Under the Radar

12: Apps With Personality


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

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

00:00:04   I am Marco Arment.

00:00:05   - And I'm David Smith.

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

00:00:08   so let's get started.

00:00:10   - So for this week's topic,

00:00:11   I thought we might respond a little bit

00:00:15   and possibly disagree a little bit

00:00:17   with a topic that our friends over at Release Notes

00:00:20   covered about a week ago.

00:00:22   In Release Notes episode number 140,

00:00:24   called Like Watching Paint Dry.

00:00:26   And Release Notes is a very good podcast

00:00:28   that I highly recommend for developers who listen to this,

00:00:31   should also listen to that.

00:00:32   They cover a lot more, a lot of like the business stuff.

00:00:35   Their motto is like everything but the code.

00:00:37   And so definitely love that show.

00:00:39   I've listened to it for a while.

00:00:40   They have a conference, love that show, love those guys.

00:00:43   And so this episode they did was about basically,

00:00:47   they both have small software companies.

00:00:51   Charles Perry has a company that recently launched

00:00:55   an app called Metatax,

00:00:56   which is for tax-preparing professionals,

00:00:59   like not for you to do your taxes,

00:01:00   but for your accountant to reference

00:01:03   while they do taxes for lots of people.

00:01:05   And then Joe's company, Bombing Brain,

00:01:07   makes tools for pro audio and video producers.

00:01:11   And so they both have these companies

00:01:14   that kind of appeal to pro users of some kind,

00:01:17   and these are not mass consumer apps.

00:01:20   And this episode they did, number 140,

00:01:22   was kind of about how they both are taking

00:01:26   their corporate voice more seriously now,

00:01:29   and kind of dropping some of the pretense of being indie

00:01:34   and making themselves appear like a serious company.

00:01:37   So for example, using we instead of I,

00:01:40   and kind of separating their personal blogs,

00:01:44   even if it's about business,

00:01:45   so kind of separating their personal names and blogs

00:01:48   from the company and not having a company blog anymore,

00:01:51   like them complaining about the App Store, stuff like that.

00:01:53   separating those out so that their companies appear

00:01:56   to be more professional,

00:01:58   kind of more like other big companies do,

00:02:01   where you tend to have this kind of corporate,

00:02:04   almost non-voice, it's kind of a void of personality.

00:02:09   You're not like the personality of an individual,

00:02:13   you're like projecting the image of a serious company.

00:02:17   And I think it's worth discussing kind of the pros and cons

00:02:20   of that decision, of that kind of approach,

00:02:22   of whether you should be, if you're an indie developer

00:02:27   like us, whether you should just kind of own that

00:02:29   and show personality in your apps

00:02:31   and just use the pronoun I instead of we

00:02:34   and things like that, or whether you should appeal

00:02:38   to people's more conservative sides

00:02:39   and appear to be this bigger company.

00:02:43   What have you found in this regard, David?

00:02:46   - So when I first started doing development price

00:02:50   like seven-ish years ago, like as an independent.

00:02:52   I remember going through this and trying to decide

00:02:55   how I wanted to do it.

00:02:56   And I think in the early days of my business,

00:02:57   I would always use, like, you always talk about,

00:03:00   it's like, we do this, we do that, try and appear big,

00:03:02   like refer to the company, like almost like as its own,

00:03:06   like as a third person and these types of things.

00:03:09   And I think I was doing that almost like to avoid

00:03:12   like the imposter syndrome kind of stuff,

00:03:14   where it's like, I wanted it to feel

00:03:17   like I was a real company, not just a guy.

00:03:19   But I think recently I've very strongly gone in the other direction with that, and

00:03:24   more and more I do everything and make it quite clear that it's like I'm a person.

00:03:30   I'm an individual who makes an app.

00:03:33   Most of my app's websites are now hosted off my own personal site.

00:03:37   David-Schmidt.org is where people would go to find my apps.

00:03:40   That's what it's linked to in the App Store description for my app.

00:03:45   In some of my apps even, I'll have little notes that say, "This app was made by David

00:03:51   Smith, an independent developer in Herndon.

00:03:54   Thank you for supporting it," or those types of comments.

00:03:56   I try to make it very clear that that's where I went.

00:04:00   And for me, I switched around mostly because I made peace with the fact that my goal is

00:04:06   not to be a big company.

