Under the Radar

Under the Radar 35: Ideas


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

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

00:00:04   Marco Arment and I'm David Smith under

00:00:06   the radar is never longer than 30

00:00:08   minutes so let's get started so today we

00:00:12   wanted to talk about us something that

00:00:14   is relevant for this time of year

00:00:16   insofar as coming out of WDC looking

00:00:20   forward to this fall when all of these

00:00:22   new technologies all these new platforms

00:00:24   are you know certainly going to be

00:00:25   released this is usually a good time to

00:00:28   think about building something new too

00:00:30   you know to build a new app to explore

00:00:33   something whatever that may be and the

00:00:36   first step in starting a project like

00:00:39   that in diving into building something

00:00:40   is of course coming up with the idea for

00:00:43   what that thing is ideas are a funny

00:00:46   thing I think a lot of people put a bit

00:00:49   too much weight on ideas that you can

00:00:52   kind of it's like you have the concept

00:00:54   of like oh yeah I'm you I'm just the

00:00:55   idea guy kind of a mindset like there

00:00:58   that the idea in and of itself is an

00:00:59   important and valuable thing and while

00:01:02   the idea is useful and an essential part

00:01:05   of building something by and large the

00:01:08   idea for exactly what you actually are

00:01:09   doing is is less important and what you

00:01:13   need to do those whenever you're you

00:01:15   have an idea you haven't I think thought

00:01:16   of you know I'm gonna do this I'm gonna

00:01:17   build an app that does X at least I

00:01:20   found it's important to have a way to

00:01:22   look at that and say is this worth doing

00:01:25   how can I characterize this idea and

00:01:28   understand if it's worth pursuing and

00:01:30   partly what I think we're gonna unpack

00:01:33   today is about how Muir's ago I did an

00:01:36   episode of my previous podcast

00:01:38   developing perspective or I kind of

00:01:39   unpacked this and I came up with a

00:01:40   framework there that I think is a

00:01:42   helpful way to think about this and I

00:01:44   think it's still very relevant and

00:01:46   socially we can kind of update the ideas

00:01:48   in it but essentially and I think about

00:01:51   ideas it's to understand that like

00:01:53   conceptually an idea is either easy or

00:01:55   hard to do in terms of to implement like

00:01:58   we have this concept of I wanted to do

00:02:00   something is that is that a trivial

00:02:02   thing to do or is it a really hard thing

00:02:03   to do and then some ideas have a very

00:02:07   high reward potential and some ideas

00:02:09   have a very low reward potential and so

00:02:12   you end up when you you know you

00:02:13   we have two axes and these sort of

00:02:16   mutually exclusive directions and so you

00:02:18   have the perfect like you know like

00:02:20   business journal concept of like now we

00:02:22   have four quadrants and we can think

00:02:25   about our idea in those four quadrants

00:02:26   because there's some interesting

00:02:28   characteristics of taking an idea and

00:02:30   thinking of it in that way like is this

00:02:32   easy high-reward is this easy low reward

00:02:34   hard low reward or hard high reward and

00:02:38   if you can't think of an idea through

00:02:40   that way you're gonna potentially

00:02:42   struggle to know if it's a good idea to

00:02:44   pursue so before we dive into that

00:02:46   thought I was curious if Marco if you

00:02:48   have ever when you have an idea of to

00:02:51   start something like when you were

00:02:52   thinking of building overcast or when

00:02:54   you were thinking of building Instapaper

00:02:55   or the magazine or any of your sort of

00:02:56   the products that you went all Tamiya

00:02:58   to build when you had the idea did you

00:03:00   think concretely about it before you

00:03:03   start it or did you just get started at

00:03:06   that time for for almost everything I've

00:03:08   done I've just gotten started on it it's

00:03:10   it's only been fairly recent in my life

00:03:13   and career that I've started actually

00:03:14   trying to evaluate these things in a

