Under the Radar

179: Silent Updates


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

00:00:04   I'm Mark Orment.

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

00:00:10   So this last week, I ran a little experiment.

00:00:15   There's something that has always kind of been in the back of my mind.

00:00:18   It was something that I wanted to actually try.

00:00:22   And that is, how important is launch marketing publicity?

00:00:28   How important is that, specifically for updates?

00:00:33   Rather than necessarily, like, if we're launching something totally new,

00:00:38   there's clearly an element that you just need to get the word out that the thing exists.

00:00:42   But at a certain point, when a product is mature, how important is trying to do marketing, advertising,

00:00:49   reaching out to the press, etc., etc.?

00:00:51   How actually valuable is that to a product once it becomes mature?

00:00:55   And it's something that I've always kind of been curious about.

00:00:58   And so this last week, I launched a relative--well, the 4.0 update to C++,

00:01:05   which, you know, we've had episodes before about version numbering

00:01:08   and if it actually means anything or if it's important,

00:01:10   but I called it 4.0 because it felt like a big enough update.

00:01:14   And the primary focus for this update is around--

00:01:17   I have now a bunch of graphs and trends and ways to kind of visualize your data

00:01:23   in ways that you couldn't before, as well as a bunch of sort of quality of life features,

00:01:27   I think I would say that there's been a bunch of things that have been creeping up on me

00:01:30   that people have been asking for that I just sort of finally got around to finally doing.

00:01:34   Like, you can, for example, export your sleep data as a CSV file now,

00:01:38   which is something that, like, has been asked for, but I just had never quite gotten to.

00:01:41   And so it was a relatively sizable update, but it was something that I just submitted to the App Store.

00:01:46   I put in my release notes, and I hit, you know, release to the store,

00:01:49   just like I would if it was 3.4.2, and I was just curious how that would actually pan out

00:01:56   and what that would--sort of the impact that would have,

00:01:58   not to necessarily diminish the value and importance of the update,

00:02:02   but, you know, A, there's only so many times, I think, that you can sort of get attention,

00:02:08   but you only have so much of that capital to spend, and it's like,

00:02:12   "Was this the update that I wanted to spend?"

00:02:14   And I think, too, there's just something that increasingly I have this feeling

00:02:17   that the audience for this app is very much larger and more diverse than my own audience

00:02:22   or the audience that I could potentially reach through other avenues, you know,

00:02:27   through the various sort of Apple News blogs, I suppose.

00:02:31   Like, that's sort of the two primary ways.

00:02:33   And, I mean, in theory, there's maybe some overlap that if it becomes publicized

00:02:37   that it might get picked up more readily by the Apple editorial team,

00:02:42   which certainly has a more sort of specific and measurable impact.

00:02:46   But the interesting thing--so I take this out, I release this update,

00:02:50   and I put it in, I push it out, and it's in some ways unsurprising,

00:02:55   but the result is that the app continued to be sort of kept moving along

00:02:59   just like it had been prior to the update.

00:03:02   The download numbers were very similar.

00:03:04   The overall, like, the way that my source is and everything was about the same,

00:03:10   which is, like, in some ways unsurprising,

00:03:12   but it was also something that I think was useful to actually verify,

00:03:16   that, like, just putting out an update doesn't necessarily do anything

00:03:21   or accomplish something.

00:03:23   And so, like, now I have that data.

00:03:26   I'm not sure exactly if I would do this again in the future,

00:03:28   but it seems like that's interesting, that if I don't publicize it,

00:03:32   things just continue on, and it's not necessarily a bad thing.

00:03:35   Like, the app was in a good place before.

00:03:37   In theory, the app should be in a better place now that the app got better.

00:03:40   Like, the number that I'm really interested in looking at,

00:03:43   which I won't be able to see until probably, you know, about a month probably,

00:03:48   is the retention number, because that's the number that I think is going to be

00:03:51   more interesting, that in theory, if the app is getting better,

00:03:54   retention should be getting better.

00:03:56   But obviously you can't tell that right away.

00:03:58   But anyway, it was just kind of an interesting experiment that I wanted to run and see,

00:04:01   and I don't think it ended up costing me anything, that, you know, in theory,

00:04:05   maybe if I had made more of a fuss, things could have happened there,

00:04:09   but ultimately I feel pretty good about it.

