Under the Radar

159: New App


00:00:00   - Welcome to Under the Radar,

00:00:01   a show about independent iOS app development.

00:00:04   I'm Mark Warmant.

00:00:05   - And I'm David Smith.

00:00:06   Under the Radar is never longer than 30 minutes,

00:00:07   so let's get started.

00:00:09   - So Dave, I noticed that on Twitter,

00:00:11   you posted about creating a new app

00:00:14   in App Store Connect.

00:00:16   - Yes.

00:00:17   - I think if people were to make a cartoon character of you,

00:00:20   it would be somebody who pushed this button every two hours.

00:00:24   - Yes.

00:00:25   - But the reality is, you've had way fewer

00:00:28   of these opportunities in the last couple years.

00:00:30   You've focused down in the last few years

00:00:32   and you've made very few new apps

00:00:34   relative to what you used to do.

00:00:37   So I really am very interested to hear,

00:00:39   what's the story behind this?

00:00:40   And I can't wait to hear, if you're ready to share,

00:00:43   what the app is or will be.

00:00:45   - Sure, so yeah.

00:00:46   I mean, it is a strange thing that for,

00:00:50   I would say if I'm sort of known for anything

00:00:52   in independent app development,

00:00:53   is for being prolific rather than necessarily

00:00:56   having one app that I focus all my time and energy

00:00:58   and effort on, my approach from the early days,

00:01:03   it's like now 10 1/2 years later,

00:01:06   was like my early days, I just wanted to keep

00:01:09   generating ideas, putting them in the app store

00:01:11   and seeing what worked.

00:01:12   It's just like trying the,

00:01:14   because the market was so new and young,

00:01:17   it seemed it worked reasonably well

00:01:19   that there's just so much sort of greenfield opportunity.

00:01:23   And the more I can have different stakes

00:01:27   in all these different places,

00:01:28   the more likely it is that one of them

00:01:29   is going to get traction.

00:01:32   And eventually, I suppose that worked

00:01:34   to the degree that a few things did get traction.

00:01:36   And then it became harder and trickier

00:01:39   to justify making new apps because the maintenance

00:01:42   and effort focusing on the ones that had become successful

00:01:46   made more sense.

00:01:47   And I think that's a process that I think generally

00:01:49   has worked for me where the last couple years,

00:01:53   I really haven't launched any major new apps.

00:01:55   And I actually looked up the data on it,

00:01:57   and it's been 2 1/4 years since I launched my last new app,

00:02:02   which was Workouts++.

00:02:04   - Do you have like a MacRumors Buyer's Guide kind of thing?

00:02:07   - It's just getting too, it started to turn red.

00:02:09   - It's been 750 days since I last created a new app.

00:02:12   - I don't have something quite like that,

00:02:15   but I have one of those in my mind, I think.

00:02:18   'Cause a big reason why I finally decided,

00:02:20   you know, I just need to make something new,

00:02:22   is that I think it had been too long.

00:02:24   And there is something intrinsically different

00:02:28   in making something new and from scratch

00:02:32   than there is from working on like version five

00:02:35   of a mature, you know, like main app,

00:02:39   something that is my bread and butter,

00:02:40   something that is like, you know,

00:02:41   it's still the core part of my business,

00:02:43   working on version five, which is coincidentally like

00:02:46   in the middle of this, I've been working on this major update

00:02:48   to pedometer++, which is my main app,

00:02:50   which is like my primary business.

00:02:52   But I've been working on this big update.

00:02:54   And in the middle of that, it just had this feeling

00:02:56   that like, you know, I just, I feel like I'm,

00:02:59   it's like I have this muscle

00:03:00   that I just haven't been working out anymore.

00:03:02   And I feel like it's atrophying over time.

00:03:04   And I feel like I wanna work it out a little bit.

00:03:06   Because we're creating something totally from scratch.

00:03:09   It's just different.

00:03:10   Like you're solving a completely new set of problems.

00:03:13   You're having to deal with all kinds of new things

00:03:16   in terms of the marketing of it, the name of it.

00:03:19   You know, how you're going to design it technically

00:03:21   and visually.

00:03:22   Are you going to, how you're gonna create

00:03:24   all kinds of aspects of that application?

