Under the Radar

53: Seasonality


00:00:00   Welcome to Under the Radar, a show about independent iOS app development.

00:00:03   I'm Marco Arment.

00:00:05   And I'm David Smith.

00:00:06   Under the Radar is never longer than 30 minutes, so let's get started.

00:00:09   So today, as we were sort of right now at the beginning of November,

00:00:13   it seemed a good time to talk a little bit about seasonality

00:00:17   and the way seasonality can apply both to our work in terms of the things

00:00:22   we're doing, what we're promoting, and the timing of when we launch

00:00:25   new products or updates, as well as a little bit just the seasonality

00:00:28   of the work itself and the way that kind of works for us.

00:00:30   But especially, it's something that comes to mind because in the early days

00:00:35   of the App Store, perhaps in the first maybe three or four years,

00:00:39   there was a very strong seasonality to downloads and sales,

00:00:45   and especially in the sense that the day--

00:00:46   Christmas Day, the day after Christmas were massively huge sales days for me

00:00:53   back in those days.

00:00:54   And it was a reliable, predictable thing that I would need as best I could

00:01:00   to gear my entire business towards being available then,

00:01:02   because those few days would make up a non-insignificant percentage

00:01:07   of my revenue for the year.

00:01:08   It wasn't like 50% of my revenue.

00:01:09   It was maybe like 10% of my revenue.

00:01:10   But still, getting 10% of your revenue in one week of the year

00:01:14   meant that it was very important to line everything up.

00:01:17   And I remember doing lots of work where, especially back when App Review

00:01:20   could take a very long time.

00:01:24   You'd be looking at at least 10 days-ish for a review.

00:01:27   And so you'd have all these things that I needed to line up

00:01:30   to get submitted at the very latest by the beginning of December

00:01:34   so that I could make sure if I had a rejection cycle,

00:01:37   I could get it approved in time.

00:01:38   And you'd kind of be in this mindset towards that.

00:01:42   And then I would say, increasingly, that is less the way I think,

00:01:47   I think both because the impact of that has perhaps diminished slightly.

00:01:53   But also, I just think about seasonality a bit more generally now.

00:01:56   And I think it's probably helpful to not just view it

00:02:00   as everything is on that one day.

00:02:03   But I think there is something to be said for thinking about your product

00:02:06   and thinking about, are there events or things

00:02:10   that you can latch onto that would make sense to time with your launch?

00:02:14   And two, also in terms of promotion with Apple,

00:02:17   because this is something that I started to think about a lot more recently,

00:02:20   is how it's like the Apple App Store editorial team's job

00:02:26   is to find things that they can promote and to promote

00:02:30   in a relevant way for them.

00:02:32   And they're always looking, they're putting together constantly

00:02:34   these different sort of lists and bundles of applications to try and promote.

00:02:38   And thinking of ways to time things so that I can be part of that

00:02:42   has become something that it seems like increasingly makes sense.

00:02:44   But it is still something that I think about as we're coming into the end

00:02:49   of the year.

00:02:50   And I still have in the back of my mind,

00:02:53   is everything going to be lined up?

00:02:54   Is everything going to be ready?

00:02:56   And I think in general, there's a strange aspect to that of,

00:03:00   I probably should always be worried about making sure that everything

00:03:02   is buttoned down and ready.

00:03:04   But at least maybe these little seasonality things

00:03:06   are good reminders to me that I'm starting to think,

00:03:08   like, what are the App Store ratings looking like in all my apps?

00:03:11   Are there things that I should do to make sure that's the case?

00:03:14   If I've had an update with a bad set of reviews for whatever reason,

00:03:17   like, do I need to get an update out, reset my reviews,

00:03:20   and then try and market around improving that rating?

00:03:23   Like, all these little things that are probably good to do all year round,

00:03:26   but especially probably good to do around big events

00:03:29   when sales or downloads are going to be higher.

00:03:31   - Yeah, but I mean, as you mentioned,

00:03:33   it is really hard to tell when those times are going to be now.

00:03:36   I mean, the few obvious, predictable ones are things like the holiday season

00:03:41   and new iPhone or new iPad releases.

00:03:45   I would say those are the big ones.

00:03:46   But even those, I think the reason why that we've seen over time

00:03:51   things like Christmas Day and Christmas Week being lower than in previous years,

00:03:55   I think the main reason why is that we're seeing fewer people

00:03:59   who are getting their very first iOS device on these big holidays.