00:04:11   And in this particular case, it was a good opportunity for it,

00:04:14   because it's an update that I've kind of been working on for a while,

00:04:16   and then I put it on pause because it seemed like Apple was about to release

00:04:19   their own sleep tracker, and I wanted to make sure I would be compliant with it,

00:04:23   and that didn't end up happening.

00:04:25   And so then it kind of got put on the shelf,

00:04:26   and then it was this thing on the shelf for a long time.

00:04:28   So anyway, those are kind of the reasons behind it.

00:04:30   But anyway, that was kind of what a little experiment I've been running,

00:04:33   and I was curious if you had any thoughts.

00:04:35   Yeah, it's really interesting, because if you think about, like, you know,

00:04:38   this kind of touches on a lot of different areas.

00:04:40   You know, there's the angle of, like, you know, business-wise,

00:04:44   like we've talked about before, if you have an app that, you know,

00:04:48   the sales are kind of just flat or that it's not succeeding financially

00:04:51   or it's not meeting your goals or whatever,

00:04:53   somehow it's, like, not working very well for you.

00:04:55   We've addressed the question before of, like,

00:04:58   should you work on a big update to that app to try to fix it,

00:05:02   or should you just do a completely new app instead

00:05:05   and kind of just leave that one on the back burner or abandon it?

00:05:08   And I think, and largely I think this supports the idea that, like,

00:05:12   the amount of effort that you put into updates

00:05:16   usually does not come with a commensurate boost in sales.

00:05:20   That doesn't mean you don't need to or shouldn't do updates,

00:05:24   but it does, it should inform, like, how much you put into them,

00:05:29   because I think most people, they just expect apps

00:05:34   to continue to be compatible with whatever the OSes and hardware are in the future,

00:05:38   and they expect apps to slowly get better

00:05:40   as the expectations of the market grow over time.

00:05:44   So, for instance, like, if you made a Notes app, you know,

00:05:47   ten years ago, it probably didn't have to sync,

00:05:50   but five years ago, it did have to sync,

00:05:53   and three years ago, it would have had to support, like, you know,

00:05:56   rich attachments and rich formatting and stuff like that,

00:05:58   like, because, you know, just the market has changed expectations over time,

00:06:02   and now, like, the baseline of what all Notes apps are expected to have

00:06:06   is higher than what it was, you know, years ago.

00:06:09   So you have to kind of keep up with that baseline

00:06:11   when you have an actively maintained app.

00:06:14   But beyond that, you don't really,

00:06:17   it's not really worth constantly investing lots into features for most apps,

00:06:21   because most apps are not judged that way,

00:06:23   and most apps are not promoted that way.

00:06:25   Like, you released a major new version with major new functionality,

00:06:29   but no one seemed to really notice.

00:06:32   And you can try to promote it in the press, and many of us do,

00:06:35   and I think you, it's kind of, this is kind of also like a little side diversion here,

00:06:39   for me, shocking, that, like, you and I both have enough attention

00:06:44   on the things that we announce from some of the, like, Apple bloggers,

00:06:49   because we're friends with a lot of them, just, we happen to be in the same circles,

00:06:53   and so anything that you and I do has a higher than normal chance

00:06:56   of being picked up anyway, even if we didn't really announce it.

00:07:00   So that, you know, that disclaimer aside,

00:07:04   there's been a lot of updates that I've done

00:07:07   that I have either not really promoted,

00:07:10   or that I've kind of underplayed in how I say,

00:07:12   like, I might just say on the Twitter account,

00:07:14   "Hey, there's this new update," and then, like, you know,

00:07:16   two lines of text of what's in it, and that's it.

00:07:18   You know, I don't, like, write big blog posts

00:07:20   and notify the press about, you know, most of my updates.

00:07:23   And some of them have, like, really major changes, like,

00:07:26   in a similar vein to your CSV export feature.

00:07:29   A couple of versions ago, I added per-podcast settings

00:07:33   for downloading and deleting, and that had been requested for years.

00:07:39   Since 1.0, people have been asking me for that feature,

00:07:42   and it was kind of a pain to do, but I finally did it,

00:07:45   and, like, no one noticed.

00:07:47   You know, like, I searched, I added search in a major update

00:07:51   a couple, like, a year ago now, something like that,

00:07:54   and no one really uses search, although I have a bug in search

00:07:58   in the current version, and I'm hearing about it from everyone.