00:03:27   These are things that you just don't have to think about.

00:03:28   You know, like I know the name of these apps that exist

00:03:31   and I know how they work.

00:03:33   And if anything, there's a, like a actual force on me

00:03:38   to not make too dramatic and drastic of changes.

00:03:41   Because if I make big drastic changes,

00:03:44   I'm gonna potentially alienate my existing user base

00:03:47   or cause problems with, you know, my existing people.

00:03:50   And I don't wanna do that.

00:03:51   But, so anyway, so I kind of feel like I need to sort of,

00:03:55   I don't know, maybe it's like scratch the itch

00:03:57   or work out that muscle.

00:03:58   Whatever the, like the analogy that works for somebody.

00:04:00   But it's like for me, I just needed to do something.

00:04:02   And there wasn't anything like specific

00:04:04   that prompted me to do that.

00:04:05   There was this vague sense that I had a little idea

00:04:09   and an opportunity related to, I've been doing some work

00:04:12   and I'll just sort of briefly talk about,

00:04:14   at a high level what the app does,

00:04:16   is I was doing some work in pedometer++

00:04:18   related to time zones.

00:04:19   And as a result of that,

00:04:21   I had to compile a list of time zones.

00:04:24   I think I mentioned this in our embedded data episode.

00:04:27   And so as a result of that, I have this like very sort of,

00:04:31   I have a nice comprehensive time zone list of places

00:04:35   and how time zones work and did a lot of work

00:04:37   with NSTimeZone to understand how time zone working,

00:04:40   things work.

00:04:41   And I was like, I've had this idea for a time zone app,

00:04:44   you know, sort of a utility comparison app for a long time

00:04:47   that sort of is a combination of a calendar

00:04:49   and a time zone converter, essentially.

00:04:52   And it's an idea that I've had for a long time

00:04:55   that I never, you know, in my long list of app ideas,

00:04:58   I'd always had this thing sitting there.

00:05:00   And I finally was like, well, I have all this like,

00:05:03   I did the hard part for pedometer++.

00:05:07   Like I've done all the grunt work of working out how,

00:05:09   you know, all the cities in the world

00:05:11   and how to have a reasonable way to deal

00:05:13   with time zones between them.

00:05:14   So what if I just try making it?

00:05:16   And that's what I did and that's kind of how I started.

00:05:18   And, you know, it's just sort of growing from there.

00:05:23   I think there's a variety of things that go into like

00:05:25   why ultimately I went beyond to the just like,

00:05:28   sometimes I've done the, I just like have an idea,

00:05:31   I'll spend an afternoon, I'll make something

00:05:32   and I'll throw it away.

00:05:34   There's a few reasons why I'll sort of get into later

00:05:36   about why I think this actually made sense for me to decide

00:05:39   to keep developing it.

00:05:40   But that's sort of like the start of why I started making

00:05:44   any app, you know, after I guess now two and a half years

00:05:46   or two and a quarter years since doing it for the last time.

00:05:50   - That makes total sense to me.

00:05:52   Like wanting to exercise that muscle

00:05:54   and wanting to do a new thing every once in a while.

00:05:56   I mean, I don't do it nearly as often as you do,

00:05:59   even your current rate.

00:06:01   I can't even approach that.

00:06:02   But it's so much fun to create something new.

00:06:05   Like, you know, sometimes I get into this rut

00:06:08   with whatever my current primary app is

00:06:11   where, you know, maintaining an established app,

00:06:16   there are parts of it that are fun.

00:06:17   Like when you're working on new stuff

00:06:19   or you're adopting new hardware features

00:06:22   that just became available or whatever else.

00:06:25   But there are parts of it that are really much more

00:06:26   of a grind and it's like doing massive technical debt payoffs

00:06:31   or just like doing certain parts of the UI

00:06:35   that you have to do that are kind of unfun to work on

00:06:39   or things like that.

00:06:40   And there's always an infinite amount

00:06:43   of potential refinement and updates and maintenance

00:06:47   that you can do to an established app.

00:06:49   Like that will never end.

00:06:51   There's whatever amount of time that you are willing

00:06:54   to devote to update an existing app,

00:06:56   it will consume that time.