00:04:09   My goal is not to ever grow.

00:04:11   Because like there's something to be said maybe for like faking it until you make it.

00:04:15   Like if your goal is to be a big company, to have lots of employees, to have a big presence,

00:04:21   and so on, to like say, "Okay, I'm going to pretend like I'm one of those, because

00:04:25   that's what my goal is to become."

00:04:29   But once I just really made peace with the fact that that was not my goal, I wasn't

00:04:32   like faking until I make it, like I'd already made it.

00:04:35   I'm the one person shop that I kind of like being.

00:04:38   I was like, then it's just kind of like a silly pretense to do.

00:04:42   And in many ways, I was losing some of the opportunities that I could probably otherwise

00:04:47   get by appealing to people more personally.

00:04:51   It's a funny thing.

00:04:52   You'll get a customer service response to somebody, and they're kind of really mean and

00:04:56   belligerent and kind of grumpy at you.

00:04:59   And when you respond personally, in a more kind of like, "Hi, I don't know what you're

00:05:04   expecting.

00:05:05   I'm a person."

00:05:06   often I'll get the, like, they just sort of calm down, like, "Oh, I'm so sorry."

00:05:10   Like, I'm used to yelling at customer service representatives of big, faceless corporations,

00:05:14   but it feels a little bit more awkward when they're just, like, yelling at, you know,

00:05:19   yelling at a person. And so I've sort of, I've found I get a lot of benefit from just

00:05:22   saying, like, "Hi, I'm one person." And, you know, people like that, it seems.

00:05:26   >>

00:05:36   And there are pros and cons to that.

00:05:38   Like Charles Perry's MediTax software for tax preparers.

00:05:42   If you're appealing to a more narrow professional market

00:05:46   like that and charging, I think he charges like 100 bucks

00:05:51   for it or something like that,

00:05:53   this is pro software at a decent price.

00:05:57   This is not consumer level stuff.

00:06:00   In that kind of context, I think showing the personality

00:06:04   of being one person, and we'll get into

00:06:07   kind of like personality and attitude also in a bit,

00:06:10   which I think is also part of this,

00:06:11   but being like the, hi, I'm an independent person

00:06:14   kind of thing, in that kind of context could be a downside.

00:06:17   You kind of, those buyers might want the appearance

00:06:20   of a big, serious company, or that just might be

00:06:22   the norm in that field, but when you're doing something

00:06:26   like what you and I do, which is consumer apps,

00:06:28   where, you know, we have apps that are not gonna be

00:06:33   bought for $100 by professionals getting their job done,

00:06:36   we have apps that people buy kind of for fun

00:06:39   or for entertainment or for more mass market casual use.

00:06:44   And I feel like in that area,

00:06:49   there is not much of an upside

00:06:52   to appearing to be a big company.

00:06:55   Whereas, so there are areas where that is an upside,

00:06:57   like Charles' Metatax there,

00:06:59   but I don't think that the kind of apps that we do

00:07:02   are those areas. So again, this is one of those things where the answer is, it depends,

00:07:08   and different things will work for different people. But I think it's important to recognize

00:07:14   where your target market really is, what kind of apps you're really making and what people

00:07:17   think of you and what people want to think of you before you decide kind of which of

00:07:22   these approaches to take. Because like, you know, what I do in Overcast is also, is completely

00:07:28   the I'm one person approach in like the support page

00:07:32   and everything, in order to try to diffuse people's anger

00:07:35   into what they perceive as like some kind of chat bot

00:07:39   for a big company that will never get read

00:07:40   because they're angry at most big companies

00:07:42   'cause most big companies don't help them,

00:07:45   right in my feedback form in the app I say,

00:07:48   hi, I'm one person.

00:07:50   And before they can even get the email address,

00:07:53   there's this like two sentence thing up top

00:07:55   basically says that I'm just one person,

00:07:59   and also I don't have time to respond to most emails.

00:08:03   And so that immediately diffuses a lot of anger

00:08:06   they might have towards like, I can't get this to work,

00:08:09   your company sucks.

00:08:11   And I really don't get a lot of those emails.

00:08:13   Even with Instapaper I got way more,

00:08:15   'cause I was less heavy-handed with Instapaper

00:08:17   about the kind of like I'm one person approach.