00:03:17   more objective and honest way before I

00:03:19   just dive in and and devote months or

00:03:21   years to to doing them because it's you

00:03:24   know evaluating your own ideas is really

00:03:27   hard and especially for you know for

00:03:31   people like us who like to build things

00:03:33   and who get pleasure out of building

00:03:34   things it is so easy and so tempting to

00:03:37   just jump in and start doing it and

00:03:39   often you know and often you know that

00:03:41   is that works out well for a lot of

00:03:43   people but there's also a lot of times

00:03:46   where it doesn't because fundamentally

00:03:48   there were some kind of disagreement

00:03:50   between how valuable the idea was in

00:03:53   your head and how valuable the market

00:03:55   decides that it is at once once you put

00:03:57   it out there and it's you know I don't

00:04:00   know if you can really develop that

00:04:01   skill to be able to evaluate your idea

00:04:04   early and and that's part of the

00:04:07   justification for doing like a Minimum

00:04:09   Viable Product early where like rather

00:04:12   than you know having having some grand

00:04:14   idea that you think about for years and

00:04:16   you are waiting for someone to come

00:04:17   along and I don't know pay you a million

00:04:19   dollars for your idea or something which

00:04:20   never happens by the way

00:04:22   I can do a quick diversion right now on

00:04:24   the value of ideas by themselves and

00:04:27   basically any app developer I mean most

00:04:31   of our audience has probably been

00:04:32   pitched somebody's terrible idea before

00:04:34   and you know that they they're like oh I

00:04:37   have this great idea it's a secret

00:04:38   though you gotta promise not to steal it

00:04:39   or actually sometimes it'll make you

00:04:41   sign an NDA before they'll tell you

00:04:43   their idea or they will have patented

00:04:46   their idea or they will think they are

00:04:48   patenting their idea even though they've

00:04:49   only maybe just applied for one or are

00:04:51   thinking about applying for one and all

00:04:54   of these common failings reflect a and

00:04:58   overvaluation of ideas by a lot of

00:05:00   people and the reality is these days

00:05:04   when people ask me to you know sign an

00:05:06   NDA your agree to keep their idea secret

00:05:08   before the Telamon theater I just say no

00:05:09   thanks because what has happened over

00:05:12   the last I don't know 10 years the

00:05:14   people in pitching me to terrible ideas

00:05:16   is I haven't I have literally never

00:05:19   heard an idea from somebody that was

00:05:21   worth agreeing to any kind of terms to

00:05:24   hear the idea it has never happened not

00:05:27   a single time and and the main problem

00:05:30   people have is like you know the the

00:05:33   reason why their idea doesn't exist or

00:05:36   that they know that it does exist and

00:05:38   they just haven't heard of the product

00:05:39   is so often because it's a bad idea or

00:05:43   because it's impossible or because the

00:05:45   market doesn't care and or you know the

00:05:48   more like the cases that these things do

00:05:50   exist and they just didn't notice or

00:05:52   they didn't find the one that existed or

00:05:54   it's something or it did exist but it

00:05:56   failed on it went away and that's also

00:05:57   something worth knowing so the the

00:05:59   actual value of the raw idea it is very

00:06:02   very hard for people to to honestly get

00:06:05   that so as I was saying earlier there is

00:06:07   some value in trying to get something

00:06:10   out there quickly in a minimal way that

00:06:12   will let the market then tell you

00:06:14   whether your idea is good or not but a

00:06:16   lot of times that just isn't possible or

00:06:18   the the the barrier between zero and

00:06:22   Minimum Viable products is just too high

00:06:24   to to be able to take a big risk on

00:06:27   before you have some idea of how good an

00:06:29   idea is so you do have to at some point

00:06:31   to help the skill of evaluating whether

00:06:34   your idea is

00:06:36   actually worth doing or not and I mean

00:06:38   the easiest way to do that is to just