00:04:02   I think there's much more people who are just getting replacement or upgrade devices,

00:04:08   or new customers might be just being more spread out

00:04:12   throughout the rest of the year now who are new to the platform,

00:04:15   like people who are converting from Android if they want to and stuff like that.

00:04:18   So when you get your very first device, you go on an app spree

00:04:23   and you go get a bunch of apps that you might like

00:04:25   and might want to fill it up or whatever.

00:04:26   And when you're just getting a new phone for the year

00:04:29   or your second or third iPad, then there's less,

00:04:34   there's a lot less of that new app spree that you go on.

00:04:38   And so I think that plays a big part of why

00:04:41   major gift giving holidays are no longer a big thing for most app developers.

00:04:46   But a new iOS device release obviously can be,

00:04:50   especially if you're, like you often do,

00:04:53   if you're taking advantage of a new API or a new type of app

00:04:57   that just became available with new hardware,

00:04:59   then obviously you're starting basically from zero.

00:05:03   So those days you'll have really big,

00:05:04   those long days you'll have really big potential there.

00:05:08   But I think it's also harder to tell now

00:05:11   because we're seeing our income be spread out more

00:05:15   as we switch more to ad-based

00:05:18   and in-app purchase-based revenue models.

00:05:20   If you had what we used to have, pretty much all of it,

00:05:24   which was paid up front apps.

00:05:26   Paid up front apps did really great on Christmas day

00:05:28   because you paid to get the app right then,

00:05:30   you wanted to use it.

00:05:31   These days if you get,

00:05:33   you might get increased downloads that day,

00:05:35   but your revenue might not show that for a while.

00:05:38   So it's all kind of blending together now.

00:05:40   But I think ultimately what it comes down to is

00:05:42   the saturation of the app store,

00:05:46   so you know, which makes everything harder,

00:05:48   makes all the competition tighter and everything,

00:05:50   and makes each individual app have kind of lower peaks,

00:05:53   I think.

00:05:54   And also just the fact that so many people

00:05:57   already have iOS devices,

00:05:59   and the new sales are more to people

00:06:01   who were existing customers than new customers.

00:06:04   - Yeah, there is still something that I see

00:06:08   that in my own sort of even experience of the app store,

00:06:12   that I do think there is still an element of,

00:06:14   and maybe it's less seasonality

00:06:16   and more event-driven downloads.

00:06:19   I see myself like,

00:06:20   the one that always comes to mind for me

00:06:24   is whenever there's a hurricane threatening the United States,

00:06:29   the top, like all of a sudden the top charts are full

00:06:33   of radar apps, right?

00:06:35   Which is something that is not a predictable, reliable season,

00:06:39   but there's these periods of increased interest

00:06:42   in an application category

00:06:44   that definitely still have huge impacts on downloads.

00:06:48   And I mean, I do a lot of health and fitness stuff.

00:06:50   And so the beginning of January,

00:06:53   just in the same way that a lot of people go

00:06:55   and get gym memberships,

00:06:56   and then never use them again,

00:06:58   but a lot of people will go and download

00:06:59   health and fitness apps at the beginning of January

00:07:02   when they're saying like,

00:07:03   "Hey, I'm gonna start a new thing, I'm gonna whatever."

00:07:05   Like for my case, it's like,

00:07:06   "I'm gonna start counting my steps or being more active."

00:07:08   Or whatever that may be.

00:07:10   Like there's this, certainly this uptick in it,

00:07:12   or there's just those event-based things.

00:07:16   But I think in both cases,

00:07:18   there is certainly still this element

00:07:19   where it's possible to have these big spikes

00:07:23   in your downloads.

00:07:24   And so like for me, I know I need to think about it as,

00:07:26   if I have anything that's sort of

00:07:28   real health and fitness-related,

00:07:30   it should be as tight and buttoned down

00:07:31   as it can possibly be by the middle to the end of December.

00:07:35   Because January 1st is a big time for me.

00:07:38   And I imagine similarly,

00:07:39   maybe if you're working on a weather or radar app,

00:07:41   it's like making sure that you're nice and put into place

00:07:45   before hurricane and the hurricane season starts,

00:07:48   or before big winter storms might be coming.

