:12:55   a month it eventually became a few

00:12:57   hundred dollars a month and then now

00:12:59   it's like over a thousand dollars a

00:13:01   month and that's all from stuff I wrote

00:13:03   years and years ago for the most part

00:13:05   not a lot of new stuff that just over

00:13:08   time I it was it's kind of like where

00:13:10   each post is one of these little like

00:13:11   decaying asymptotes like you know like

00:13:14   over time I have enough of these and it

00:13:17   does blow up to something substantial

00:13:18   and it's interesting to think of apps

00:13:19   this way

00:13:20   because I don't think we've really I

00:13:22   don't think most of us think of apps

00:13:23   that way I think most of us you know the

00:13:25   idea of doing you know blog posts and

00:13:27   links that way I think we are accustomed

00:13:29   to by now

00:13:30   but the idea of doing apps that way

00:13:32   almost seems like it like wrong or like

00:13:35   you're like you're getting away with

00:13:36   something because yeah I think people

00:13:37   expect that apps need to be the more

00:13:40   high profile launched kind of things and

00:13:43   the you know has to be constantly

00:13:44   maintained over time and have to

00:13:46   constantly be getting updates and new

00:13:48   versions and keeping everything fresh

00:13:49   and new while it's totally ok to let a

00:13:51   blog post sit there for 10 years

00:13:52   unmodified I wonder like is this is this

00:13:57   kind of a temporary thing it's always

00:13:59   gonna be the case I mean what what what

00:14:02   the causes might be of why apps can

00:14:03   behave this way or why they might not

00:14:05   behave this way

00:14:06   like we have this coming fall it's

00:14:08   looking increasingly likely that Apple

00:14:10   is cutting off support for old 32-bit

00:14:13   apps and that's gonna cut off a lot of

00:14:15   people's long tails and just like an

00:14:17   update them but I wonder like it seems

00:14:20   like it seems like this is probably okay

00:14:23   for the long haul overall as a model

00:14:25   like it seems like this is probably

00:14:26   going to keep working because it turns

00:14:29   out that keeping apps up-to-date for the

00:14:32   most part really isn't that important

00:14:34   for whether or not they will have you

00:14:38   know a long tail of success and I think

00:14:41   it speaks to I think there is something

00:14:44   there like it's why the reason why I

00:14:47   thought it'd be a good topic is because

00:14:49   I feel like it also is important to

00:14:50   think through the type of applications

00:14:53   where some an approach like this would

00:14:55   actually work because the reason this

00:14:59   happen you know this approach works for

00:15:00   me is because the types of apps that I

00:15:03   am making by and large don't have large

00:15:06   ongoing costs and expenses and

00:15:10   infrastructures that I have to have in

00:15:14   the background to support them you know

00:15:16   like the I think all the sum total of

00:15:20   the infrastructure I have for audiobooks

00:15:23   is I think it's about a hundred dollars

00:15:26   a year at Linode like I have a little

00:15:29   server that serves thumbnails and a few

00:15:32   other things

00:15:33   but it's essentially nothing in the

00:15:35   scope of the app and so that allows the

00:15:38   you know the the fact that the app isn't

00:15:41   you know it's as its as its revenue

00:15:46   decreases slowly over time you know its

00:15:48   income the expenses that I'm having to

00:15:50   put out for it you know they they become

00:15:52   a higher proportion perhaps of its

00:15:53   income but it they're still so small to

00:15:55   start with that it doesn't really matter

00:15:57   whereas if you had an app like I mean

00:15:59   for so for example for me feed Wrangler

00:16:01   and I imagine for you with overcast to

00:16:03   some degree like if you have an app that

00:16:05   has a bigger server infrastructure you

00:16:07   know that is going to be thousand a

00:16:09   thousand or two thousand dollars a month

00:16:10   in in server costs it starts to become

00:16:12   trickier to do this type of thing or

00:16:15   that slow that that's sort of a slow

00:16:19   decay will very quickly you know cross

00:16:21   over and then you know be losing money

00:16:23   rather than gaining money which is

00:16:25   essentially what happened for me with I

00:16:26   check the weather word you know I had a

00:16:28   weather app which I hadn't done updates

00:16:31   for in a while too but I had to

00:16:32   eventually kill it off because I was

00:16:34   losing money on it because you know

00:16:36   there was this ongoing cost for weather

00:16:38   data providers that wasn't being offset

00:16:41   by it and so I think with software the

00:16:45   key for this to work is the do more that

00:16:47   you can make your the applications that

00:16:49   you're building kind of built in such a

00:16:51   way that they are more like blog posts

00:16:53   or they are more like YouTube videos you

00:16:55   know kind of there's lots of things that

00:16:56   you like you said this isn't a new

00:16:59   concept at all like this is the business

00:17:01   model of most kind of media companies

00:17:05   where you know a media company makes a

