Under the Radar

42: Getting Next Year's Customers


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

00:00:04   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.

00:00:11   So today we wanted to talk a little bit about a couple of different topics, but largely

00:00:15   around the theme of shutting something down, and specifically drawing on some of the experiences

00:00:22   from this past week where the app Vesper, which was made by Brent Simmons, Dave Whiskas,

00:00:28   and John Gruber announced that they are going to be closing down after a several year run

00:00:32   of being in the App Store.

00:00:35   And they handled that process both really well, and I think that's something that I

00:00:37   think we wanted to expound upon a little bit and talk about how to actually walk through

00:00:43   closing something down when it's time, you know, the time has come for it to be shut

00:00:47   down, how to do it in a classy and good for your users kind of way.

00:00:52   And then also they've both written a lot of postmortems and kind of thoughts about the

00:00:57   process.

00:00:58   And some of them relate to the modern App Store and ways of pricing things and things

00:01:03   that may have worked out differently, you know, how if they had approached the app differently,

00:01:07   would it have been successful in a different way, that I think are all very relevant to

00:01:12   us in our discussion.

00:01:13   But I think first the best place to start is just to talk about the way they shut down

00:01:16   Vesper.

00:01:17   And so, you know, Brent posted and they did sort of this last update, I think it had been

00:01:22   quite a while since they had done a previous update, and they did an update, and basically

00:01:25   all it does is it adds the ability to export all of your data out of the app.

00:01:29   They made the app free so that you, it just became, it's like, why not?

00:01:35   And they've turned off the ability to create new sync accounts, which and then their sync

00:01:39   service will be going away soon.

00:01:40   And overall, when I saw that, I was like, that is just like the classy way to do it.

00:01:45   Like they've put in the extra effort, even though necessarily there's not a specific

00:01:50   return for this effort, because the app has become now free.

00:01:55   They put in the effort to make it so that if you're an existing customer, you're

00:01:58   taken care of.

00:01:59   And whenever I see something like that, I'm not surprised, given the people who are doing

00:02:03   this, but it was a good reminder that there will come a time with all of our products

00:02:07   where we have to just, you know, we're probably going to have to turn things off, and it's

00:02:12   something probably worth planning for and thinking through.

00:02:15   And then, you know, I probably encourage also just being thoughtful about what's best

00:02:19   for your customers in that situation.

00:02:21   You know, it's an unfortunate reality that in this business, basically nothing is permanent.

00:02:28   This is one of the reasons, you know, going back kind of to the big picture for a second,

00:02:32   like the possibility for the apps we use and possibly depend on to ultimately shut down

00:02:39   or be sold or whatever the case may be to change in a way that either shuts them down

00:02:43   completely or that make it so that we can't or don't want to use them anymore really

00:02:47   underscores the importance of keeping your data, if possible, in open formats or at least

00:02:54   preserving the option like what Vesper did to export into open formats.

00:02:59   And there's some discussion too about like whether they are morally obligated to open

00:03:05   source it or not.

00:03:07   I think in Brent's original post, he made a pretty good case for why like they might

00:03:13   open source it, but it's not necessarily a sure thing that they should or need to because

00:03:17   like this is really old code because it was originally written for iOS 6.

00:03:22   And a lot of it is not particularly useful in the modern era of like modern iOS capabilities

00:03:28   that they like.

00:03:29   Now, if you're at the same thing today, you'd use way less code.

00:03:31   And ultimately, I don't believe that anybody is entitled to the source code of another

00:03:35   application if they paid five bucks for it once, two years ago.

00:03:38   Like that's to me is just not a thing.

00:03:41   I think it's a courtesy if you can open source it, it's kind of interesting a little bit,

00:03:46   but it's not the panacea that some people think they need and deserve.

00:03:50   And if it's very important to you to have open source stuff if an app is out of business,

00:03:55   I think the only way you can actually do that is to use an app that is open source from

00:03:59   the beginning.