00:07:50   Sort of like whenever there's this external thing,

00:07:52   it's just probably good to be aware of.

00:07:54   'Cause I know for a lot of my planning,

00:07:56   when I'm just kind of doing things,

00:07:58   it's so easy to just kind of,

00:07:59   I'm just kind of working on it until it's ready.

00:08:02   And one of the benefits of being self-employed

00:08:05   is that I can just work on it until it's ready

00:08:07   and then ship it out and lose sight of the fact that

00:08:10   there are these opportunities that are coming.

00:08:13   And even another thing that comes to mind even is,

00:08:16   if one day I'd ever hope to win an Apple Design Award,

00:08:20   for example,

00:08:21   there's a certain timing that I should probably be having

00:08:24   in the back of my mind as I'm building my products,

00:08:26   if that's something that I wanted to work towards.

00:08:28   Because I imagine they're looking for apps

00:08:30   that are probably majorly updated or released,

00:08:33   probably between the latest iOS launch and the spring.

00:08:39   Like that's when they're gonna be most looking for those things

00:08:42   that are gonna fill the slots that they wanna promote

00:08:44   and hold up as examples of things.

00:08:47   But even if it's not necessarily something

00:08:48   that I'm trying to do,

00:08:49   there's some value to have I taken the step back

00:08:52   from what you're making and saying,

00:08:53   is there a timing element to this

00:08:57   that I should be aware of?

00:08:59   And not necessarily I could kill myself to make happen,

00:09:01   like, oh no, I absolutely have to get this shipped

00:09:03   in the next two weeks or it's all gonna fall apart.

00:09:05   Like if that's your business plan,

00:09:07   that's probably flawed.

00:09:09   But at the very least, it's looking at it and being like,

00:09:12   is there something that I should be aware of

00:09:13   that I'm gonna kick myself for not being aware of

00:09:16   if I don't take it into account now?

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00:11:33   - All right, and the other aspect of seasonality

00:11:36   that seemed like might be worth unpacking a little bit

00:11:39   is the way that, I think even my own work,

00:11:43   I imagine your work too, Marco, can be very seasonal,

00:11:48   especially when you're not employed

00:11:51   in a typical profession, where obviously,

00:11:53   like my work was not really seasonal

00:11:54   when I had a nine to five job.

00:11:56   I went in and I worked ostensibly anyway

00:11:58   from nine to five every day.

00:12:00   - I was gonna say, I'm pretty sure mine was seasonal.

00:12:02   Just my bosses didn't necessarily know that

00:12:05   or they were doing their best to pretend

00:12:07   like they didn't notice that.

00:12:08   - Yeah, but there is an element when you're self-employed

00:12:11   that that illusion doesn't work quite as well,

00:12:14   where you really, like at least I know for myself,

00:12:18   like my productivity and my motivation,

00:12:21   the way in which I seem to be able

00:12:23   to actually get things done,

00:12:24   can tend to have a certain seasonality to it,

00:12:26   where there are periods of time during the year

00:12:29   where I'm just like really killing it

00:12:31   and writing interesting, writing great updates,

00:12:35   new code, all these things, like everything's working well

00:12:37   and there'll be periods of time

00:12:39   when it just doesn't happen.

00:12:40   And the difficulty I think is both

00:12:44   in being aware of that as a thing

00:12:47   and then so that you're not surprised by it

00:12:50   or sort of beating yourself up when like,

00:12:53   man, I'm just really not getting a lot of work done

00:12:55   and being like, okay, this is fine,

00:12:57   this is something that happens.

00:12:58   But then also probably good to have the element

00:13:01   of planning around that and thinking about

00:13:04   like if you have control over your schedule,

00:13:06   what would an ideal schedule be?

00:13:08   Adapting it to yourself.

00:13:10   'Cause I feel like it's so easy to fall into the pattern of,

00:13:14   and this is something I still struggle with,

00:13:16   of the feeling that like 40 hours of work

00:13:20   is the thing that I'm trying to always get out of me

00:13:24   every week, irrespective of whether that makes sense,

00:13:27   both in terms of how I feel, physically, health-wise, et cetera,

00:13:31   what's going on in my life personally,

00:13:32   what's going on in the world.

00:13:33   There's lots of things that I think can either encourage

00:13:38   or motivate good and effective work

00:13:41   or demotivate and kind of take that out of you.