00:17:07   show like the you know the they they

00:17:09   make Seinfeld and they put it in

00:17:11   syndication in or they've they put it

00:17:14   they put it out on broadcast TV and they

00:17:15   put it into syndication and they sell

00:17:17   DVDs and it's exactly the same thing

00:17:19   that there's kind of reselling over time

00:17:20   and the degree to which an app can be

00:17:23   that I think is it's something that is

00:17:25   fairly self-contained that is built in

00:17:27   this way that doesn't require a lot of

00:17:30   constant updates and maintenance and you

00:17:33   know a fair enough eventually it'll you

00:17:35   know you'll have to do either update it

00:17:37   or it will stop working like that is I

00:17:39   think software has a higher you know a

00:17:42   higher barrier for that versus you know

00:17:43   just like

00:17:44   you know a point plain text file that

00:17:46   you're putting on the web essentially

00:17:49   but it doesn't have this intrinsic knee

00:17:53   that it has to be updated every few

00:17:55   months and in some ways that's

00:17:56   counterproductive that you know we've

00:17:58   talked about many times that the trap of

00:18:00   over featuring an application and having

00:18:02   the sense that there's this urgency that

00:18:04   it always has to be new and better when

00:18:06   in fact maybe it isn't and you can just

00:18:08   kind of let it go and as long as the you

00:18:11   have a customer base that likes the app

00:18:13   that you shipped whenever you shipped it

00:18:15   you know like people still use

00:18:17   audiobooks that I shipped eighteen

00:18:19   months ago and they use it on a regular

00:18:21   basis and it still works and you know

00:18:24   the updates that I'm doing now are in

00:18:26   some ways unnecessary to it there that I

00:18:29   think it's a good thing in in terms of

00:18:32   trying to put on you know bump up that

00:18:35   that rate a little bit and so it'll you

00:18:37   know sort of start decaying from a

00:18:39   higher point again but if I didn't do

00:18:40   anything my guess is they would just

00:18:42   keep going slowly on you know until at

00:18:44   some point it breaks and who knows maybe

00:18:46   iOS 11 would introduce something that

00:18:48   would force it to be updated which you

00:18:50   know fair enough that's that's read the

00:18:52   reason why it was updated 18 months ago

00:18:54   was because that was what iOS 9 broke

00:18:58   something in it and so I had to update

00:19:00   it and I did and I fixed it and then I

00:19:02   haven't done anything since and those

00:19:05   kinds of maintenance updates are so much

00:19:06   easier and so much lighter weight

00:19:08   they're kind of like the big broad

00:19:09   things that you'd have to do if you kind

00:19:11   of have a perspective of you're trying

00:19:13   to grow grow grow and that's your goal I

00:19:15   mean it really does kind of impact like

00:19:18   how you develop everything I mean if

00:19:20   you're thinking about like how can i how

00:19:22   can I design this app and build this app

00:19:25   in such a way that it will require the

00:19:27   least maintenance over time and be the

00:19:29   least likely to to unexpectedly break in

00:19:33   future OS updates or with future changes

00:19:35   to the landscape you know that that that

00:19:37   affects things like for instance like

00:19:39   running off of a Linode server which

00:19:41   actually they're a sponsor this week

00:19:42   which I'll get to in a minute burning

00:19:43   off of a Linode server that is to me

00:19:46   more future-proof than running off of a

00:19:49   service like parse or some kind of like

00:19:51   managed high-end or higher abstraction

00:19:54   layer or service because that landscape

00:19:56   of those services changes all the time

00:19:58   and if you write an app today on like a

00:20:02   higher-level abstracted service in three

00:20:04   years you might have moved on and you're

00:20:07   just leaving this half in maintenance

00:20:08   mode just and hoping it just collects

00:20:09   money over time but then that service

00:20:11   might shut down or do some kind of force

00:20:14   to change that will break your app and

00:20:16   then you're stuck having to decide it

00:20:18   either will do I just shut this app down

00:20:20   completely is it just done now because

00:20:21   it's not worth the investment to move it

00:20:23   to something else or do I you know now

00:20:26   lose a big chunk of this investment to

00:20:29   in to to move it overlay to it do I

00:20:31   invest a bunch of time in it and lose

00:20:32   money on it for a little while to do

00:20:33   this move and like that's if you build

00:20:36   from the start to to try to build on

00:20:39   like boring stable stuff both on the

00:20:42   server side like just doing Linux

00:20:43   servers and also even in the Affleck if

00:20:45   you just use mostly like vanilla UIKit

00:20:47   and you don't do a lot of like fancy

00:20:49   hacks and and you know things that might

00:20:52   break in future iOS updates that also

00:20:54   will help you just you know make sure

00:20:55   that you can keep that going for a long

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00:23:01   yep years and years and years so the