00:04:00   Anyway, so I've gone through a few product transitions myself.

00:04:07   The only thing that's actually shut down is the magazine.

00:04:10   But who knows what the future will hold there.

00:04:13   It's tough, but it's the reality.

00:04:14   I mean, Vesper was an app that all of its creators were very clear that they would have

00:04:20   liked to have more time to spend working on it.

00:04:22   They would have liked for it to continue and to be worth working on, but it didn't bring

00:04:26   in enough money to be full time incomes to justify the work that it would have taken

00:04:31   to make it really the next level and to make the Mac app and to make everything else it

00:04:35   needed.

00:04:36   That's just how it goes sometimes.

00:04:38   That's just the reality of product development.

00:04:41   Sometimes it doesn't work out.

00:04:42   And when you're choosing to work on a side project like this was for all three of its

00:04:48   developers, it has to somehow justify the time you're putting into it.

00:04:52   And in this case also the money that they were paying to host the sync service and to

00:04:57   license the font.

00:04:59   And so they had ongoing costs.

00:05:01   They were faced with the problem of time investment that it needed.

00:05:06   And there simply wasn't enough revenue coming in to make it worth it.

00:05:10   And that's unfortunate on so many levels for so many reasons, especially with this group

00:05:16   of people and with this app because it was a very good app.

00:05:19   And these were very high profile developers who they got a lot of good publicity from

00:05:23   themselves and others because of their position and because it was a good app.

00:05:27   And it still didn't work out.

00:05:28   So I think there's a lot we can unpack from this and a lot we can learn from the market

00:05:32   today.

00:05:33   Yeah, and I think there's something too to be said that it's a very strange thing to

00:05:39   say but in a small way I find it slightly encouraging that Vesper didn't work out.

00:05:46   And to explain that, what I mean is any project that any of us do, even if it has everything

00:05:52   going for it in terms of, there's not a lot of things that you could kind of imagine or

00:05:59   draw up that would be like, "Put your app, whatever you're working on, in a better place

00:06:03   as a starting off point than I think what Vesper had."

00:06:07   But it's a reminder of how even if you have everything going for you and you make something

00:06:12   awesome, that's not necessarily going to be enough.

00:06:17   And in some ways I find that encouraging because it's a reminder that even having all those

00:06:24   things you're not guaranteed success.

00:06:26   So even if you don't have those things, you're in some weird way much in the same boat.

00:06:31   There's going to be a certain degree of luck about whether it's going to hit the right

00:06:37   group, whether you approach things in the right way.

00:06:40   And in reading through their postmortems about the experience, it's like there's things

00:06:43   that they look back and they made choices that they would do differently now.

00:06:47   And they're people who really understand the App Store, who are very smart developers

00:06:51   and designers, and they made decisions that in some ways they wish they would have changed

00:06:55   too.

00:06:56   So in a weird way it's nice to have the humanity of that, of like, "Yeah, it's difficult,

00:07:01   it's tough."

00:07:02   And it's a good reminder that when I launch things, if they don't work out the way that

00:07:06   I might want them to be, that's just the table stakes.

00:07:11   That's just the reality of the game, of making software and putting it into a market, that

00:07:15   sometimes it's not going to work.

00:07:17   And it's also a good reminder too of it's so easy, I think, to discredit.

00:07:22   And that's nice for a problem, where when you see someone launch something and they

00:07:28   have the big publicity, it's like, "Yeah, that's nice, I suppose, but that's not

00:07:32   a guarantee of success either."

00:07:34   Ultimately, the work and effort that it will take for something to be successful isn't

00:07:39   just based on who you are.

00:07:41   There's more to it than that, and that just seems like a good reminder that this is as

00:07:46   sad as it is as an event.

00:07:48   That's exactly it.

00:07:50   I've said for years, and nobody believes me because I'm the beneficiary of publicity

00:07:56   because I have an audience, but I've said for years that having a built-in audience

00:08:01   or being a "famous developer" or whatever else, it does help you a lot at launch time.