00:13:44   And kind of planning around that is something that's probably

00:13:46   a wise and useful thing to do,

00:13:49   because it's a strange thing to think of in some ways.

00:13:53   If I boil down, the most important work

00:13:58   I've probably done in my business has likely been done,

00:14:02   it's probably in maybe about six weeks or so

00:14:06   over the last eight years.

00:14:10   In the sense that the first versions of most of my most successful apps,

00:14:15   so the first app that I ever had that was successful

00:14:17   was an app called Audiobooks, which is an audiobook player.

00:14:20   And I wrote it in a week between,

00:14:24   I was doing consulting at the time,

00:14:25   and I had a period, and consulting is inevitably the case,

00:14:29   where I had a contract end,

00:14:30   I had about a week before my next contract started,

00:14:33   and I was like, "You know, I'm just going to work on this app idea

00:14:35   that I have for that week."

00:14:36   And I was like, "In that one week, I built the basic version of the app,

00:14:39   and I put it in the App Store, and that app turned out to be

00:14:42   probably the most downloaded app I've ever had,

00:14:46   and if it isn't, it's definitely the second most."

00:14:49   And it was the app that turned app development from a sideline

00:14:55   or a small part of my business into my primary business.

00:14:57   That was in one week's work.

00:14:59   And similarly with Perimeter,

00:15:00   like I wrote that app in about a little over a week,

00:15:03   or about a week, because it was announced at the keynote

00:15:07   when they announced the 5S,

00:15:08   and then I had a week until the 5S launched,

00:15:11   and that was all I had to build the app.

00:15:12   And there's a few other periods like that,

00:15:15   where you can have these really focused, intensive periods

00:15:18   that, at least for me, have been really impactful and important.

00:15:21   And that's a strange thought, when I try and unpack it,

00:15:25   and be like, "Wow, my career, what have I been doing for the other

00:15:28   whatever, eight years, minus six weeks of my life?"

00:15:31   I don't want to think about it too much,

00:15:33   but I think there is something that's good about thinking about it

00:15:35   and being aware that your work is not necessarily this...

00:15:40   The nature of being a software developer

00:15:44   is not like we're building a wall or something,

00:15:47   where all we need to do is we go over here,

00:15:49   we pick up a brick, we walk over to the wall,

00:15:51   we put a little plaster down, we put the next brick,

00:15:53   and we walk back and forth.

00:15:54   And we can keep doing that, really, no matter what.

00:15:56   We can just keep adding bricks,

00:15:58   and the rate at which we add bricks is how much progress we made.

00:16:00   When was the last time you saw a construction project?

00:16:02   I don't know.

00:16:05   It'd be wonderful if they just kept going until they were complete

00:16:07   with no random interruptions and long breaks of seemingly nothing happening.

00:16:11   No, because that's not software development at all.

00:16:15   That's not the way that our work goes,

00:16:17   where it's this very creative, esoteric...

00:16:21   Sometimes you just kind of get the idea,

00:16:23   and you get in a flow, and you can really do some cool work.

00:16:25   And then at other times, you just really can't.

00:16:28   Yeah.

00:16:29   My issue with this...

00:16:32   Some of it is seasonal, for sure.

00:16:34   There are certain times where I have a lot more family obligations,

00:16:39   or family events to do, things like around summer vacation,

00:16:43   or around winter holidays.

00:16:44   Any kind of travel, obviously, is a huge deal,

00:16:48   in terms of what it does to my productivity,

00:16:50   which is generally bring it to zero.

00:16:51   So that's a big deal.

00:16:55   But my problem more is not necessarily all the family stuff.

00:16:58   It's all the just unexpected stuff,

00:17:02   or everyday distractions, or everyday errands,

00:17:05   or things like that,

00:17:06   where I find that my schedule is basically perforated

00:17:11   with lots of scattered holes.

00:17:13   And sometimes I can really buckle down

00:17:17   and just get it done anyway,

00:17:18   get everything done that I need to do anyway.

00:17:19   But just the reality of everyday family life,

00:17:24   especially when you work at home,

00:17:25   and when you want to be heavily involved in your childcare,

00:17:30   then there's a lot of holes in the schedule, basically.

00:17:33   It's very hard to get long blocks

00:17:36   and to really make that work.

00:17:38   And a lot of it is also just self-imposed.