00:08:02   Like, proportionally, it's a very small feature,

00:08:04   but it's like, these things, they matter,

00:08:07   and people do appreciate them, but it's so,

00:08:11   anything you do in an update so quickly becomes taken for granted

00:08:16   by the user base, or you do it, and they're just like,

00:08:18   "Oh, yeah, of course you would have that, finally," right?

00:08:21   And it's not really, like, you don't get, like,

00:08:24   patted on the back for having done it.

00:08:26   You often don't get a boost in sales.

00:08:27   The press often doesn't care.

00:08:29   So to have things out there in, you know,

00:08:32   in big or medium-sized updates that you don't really promote,

00:08:37   I feel like is actually just realizing to yourself

00:08:42   that most of the time updates you do to apps

00:08:45   aren't that big of a deal, and aren't that noteworthy

00:08:48   to the world at large, and that you do them

00:08:51   because you want the app to be better in those ways,

00:08:54   or because the expectations of the market

00:08:56   require it to be better in those ways,

00:08:59   but it's not really going to be a big attention-getter

00:09:01   most of the time.

00:09:02   - Yeah, and I think there is something, too, like,

00:09:05   it's, I think it is easy to, oh, either,

00:09:10   overvalue the importance of an update,

00:09:12   and, like, it's easy, like, you think it's really cool,

00:09:14   but is it really cool?

00:09:15   Like, that is just always a difficulty that we have

00:09:18   when we're making products that, you know,

00:09:20   we're close to things, and we're building things,

00:09:23   or we're hearing a very specific but loud area of feedback,

00:09:26   and so it seems like, well, everyone should be super excited

00:09:29   when this happens, but in reality, it's like,

00:09:32   there's so much of, I think, having a sustainable app

00:09:35   that is just about having an essential experience

00:09:38   that is solid, that solves people's, you know,

00:09:43   like, solves the job to be done by the application

00:09:47   in a competent way, and then having some mechanism

00:09:50   by which you are generating future downloads

00:09:56   that is, you know, that is a sustainable means,

00:09:58   that isn't something that is just based on press,

00:10:02   'cause if you, and if you have those two things,

00:10:04   if you're having a situation where you're competently

00:10:08   solving the core problem, and you have some means,

00:10:11   and that could be a variety of things,

00:10:12   it could be search rank in the app store,

00:10:14   it could be having a reliable word of mouth

00:10:17   kind of aspect to it, it could have a, there's a,

00:10:19   you know, you could have a, imagine some kind of

00:10:21   virality component where you, the way you're sharing things,

00:10:24   or there's sort of those types of acquisition,

00:10:27   it could be advertising, if your advertising is sustainable,

00:10:30   in the sense that, you know, you spend less on advertising

00:10:33   than you get back from it, and so you have this kind of,

00:10:35   it's a virtuous cycle to it, but if you have those two things,

00:10:39   like ultimately, that is what's going to make

00:10:41   the product successful or not, that the individual importance

00:10:46   of a particular feature update, or a particular feature,

00:10:49   like addition to the core functionality,

00:10:51   is very unlikely to have that effect.

00:10:55   I mean, in many ways, I think even back to,

00:10:57   for this, for Sleep++, like, this is probably two years ago,

00:11:01   I added automatic sleep tracking, rather than just

00:11:03   the previous, it was this kind of interactive manual process,

00:11:06   which has definitely enhanced the experience

00:11:09   and made the app a lot better, and it was really cool

00:11:10   to build, interesting, but I think,

00:11:13   and while the app, like, the app is better,

00:11:16   I don't know if its downloads or its sales

00:11:19   actually improved, other than the initial spike,

00:11:22   kind of, you know, like, for two or three weeks,

00:11:25   downloads were great, but there was a little bit

00:11:27   of attention to it, but then it sort of settled back down

00:11:29   to the same place, and I'm not complaining,

00:11:31   it's a good place for it to settle down to,

00:11:33   but I think what it speaks to is, it's like,

00:11:35   the previous version, the manual sleep tracking version,

00:11:37   was still a competent implementation of the core problem

00:11:40   that people were coming to the app trying to solve,

00:11:42   the new version is better, and maybe that has

00:11:45   a marginal increase in, in sort of these other

00:11:48   intangible ways, and, you know, there's this kind of broad,

00:11:51   it'll boost the user base and the downloads, you know,

00:11:56   in ways, because there's a little bit more word of mouth,

00:11:58   there's a little bit more retention.