00:08:07   It is something that can basically guarantee you a certain minimum level of success at

00:08:13   launch.

00:08:14   But it is not a substitute for a good product market fit.

00:08:19   It is not going to save you from market realities, and it is not really going to help you that

00:08:24   much in the long term.

00:08:28   In this case, Vesper was a note-taking app, and it did things a little bit differently

00:08:34   than other note-taking apps, so it had a couple of unique features and design choices.

00:08:39   And also, of course, it looked really nice, but I was using design more in the feature

00:08:42   sense there.

00:08:44   And they did a whole bunch of custom UI text field jumbling, basically, to work around

00:08:52   UI text fields limitations to make it really awesome to do what they wanted to, right before

00:08:57   all that stuff became a lot easier.

00:08:59   So they had market timing problem number one of they did a whole lot of work to hack around

00:09:07   UI text field problems right before the APIs made that unnecessary.

00:09:11   They also did a huge amount of design and work, making a clean, simple design-looking

00:09:17   app running on iOS 6.

00:09:19   And then iOS 7 came in and changed everything about design and made a whole bunch of that

00:09:23   stuff easier.

00:09:24   Later, they had the issue of when they launched, the third-party notes category was a lot healthier

00:09:31   than it is now, because Apple Notes was terrible.

00:09:35   And then in the meantime, Apple Notes got really good.

00:09:37   It got that big update.

00:09:38   Was it iOS 8?

00:09:39   >> I think so, yeah.

00:09:41   >> With CloudKit?

00:09:42   >> I think so, yeah.

00:09:43   >> When that came out?

00:09:44   Or when it was first using, it dramatically improved the sync system and meant you didn't

00:09:48   have to use WebDAV.

00:09:49   And I think it was 8.

00:09:50   >> Yeah, 8 or 9, whenever it was.

00:09:52   You know, Apple Notes got a ton better, like massively so.

00:09:56   And to everyone's great surprise, I think, I mean, I don't think anybody expected Apple

00:10:00   to ever really care that much about their Notes app and to add the level of features

00:10:04   that they did.

00:10:05   But anyway, Apple Notes comes out, is awesome, and takes away much of Vesper's market gain,

00:10:12   or rather, much of Vesper's purpose in the market, I think.

00:10:15   Not all of it, of course, because there's a lot of things that Vesper still did better

00:10:19   for a lot of people.

00:10:20   But certainly, it took a lot of the wind out of those sales.

00:10:23   So it was impacted a lot by the market in general.

00:10:27   But also, I think, in John Gruber's post earlier, his big post-mortem about it, I think he just

00:10:33   pointed out also that the pricing model was just also fairly outdated.

00:10:38   And that's something I think we have a lot to say about here.

00:10:41   So originally, a $5 upfront app, no in-app purchase, no recurring revenue stream, just

00:10:45   $5 once upfront.

00:10:47   Same model I used back in the day for Instapaper, sort of what I used at the beginning of Overcast,

00:10:52   but not really.

00:10:53   A very popular model, lots of people use it, especially in the early days.

00:10:57   And the advantages of that model are plenty.

00:10:58   I mean, first of all, it's very, very simple, as we discussed earlier, on earlier episodes

00:11:02   about pricing.

00:11:03   Implementing paid upfront takes basically no work for the developer.

00:11:07   You don't have to do any in-app purchase code.

00:11:09   You don't have to do any receipt checking, any restore purchases, anything really.

00:11:13   You just kind of set the price on iTunes Connect and that's it.

00:11:16   You're done.

00:11:17   So there's lots of advantage for the developer.

00:11:18   It also takes care of a lot of ambiguities of whether somebody bought it at the right

00:11:21   time or whatever.

00:11:23   It solves a lot of problems there.

00:11:24   It also creates a few problems.

00:11:27   There is no clear way to upgrade pricing.

00:11:30   People have to pay before they can even see the app.