00:17:41   I mean, a lot of it is just that I'm not a very focused person.

00:17:44   I'm very easily distracted.

00:17:46   I don't have an incredibly strong work ethic.

00:17:48   So the idea of just sitting down with a strong routine

00:17:52   during the time I do have,

00:17:53   even that doesn't always work out for me.

00:17:55   And then you have other problems.

00:17:58   You have things like, I mean, not to make this political

00:18:01   with the current political events,

00:18:03   but you have things like national events that happen

00:18:06   that can really change either your ability to work

00:18:12   or your motivation or your mood.

00:18:14   Or it can be like, for instance,

00:18:18   if you were marketing an app

00:18:21   and if you wanted to launch an app

00:18:22   right after this US presidential election

00:18:26   that just happened,

00:18:27   the day after it happened,

00:18:29   if your app tends to appeal to liberal people,

00:18:34   would be a terrible day to launch that.

00:18:36   Because it's kind of a day of mourning

00:18:39   for the side that loses a presidential election.

00:18:41   Or if there's a big national tragedy of some kind,

00:18:45   if there's a shooting or something like that.

00:18:47   You try to avoid some kind of natural disaster.

00:18:51   Trying to launch an app or do anything like that day

00:18:54   is probably a bad idea.

00:18:56   So there's all sorts of other factors

00:18:58   that will come into your life and your schedule

00:19:01   and will disrupt your plans.

00:19:03   And you have to have enough padding

00:19:05   and you have to have enough slack in the plans

00:19:08   that you can accommodate for these things when they come.

00:19:10   And you won't always.

00:19:11   Sometimes these things just come at the worst possible times

00:19:14   or they're completely unexpected or whatever else.

00:19:16   But you have to have slack in your plans

00:19:19   for unhurtted events like that.

00:19:21   And because regardless of whether you want them to happen,

00:19:25   they will happen and you should be ready for that.

00:19:27   But ultimately when it comes down to everyday motivation,

00:19:32   I'm just really inconsistent.

00:19:34   I will have some days or weeks that I'm just on fire.

00:19:38   And I just get tons done.

00:19:41   And I will do an entire major version of Overcast.

00:19:45   Like 3.0, I can do a good chunk of the work for 3.0

00:19:52   in two weeks.

00:19:53   But it'll take me six months to ship it.

00:19:55   Because I have so much other stuff that I'm juggling

00:19:58   and balancing and doing in fits and spurts and attempting

00:20:01   and then that didn't work so I gotta roll it back,

00:20:04   try a different approach or whatever else.

00:20:05   Or I'll just have a month where I have so much family stuff

00:20:11   and slacking going on that I just don't get anything done.

00:20:14   It's all, I'm all over the map on that.

00:20:17   And it's part of the reason why I typically look back

00:20:21   on the time that I have spent.

00:20:23   I'll look back on a year and be like,

00:20:25   what did I do this entire year?

00:20:26   And I'm usually not happy with the amount that I got done

00:20:31   in software development.

00:20:33   I'm very proud of things like podcasts

00:20:35   'cause I'm kinda forced to do those on a schedule.

00:20:36   (laughs)

00:20:37   'Cause I do them with other people.

00:20:38   And there's sponsors and everything.

00:20:39   So there's an enforced schedule on that.

00:20:41   But the stuff that's more flexible,

00:20:43   I'm usually less proud of because I just,

00:20:47   I don't have a strong work ethic that makes me sit down

00:20:51   and have these large blocks of uninterrupted work time

00:20:54   consistently.

00:20:55   Like I'll have those sometimes.

00:20:56   But I don't have them consistently.

00:20:57   But I think that's mostly my personality.

00:21:00   - Yeah, and I think there is something to be said, though,

00:21:03   too, for, and I don't think we touched on this last week

00:21:05   when we were talking about learning.

00:21:07   But there is something that I noticed for myself, too,

00:21:09   of my, it's easy to get stuck where you can do

00:21:14   the interesting part of a problem or the part

00:21:16   that's exciting to you.

00:21:18   - Yep.

00:21:18   - And then you hit a point where you,

00:21:20   or having to do something that you don't really wanna do,

00:21:24   and you suddenly, your motivation somehow magically

00:21:28   disappears.

00:21:28   And you're just like, oh, I'm suddenly very,

00:21:30   like this little distractible puppy that's just like,

00:21:33   oh, there's a butterfly.