00:23:05   last thing that I think I'll seem like I

00:23:07   would be good to bookend this discussion

00:23:10   with it would also just be to say that

00:23:11   this approach of thinking about an

00:23:14   application as an annuity that you kind

00:23:15   of build and then can kind of leave on

00:23:18   its own for the most part to do lightly

00:23:20   maintain potentially he's probably not

00:23:23   for everybody and I was thinking about

00:23:24   it a little bit this that there's two

00:23:27   groups that I feel like this approach

00:23:28   really wouldn't work for and that is

00:23:31   people who are perfectionists and people

00:23:35   who kind of have the like the growth

00:23:39   mindset in the sense of you kind of have

00:23:41   that vision of the the venture started

00:23:44   kind of company that's trying to be you

00:23:47   know worth a billion dollars and has

00:23:49   that kind of runaway hockey stick magic

00:23:51   fanciness I don't know like those two

00:23:54   groups of people I feel like would not

00:23:56   do well with this kind of approach

00:23:57   because by its nature it is optimizing

00:24:00   for minimizing input and rather than met

00:24:06   trying to maximize output which works

00:24:10   well for me I love like I love that I

00:24:12   can you know sort of once you get a

00:24:15   business to this you know you put in

00:24:17   yours and it takes years to get there

00:24:19   but if you put in years of work with

00:24:20   this kind of mentality you can get to a

00:24:23   point where you're a core business

00:24:26   requires relatively little input and

00:24:29   gives you a steady

00:24:30   you know reliable slightly slightly

00:24:33   decaying overtime but can be bolstered

00:24:35   periodically you know by putting inputs

00:24:37   into the system rather than something

00:24:40   that is growing in a month after month

00:24:43   year after year it's a call we should

00:24:44   need to be doubling every six months or

00:24:45   whatever like this is not a been

00:24:48   approach or a mindset a foreign

00:24:50   application that will lead to that kind

00:24:53   of a result and I think in our next

00:24:55   episode like I said at the beginning of

00:24:56   this one if you're looking to see you

00:24:57   know to sell an application or have to

00:24:59   have a big exit or something like you

00:25:01   might do structure your application in

00:25:02   your approach differently than this but

00:25:04   you know you can work for some people

00:25:06   work for others and I think also if

00:25:08   you're a perfectionist if you're someone

00:25:09   who just wants to keep tinkering and

00:25:11   polishing over and over and over again

00:25:13   and keep working on something until it's

00:25:16   you know it's almost like the the

00:25:19   asymptote that you're approaching is

00:25:21   perfection rather than looking at it the

00:25:24   other way around of kind of like hitting

00:25:25   good enough and then just letting it

00:25:27   slide on to night you know into the

00:25:29   future that's probably not for you

00:25:31   either yeah I mean it's in many ways

00:25:36   this it's kind of like the the

00:25:37   culmination of everything we've been

00:25:39   trying to teach the audience for this

00:25:41   entire podcast of the show so far is

00:25:45   like when you're an indie if you want to

00:25:49   optimize your limited resources you have

00:25:51   not you have no other staff where you

00:25:53   have very little other staff you don't

00:25:56   have a huge amount of cash with VC money

00:25:58   to like build up stuff at a large scale

00:26:01   very quickly you know upfront and so in

00:26:04   order to optimize your limited resources

00:26:07   and especially mostly your limited time

00:26:08   it does help to have these qualities to

00:26:11   to really not be a perfectionist and to

00:26:14   be willing to ship something that is

00:26:17   that is good enough and then to decide

00:26:19   afterwards you know what now I that's

00:26:23   kind of done or at least seems to be

00:26:26   done for a while and now I could move on