00:08:20   With Overcast I went very heavy-handed on that,

00:08:22   and the emails I get are generally extremely civil,

00:08:26   extremely nice.

00:08:27   I hardly ever get anger at all.

00:08:31   And also because I say right there in the feedback form,

00:08:35   I don't have time to respond to most emails, I'm sorry.

00:08:38   That sets expectations for support also.

00:08:40   'Cause you know a lot of people,

00:08:41   if they think you're a big company,

00:08:44   they're going to expect maybe not helpful support,

00:08:48   but they will expect fast support responses.

00:08:51   And because that's what most big companies,

00:08:54   you can contact them and you can get support of some kind

00:08:58   and it might not be very helpful,

00:08:59   but you will get a person who responds to you soon.

00:09:03   And if they don't get that

00:09:05   and they think you're a big company, they get mad.

00:09:07   If you're a small, if you're one person

00:09:10   and you say I'm one person and also sorry,

00:09:13   I can't really respond to you most of the time

00:09:16   and then you don't respond to them,

00:09:18   I feel like that actually leaves them feeling less angry

00:09:22   than if they think you're a big company

00:09:26   and they email you and they don't get a response.

00:09:29   I mean, I know you actually do support

00:09:31   'cause you're a good person, but I mean--

00:09:33   - I think there is something to that, for sure.

00:09:36   - To being a good person.

00:09:38   - No, there's something to be said

00:09:40   for setting expectations appropriately

00:09:42   for what you're trying to project

00:09:47   And I mean, I remember I've heard people,

00:09:49   the funny thing I often sometimes get

00:09:51   is when people ask me, like,

00:09:52   "What's my support phone number?"

00:09:55   And I'm like, "My phone."

00:09:56   Which is like a reasonable, in some ways,

00:09:58   a reasonable question, like, if you were a big company.

00:10:01   Like, if I was a big software company,

00:10:03   like, I would imagine I can call someone at Microsoft

00:10:06   to get support.

00:10:07   Like, I'm sure there's an 800 number.

00:10:09   - Maybe.

00:10:10   - I mean, it wouldn't surprise me.

00:10:11   But then you have a big, like, I don't think,

00:10:13   but who are you gonna call?

00:10:15   they're gonna call my own phone number?

00:10:17   How's that gonna work?

00:10:20   It's trying to set expectations

00:10:21   because maybe at its core,

00:10:24   so much of this is just about honesty, maybe?

00:10:28   It's like, this is who I am,

00:10:29   this is the level of support I provide,

00:10:33   this is the types of apps I do,

00:10:34   and I'm just being transparent about that.

00:10:37   And so with support, when I say,

00:10:39   it's like you can email,

00:10:40   sometimes I hire someone who does a lot of the,

00:10:44   the front level of support for me,

00:10:45   so that my response, like the response time is pretty good

00:10:48   in that regard, but every now and then,

00:10:50   I'll get people who email me directly,

00:10:51   just like they find my contact information

00:10:53   or they'll @reply me on Twitter or something like that,

00:10:57   and I'm less responsive there,

00:10:59   but I haven't gotten a lot of negativity around that,

00:11:03   because I think they know what they're doing.

00:11:05   They know that they're contacting me as the person,

00:11:08   not me as the company,

00:11:10   or they're not contacting Pedometer++,

00:11:13   they're contacting David Smith.

00:11:15   And the expectations I think you have for when you're like

00:11:18   sort of out of the cold email somebody is probably

00:11:21   are very different than if you're just for when you're

00:11:23   you know, feel like you're responding to a company

00:11:25   especially a company that you've paid a lot of money to.

00:11:28   And so just trying to be honest and transparent about that

00:11:30   I think is a really helpful thing.

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00:12:50   So moving on a little bit from like whether you want to appear as a company versus an

00:12:54   individual, I wanted to mention kind of personality of an app and whether your app should kind

00:13:01   of like even just in things like the copy that you have in the app, the wording for

00:13:06   things, the microcopy, the help text, even the major features of the app or the branding

00:13:13   of it, the name, the icon, everything. In all aspects of the app, whether you want it

00:13:19   to have a personality, a strong personality or a kind of more neutral theme and voice.

00:13:28   And I think there's a lot to be said for both sides of this. The more neutral voice, which

00:13:34   which should be kind of like the default,

00:13:36   kind of the corporate voice slash no voice,

00:13:40   depending on how you look at it.