00:06:40   look at the market look at similar

00:06:42   things because I mean if nothing has

00:06:44   ever been done like that before

00:06:46   again chances are you're just not

00:06:48   finding it

00:06:49   but if truly nothing is ever badonk that

00:06:51   don't that before try to find something

00:06:53   that's at least close or at least

00:06:55   similar in some way find some kind of

00:06:57   guidance in the market already to see

00:06:59   like what might the reward for this

00:07:02   actually be and and be honest with

00:07:04   yourself about that - you know like I

00:07:06   mean I mean you're probably the master

00:07:08   of this because you have released so

00:07:10   many apps you have more experience than

00:07:13   anybody I know in putting out an idea

00:07:17   and seeing how it does in the market I

00:07:18   mean how do you how do you address this

00:07:20   so I think the thing that I've come to

00:07:23   learn over the years of shipping lots

00:07:26   and lots and lots of apps is the degree

00:07:29   to which while that the idea itself

00:07:31   doesn't really doesn't really matter

00:07:35   ultimately and by that I mean like there

00:07:38   are many very successful apps in the App

00:07:40   Store that don't do anything novel at

00:07:45   least like ostensibly like they are a

00:07:47   to-do list app they are a weather app so

00:07:50   like I you know like I've made a weather

00:07:53   app which is one of the most kind of

00:07:55   absurd things to do in many ways because

00:07:57   all I had it's like I'm going into a

00:08:00   category where there's an actual like

00:08:03   top-level category in the App Store

00:08:05   saying this is a category of apps like

00:08:07   there isn't a to-do list category like

00:08:09   they all have to get you know shoehorned

00:08:10   into utilities but with weather apps

00:08:12   like there was an actual place in the

00:08:14   App Store that says like here's all of

00:08:15   the weather apps with the implication

00:08:17   that there are a lot of them and there

00:08:20   are and they're all displaying what is

00:08:22   functionally the same thing they're just

00:08:25   displaying it in a different way and so

00:08:28   why did I make him a weather app and

00:08:30   it's like the idea I had for check the

00:08:33   weather the app I'm talking about it was

00:08:35   like a very basic kind of concept of

00:08:36   like I wanted to be able to fly swipe

00:08:39   left and right to see the hourly view

00:08:43   and the daily view and swipe up to get a

00:08:45   radar view that was the only sort of

00:08:48   concept that I had before I started

00:08:52   which as a like if that's if that's all

00:08:55   I have is my idea is a pretty weak thing

00:08:59   like that's not something that you would

00:09:00   imagine it's going to like set the world

00:09:01   on fire and it's so easy to have an

00:09:04   arranged this sometimes with people who

00:09:06   get frustrated with they say oh I wish I

00:09:08   was India I just don't have a good idea

00:09:11   like you don't really need an idea so

00:09:15   much as you just need the willingness to

00:09:17   build something and then in in this is

00:09:20   where gets a bit awkward sometimes from

00:09:21   a developer's perspective it's like you

00:09:23   have to work out not so much what if

00:09:25   your idea is valuable so much as a said

00:09:27   can you sell whatever you it is your

00:09:30   building like at the end of the day is

00:09:32   there enough that's slightly different

00:09:36   in whatever it is you're building that

00:09:38   is going to get the people's attention

00:09:40   and you know how to have a little hook

00:09:42   because that's ultimately more what

00:09:45   you're selling probably than the idea

00:09:46   like if you really did come up with a

00:09:48   truly revolutionary novel idea that no

00:09:52   one has ever thought of or thinker

00:09:54   imagined before like wow that's awesome

00:09:57   like good on you you know you deserve

00:09:59   your accolades your Nobel Prize like

00:10:02   that's great but more likely than not if

00:10:05   you're making an app for the App Store

00:10:06   it's not that like the things that are

00:10:08   these weird out of the blue run away

00:10:11   successes tend to be more like random