00:06:58   Like there's no limit to it.

00:07:00   And so it's really easy to get bogged down

00:07:03   in just maintenance forever of an app that is very unfun.

00:07:09   I kind of, I address this in part by treating myself

00:07:14   to fun new features even when the market

00:07:16   doesn't demand them.

00:07:17   This is not a good use of my time, mind you,

00:07:18   but like, you know, I'll work on things,

00:07:21   like my low level audio stuff in Voice Boost 2.

00:07:24   Like I'll work on stuff where like the market

00:07:26   really isn't telling me that I need to do Voice Boost 2.

00:07:29   Nothing, like there's nothing about my user base

00:07:31   or competitive pressures or anything like that

00:07:35   that tells me that I should spend months

00:07:37   working on new low level audio code

00:07:40   to replace my existing low level audio code

00:07:42   that's worked fine for four years.

00:07:43   And there's also not gonna likely be a huge payoff

00:07:48   when I finish it.

00:07:49   Like there's not gonna, I'm not gonna suddenly

00:07:50   make twice as much money when I ship Voice Boost 2.

00:07:54   Like it's not gonna be a thing.

00:07:55   But I do it because if I just spent all this time

00:07:59   doing everyone's like, you know, little pet features

00:08:02   that are kind of boring to implement if I'm honest,

00:08:06   or you know, or back end work or you know,

00:08:09   refining the design yet again to do, you know,

00:08:11   yet another adaptation of some other screen

00:08:14   to some other trend or fashion or whatever else.

00:08:16   Like that stuff's all really boring after a while.

00:08:19   And so like I have to treat myself to fun things.

00:08:21   And sometimes that fun thing can be a new app altogether.

00:08:24   And sometimes that fun thing could be a feature

00:08:25   that is not gonna really pay off.

00:08:28   Either way, it's a terrible use of your time economically,

00:08:32   but it is often a good use of, you know,

00:08:35   maintaining yourself, avoiding burnout,

00:08:37   doing things to make yourself happy and so on.

00:08:40   - Yeah, and I think too that it's like,

00:08:42   it's this funny tension between like the advantage

00:08:44   of doing it the approach you're doing now

00:08:46   where you are creating the opportunity to feel

00:08:51   like you're working on something fresh

00:08:52   inside of your main app, inside of you know,

00:08:56   your actual like, your day job app essentially.

00:08:59   - Right.

00:09:00   - We're working like finding a way

00:09:02   to make that work inside of that.

00:09:03   - I mean it has a lot of advantages in the sense

00:09:06   that it still feels fresh, but it you know,

00:09:10   furthers and develops the main thing that you know,

00:09:14   sort of most of your you know,

00:09:15   efforts should probably be going to.

00:09:17   Like the danger and the thing that I have had to more,

00:09:19   sort of in the back of my mind this whole time

00:09:21   is the sense that I don't wanna stretch myself too thin.

00:09:26   And like, sort of like starting a war on a new front.

00:09:28   Like that is problematic and tricky.

00:09:32   And I think that's the big risk of doing something like this

00:09:34   where if you wanna make a new app,

00:09:38   and sort of work on something new, work on something fresh,

00:09:40   have that kind of that fun experience,

00:09:43   but in so doing, you're going to create this whole new

00:09:48   sort of set of sort of worries and challenges

00:09:52   and customer support and management.

00:09:55   Like that is the tension there.

00:09:57   And there have been a number of apps over the last two years

00:10:00   that I've thought of making and then didn't do ultimately

00:10:03   because I thought that the support and management and update

00:10:08   and the user data requirements were just gonna be too high.

00:10:12   And I think what I decided like ultimately

00:10:15   about this app that I'm working on is I didn't,

00:10:18   I was only gonna work on it if it was something

00:10:20   that I thought could be you know, self-contained,

00:10:23   doesn't involve a server component at all,

00:10:25   doesn't involve anything that I'm doing

00:10:28   that would deal with like precious user data

00:10:33   in the sense that I'm not, you know,

00:10:36   like if you, for some, somehow you lost your list of places

00:10:39   that you had time zones displayed for,

00:10:41   like not a huge loss.

00:10:43   Like I've had a few ideas over the years

00:10:44   for like working with like making a camera app, for example.