00:26:28   and do something else or I can I can

00:26:30   move on to you know feature expansion to

00:26:33   expand into new markets instead of doing

00:26:34   things like perfectly sending down every

00:26:37   every single individual feature to be

00:26:39   totally perfect in a lot of ways the

00:26:44   whole point of the show is to tell

00:26:45   people like if you want to run a

00:26:46   business the way we do and especially

00:26:50   the way you do then this is how you do

00:26:53   it this is like it is possible to make a

00:26:56   living in the App Store but if you do it

00:26:59   in these other ways that might be more

00:27:01   high-profile it's harder and it's less

00:27:04   likely to succeed

00:27:05   where's if you do it this way where

00:27:07   you're really just building up a whole

00:27:08   bunch of you know asymptotes of of

00:27:11   gradual income from from a larger

00:27:14   quantity of apps that that are not

00:27:16   necessarily all perfect but you can get

00:27:18   them all to be good enough and to be

00:27:19   long-term businesses that is actually a

00:27:22   way more likely approach to succeed in

00:27:25   the App Store

00:27:25   then then you know hoping that you are

00:27:29   gonna be the the new you know tank game

00:27:31   that makes a million dollars in a day

00:27:34   yeah okay and I think it's the biggest

00:27:37   like adjective that comes to mind is in

00:27:39   this approach is tolerance and it's like

00:27:43   it's being okay with like living with

00:27:47   letting things go and being like this is

00:27:49   fine I think this is good enough and

00:27:50   being and you know being honest with

00:27:53   yourself about that and having that as

00:27:54   your goal and you know I know that

00:27:56   that's that's not the approach that

00:27:57   everyone feels comfortable with or will

00:27:59   take and I think especially the Apple to

00:28:02   Apple Developer community at least early

00:28:06   on and from imagiknit certainly to some

00:28:08   degree this has a bit of the the

00:28:11   mentality that they kind of in from

00:28:14   Apple and the way they build things

00:28:15   which is not this at all like this is in

00:28:18   no way I think the approach that Apple

00:28:19   builds most of their products that they

00:28:22   take the other extreme of like the IV

00:28:25   highly highly engineered highly polished

00:28:27   approach to something that's a premium

00:28:29   product and like that works and that

00:28:32   model like the premium product market

00:28:35   works clearly you know it works for

00:28:36   Apple it works for Tiffany's you can

00:28:38   think of any number of car car

00:28:40   manufacturers that take that approach

00:28:42   and like that works but I think it

00:28:46   struggles when you're a small company

00:28:48   when you're one person to be viable to

00:28:51   be you know it's like when you're

00:28:52   your goal is to kind of win the lottery

00:28:55   or to have that premium approach so many

00:28:58   things have to go right for you that are

00:29:01   outside of your control but if your goal

00:29:04   is more modest and your goal is to say

00:29:06   you know it's like it's it's much less

00:29:08   it much less scary to say my goal is for

00:29:12   an app you know to make an app that

00:29:13   makes 50 dollars a day like that is much

00:29:17   less scary than trying to make an app

00:29:19   that I could you know that makes tens of

00:29:23   thousands of dollars a day and could

00:29:25   potentially be purchased for millions of

00:29:26   dollars like those are big scary things

00:29:28   making it's much smaller much more

00:29:30   modest I think it's a much more

00:29:32   approachable and reasonable thing for

00:29:33   you know some small developers to take

00:29:35   and you know I can speak from experience

00:29:37   that over time it works thanks listening

00:29:41   everybody tune in next week when we talk

00:29:43   about selling your apps instead of

00:29:44   keeping them forever thanks and we will

00:29:46   talk to you next week

00:29:47   bye