00:10:14   like I almost imagine like the idea for

00:10:16   flappy bird right like I doubt the

00:10:19   developer for that sat down and said oh

00:10:21   I have this great genius idea like this

00:10:23   bird that jumps up and down and then

00:10:24   runs into pipes and like this is gonna

00:10:26   be it and I could turned out that was

00:10:28   huge I don't think you could have

00:10:30   characterized that as happen it being

00:10:31   huge ahead of time and so well I think

00:10:35   there's there's some amount of being

00:10:37   able to you to think about it it's so

00:10:39   important as like as a developer to

00:10:42   focus on the thing that is going to be

00:10:43   important isn't so much the idea like

00:10:44   you can have it the worst idea but you

00:10:48   know ingeniously implemented and be more

00:10:51   successful than the best idea poorly

00:10:53   implemented and so when I go through and

00:10:56   I'm thinking about what do I we know is

00:10:57   it do I want to build something it's

00:10:59   usually either you know is this

00:11:01   something

00:11:01   that I like it's it's you know it

00:11:05   scratches my own itch which is usually a

00:11:06   great place to start for an idea that

00:11:08   you have like rather than trying to

00:11:10   imagine a concept that some took far-off

00:11:14   somewhere that like I think people who

00:11:16   do this activity that I'm not really

00:11:19   related to to or you know think about

00:11:22   will do and trying to like project

00:11:26   yourself into that to make some things

00:11:27   like make something that makes sense to

00:11:29   you haven't I haven't think about the

00:11:30   ideas that you have for products or

00:11:32   things that are close and relevant to

00:11:34   you that's scratching it and you are

00:11:36   doing something in a way that you want

00:11:38   because at the very least you'll

00:11:39   understand it and then once you have

00:11:42   those types of ideas like you just just

00:11:44   like build it and you know this is

00:11:46   certainly the like you call it a Minimum

00:11:48   Viable Product or you could just call it

00:11:49   like not getting too stuck in the weeds

00:11:51   but a lot of the way that I've ended up

00:11:53   building things is I worry too I worry a

00:11:56   lot less about if it's a good idea and

00:11:58   maybe a better question is is that you

00:12:01   know could I make a good version of

00:12:02   whatever it is unbuilding like I have a

00:12:04   lot of my ideas for games for example

00:12:06   like I have I mean I have a big my how

00:12:10   many focus lists I have this big list of

00:12:11   things that I have an app idea I put it

00:12:15   in there

00:12:16   and I've been doing this for years and

00:12:18   there's a lot of junk in there there's a

00:12:21   few things that went on subsequently

00:12:24   like other people sort of implemented

00:12:25   the idea that I had had and we're

00:12:27   successful with it which is always kind

00:12:29   of a funny feeling and I think that is

00:12:30   where a lot of people's kind of

00:12:32   secretiveness about things or things can

00:12:34   come from that feeling of like oh man

00:12:36   someone else did what I you know did my

00:12:38   idea it's like well that's simultaneous

00:12:40   invention this is just the way it always

00:12:41   happens yeah all the time all the time

00:12:43   like you're not as special as you think

00:12:44   you are when you have your novel idea

00:12:46   but mostly like I would could like have

00:12:48   great ideas for games but I don't know

00:12:51   how to build a game and I don't really

00:12:53   want to learn how to do that and I don't

00:12:55   think that'd be a constructive use of my

00:12:56   time and so I don't build those things

00:12:58   and that's okay like those are

00:13:02   potentially good ideas but I would have

00:13:04   terrible execution for them so there's

00:13:08   no point of me pursuing those ideas we

00:13:09   want to make sense for me to do and this

00:13:11   is the advice I usually give yeah many

00:13:14   people are kind of asking

00:13:14   subs questions it's like what do you

00:13:16   think you could make a good version of

00:13:18   like what are you an expert in what is a

00:13:21   topic that you know more about than most