00:21:33   Let me run around after it.

00:21:35   - This is every time I've ever touched WatchKit.

00:21:38   (laughs)

00:21:39   It's just this barrier.

00:21:40   - Suddenly there's butterflies all around your office.

00:21:41   - What else can I possibly do besides WatchKit?

00:21:44   (laughs)

00:21:45   - Yeah.

00:21:46   But I think it's important to understand that about ourselves

00:21:49   where I've done that enough times that,

00:21:52   or the first couple times that that would happen,

00:21:55   I don't think I had any self-awareness that

00:21:57   what I'm doing is avoiding work

00:21:59   because I don't actually wanna work.

00:22:01   And the times that I'm very productive,

00:22:03   it's usually because I'm really excited or interested,

00:22:06   and you kind of get into these modes where all I think about

00:22:09   is the problem I'm trying to solve.

00:22:10   And it's the, it can almost be annoying where

00:22:12   I'm trying to do something else,

00:22:14   and the thought keeps popping into my head.

00:22:16   Like, oh, what if I did this over here?

00:22:18   What if I did that over there?

00:22:19   And then I'm in the shower,

00:22:20   and I'm writing notes on the glass in the shower door,

00:22:24   being like, these are things that I'm thinking about.

00:22:26   If you're excited and motivated about what you're working on,

00:22:30   you're gonna be so much more productive and effective at it.

00:22:33   And that's something that I think for myself,

00:22:34   I've started to be very,

00:22:38   just try and be more conscious about this.

00:22:41   And it's only somewhat helpful

00:22:42   because there's still necessarily going to be times

00:22:43   that you have to do things that you don't want to do.

00:22:45   But at the very least, if I can tell myself,

00:22:49   like have the sort of the metacognition to say,

00:22:51   like, the reason I'm taking longer to do this

00:22:55   is because I'm not motivated to do it.

00:22:58   And at the very least, then it gives me an opportunity

00:23:00   to look at it and say,

00:23:02   is this really something I want to do?

00:23:03   Is this something that I should be doing?

00:23:08   And I can make a decision and a choice,

00:23:10   and I can actually make the choice about it

00:23:11   rather than just kind of pretending that it's not there

00:23:15   and pretending that the actual reason I'm not working

00:23:17   or the actual reason I'm not making progress

00:23:19   is because of something else,

00:23:22   something out of my control or something in my family

00:23:24   or whatever it is that like,

00:23:25   sometimes those things are just gonna impose themselves upon you.

00:23:29   And sometimes I feel like for myself,

00:23:31   I can go seeking out those distractions

00:23:33   or those things to pull me away

00:23:35   because I don't actually care.

00:23:37   And I think having some degree of intentionality

00:23:41   is helpful.

00:23:42   Like, I know for myself, it's not like it's this cure-all

00:23:44   because even if the answer is like,

00:23:47   I don't want to do this because I don't want to do this,

00:23:49   but I still have to do this,

00:23:50   then, well, I'm kind of stuck

00:23:52   and I just have to kind of transition into more like,

00:23:55   I don't know, like crisis management of like,

00:23:57   how can I trick myself into thinking this is exciting

00:24:01   and get it done?

00:24:03   But at the very least, I can be aware of it

00:24:05   and try and make some conscious choices about it,

00:24:07   that when I get into these kind of these funks

00:24:09   and these seasons where I'm just not getting anything done,

00:24:12   maybe it's helpful to just think about it,

00:24:15   at least from that perspective.

00:24:16   - And I think, kind of wrapping it up

00:24:18   back to the beginning part of the show,

00:24:21   I think one of the things that helps a lot

00:24:22   is a pretty strong externally imposed deadline.

00:24:24   That's one of the very strong motivators I have,

00:24:27   is like, if I'm trying to get an app or an update out

00:24:32   and it has to make it,

00:24:35   or I really should for business reasons make it

00:24:37   in time for the next iOS update or the next iPhone

00:24:40   or the next holiday season or whatever the case may be,

00:24:42   as we mentioned earlier,

00:24:43   that is often one of the only ways

00:24:45   I can really be motivated to do something like,

00:24:48   this is something that I'm just not,

00:24:50   that I'm not motivated to do,

00:24:51   like some feature I don't want to do

00:24:53   or some like nitty gritty detail

00:24:55   that I just don't find interesting to work on

00:24:57   or that I know is going to be tedious to work on.