00:10:47   Like I've thought about that and I've kind of gone down

00:10:50   the road a little bit with some interesting ideas

00:10:51   that I thought I had around cameras.

00:10:53   But at the end, like the things that I start to worry about

00:10:55   is like if I, what happens if I have a bug

00:10:59   that means that someone took a picture of a moment

00:11:02   that then for some reason didn't save correctly

00:11:05   and that moment is lost.

00:11:06   Like the stakes and the risk becomes so high

00:11:10   that that becomes worrying.

00:11:12   And the amount of effort and quality assurance

00:11:14   and just like intensity that that application

00:11:18   would sort of demand and deserve is so much higher

00:11:21   than something that I wanted to do.

00:11:23   Which so like when I'm looking at this,

00:11:24   it's like I want an app that is completely self-contained.

00:11:27   No server component, it just is something

00:11:29   that you would download from the App Store,

00:11:31   you would use on your phone if in this case

00:11:33   I'm taking advantage of the event kit APIs,

00:11:36   which mean that like Apple has done all of the hard work

00:11:39   of interacting with calendar servers

00:11:42   and syncing all that data and managing it.

00:11:45   Like I don't have to do any of that.

00:11:46   That's a great thing that Apple has just provided

00:11:48   that I can, once I've asked the user

00:11:50   to have access to their calendar,

00:11:52   I can read their data, I can write to that data,

00:11:55   but I'm not doing the syncing.

00:11:56   I'm not doing the management of that.

00:11:58   I'm just presenting it and allowing you

00:12:01   to do some basic edits to it.

00:12:03   And so I looked for a project that sort of fit that criteria

00:12:07   and I think in general that's probably good advice

00:12:09   that if you're gonna start something

00:12:11   that isn't going to be your main focus intentionally.

00:12:14   Like I have no expectation of this app

00:12:16   ever being my main app.

00:12:18   If anything, I have very modest hopes for it

00:12:21   in terms of on the financial or user-based side.

00:12:24   I think it's a fairly targeted thing

00:12:26   for a very specific kind of user and that's fine.

00:12:30   It doesn't need to be this runaway success

00:12:33   for it to be a useful thing that I've done and experienced,

00:12:36   but it just needs to maybe sort of like pay for my time

00:12:40   kind of a thing.

00:12:41   But it's good to think about it in those terms

00:12:44   that it's not gonna be something that is gonna require

00:12:47   huge amounts of support going down the road.

00:12:49   Every up version of the iOS update

00:12:52   or like say the example of a camera app,

00:12:54   like every time there's a new device,

00:12:56   you would actually expect there to be major work

00:12:59   you need to do potentially to make sure that it works well

00:13:01   on the new devices with new cameras, new systems.

00:13:04   Like whereas if it's just a bunch of UI views

00:13:07   that are reading from one of the oldest system frameworks,

00:13:11   it's probably not gonna change very much.

00:13:12   It's not gonna change in ways that are like fundamental

00:13:15   and require like weeks of weeks of work.

00:13:18   It's gonna be much more like huh,

00:13:19   they've created a new screen size,

00:13:21   let me make sure it looks okay.

00:13:22   Yeah, it looks okay, let me change this value a little bit.

00:13:25   We're done.

00:13:26   That's much, much better as a side project

00:13:29   as something that I can sort of commit to my users

00:13:31   that I'm gonna keep up to date,

00:13:33   but do so in a way that is not gonna crush me over time.

00:13:37   - Yeah, 'cause the last thing you need is more apps

00:13:40   that require your attention all at the same time every fall.

00:13:45   Or like every summer during the beta period.

00:13:47   'Cause you already have, the last thing you need is more.

00:13:50   There was a wonderful blog post by Dave Weiner

00:13:53   years and years and years ago now

00:13:55   where he was saying how like a second car

00:13:58   sounds like a lot of fun.

00:13:59   Like oh, I could have like a little car

00:14:00   for the weekends or whatever,

00:14:02   and hey, that could be a lot of fun to drive.

00:14:03   And then he's like, but two cars also,

00:14:06   another car is another car that you have to maintain.

00:14:10   It's another car that you have to register

00:14:12   and get emissions tested every year or two.