00:13:42   That, I think, is the safe choice, it's the easiest choice.

00:13:45   It's easy to have a neutral personality.

00:13:49   Because if you look at Apple's apps,

00:13:51   Apple's apps all have a neutral personality.

00:13:53   If you look at other platforms, Windows, Google,

00:13:56   like all these things, they have neutral personalities

00:13:59   at the system level.

00:14:00   And the reason they have neutral personalities

00:14:02   is because they don't want to alienate people.

00:14:06   Because as soon as you add any personality to it,

00:14:09   to the app or to the system or anything like that,

00:14:12   you do run the risk that that's not going to work well

00:14:17   for some people, that some people are maybe not gonna get it

00:14:20   or they're gonna be confused, like wait,

00:14:22   why is this app kind of appearing like smart at me?

00:14:26   Like they're not gonna like it,

00:14:29   it's gonna rub them the wrong way.

00:14:31   it's very hard to create a personality

00:14:33   that spans across all cultures, all ages, all languages,

00:14:38   in a way that nobody is really offended.

00:14:42   And at big companies like Microsoft and Apple and Google,

00:14:46   they have to consider that

00:14:47   because they serve the entire world.

00:14:49   And if they have something

00:14:51   that is slightly rubbing somebody the wrong way,

00:14:54   that could mean millions of people don't buy it

00:14:57   or think worse of it or something.

00:14:59   And so it makes a lot of sense if you're a really big

00:15:02   company like that to basically not have personality

00:15:06   in your apps or to have very, very little of it.

00:15:09   And I think a lot of people look at those big companies

00:15:13   and they say, well, I want my app to appear to be

00:15:16   as good as theirs, and so therefore the right approach

00:15:19   for me is also to have this kind of neutral personality

00:15:22   and to not put much voice or flair in the app.

00:15:27   And I think again, this is one of those things

00:15:30   where it depends on the business.

00:15:32   I, you know, if you look at, again,

00:15:33   picking Charles's meta tax is a great example.

00:15:36   I bet the world of tax preparation

00:15:38   does not really want their tax reference app

00:15:41   to be making jokes at them.

00:15:43   Like, that would just rub them the wrong way,

00:15:45   it would make it look amateurish,

00:15:47   it would make them feel like, wait a minute,

00:15:49   what did I just spend $100 on?

00:15:51   This is supposed to be a serious reference tool

00:15:53   and I need to know it's serious

00:15:55   'cause I'm doing serious work with it.

00:15:56   At the same time though, if you look at other apps, especially, you know, as I said, the

00:16:02   consumer apps like what we make, I think a really great example of this is Carrot Weather.

00:16:06   I was going to say the same thing.

00:16:08   Yep, it is the extreme archetype for the strong personality in an application.

00:16:15   It makes a point of insulting you on a regular basis, or at least making odd comments.

00:16:24   it's as though the app was made by this kind of crazy robot or I don't even know or AI

00:16:28   I'm not sure what exactly it's supposed to be like there's this crazy weather thing that

00:16:33   you know has a strong personality and you love it or you hate it like it's very unlikely

00:16:39   to be kind of like I feel neutral about this you know weather overlord that's you know

00:16:45   making jokes about me yeah but like so so carrot weather is you know it's a weather

00:16:50   like there are a billion weather apps and they are differentiated by in part this incredibly

00:16:57   strong polarizing personality they've added to that app. And it kind of makes sense, it

00:17:02   works for them because A) most people don't need their weather app to be 100% serious

00:17:09   all the time and there are enough people looking for weather apps that you can have a polarizing

00:17:16   personality like that in your weather app. And even if you alienate 90% of people out

00:17:22   there, you can still make a really good business out of the remaining 10%. And you can look

00:17:27   at that and you can say, "Well, that's bad business. Why don't you make an app that appeals

00:17:31   to more people and then you can do better?" And of course it isn't actually that simple

00:17:35   in reality. In reality, we have all these complicated factors and contributing factors.