00:12:01   - Yeah, but I feel like that's like getting paid in exposure.

00:12:03   It's like, it's not really a thing.

00:12:05   - It's not tangible, like, the core, like,

00:12:09   is this business operating in the black?

00:12:12   Like, is it sustainable, is it continuing to go?

00:12:15   Is entirely based on, if you competently solve the problem,

00:12:19   and then have some way of getting new people,

00:12:22   or a way of generating revenue such that

00:12:25   it doesn't vary wildly, then you have a going concern

00:12:30   and you're good to go, and updates and things from there

00:12:34   are primarily about, they're slightly defensive, I think,

00:12:38   and they're slightly just things that you kind of,

00:12:41   just make sure that you don't get left behind.

00:12:43   When someone, like, the biggest risk is someone else comes in

00:12:46   and sort of assumes your position because they're solving

00:12:51   the problem in a more competent way than you were,

00:12:55   like, that's, they're like defensive in that way,

00:12:58   rather than necessarily like an actual productive thing

00:13:01   in and of themselves.

00:13:02   - Right, exactly, and I like your points about, like,

00:13:05   the visibility of certain updates, because, like,

00:13:09   you know, some of the things that we do,

00:13:12   like, to give an example with Overcast, like,

00:13:14   I did clip sharing last fall sometime,

00:13:17   I don't even remember when, and it was a very quick feature,

00:13:20   like, I did it in, you know, or in the springtime,

00:13:23   I did it in, like, a week, and it was pretty much done,

00:13:26   and it got a ton of attention, and it wasn't on my roadmap,

00:13:29   nobody was asking for it, I didn't plan it,

00:13:31   I just felt like doing it one day, and I just did it,

00:13:33   and it got tons of attention, and meanwhile,

00:13:37   I've been working on Voice Boost 2 for about a year,

00:13:41   and it's like, it's a huge effort, tons of work,

00:13:45   tons of, like, deep, difficult coding and low-level stuff,

00:13:50   and research and algorithms and all sorts of crazy stuff

00:13:53   to do what I'm doing there, and when I finally get

00:13:56   to release that, almost no one's gonna notice,

00:13:59   like, they might notice that, like, oh,

00:14:01   we now have a couple more features in the audio settings,

00:14:03   or maybe it sounds a bit better, but,

00:14:06   nobody notices sound quality, who am I kidding?

00:14:08   And so, like, you know, I will have worked on that feature

00:14:12   for, like, a year, and it means a lot to me,

00:14:15   but I'm under no, you know, delusions that it's gonna be

00:14:19   a big deal marketing-wise, it's also gonna probably

00:14:22   come with AirPlay 2, again, same kind of thing,

00:14:25   like, AirPlay 2 is just, people expect all apps

00:14:28   to be nicely working with their home pods now,

00:14:31   if they have one, and it's kind of like a defensive

00:14:34   or maintenance feature, it's like, I kinda just have

00:14:36   to support AirPlay 2, and it'll start becoming a problem

00:14:39   after not too much time if I don't, so I kinda need it,

00:14:43   but, like, no one's gonna give me a big pat on the back

00:14:45   for that when the time comes, you know, compared to,

00:14:48   and these are two, like, huge, difficult, time-consuming,

00:14:51   you know, fairly expensive to develop features

00:14:53   that are gonna get almost no congratulations

00:14:57   and market recognition at all, because most people

00:14:59   will notice, and I think this plays on something bigger,

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00:16:52   So I think one of the other key dynamics

00:16:56   of the effectiveness of promoting or not promoting app updates

00:16:59   is it's easy to assume incorrectly

00:17:05   that a large portion of the customer base of App Store apps

00:17:10   is familiar with and follows the press about apps,

00:17:14   and that's not actually a safe assumption.

00:17:17   The audience that looks at--

00:17:20   Assuming you made the biggest deal in the world of your update,

00:17:24   if you wrote about it somewhere,

00:17:26   if somebody like Mac Stories or Daring Fireball

00:17:28   picked it up and linked to it, or they did their own reviews,

00:17:31   whatever you can imagine of big success of press,

00:17:35   of promotion of an update,

00:17:37   you post it on your Twitter account,

00:17:39   whatever, the app's email list, whatever it is,

00:17:42   that's all going to be still a very small percentage

00:17:46   of the people who are out there every day

00:17:48   going to the App Store and finding apps,

00:17:50   or the people who have your app

00:17:52   and are thinking about whether to buy the in-app purchase

00:17:54   or whatever it is.