00:14:15   And it's like there's all this overhead

00:14:16   of just having any car that like,

00:14:19   it becomes a lot less fun 'cause you have to maintain

00:14:21   all these boring things or all these like,

00:14:22   you know, time consuming or expensive things.

00:14:24   And like having more apps,

00:14:26   there's a lot of that kind of to it where it's like,

00:14:29   one more app in the store that you have out there

00:14:32   is one more app that can not only generate support requests

00:14:36   and have people have a problem with it in some way

00:14:38   and complain to you or leave one-star reviews,

00:14:40   but can also be like, that's one more app

00:14:42   that every time there's a new iOS screen size,

00:14:45   that's one more app you have to update.

00:14:47   That's one more app that every time there's a new

00:14:48   like bit transition or API transition

00:14:52   or other incompatibility as time goes on,

00:14:55   you're gonna have something that's going to affect

00:14:57   all of your apps, this is one more app in that list.

00:14:59   And so you really have to like go into it

00:15:02   fairly conservatively.

00:15:04   You know, there's certain complexities that you can't avoid,

00:15:06   things like you know, screen size changes and everything.

00:15:08   At least try to minimize the ones you can control,

00:15:11   like what you just said, like you know,

00:15:12   minimizing you know, no server component,

00:15:14   little need for support, little need for user data entry

00:15:17   or protection, things like that.

00:15:19   And that's, I think that's very wise.

00:15:21   So I really wanna hear what this app is,

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00:17:15   All right, Dave, what's the app?

00:17:16   - Yeah, so it's, like I said,

00:17:17   it involves time zones and calendaring.

00:17:20   So those are the two, like--

00:17:21   - I was trying to figure out what this could really,

00:17:23   is it like, at first when you said time zones,

00:17:24   like maybe you made a better world clock,

00:17:26   'cause the world clock apps out there are garbage.

00:17:28   And I'm like, wait a minute, but calendars,

00:17:30   how does that work, so, hmm.

00:17:32   - And I think this is always one of those funny things

00:17:33   where, in some ways I kind of love

00:17:35   that the app store is full at this point.

00:17:37   Like, you know, it's like people, there was a while

00:17:40   where it was an important thing that Apple would yell about

00:17:43   is how many apps there were in the store.

00:17:45   They haven't mentioned that in a long time.

00:17:47   And if anything, they are actively working

00:17:49   to reduce the number of apps in the store now.

00:17:51   Like, that is something that they are specifically

00:17:54   pruning out, like old or problematic, or all kinds of,

00:17:57   there's all kinds of things that they are, like,

00:17:58   taking out apps now.

00:17:59   - Yeah, and I think that's really better.

00:18:01   - Yeah, and that's, like, because it's full.

00:18:03   Like, I mean, I think for like, a concept,

00:18:05   like conceptually, like, there is not much space

00:18:07   that hasn't been explored at this point.

00:18:10   Like, just the nature of, like, the creativity of the world

00:18:13   has been applied to this problem for 10 years.

00:18:16   And so there's just fewer and fewer new things.

00:18:19   And so I started off, I was like, how could I make a time,

00:18:23   like, you know, a world clock, in terms of, like,

00:18:26   there's a core functionality of, like, I wanna know,

00:18:29   you build, you know, the time in different places

00:18:31   around the world, like the classic,

00:18:32   kind of like, world clock problem.

00:18:34   But I wanna do that in a different and more interesting way.

00:18:37   And for me, what it came down to is I wanted to,

00:18:39   you know, the app is a timeline of the times

00:18:44   in different places over time, rather than instantaneously.

00:18:47   So it's not just the time now, you know,

00:18:50   which is like, you could imagine the classic world clock.

00:18:52   It's like, well, what's the time here,

00:18:53   here, and here right now?

00:18:55   I wanna be able to show that in the future.

00:18:58   And then, as soon as I had the realization

00:19:00   that, like, that's an interesting way to show the data,

00:19:01   it's like, well, then I should also overlay that

00:19:03   with your calendar events, so that you can see

00:19:07   different events in different time zones.