00:11:33   So you have a lot of unhappy people who buy the app, you get their money, and then they

00:11:37   kind of don't like it.

00:11:38   So it's kind of like kind of unfair.

00:11:40   It's not really good for customer satisfaction or your reputation if the app doesn't live

00:11:44   up to it and people are unhappy with you.

00:11:47   And then, of course, the big problem is that these days it's really hard to get people

00:11:52   to pay for apps upfront.

00:11:54   That's a big one.

00:11:55   And I think we'll talk more about that.

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00:13:41   So one thing that I wanted to talk a little bit through is related to this concept of

00:13:48   charging $5 upfront.

00:13:50   And in my recent experience, it's something that I've sort of started to wrap my hands

00:13:56   around is the concept that whenever I'm building something, it is so easy to focus on, say,

00:14:05   the first month that the app is going to be in market, that I'm going to build something,

00:14:09   I'm going to put it on the app store, and it's going to go out.

00:14:12   And my focus and my thinking, both around the design, the development, everything, pricing,

00:14:19   marketing, it's all about that first sort of wave.

00:14:23   And in many ways, that makes sense.

00:14:24   That's logical.

00:14:25   Like that is after, you know, say you spend months and months building something, like

00:14:29   that first month is really exciting and important to say that first day, you know, seeing yourself,

00:14:33   you know, hopefully, you know, zoom up the charts in the app store.

00:14:36   Like, that's really cool.

00:14:37   But the reality is that sustainable, long-term, viable businesses are not made really at all

00:14:46   in that first month, that, in my experience, in order for you to have something that is

00:14:53   viable long-term, you have to have a model that will work a year from now, 18 months

00:15:01   from now, and have an ongoing component to it that works and does what you need it to

00:15:06   do.

00:15:07   And that is where I think as I've gone through this, there's so many, I feel like I've had

00:15:14   the discussion in my mind and out loud dozens and dozens of times about, "Oh, what's the

00:15:18   best model for pricing in the app store?"

00:15:20   But at the end of the day, I think the simple, like, question that is probably helpful as

00:15:25   we think through these types of things for our own applications is, "How will I make

00:15:30   money a year from now doing what I'm doing?"

00:15:34   And if you don't have a good answer, then it's probably not a great, you know, setup.

00:15:38   And if you actually remember back in one of the early episodes of Under the Radar, we

00:15:43   were talking about Activity++, and we were going back and forth on whether it should

00:15:46   be free or paid, there was an activity tracking app that I made, and I ended up deciding to

00:15:52   do the paid-up front model.

00:15:54   And there was a variety of reasons for that, but nevertheless, it was an interesting and

00:15:57   recent data point for the same process.

00:16:00   And what happened is, I think what I could have predicted would happen, and I was fine

00:16:05   with happening, but the first couple weeks, it did very well, I was very happy with it,

00:16:10   and then it very quickly just fell down and is now continuing at a stable level, but that

00:16:16   stable level is very close to zero.

00:16:20   It's not zero, it's, you know, it's just sort of mumbling along on the bottom, but if you

00:16:25   look at the, you know, the actual curve of it, it's very, very minimal income at this

00:16:29   point, and that particular app was fine, you know, for what I was doing, but there's an

00:16:36   example of that problem, of if you can't have a good way of making money down the road,

00:16:42   then your business model is always going to be stuck.

00:16:45   And I think that is, I think, the most fundamental problem with the paid-up front model that

00:16:49   we have right now, because every, it's sort of like, it's almost like the opposite of

00:16:55   the marginal cost advantage, you know, where over time, like, once I've made a piece of

00:16:59   software, I can sell the next copy for free, essentially, I don't have to build it twice,

00:17:03   like, I've made it once and I can keep selling it.

00:17:06   And so, you know, the marginal cost of that, each subsequent purchase goes down for me.