00:17:55   However you succeed,

00:17:56   the audience for all that press is a small percentage.

00:18:00   Even if you get featured in the App Store,

00:18:02   the audience of people who browse the editorial sections

00:18:05   of the App Store is a small fraction of App Store people, too.

00:18:09   So the reality is most people don't follow the Apple press.

00:18:13   Most people don't look at the App Store features

00:18:15   or just browse the App Store casually every day,

00:18:17   most people go to the App Store when they have a need

00:18:20   and they search using generic keywords

00:18:22   or the name of your app,

00:18:23   and then they find whatever's there that looks free

00:18:26   and is well rated and they download it and that's it.

00:18:28   So all the promotion that you could do

00:18:31   is actually really only reaching a very small percentage.

00:18:35   I've seen this myself, too.

00:18:37   I have my overcast Twitter account,

00:18:39   I have my own Twitter account,

00:18:40   I can write stuff on my blog that can get press

00:18:42   if I really put a lot of effort into it

00:18:44   and if it's really worth it,

00:18:45   but I also do a lot of updates

00:18:47   where I don't really say anything.

00:18:49   (laughs)

00:18:50   I just put it out there 'cause I get lazy or I forget

00:18:53   or I don't think it's really worth tons of promotion

00:18:55   'cause it's not super high profile features.

00:18:59   And it tends to not really matter.

00:19:01   (laughs)

00:19:02   I don't really see a huge difference

00:19:04   between those two approaches in performance

00:19:06   of how well the app does,

00:19:08   do I get a big boost in sales or anything.

00:19:10   It almost doesn't matter,

00:19:12   or rather it matters a lot less than you would assume.

00:19:16   - And I think what's tricky too is it matters,

00:19:19   like when you do those things,

00:19:21   when you aggressively market or you try and really promote,

00:19:24   it'll almost, well, assuming you're at all successful

00:19:28   with that process, you will likely be,

00:19:31   you will receive some types of positive reinforcement

00:19:35   that people will talk about it or link to it

00:19:39   or those types of things,

00:19:40   and any time that happens, it feels awesome.

00:19:43   Like it's still a thrill 11 years into doing this job

00:19:47   when someone links to an app that I made

00:19:49   and says that they like it.

00:19:51   That is still at a human level,

00:19:52   something that I just, you know, like I love.

00:19:54   It's great.

00:19:56   And I think what's tricky,

00:19:57   and I think this is like the slightly nuanced thing there

00:20:01   is like doing a big feature update

00:20:04   for me to be able to get that feeling

00:20:06   is a really poor reason for me

00:20:08   to be implementing a feature or doing work on something.

00:20:11   And where the reality is, it is primarily a benefit for me,

00:20:17   and there's some amount of reaching out

00:20:21   into a very particular niche of my user base,

00:20:25   that if my user base is only those people,

00:20:28   then maybe that would make sense,

00:20:29   but if you're doing a general purpose app

00:20:31   that's trying to have a big wide audience,

00:20:33   necessarily this is gonna be such a small sort of sliver

00:20:36   of your people.

00:20:37   And so it's just, yeah,

00:20:39   it's tricky to make sure that you don't get stuck

00:20:43   in how like it feels good to be well received

00:20:47   and you've done all this work

00:20:48   and you want it to feel like other people care

00:20:50   and that other people are paying attention to you

00:20:53   and like that you want to have those positive reinforcements

00:20:57   for all this work that you've just done.

00:20:59   When the reality is, it's like it might just be

00:21:01   like that was work that you had to do

00:21:02   because that was work you had to do

00:21:04   or work that you was, is defensive

00:21:08   or work that maybe you actually didn't need to do

00:21:11   and you just thought it was a good idea

00:21:12   and you may live to regret it down the road.