00:19:09   So if you're doing any kind of meeting

00:19:12   or, you know, scheduling of things across time zones,

00:19:16   then suddenly it's easy to see when you're available,

00:19:19   when your meeting is, when your meeting is for you,

00:19:21   versus for the other people in the meeting, et cetera.

00:19:23   And then, you know, you can do things like, you know,

00:19:25   you can edit those events, you can create new events,

00:19:27   and that kind of thing.

00:19:28   And, you know, that's sort of the application.

00:19:31   And it's kind of funny in some ways,

00:19:32   which is, like, it's very straightforward, it's very simple.

00:19:34   And it's simple intentionally, because, like I said,

00:19:37   I don't want this to be something that, like,

00:19:38   overtakes my world.

00:19:40   And it's kind of funny for it to be simple,

00:19:42   because the nature of, like, if I can build this app

00:19:44   in a couple of weeks, then it's a very small moat around it.

00:19:47   You know, I'm not doing something that is hard to reproduce,

00:19:51   so if the kernel of the idea turns out to be, you know,

00:19:54   successful or interesting, then, you know,

00:19:56   it's like other people could potentially copy it

00:19:58   and go forward, but, you know, that's sort of like

00:20:01   the give and take that you have with an application like this

00:20:04   is that if you want to keep it simple,

00:20:06   if you want to do something that, you know,

00:20:09   is relatively straightforward to do,

00:20:12   which is something I want to do,

00:20:13   because I don't want this, I want this to be a project

00:20:15   that I can, you know, finish in a month

00:20:17   rather than several months.

00:20:19   Like, that's kind of the nature of your building

00:20:21   a small moat around you rather than, like,

00:20:23   you know, all the work you did with Smart Speed, say.

00:20:25   Like, it took, you know, years in many ways

00:20:28   for people to approximate what you had done,

00:20:31   because the work you did to do it was difficult,

00:20:34   hard to reproduce, and challenging.

00:20:37   Whereas an app like this, it's not, you know,

00:20:39   it's much more something that exists in,

00:20:42   like, its value exists in potentially it being, you know,

00:20:47   somewhat, well, hopefully, like, nice and polished

00:20:50   and well-marketed, but it isn't, you know,

00:20:52   sort of functionally and strictly unique in that way.

00:20:56   - I feel like there's, first of all,

00:20:58   Smart Speed has been one of the greatest payoffs ever,

00:21:00   because it wasn't as much work as everyone thinks it is.

00:21:03   (laughs)

00:21:04   It really, and I did it, you know, four years ago

00:21:07   and haven't had to touch it since.

00:21:08   Anyway, so I've gotten very well paid off ratio-wise

00:21:11   from, like, effort to moat there.

00:21:14   But I feel like there's actually nothing wrong

00:21:16   with having a low moat or a low wall or,

00:21:20   well, moats go under.

00:21:22   What's the metaphor here?

00:21:22   Is it a shallow moat or a short wall?

00:21:25   - I think it's a shallow moat.

00:21:26   - Okay, so I don't think there's anything wrong

00:21:28   with having a shallow wall here,

00:21:31   because what matters is not can anyone copy your idea,

00:21:36   because the reality is, you know, given enough time,

00:21:38   anybody can copy any idea, right?

00:21:40   What matters is the amount of moat that you have,

00:21:45   proportional to the amount of effort and time

00:21:47   it's gonna take you to make it, right?

00:21:49   'Cause, like, if you make something

00:21:50   that's really super easy to copy,

00:21:52   if you didn't spend that much time on it,

00:21:55   it really isn't that big of a deal.

00:21:56   Like, it's a bigger problem, like, for example,

00:21:59   Threes and 2048, like, you know,

00:22:01   one of the great app store copying scandals of all time,

00:22:04   right, the Threes app, to get that mechanic right

00:22:08   and to get the look and feel and details

00:22:12   of the implementation right, took them probably

00:22:14   a lot of effort and time to work that out.

00:22:16   But it's a simple enough mechanic

00:22:20   that once it was visible to the world,

00:22:22   it got copied very quickly and easily.

00:22:25   So that was kind of, like, that was a big risk they took

00:22:28   and it didn't really work out that well for them

00:22:30   because it took them a lot of time to build a shallow moat.

00:22:34   Whereas what you're doing, I think, is totally fine.