00:17:40   In the case of something like this, like in iOS consumer apps, having some personality

00:17:45   like that while it will lose you some people for sure. And in Carrot Weather's case, I

00:17:49   don't use Carrot Weather because I don't like that personality personally. I find it a little

00:17:53   bit much so I don't use it. But I know a lot of people who do use it and who enjoy it a

00:17:57   lot and the reason I know about it is because A) I saw it once and it made an impression

00:18:04   and I remembered it, which is something you can't say about things that have a neutral

00:18:08   voice, they usually don't do that. So I remembered it, it made an impression and B) it got a

00:18:13   a lot of press because it was noteworthy, it was different. There are so many weather

00:18:19   apps out there and it's very hard for any of them to stand out in any way to get press

00:18:25   or to get remembered by people who aren't using them every day. And this one did. It

00:18:29   got press, it gets remembered, it has, like, you know about, you and I have never talked

00:18:34   about this app before, I had no idea that you had used it but now I know because, like,

00:18:38   You know, this app has made a splash for itself and has its own brand and personality that

00:18:44   are established now that people know, that people remember, and it stands out from the

00:18:48   pack because it has personality.

00:18:50   So adding personality to an app, and the stronger you do it the more extreme this is, adding

00:18:55   personality to an app is a risk, but it's a risk that might be worth it for the payoff.

00:19:02   And it's really up to you and up to the market of the app whether that's a risk worth taking

00:19:07   and how far you wanna take it.

00:19:09   In their case, as I said, for me they took it too far,

00:19:12   but they're obviously doing well with everybody else.

00:19:15   So, and I have a different app I use anyway, so it's fine.

00:19:19   And in Overcast, I have personality in there too.

00:19:23   I don't do it to the extent that they do.

00:19:25   I kinda, my personality is more like a little bit

00:19:28   of accent here and there, like some of the micro copy

00:19:30   around certain things and everything,

00:19:31   but it's not like, it's not that heavy-handed,

00:19:35   because for me, I thought that was the right balance,

00:19:37   'cause I want Overcast to be semi-mass market,

00:19:40   but I also know that it needs to stand out

00:19:42   because there's already a mass market podcast app

00:19:45   on the phone called Podcast that's always there

00:19:48   and heavily promoted and heavily integrated by everything.

00:19:50   So I knew that I wasn't going to win the battle

00:19:53   with no personality, but I also didn't want to give

00:19:57   so much personality that it turned off

00:19:59   a big section of the audience.

00:20:01   So it's a balance you have to strike,

00:20:04   And I think it's part of your overall design

00:20:08   and branding of the entire app.

00:20:10   You should be considering this with any design decision.

00:20:13   Even Overcast being this app with this bright orange

00:20:19   and white color theme, that's also part of the personality

00:20:22   of the app, it's like I'm not gonna just pick blue

00:20:26   like everybody else, everybody picks blue, no offense.

00:20:29   Everybody picks blue and the reason everybody picks blue

00:20:32   goes back to what I said earlier about Microsoft and Apple,

00:20:35   that it's very hard to pick colors that don't offend

00:20:39   or have negative connotations to some culture somewhere.

00:20:43   And one of the reasons why all your icons

00:20:45   on your computer are blue is because blue is like

00:20:48   probably one of the most neutral but appealing colors

00:20:52   that exist that can be the same around the whole world

00:20:55   and not really offend anybody.

00:20:56   Where if you pick like red, then red might mean unlucky

00:21:00   in country X, Y, or Z, or something like that.

00:21:02   So there are always these cultural baggages

00:21:06   on all design and color and personality choices

00:21:08   that you have to walk around if you're a giant company.

00:21:11   But as a smaller company, as we've been talking about,

00:21:13   as a smaller company, we have the freedom to not do that.

00:21:17   We have the freedom to be a little bit polarizing

00:21:22   for the benefit of having people notice us and remember us

00:21:27   and maybe get some press and maybe get some people

00:21:30   who it resonates with.

00:21:32   - Yeah, 'cause I think at its core,

00:21:34   I mean, there's the marketing aspect of like,

00:21:36   you need to have something,

00:21:38   ideally your app is probably gonna have some sense of like,

00:21:42   word of mouth advertising to it.

00:21:44   There's gonna be some aspect to it that like,

00:21:47   someone likes the app and they're gonna show someone else.

00:21:50   And there is this, you have to have something distinctive

00:21:54   about your application for that really to catch on and to work. And that distinctiveness

00:22:00   could be something more fundamental. It's just really good. It's just really solidly

00:22:07   constructed, but that's a harder thing to get to such a degree that someone's going

00:22:11   to be like, "Wow, let me show you this app that always renders at 60 frames a second

00:22:16   and syncs really quickly." That's unlikely to be something that is a hook, that is something

00:22:23   that really grabs someone's imagination

00:22:25   and makes them wanna tell people about it.