00:21:15   Like these are all just as likely

00:21:17   or just as probable outcomes of something

00:21:20   and like I don't know,

00:21:21   I think that having a clear mind about this kind of stuff,

00:21:25   I think it's just a wise place to position yourself,

00:21:28   to not get too stuck in like those types of like,

00:21:33   it's so easy to want the accolades

00:21:36   or to want someone to say something to you

00:21:38   but the reality, like I think the more,

00:21:40   especially on things like the class,

00:21:42   like things that are slightly measurable

00:21:44   are especially problematic for this

00:21:46   where you have things like Twitter

00:21:47   is probably the best example for this

00:21:49   where it's like something where it is giving you

00:21:53   numerical reinforcement, like you said something

00:21:56   and then six people liked it and then seven people liked it

00:21:59   and then eight people liked it

00:22:00   and you can check that number

00:22:01   and you can see it and like it can make you feel good

00:22:05   but it's kind of ultimately, like I think increasingly

00:22:07   and I'm very much like, I try very hard

00:22:09   to sort of push myself away from social media

00:22:11   at least right now because I feel like it's creating,

00:22:16   it's creating these reinforcement cycles

00:22:18   that aren't actually related to my apps,

00:22:20   that aren't actually related to the day-to-day operation

00:22:22   of things, that aren't related to what will make my app better.

00:22:26   That in many ways, like I work even

00:22:28   like in this particular feature,

00:22:29   like there's a whole bunch of quality of life updates

00:22:32   that I did are probably gonna be the things

00:22:34   that make my average user averagely more happy

00:22:38   rather than like niche features

00:22:40   or things that would do well in a press release

00:22:42   or show off well in a review.

00:22:47   Like ultimately, that's what I should be focused on

00:22:50   and I think in some ways, part of me,

00:22:52   I think as I'm talking this through

00:22:53   is just like part of why I wanted to do this experiment now

00:22:57   is to try and keep myself more focused

00:23:01   on those core experiences

00:23:03   rather than the things that are shiny

00:23:05   and the things that might be able to give,

00:23:07   sort of make me feel good because people are like, ooh, ah.

00:23:11   And that's great and that's like wonderful for a day or two,

00:23:14   but that's not a sustainable, like years and years of,

00:23:18   you know, day after day getting sufficient downloads

00:23:21   and getting sufficient, you know, usership of your app.

00:23:24   Like those are the things that are actually gonna be important

00:23:26   for making this into a sustainable thing.

00:23:29   - Yeah, that's a really good point that you just brought up.

00:23:31   So like, you know, a lot of updates,

00:23:33   like the difference between what matters in a press sense

00:23:37   in an update and what matters to your users

00:23:40   is often not the same thing.

00:23:43   Like there's often a significant difference there.

00:23:45   Like another example here, like, you know,

00:23:47   I could make some big feature like clip sharing

00:23:49   and overcast and that got a lot of press,

00:23:52   but it actually is used by a very small percentage

00:23:55   of the user base, very, very small, way small.

00:23:57   Like had I known how small the user base usage

00:24:00   of it would have been, I might not have done it.

00:24:02   It's that small.

00:24:03   So that feature is mattered a lot to the press,

00:24:06   but not a lot to the user base.

00:24:08   Whereas in my last update, I totally changed

00:24:12   the way accounts are managed in the login screen

00:24:15   to really heavily address the issue of people

00:24:19   basically losing their account, like losing track

00:24:21   of an anonymous account without an email address,

00:24:23   not being able to log back into it.

00:24:25   I completely changed how those are stored,

00:24:27   how the authentication works.

00:24:29   I gave people the option to log into a list

00:24:32   of all their previous accounts through CloudKit.

00:24:34   Like it was a huge change, but that changed

00:24:36   to the login screen, which is not only boring

00:24:39   to begin with, but if you didn't log out of overcast,

00:24:43   you haven't even seen it yet, right?

00:24:45   So it's a screen that most people, all people see it,

00:24:48   but most people don't see it frequently,

00:24:51   and it's such a boring maintenance task.

00:24:53   No one cares if you make your login screen better.

00:24:55   There was never any chance of me getting press

00:24:58   for that update, but it was one of the most important

00:25:01   things I could have done because this was a huge

00:25:03   pain point for a significant slice of my user base,

00:25:06   and I changed it to be significantly better

00:25:09   in a way that no one cares about.

00:25:12   No one cares that my login screen now prevents

00:25:14   account loss in a very significant way,

00:25:18   and is easier for people who have edge case

00:25:20   account conditions.

00:25:21   No one cares.

00:25:23   But I had to do it, and it was a major change,

00:25:25   and it made my app a lot better.

00:25:27   But I have to pat myself on the back for that.

00:25:29   I can't depend on external validation for that.

00:25:32   - Yeah, and that's a kind of fix too.