00:13:24   other people and there may not be a

00:13:27   martyr like a business case or a market

00:13:29   there which would be unfortunate like

00:13:31   ideally you have this great expertise in

00:13:33   an area that is relevant to a lot of

00:13:36   people but if you either way that's a

00:13:39   great place to start what do you think

00:13:41   about you know is this idea like could I

00:13:43   build a good version of this like do you

00:13:45   understand it could you you know do you

00:13:47   use it a lot like I might like the

00:13:50   imagine part of why you made overcast

00:13:52   because you listened to a lot of

00:13:53   podcasts and so you have a lot of

00:13:54   opinions you have a lot of ideas that

00:13:57   are not the the big idea and maybe

00:13:59   that's multum Utley where I'm heading

00:14:01   with this line of thought is the the big

00:14:04   idea

00:14:05   like the thing that you would like pitch

00:14:06   somebody they're like it's like uber but

00:14:09   for dogs okay that version of the idea

00:14:12   what you're trying to like boil it down

00:14:14   that's not the important part like the

00:14:16   important part is the teeny little

00:14:18   details that you're going to it will go

00:14:21   into actually building that product that

00:14:22   will make it a success or a failure like

00:14:26   those are the parts the little choices

00:14:28   that you're gonna make which you

00:14:30   probably aren't even thinking about when

00:14:32   you start off with like the grand idea

00:14:34   and so the quicker that you can get to a

00:14:36   point that you can say like okay do I

00:14:39   have a good ideas way down at that basic

00:14:41   tactical level for what's what am i

00:14:43   doing that's different or interesting

00:14:45   you know which problem is my actually

00:14:47   solving like that's where the really

00:14:49   interesting work will that will happen

00:14:51   and the sooner you can get to there the

00:14:53   better exactly there's so much like

00:14:55   fretting and focusing and anxiety about

00:14:57   people's ideas but it really does not

00:15:00   like the idea matter so little or in

00:15:04   many cases is so impossible to actually

00:15:07   do like just doing something doing

00:15:10   something boring well is way more

00:15:13   valuable in general and then doing some

00:15:15   crazy awesome idea and and a little tip

00:15:20   here if your idea begins with it's like

00:15:23   X but for Y if X is something worth a

00:15:28   dollars or more just don't even do that

00:15:31   idea because people will just like that

00:15:33   means that that thing is so big that why

00:15:35   people will just use X for that thing

00:15:38   it's just not worth it also there's also

00:15:42   like significant scale issues of like

00:15:44   you know saying something you know

00:15:46   something like like your example it's

00:15:47   it's like uber for dogs like you know

00:15:49   how much is involved in starting a

00:15:50   company like uber

00:15:51   it's like immense scale here that it's

00:15:54   it's so much easier to to do things that

00:15:59   are within the scope of what one person

00:16:01   or a very small company can do and so

00:16:04   many ideas are based on what you see

00:16:05   like in the consumer or web and the

00:16:07   consumer app world but those companies

00:16:09   built themselves up to that over years

00:16:12   and usually with millions and millions

00:16:15   of dollars in funding and with very

00:16:17   large staffs and also with a lot of luck

00:16:19   and timing that that you probably won't

00:16:21   have so it's important to contextualize

00:16:24   your ideas to like just in in time and

00:16:27   in scale you know like you can't build a

00:16:30   new Facebook today because Facebook is

00:16:32   Facebook and Facebook built Facebook 10

00:16:35   years ago 15 years ago like a it's a

00:16:37   different time now and so whatever the

00:16:39   big idea is going to be that you can

00:16:41   start as one person today is not

00:16:44   probably going to resemble a billion

00:16:46   plus dollar company that exists already

00:16:48   today take a quick break here and talk

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00:17:38   and all of real AFM I wanted to talk