00:24:59   Having an externally imposed deadline

00:25:03   or some other external pressure to do it

00:25:06   is often necessary.

00:25:08   It's certainly helpful.

00:25:09   As indies, we often don't have that,

00:25:12   especially if things are going generally okay,

00:25:15   if we're making enough money to survive

00:25:17   and to stay in business,

00:25:19   it's hard to be motivated by many other external factors

00:25:23   for things like feature updates,

00:25:24   'cause what do you really,

00:25:26   right now there's nobody pressuring me

00:25:30   to get Overcast 3.0 out the door, nobody.

00:25:32   I have no reason to do it except that

00:25:35   I assume at some point I will have competition so strong

00:25:39   that I need to answer to it with my own updates

00:25:43   or whatever else,

00:25:44   but besides that, the main motivation

00:25:46   for getting Overcast 3.0 out the door is myself.

00:25:48   I am doing, I think, better things in it

00:25:52   and I want everyone to see these things

00:25:55   and to use these things and to,

00:25:56   I want the app to be better

00:25:58   and that's a great motivation

00:25:59   and if you don't have that motivation,

00:26:01   I think you're in trouble for lots of other reasons,

00:26:03   but that is not a rush.

00:26:05   That doesn't impose any kind of timeline on you

00:26:07   and it's very easy to fall into the trap of like,

00:26:10   well, I can just make it a little bit better,

00:26:13   just a little bit better,

00:26:13   and oh, if I don't release it in December,

00:26:15   well, how about February?

00:26:17   How about April?

00:26:18   And you just keep going back and back and back

00:26:20   and before you know it,

00:26:21   it's been like three years before you released anything

00:26:23   and that's not good for your app or your customers

00:26:28   or your budgeting or anything like that

00:26:30   and so a lot of times it really needs

00:26:33   some kind of external pressure

00:26:35   to get these things out the door.

00:26:36   - Yeah, and even one little trick

00:26:38   that I definitely use myself is the making,

00:26:43   it's bad to make external public commitments

00:26:46   about things and features and timelines.

00:26:47   - Oh yeah, don't do that.

00:26:48   - Don't do that, but I do find that

00:26:51   if I can find non-committing ways

00:26:56   of sharing what I'm working on

00:26:58   and kind of creating a sense of interest

00:27:01   or anticipation from other people,

00:27:03   whether that's friends and family,

00:27:05   whether that's customers

00:27:07   or people who follow you on the internet,

00:27:09   whatever that looks like for you,

00:27:10   but I know for myself,

00:27:11   even on the show,

00:27:12   talking about my next app is written in Swift

00:27:15   and making that commitment out in public.

00:27:18   It's like now when I hit the problems with this app

00:27:21   that has been taking me much longer

00:27:22   than I wish it would have

00:27:23   and some of those are because I'm still learning Swift,

00:27:25   it's like I can't just say like,

00:27:27   okay, I'm not just gonna do this

00:27:28   or I'm gonna back out.

00:27:29   It's been instructive to have this external thing

00:27:31   that it's like, no, no, no.

00:27:32   I was like, I don't wanna do the episode

00:27:34   of like why I abandoned that commitment

00:27:37   and so I'm able to work towards it.

00:27:39   And similarly, I've worked on other apps in the past

00:27:41   where it's like I start talking about them

00:27:42   at a high level or trying to,

00:27:45   which is good, maybe good marketing too

00:27:47   and kind of building a little bit of anticipation,

00:27:48   but even from a timing perspective to say

00:27:50   that like here's something that I'm hoping to get out by

00:27:52   and such and such.

00:27:53   And then as soon as it's outside of yourself,

00:27:56   there's even this vague sense of someone else

00:27:58   who might be expecting that.

00:27:59   I can find they can be a little bit motivating

00:28:01   and a little bit of making a timeline for you

00:28:04   to kind of move forward with things.

00:28:06   - Yeah, that sounds good.

00:28:08   All right, I think we're out of time this week.

00:28:10   Thanks a lot to our sponsor, Pingdom,

00:28:12   and thanks listeners for listening

00:28:13   and we will talk to you next week.

00:28:15   - Bye.

00:28:16   Bye.

00:28:17   [