00:25:34   It's like what you're solving there is a problem

00:25:36   that the person who needs that solution

00:25:39   is the person who got a new phone,

00:25:42   or for some reason is reinstalling,

00:25:45   or maybe, hey, I used to listen to podcasts.

00:25:47   I don't listen to them anymore.

00:25:48   Maybe I'll go back to that.

00:25:49   They download the app, and then if their initial

00:25:53   experience is like where's all my stuff,

00:25:55   or they can't get back into it,

00:25:57   they're gonna go somewhere else,

00:25:58   or they're not gonna do it.

00:25:59   It's a feature that actually would have a tangible,

00:26:02   there is going to be people for whom that fix,

00:26:06   that change made the difference between them

00:26:10   continuing to use the app and not,

00:26:12   whereas many of your other,

00:26:14   like when you get into more minor or niche,

00:26:16   or these sort of more showy features,

00:26:18   they're not gonna likely,

00:26:20   that's unlikely to be the make or break.

00:26:22   Oh, this app doesn't include per podcast download settings.

00:26:27   Okay, if that's really important to you,

00:26:30   more power to you, but probably that's unlikely

00:26:33   to be the thing that's gonna be it,

00:26:36   or search, or many of these things.

00:26:38   It's interesting how the grunt work

00:26:42   is probably the more important work

00:26:44   in the sense of keeping the app really,

00:26:49   keeping things moving forward.

00:26:51   I spent, in Xcode 11, we got all these great new tools

00:26:56   for launch time optimization that they announced at W3C,

00:27:00   which is super cool, by the way.

00:27:01   I love seeing this and seeing how it,

00:27:05   in a really detailed way,

00:27:08   I can understand the launching of my app,

00:27:11   and I did a whole bunch of work with that,

00:27:13   and it made half to my app launch time in Pedometer++.

00:27:17   Hopefully no one ever notices.

00:27:19   Hopefully, from their perspective,

00:27:20   it's like, the app's just better.

00:27:22   And I'm not sure if I'll,

00:27:23   there's no accolades for that,

00:27:25   but that's a useful update.

00:27:27   So, I don't know.

00:27:29   Those are the kinds of things

00:27:31   that I think increasingly I'm trying to focus on,

00:27:33   that it's like, I wanna polish and refine,

00:27:35   and then be okay with just letting something

00:27:38   hang out for a little while,

00:27:39   and not feel like I have to constantly be

00:27:41   thinking of grand, new, big features

00:27:44   that I need to work on,

00:27:45   that I can just get things in a good quality way,

00:27:49   do the maintenance as I need to,

00:27:51   and then focus on other things,

00:27:53   other things in my life, or other apps,

00:27:55   or whatever that might be,

00:27:56   but don't just be chasing accolades

00:27:59   by making flashy features.

00:28:01   - Yeah, almost like, in some ways,

00:28:03   I feel like there's actually almost an inverse correlation

00:28:06   between how flashy a feature is

00:28:08   versus how much you should probably do it.

00:28:10   (laughs)

00:28:11   I mean, sometimes they line up,

00:28:13   sometimes you get something that is flashy,

00:28:15   but also gives you new customers on a sustained basis,

00:28:17   or keeps your existing customers much happier for longer,

00:28:20   but most of the time, people don't care,

00:28:22   and they just want your app to be continually updated

00:28:25   with stuff that they don't even think to ask for,

00:28:28   or they don't think they need to ask for,

00:28:29   like OS compatibility updates,

00:28:31   and just move on with their lives,

00:28:33   and the fact that you are asking for publicity,

00:28:37   or yelling about how great your compatibility update is,

00:28:42   it's almost like, it's just so, I guess, antithetical

00:28:47   to what people actually want and expect.

00:28:51   - Yeah, and they just want the app to work,

00:28:53   and to, in many ways, probably not think about it.

00:28:56   Like, the best kind of design

00:28:57   is the kind of design you don't notice,

00:28:59   that it's just exactly what you expect,

00:29:01   exactly where you would expect it,

00:29:03   and it just works, and if you can accomplish that,

00:29:06   that's a great goal, and that's something that is worth being,

00:29:11   is worth setting as your desire, I think.

00:29:14   - Yeah, exactly.

00:29:15   All right, well, thank you for listening, everybody,

00:29:17   and have a wonderful Thanksgiving,

00:29:19   if you're in the US here,

00:29:20   and we will talk to you in two weeks.

00:29:22   - Bye.

00:29:23   [BLANK_AUDIO]