00:22:36   You are taking a small amount of time

00:22:39   to build a shallow moat.

00:22:40   And so if other people come in and copy it

00:22:42   right after you do it, it isn't that big of a loss

00:22:44   'cause it didn't take you that long.

00:22:46   And in the, you know, the brief window of time

00:22:49   where you are the only one, or at least you are

00:22:51   the best marketed and most visible one,

00:22:53   you will get your payoff during that time.

00:22:55   And even if someone then comes and copies it a week later,

00:22:58   oh well, you had your time,

00:22:59   it wasn't that big of an investment.

00:23:01   - Yeah, and I think there's a good,

00:23:03   a very good way to look at it.

00:23:04   It's like, there is that ratio between the,

00:23:07   like, it can be sort of complicated emotionally,

00:23:09   but I think from a business and a rationality perspective,

00:23:13   like, it is very good to just think it's,

00:23:14   like, if it only took you, if it only takes you

00:23:17   a couple weeks to build and it takes a couple weeks

00:23:19   for other people to copy what you're doing,

00:23:21   then like, I guess there's like, you know,

00:23:22   imitation is a sincerest form of flattery kind of thing.

00:23:25   Like, well, clearly you were onto something,

00:23:26   clearly that was useful.

00:23:28   But like, other than starting, like,

00:23:30   it's unlikely that you're building something

00:23:31   that is like novel in the way that is truly,

00:23:35   like, transformative and would sort of be reasonable

00:23:38   to feel like should be, should be, you know,

00:23:40   sort of protected in some way.

00:23:41   But the reality is, it's just, it's going to create,

00:23:44   you're gonna create something and it's not gonna,

00:23:45   you know, have that, you know,

00:23:48   it's not gonna be pushed against.

00:23:51   And the nice thing too, I will say,

00:23:52   is that one weird advantage of the App Store

00:23:55   being so mature and so full is that I feel like

00:23:58   the actual impact that copycats can have is,

00:24:02   feels slightly smaller to me now than it used to,

00:24:06   and I think in large part because the,

00:24:09   it's so hard to get any attention in the App Store at all

00:24:15   that if you have some, if you are able to

00:24:18   gather enough attention in the first place to get there,

00:24:22   like someone else either would have to have

00:24:23   a large marketing budget, which for like

00:24:25   a simple utility app seems very unlikely and unusual,

00:24:30   or, you know, sort of just be very lucky and fortunate.

00:24:32   But for the most part, like you have that benefit of like,

00:24:34   discovery is hard enough for everybody that if like,

00:24:37   about three, you know, three people copy your app,

00:24:40   put it in the App Store, like unless they're like

00:24:41   physically copying, you know, copied, like trademark

00:24:43   and those kinds of issues, like they're copying

00:24:44   your name and icon, like they're just copying your idea,

00:24:47   like they're having the uphill battle.

00:24:50   If anything, they have the even harder problem

00:24:52   because they have to convince the people who,

00:24:55   like if you capture the initial like obvious market

00:24:59   of your application in your circle, then like,

00:25:02   there's a group of people who are like excluded from

00:25:05   the potential market for your customers, and so like,

00:25:09   in some ways that's kind of a nice like benefit now,

00:25:12   the App Store being so full and so sort of

00:25:15   difficult to find discovery in,

00:25:17   that if you have anything novel, like it's reasonably likely

00:25:19   that you can get some attention in the press,

00:25:21   maybe get some editorial favor in the App Store team,

00:25:25   and like, if you know, it's unlikely that both of those

00:25:28   people are going to, you know, then like promote,

00:25:31   you know, sort of copycats down the road, so.

00:25:33   Now that's a nice perk of the modern App Store.

00:25:37   - I think also like when you're dealing with this kind of

00:25:40   situation where you have an app that's probably gonna be

00:25:42   copied quickly and easily, you know,

00:25:44   you're dealing with commodities here.

00:25:46   At this point, ideas in the App Store

00:25:48   are commoditized fully, and so you have to compete

00:25:52   accordingly, and so the way to compete in that kind of market

00:25:55   is first of all, I think, you know, design and marketing

00:25:59   are like your two big differentiating features, like,

00:26:02   if you're gonna make a world clock calendar kind of app

00:26:04   and other people already have a similar kind of thing

00:26:06   or can make one very quickly,

00:26:07   you have to win on design and marketing.