00:17:41   about

00:17:42   something that has bitten me before and

00:17:44   that I think a lot of people don't think

00:17:45   about which is so you know we just

00:17:48   finished talking about how you should

00:17:50   you know keep in mind your scale as one

00:17:54   person or as as you know maybe maybe you

00:17:56   have a partner to try and make an app

00:17:58   with you but chances are you're like

00:17:59   between one and three people and you

00:18:01   might you might also be doing this

00:18:02   part-time while you still work a

00:18:03   full-time job to pay the bills so the

00:18:05   scale of what you can do is of course

00:18:07   limited compared to what somebody like

00:18:09   Facebook could do for exams for example

00:18:11   and you mentioned earlier you know like

00:18:13   how you view ideas for games and I do

00:18:16   too and I don't make the games that I

00:18:19   have ideas for for most of the same

00:18:20   reasons you don't meet to give you have

00:18:21   ideas for that we don't know how to make

00:18:23   games in my case I barely even play

00:18:25   games and I might have an idea for a

00:18:28   decent game that sounds like a good idea

00:18:29   but there's a very big difference

00:18:31   between the idea and being able to make

00:18:33   a fun game and then being able to make a

00:18:35   fun game that's successful and one of

00:18:38   the problems even if you are one of the

00:18:41   lucky few who can make a fun successful

00:18:43   game a lot of times this the people who

00:18:47   do this are bitten by a failure to plan

00:18:50   ahead for what happens next

00:18:52   or at least they're surprised what

00:18:54   happens next and in a bad way when

00:18:56   you're planning an app when you're

00:18:57   thinking of an idea when you're choosing

00:18:59   what to do also consider the end game

00:19:02   how does this story end if you succeed

00:19:05   right because you know you can you

00:19:07   you're probably focused on getting from

00:19:09   the present day to the launch day and

00:19:11   what what can you possibly do to make

00:19:13   this thing succeed or to make this thing

00:19:15   good and make people like this thing but

00:19:18   then think about - what happens if you

00:19:20   do succeed does that put you in a place

00:19:23   that you want to be and does this put

00:19:25   you in a business that you want to

00:19:26   operate so for example you launch you

00:19:31   launch some kind of big game based on or

00:19:34   some kind of fun game based on a really

00:19:36   good idea that you had what happens in

00:19:39   the App Store - good ideas they get

00:19:41   copied I think they get copied quickly

00:19:44   and brutally and thoroughly and

00:19:47   shamelessly copy I mean they the the

00:19:49   degree of copying the app store

00:19:51   especially in games is is just brutal

00:19:55   what happens if you have this great idea

00:19:57   for a game you can put it out there you

00:20:00   can even try to patent it or trademark

00:20:02   it and try try to protect it on some

00:20:04   level but your protections won't really

00:20:06   work in the grand scheme of things and

00:20:09   what if you have a good idea if your

00:20:12   idea succeeds at all it'll be copied

00:20:14   immediately so what would you do you

00:20:17   know if you if you release this thing

00:20:18   like are you planning for that or are

00:20:20   you aware that's going to happen are you

00:20:21   okay with that happening what happens if

00:20:23   it does happen can your business survive

00:20:25   will your will your projections about

00:20:27   what this might bring in be changed if

00:20:30   somebody else comes out with the same

00:20:31   thing for free you know if you're

00:20:33   charging something for yours or if

00:20:35   they're just succeeds more you know like

00:20:37   that you can you can look at things like

00:20:38   threes in 2048 and like there's so many

00:20:41   examples of this where like a big game

00:20:43   comes out but then somebody else comes

00:20:45   out or many people come out with like a

00:20:47   free version that is similar even if it

00:20:50   isn't exactly the same it could be it

00:20:51   could just be similar and that version

00:20:53   gets way more attention because it was

00:20:54   free or because it just it caught on

00:20:56   better or something else so you have to

00:20:58   plan for the immediate future of your

00:21:01   app of like what happens a month later

00:21:03   two months later a year later and you

00:21:05   also have to plan for what happens if

00:21:08   this succeeds on an ongoing basis then

00:21:11   what kind of business am I in and what

00:21:12   kind of involvement does that require

00:21:15   what kind of overhead does that require

00:21:17   and in something I want to do and this

00:21:18   is something I failed at in the past

00:21:20   with the magazine in particular where I

00:21:23   was so focused on building the app

00:21:26   building the magazine's app and building

00:21:28   like the technical side of it and the

00:21:29   reading experience that I really didn't