00:22:27   And so when you do something like this,

00:22:29   when you're talking, when you're thinking

00:22:30   about your application and you give it a stronger personality

00:22:34   or you have lots of little touches

00:22:37   that maybe are a bit more,

00:22:39   are less safe, you're giving yourself the opportunity

00:22:44   to have more of those hooks, to have more of those things

00:22:47   that the press will latch onto,

00:22:49   that your customers will latch onto

00:22:50   and be like, show other people.

00:22:52   I'm thinking about like in Overcast,

00:22:53   the bottom of your settings screen

00:22:54   where it tells you how much time you've saved

00:22:56   with SmartSpeed.

00:22:58   It's like it's a little touch that is a great opportunity

00:23:03   for someone to share the application with someone else.

00:23:06   Even if you add these little things into it,

00:23:09   you're trying to give it a little bit more,

00:23:11   like personality or like non neutrality,

00:23:16   maybe even is a better way to say it.

00:23:19   Like you give yourself the opportunity

00:23:20   And being a small company, I like that.

00:23:24   I feel fine doing those because it's not like

00:23:26   I have to go before some kind of committee to be like,

00:23:29   is this silliness okay?

00:23:32   Like there's not the ministry of silliness

00:23:34   that I have to go to and say,

00:23:36   I'd like to add this little silly touch to the application.

00:23:39   Is that okay?

00:23:40   - I would love to see a conference room at Apple

00:23:44   out in the front of the door in sterile, bland,

00:23:47   San Francisco Tech's distencled Ministry of Silliness.

00:23:51   - Yeah, but it's true though.

00:23:53   I imagine in some ways there is those voices

00:23:56   in bigger companies that look at something

00:23:58   and be like, no, that's not,

00:24:01   maybe people could take that the wrong way,

00:24:02   or maybe that's not,

00:24:05   oh, that doesn't fit with our corporate brand or our feel.

00:24:08   Or even I think about in Pedometer++,

00:24:10   I added a little thing, when you hit your goal,

00:24:13   confetti falls from the top of the screen,

00:24:15   which is a little bit of personality,

00:24:18   a little bit of silliness,

00:24:20   that is probably only a slight exaggeration to say.

00:24:25   Like that feature is one of the biggest reasons

00:24:27   the app has been successful.

00:24:29   Because people love it.

00:24:32   Like they like that feeling of getting their goal

00:24:34   and getting confetti.

00:24:35   And it doesn't have to be there.

00:24:37   The app doesn't need something like that.

00:24:39   But putting it there, by making it a little bit more fun,

00:24:43   a little bit more silly, it endears itself to people.

00:24:48   And I like that I can take advantage of that

00:24:50   and give people that fun of like, hey, check this out,

00:24:54   I just got my goal.

00:24:56   And confetti's falling from the sky.

00:24:58   - Yeah, it seems like maybe the more commoditized

00:25:02   a market is and the harder it is to stand out otherwise,

00:25:06   I mean, you would know better than anybody else,

00:25:07   how many other pedometer apps are there on the store?

00:25:10   It's probably not a small number.

00:25:11   - No, it isn't anymore.

00:25:13   - Yeah, I mean when you launched it was a small number

00:25:15   'cause you launched like the second you possibly could,

00:25:17   but yeah, it's not a small number now.

00:25:19   And so stuff like that will help you stand out now

00:25:22   because it's a large market of mostly undifferentiated apps.

00:25:27   Anything you can do to differentiate yourself

00:25:30   and to give people that little bit of,

00:25:31   that little niceness, that little delight,

00:25:33   little moment of delight, that helps you stand out.

00:25:37   And in like business-wise,

00:25:40   this could integrate into your business model as well.

00:25:41   Like, you know, if you look at an app,

00:25:44   let's say like one of those like hipster camera apps,

00:25:46   if they limit the amount of shots you can take,

00:25:50   and it's like, well didn't Hipster Manage you at one point?

00:25:52   - They did, yeah.

00:25:53   - You have to like pay per shot like an old Polaroid,

00:25:56   like an old film camera.