00:26:09   Those are your primary tools, but also,

00:26:12   it's important to not leave them space,

00:26:15   and the way you don't leave them space

00:26:17   is to make your app free, because what really killed,

00:26:21   like what was really a big copycat problem early on is,

00:26:24   and especially like with the threes versus 2048 thing,

00:26:26   is the reason why that flipped over so quickly for them

00:26:29   was that threes was paid and 2048 was free,

00:26:31   and a whole lot of people out there

00:26:33   will never consider a paid upfront app,

00:26:35   and so if you get out there first with a free app

00:26:40   that makes money some other way,

00:26:41   whether it's ads or an app purchased for something

00:26:43   or whatever else, if yours is free upfront,

00:26:46   you leave very little room for other people

00:26:49   to take away meaningful market share from you.

00:26:51   - Yeah, and just remove the incentive,

00:26:53   'cause like the goal someone else is gonna have

00:26:54   is to make more money, so like,

00:26:56   if you're taking out the easy path for them to make money,

00:26:59   like the obvious choice, then like, it's that much easier,

00:27:02   or it's that much less incentive for someone to try.

00:27:06   And one thing I did also wanna mention too is,

00:27:08   something else I went into my thought process

00:27:10   when I was deciding I wanted to make an app is that

00:27:12   I decided that it was something that,

00:27:14   whatever app I made that was new,

00:27:16   needed to be something that would fit into

00:27:19   Apple's movement towards Marzipan,

00:27:22   or whatever you wanna project, Sneak Peek,

00:27:23   like whatever you wanna call that,

00:27:24   the movement towards iOS finding its way onto the Mac,

00:27:27   I wanted to have an app that would fit into that ecosystem,

00:27:32   both from a, you know, as someone who's just a,

00:27:35   like, I don't even know, like,

00:27:37   I wanna make sure that I have an opportunity to explore

00:27:40   all of the aspects of Apple development,

00:27:41   that if they're working on something new,

00:27:43   I wanna have something to do there,

00:27:45   as well as, like, there's always, in my experience,

00:27:47   it's been a good thing to kind of be on board with Apple

00:27:51   as they're heading in a new direction,

00:27:53   that, like, whether or not that's perfect from the start

00:27:56   or whatever, you know, see the Apple Watch,

00:27:57   like, I've benefited in the long run

00:28:00   by being on the Apple Watch at the beginning,

00:28:02   is benefiting me now, later on,

00:28:05   as the platform has matured, and I've kind of worked through

00:28:07   all of the rough parts at the beginning,

00:28:09   but, you know, it's like, you can,

00:28:11   the only way you can have, you know, several years

00:28:13   of experience with something is to, you know,

00:28:15   to start early, and so, that was something

00:28:18   that I also thought of, and I, like, you know,

00:28:19   World Clock, time, you know, time zone calculator,

00:28:22   calendar app, would work just as well on the Mac

00:28:26   and the iPad and the iPhone, and so, you know,

00:28:28   an event kit exists on all those platforms,

00:28:30   so it also just seemed like a good fit,

00:28:32   and I just wanted to mention that, too,

00:28:33   is, like, something to keep in the back of your mind,

00:28:36   kind of going into this fall, when I think that,

00:28:38   you know, the cross-platform SDKs are gonna be coming out,

00:28:42   have it, if you're starting something

00:28:44   that could work well in that, there might be some,

00:28:47   you know, some benefit to that,

00:28:49   who knows exactly what that would look like,

00:28:51   but I always kind of keep that in the back of my mind,

00:28:53   that if I'm on board with whatever Apple's doing,

00:28:56   it's gonna be better for me than to be

00:28:57   working counter to that.

00:28:59   - Definitely.

00:29:00   All right, well, I look forward to seeing this app.

00:29:02   I can't wait to time my zones.

00:29:05   - There you go.

00:29:06   - Thank you for listening, everybody,

00:29:07   and we'll talk to you in two weeks.

00:29:09   - Bye.

00:29:10   [ Silence ]