00:21:32   put enough thought into what happens if

00:21:35   this succeeds then then I have to put

00:21:38   out a magazine issue every two weeks

00:21:40   forever like that's a lot of work I have

00:21:42   to be an editor I have to deal with

00:21:44   writers I have to deal with people's

00:21:45   pitches and and I have to you know deal

00:21:48   with payments and processing and editing

00:21:50   and rights management and all so much

00:21:53   stuff it's like that's a lot of work and

00:21:55   I have no experience doing that and I do

00:21:57   I really want to be obligated every two

00:22:00   weeks to be putting out like a big book

00:22:01   block of content and the answer of

00:22:04   course was no this similarly happened to

00:22:08   me on a much

00:22:09   shorter but more intense timescale with

00:22:11   peace my AdBlocker from last summer

00:22:12   which is you know I I released this app

00:22:15   thinking that it would kind of fly under

00:22:18   the radar thing and thinking that it

00:22:21   would kind of you know be a moderate

00:22:23   success maybe you know maybe have a few

00:22:26   tens of thousands of users at most which

00:22:29   would be a great success for most apps

00:22:30   and and that would be and I would just

00:22:33   kind of you know let it kind of run and

00:22:35   put it in low maintenance mode and

00:22:37   forget about it because it wouldn't need

00:22:38   much maintenance allegedly and I I found

00:22:41   out very quickly first of all that that

00:22:43   piece succeeded beyond my wildest

00:22:46   expectations

00:22:47   it was it shot up to the top of the

00:22:49   charts and it was bring in good money

00:22:53   but it was also bringing a lot of

00:22:55   negative attention and exposure to

00:22:58   possible lawsuits and reputation damage

00:23:02   and all sorts of problems that was

00:23:05   bringing with me because it turns out

00:23:06   the ad blocking business is just really

00:23:09   messy and however you fall on the on the

00:23:12   politics of that it is a messy business

00:23:15   to be in and I I didn't quite foresee

00:23:19   that or think about that enough before I

00:23:22   did it

00:23:22   and it turned out I hated being in that

00:23:25   position it was it was like really

00:23:28   really ruining things for me in a lot of

00:23:31   ways just mostly like I couldn't take

00:23:34   the stress of it and and I was it was it

00:23:36   was a bad scene so I I hadn't properly

00:23:38   thought through like is this the

00:23:40   business I really want to be in if this

00:23:42   succeeds and I now as I think about

00:23:46   current and future projects that I do

00:23:48   now I think a lot more about that also

00:23:50   which is like you know so for so much of

00:23:53   my career I was worried about what

00:23:55   happened you know how would this thing

00:23:56   fail and and why would it fail and can I

00:23:58   prevent it from failing but you also

00:24:00   have to think about if it succeeds is

00:24:02   that even where you want to go yeah and

00:24:05   I think there's so much of this to of

00:24:07   there's this I definitely run into this

00:24:10   too and in many ways this is a problem

00:24:12   that I do I think I have I deal with it

00:24:13   from a similar problem but from a

00:24:15   different direction where I like the

00:24:19   thing that I don't keep into a take into

00:24:21   account typically

00:24:22   is that if I build a product and put out

00:24:24   in the store people are gonna expect it

00:24:26   to be updated and and supported and

00:24:29   supported and like that's a perfectly

00:24:30   reasonable thing and I very like a

00:24:33   couple years ago I started to realize

00:24:35   like I've gone through this pattern of

00:24:37   the mirror I have an idea I built it I

00:24:40   put it into the app store so many times

00:24:42   that the number of apps and things that

00:24:44   I am responsible for is there's too much

00:24:49   like it's kind of mind-bending that's

00:24:51   like sometimes I'll you know get a

00:24:53   customer support email for an app and

00:24:55   I'm like what happens this did I build

00:24:58   this like even I forgot about this

00:25:00   like and that's not good like this is

00:25:03   but I definitely ran into that same

00:25:05   problem and so as a result I am much

00:25:07   more careful about committing to a

00:25:10   project and heading down that road than

00:25:13   I used to be like I can imagine like

00:25:15   past past me what if it looked at this

00:25:18   fall and been like oh man look at all

00:25:20   this crazy stuff we can do in messaging

00:25:22   like I need to have like 10 sticker

00:25:23   packs on day one I need to have any kind

00:25:26   of thing I could ever possibly imagine

00:25:28   for iMessage like just throw sort of

00:25:30   like throw all the spaghetti at the wall

00:25:32   and see what sticks and maybe that sort

00:25:36   of works like there's something to it

00:25:37   it's a viable way to sort of test out a

00:25:41   market in in some ways but the