00:25:57   It's like, oh, you could buy a roll of film

00:26:00   for a dollar or whatever.

00:26:01   That's part of their business model,

00:26:02   and people hated it, but they talked about it,

00:26:04   and it worked, you know, in a more, I guess, positive way,

00:26:09   In Overcast, the whole patronage model,

00:26:13   patronage works because from day one,

00:26:16   I've been giving the app the voice and personality

00:26:20   of one person, like not a big company, one person.

00:26:24   So when I say, hey, please give me money

00:26:26   if you feel like it, that means a lot more

00:26:29   than if it was a bland-voiced company saying that.

00:26:33   I think it would be less successful.

00:26:36   But at the same time, it's a risk,

00:26:37   'cause some people just think I'm a jerk

00:26:39   and won't give me any money, but I think overall,

00:26:43   I think I found a decent balance there,

00:26:45   and I think many apps could benefit

00:26:48   from finding that kind of balance,

00:26:50   because as you said earlier,

00:26:52   this is something that the big companies,

00:26:54   they won't do, because their ministry of silliness

00:26:56   will reject it all.

00:26:57   Like, do something, if you wanna stand out

00:27:00   from the big companies, do something they will never do,

00:27:04   'cause then they can't Sherlock you,

00:27:06   they can't put you out of business through that way,

00:27:08   Like, it's a way you will be able to stand out.

00:27:11   And one way you can always stand out as an indie

00:27:14   is with personality, because the big companies

00:27:16   will never do it.

00:27:17   - And I think in many ways, it's the great thing of,

00:27:20   it's the hardest thing for someone else to copy.

00:27:23   - Oh yeah.

00:27:24   - Like, if I imbue my applications with my own personality,

00:27:29   like my sense of humor, the way I see the world,

00:27:33   someone else may be able to come along

00:27:35   and copy my features.

00:27:36   They may be able to copy my UI, but those little touches are going to be very hard for

00:27:42   them to copy.

00:27:45   And so if my features start showing up in other applications, like, okay, that's the

00:27:50   features there, but it's not going to feel the same as when someone's using that feature

00:27:54   inside of my application, because the reason it was there and the way that like, it sort

00:27:59   of loses the context around it that made it distinctive.

00:28:03   And like in the crowded kind of insane marketplace that is the App Store, like making, doing

00:28:08   anything that is hard to be copied can only probably be a good thing.

00:28:12   Yeah, and other industries learned this lesson long ago.

00:28:14   Like this is how the fashion industry works big time.

00:28:17   Like it's so much based on reputation and like long-term branding and personality and

00:28:21   everything of like, "What does this brand mean?"

00:28:23   You know, "What do they stand for?"

00:28:25   And someone else can make the same shirt that's cost less, but people will buy your shirt

00:28:29   because they like, you know, the horse in your ads or whatever.

00:28:32   So it's like, we have a lot to learn from other industries about this as well, but,

00:28:36   you know, software doesn't—it doesn't all have to be safely, blandly voiced. It

00:28:43   can be, and there's many instances where that is the right choice, but not all.

00:28:48   Exactly. And I think ultimately you just have to make sure—the most important thing, like

00:28:52   the biggest takeaway hopefully from today's show is, this is something that's important

00:28:55   to be a conscious choice, that it's something that you—whenever you sit down to make software,

00:29:00   You have to decide, where are you on the spectrum?

00:29:03   What are your goals?

00:29:04   What are you trying to ultimately do

00:29:06   with this piece of software?

00:29:07   And then you'll have to align that with the way you build it,

00:29:11   how much personality you put into your application,

00:29:13   how big you appear, how fancy you appear,

00:29:16   how much silliness you allow.

00:29:18   And as long as it's a conscious choice,

00:29:20   you're probably in a good place,

00:29:22   because you're able to have it be consistent

00:29:25   and then impactful for your customers.

00:29:28   - Exactly.

00:29:29   - All right, well we're out of time for this week,

00:29:30   I think that was a good discussion,

00:29:31   so thank you very much for listening everybody.

00:29:33   Thanks to Cocoa-Con for sponsoring.

00:29:35   Thanks to Release Notes for being good.

00:29:37   Go listen to that show, you should be subscribing to it,

00:29:39   and we'll talk to you next week.

00:29:41   - Bye.

00:29:42   [