00:17:13   But in a weird way, acquiring your next customer after you've gotten the first one gets incrementally

00:17:20   harder as you go, in some ways necessarily, that you may have that initial burst of people

00:17:28   who are interested in it, who are, you know, sort of passionate about what you're doing,

00:17:31   or love, in this case, they love Notes apps, or they take lots of notes, like the easy,

00:17:36   low-hanging fruit type of customers that you may be able to acquire.

00:17:41   But then, each day, you go on from there, if you want to be able to have a sustainable

00:17:46   and reliable income stream, you have to have a way of getting more and more people, and

00:17:51   you're starting to get farther and farther from your own circles, in terms of if you're,

00:17:56   you know, what we were just saying earlier about, well, it's easy if you have a built-in

00:17:59   audience, it's like, well, that's great that first week, but that doesn't help you a month

00:18:04   later or a year later when everybody in your circle is aware of it, they know about it,

00:18:09   they've bought it or have not bought it, or, you know, that's where you find yourself.

00:18:14   And so, that's the interesting thing that I've started to try and filter my thinking

00:18:18   through around pricing and around business models, is it's not really caring too much

00:18:23   about that first period, and thinking almost exclusively about a year from now.

00:18:30   And if you're having a good plan for what that looks like, and if you can focus on that,

00:18:36   I feel like you're in a much better place, and maybe you're going to discount and lose

00:18:39   a bit of potential revenue that first week or so, but overall, you'll make it back dramatically

00:18:46   if you have a much better position years down the road, especially if this is something

00:18:49   that you want to do long-term.

00:18:51   - Exactly, I mean, you know, you have to think about a year from now, because anybody who

00:18:57   has ever had a paid app in the store has seen the exact same curve that you've seen on

00:19:03   Activity++ and probably many of your other apps, which is like that big long spike, that

00:19:07   first couple days or week where it's great, and then just a pretty quick drop, and then

00:19:13   kind of a plateau, kind of like an asymptotic curve into zero, basically, where it kind

00:19:18   of stays indefinitely low or gets gradually lower if it isn't at zero yet.

00:19:24   And I've seen that, I saw that with many of my apps, I saw that with Instapaper, every

00:19:28   major version, I saw it with Bugshot, the whole thing, and I saw it with Overcast when

00:19:34   I launched, even though it was free, it still had that one-time paid purchase.

00:19:38   So it kind of had the same shape, it was just a little bit different dynamic, but same shape

00:19:42   of great first couple of months and then gradual decline, and just slowly declining over time.

00:19:48   And that's one of the reasons I switched to recurring subscription payments for it, is

00:19:53   because subscription payments, it's not easy, it's actually harder to get people to pay

00:19:58   that way, but at least the curve is going in the other direction.

00:20:01   And it's not even going that far in the direction, and I'm going to have to add more things behind

00:20:06   that paywall to make it more healthy than it is now, because right now, basically, what

00:20:11   happened with Overcast, as a quick aside here, the patronage model, I was trying to get 5%

00:20:16   of users to pay. Before there were any features, when it was just Goodwill-based, I achieved

00:20:23   about 1.5%, and it kind of plateaued at that. And so when I added dark mode and file upload,

00:20:31   but I think it's mostly about dark mode, just having those two desirable features behind

00:20:35   the paywall rather than nothing made it go from about 1.8%, 1.9% to about 3%. But it

00:20:42   is now plateauing at about 3%. That rate has stopped growing. And really, I need it to

00:20:47   be more like 5% to really sustain this healthily. And so I'm going to have to put more new features

00:20:53   behind that. And this is like, just so everyone knows, nothing works perfectly. No matter

00:20:59   what we say when we launch something is, here's how we think it's going to go, it doesn't

00:21:04   always go that way. And when Vesper launched at $5 up front, they thought that was going

00:21:09   to work great, because for many people and for a while it worked okay. But then the market

00:21:14   moved over time, they found that, you know, they ran into competition and other issues,

00:21:20   and it didn't work out so well in the end. So one thing that I would definitely say is