00:25:43   difficulty is making sure that you're

00:25:45   comfortable with what that looks like if

00:25:47   more things stick then you actually are

00:25:50   thinking will stick and being sure that

00:25:54   you're gay like you're saying getting

00:25:55   into businesses that you like because I

00:25:57   think this is a such an easy thing to

00:26:00   like it's so easy to underestimate the

00:26:04   difficulty of success because you it's

00:26:07   so easy to just think of success as the

00:26:10   like it's it's the dancing in the meadow

00:26:13   with oh yeah it's like it's great every

00:26:16   everything just this is exactly what I

00:26:17   wanted like it's it's popular it's been

00:26:20   well respected it's bringing in money

00:26:21   like what could be wrong it's like well

00:26:24   depending on why it's succeeding or what

00:26:28   it is or the time amount of time and

00:26:31   effort that it took for it to succeed

00:26:32   you may not actually like that like I

00:26:35   think of

00:26:36   two of I had the idea when a while a

00:26:39   while back that I wanted to was like you

00:26:41   know I think I could make a really cool

00:26:42   feed reader this was even before Google

00:26:45   Reader announced that they were gonna

00:26:46   close and then started working on it and

00:26:48   then Google Reader and Island State

00:26:49   they're gonna close and I was like great

00:26:52   this is perfect like I've been working

00:26:53   on this project and now there's this

00:26:55   great marketing opportunity so I went

00:26:57   for it like I made feed Wrangler and

00:26:59   well I wouldn't say that I regret making

00:27:01   feed Wrangler and it like it's still

00:27:03   ongoing to this day like it's been a

00:27:05   successful product for me there was a

00:27:07   period where I'd had no idea what it

00:27:09   would mean to actually like have a web

00:27:12   service that's you know at any amount in

00:27:14   any appreciable scale and so I spent the

00:27:17   better part of you know a few months

00:27:18   like hardly sleeping hardly seeing my

00:27:22   family like constantly dealing with

00:27:23   server fires and scaling issues and like

00:27:26   that's great insofar as like I released

00:27:29   it and people liked it and so it was

00:27:32   successful but I wasn't prepared for

00:27:34   that success and so in many ways that

00:27:39   would probably have a great idea and I

00:27:40   think ultimately a lot of these things

00:27:42   kind of in my mind they feed back into

00:27:44   this part of me that's it's like the the

00:27:47   classic like a fear of missing out kind

00:27:49   of a mindset where when I think of say

00:27:51   even feed Wrangler like yeah at the time

00:27:55   I had such this anxiety about well I

00:27:58   have the ability to do this and I could

00:28:01   do it and if I don't like someone else

00:28:03   will and they may be really successful

00:28:05   and like the fear of missing that

00:28:08   opportunity may clouded my judgment as

00:28:11   to what I was actually getting involved

00:28:12   in and I think that is a pattern that

00:28:15   happens you know more often than we

00:28:17   wished it did where it's easy to focus

00:28:21   on like like somebody is like somebody

00:28:24   this fall is gonna make a sticker pack

00:28:26   that's gonna make thousands of dollars

00:28:28   almost certainly like just look at the

00:28:31   top paid list in the App Store and kind

00:28:34   of it blows my mind a little bit like

00:28:35   the things that are making lots of money

00:28:37   in the App Store these days like the App

00:28:39   Store is a weird place but that's the

00:28:40   topic for another day but just because

00:28:43   that's maybe true it doesn't mean that I

00:28:46   want to get into that business and be

00:28:48   chasing whatever it's going to be

00:28:50   successful there I need to be

00:28:51   comfortable saying you know what I'm

00:28:53   gonna miss out I'm gonna choose to miss

00:28:54   out on that potential opportunity and

00:28:57   focus on something a business that I

00:28:58   want to be in a business that I think

00:29:00   isn't just a good idea but it's an idea

00:29:02   that I want to live with going forward

00:29:04   and can see myself being in this

00:29:06   industry you know being in a bit like

00:29:08   right now I make health and fitness apps

00:29:09   and I love making health and fitness

00:29:11   apps like that's my focus and I can see

00:29:13   being in that focus for a you know

00:29:14   forever because it's rewarding it's fun

00:29:17   it's personal it's great like that's the

00:29:20   way that I can look at these ideas and

00:29:21   say are they worth doing can I live with

00:29:24   it you know for the rest of my life is

00:29:25   sensibly are these for the rest of my

00:29:26   career and that's what I didn't do with

00:29:29   peace and now I've learned there you go

00:29:31   good learning experience

00:29:32   alright we're out of time this week

00:29:34   thanks for listening everybody and we

00:29:36   will talk to you next week

00:29:37   bye