00:21:25   to basically keep your mind and options open on pricing and how you make money, because

00:21:32   even if you pick a certain model at the beginning, you will probably have to change that. And

00:21:38   what you think is the way to go might not be the way to go one, two, three years from

00:21:43   now. You know, I'm now in that point with Overcast where I'm making enough that it's,

00:21:48   you know, it's okay, I'm not losing money on it, but I would ideally like to be making

00:21:53   more to really justify pouring even more time and resources into it and having a little

00:21:58   bit more headroom on the budget. And so I got to figure out something else. Like that's

00:22:04   it. I'm not just going to sit here and do nothing, I got to figure out something else.

00:22:07   Now the paid up front model I think works really well if your business model is I don't

00:22:14   care about next year. And there's lots of legitimate cases where that is true. Like

00:22:18   if you're making like a little special utility app that is going to be probably not able

00:22:23   to justify a whole bunch of your ongoing time and your ongoing maintenance and ongoing updates,

00:22:27   and you're maybe going to have a lot of those, that probably makes more sense to be like,

00:22:31   all right, paid up front, it's a simple thing, people are going to like buy it, use it once

00:22:33   or twice, and then their need for it will go away or whatever else. That's fine. But

00:22:38   if you're trying to make something that's going to be like a productivity app that people

00:22:41   are going to ideally use every day for years, you're going to need a different model. Because

00:22:46   I think we've seen over and over again that paid up front for that is really hard to make

00:22:50   work.

00:22:51   Yeah. And I think it's also an interesting, there's some interesting realities I think

00:22:57   about the App Store too, and I've noticed these in myself. And this is like a tricky

00:23:02   thing to, in some ways I feel embarrassed about talking about it, but I've noticed in

00:23:06   my own, when I'm in the App Store, like now, I go to, you know, on my iPhone, I open up

00:23:10   the App Store, if I'm looking for an app, and I see that it's paid, I have tremendous

00:23:16   reluctance to download it.

00:23:19   Me too.

00:23:20   And I feel bad about saying that, because I'm a software developer, I'm an indie software

00:23:25   developer, like I make my living from people giving me money in the App Store, but I don't

00:23:29   want to give anyone else money. And I think the reality about that, which is where it's

00:23:34   like, that's kind of in some ways a profound thing to observe about myself, is if I don't

00:23:40   want to do it, why would anyone else want to do it and give me money? Like, that's just

00:23:43   the experience we've had in the App Store. And you could unpack like thousands of different

00:23:48   reasons why that's the case. Why I don't want to pay money for apps in the App Store anymore.

00:23:54   You know, maybe I've been burned in the past, there's such incredible competition, there's

00:23:58   lots of free alternatives. You know, unless it is an app, essentially, unless the app

00:24:03   was made by a friend of mine, or I absolutely have to have it for some reason, I probably

00:24:08   won't buy it. I will find a free alternative. And that's just like the reality. And I could

00:24:13   have some high minded ideals that, oh no, it's, you know, it devalues software, it makes

00:24:17   our craft less special or valuable or whatever you could kind of imagine. But like, that's

00:24:22   the reality that when I look at something, I'm like, oh, maybe not, or maybe I don't

00:24:26   need it that much. And having that honesty about myself, I think helps me understand

00:24:31   my customers better and understand the realities of the store that we're selling in. And that's

00:24:38   instructive, I think, that having that feeling of saying, like, you know, if I'm not willing

00:24:42   to buy for, you know, pay for software, maybe why should I expect that someone else would?

00:24:48   And that leads me to, you know, now increasingly, like my focus is on, you know, free apps and

00:24:53   finding ways to make money in those. And I think overall, that's better. Free is great,

00:24:59   because it makes it, there was saying earlier, where it gets incrementally harder to find

00:25:06   that next customer. In some ways, a free app has the opposite benefit, because it's, as

00:25:10   you go, it starts, you know, you get it has a much more frictionless spreading phenomenon

00:25:17   where, you know, if someone if someone has your app, they like it, they can tell someone

00:25:21   else and there's no cost for that exchange. It's not this like, well, here's this app,

00:25:26   I really like it. You know, but there's no but there's not like, but it's a couple bucks.

00:25:31   Like there's not this sort of this apology that you have to add to that if you're recommending

00:25:34   it to somebody.

00:25:35   Yeah, this huge barrier that people have to have to decide whether they want to go over

00:25:38   or not. I mean, ideally, you don't want to put big barriers in front of people before

00:25:42   they even have seen how good your app is.

00:25:46   Exactly. Like, I mean, you you want and I think even there's this funny thought of,

00:25:52   I feel like I have to keep in mind that while I'm sitting in my office working in Xcode

00:25:58   making something it's so easy to almost to like become precious about my software and

00:26:02   to feed to like, overemphasize what it is that some make it feel like it's, you know,

00:26:07   I've poured my heart into this. You know, it can you can make you can give it these

00:26:12   feelings that aren't really constructive where at the end of the day, it's just it's

00:26:16   an app that's going to be going into a store with 2 million other apps. And as special

00:26:21   and unique and as much of a special snowflake as you feel like it is, it's probably not

00:26:26   as special as you think it actually is. And so being realistic about that and understanding

00:26:31   that you know, people aren't going to want to just pay you money because they your app

00:26:36   is special, like they won't know it's special. And even if they do know it's special, they

00:26:40   may not care.

00:26:41   I couldn't have said it better myself. I mean, this is a very competitive market. It's so

00:26:46   competitive. There's so many other apps out there. You have to convince people that they

00:26:51   need yours. And if there's any barriers in front of that, they're going to cost you dearly.

00:26:58   And you have to make money somewhere. And it used to be really easy to just put a paid

00:27:02   upfront price on it and that worked pretty well. But that was back when the market was

00:27:06   less competitive and people were more exploratory with how they spent their money in the app

00:27:11   store. People weren't already like kind of burnt out on spending money on apps to try

00:27:15   them out. That worked very well for maybe two years at the beginning of the app store.

00:27:20   Now it's different. Now it's harder. It's a mature market. There's way more competition.

00:27:25   It's just harder. And it can be done. But it's also going to be very hard to do it in

00:27:31   a way that can fund somebody's lifestyle to be a full-time job to work on a basic iOS

00:27:38   app that charges a couple bucks. There has to be more to your strategy than that. And

00:27:43   it's not easy. And it's getting harder every year. And there is still a market there. But

00:27:48   you have to be really savvy at trying to get it. You have to try a lot of things. You have

00:27:55   to be willing to challenge lots of assumptions. And you have to be willing to swallow your

00:27:59   pride on a lot of this stuff. And it's unfortunate, but that's the reality of a very competitive,

00:28:04   low-profit business.

00:28:05   >> Yeah. And I think those two things that you just pointed out are the key to all of

00:28:09   this. It's being creative and flexible about approaches and then being humble about your

00:28:15   approach to things and not overemphasizing or overexaggerating what you're doing.

00:28:20   >> Exactly. I mean, I've thought about putting ads in Overcast. That's something I never

00:28:25   would have thought of years ago. But now I have a situation where I make no money from

00:28:30   97% of the user base. So I could make some possibly even good money from them if I put

00:28:35   ads in it. It's something that I was all snobby about before, but now I'm actively considering

00:28:39   it because, again, like why should I leave that option off the table, whatever the -- why

00:28:45   should I not consider that option because I once found them kind of annoying? Like is

00:28:50   it possible to do it well? I don't know. But we could talk about that in a different episode

00:28:54   when we have more time. But that's -- you have to consider everything now because it's

00:28:59   so competitive. Make no assumptions. All right. And with that, we are out of time. Thanks

00:29:04   a lot for listening, everybody. And we will talk to you next week.

00:29:07   >> Bye.

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