8: Hold Me!


00:00:00   scary and I don't like it. Hold me. We missed a lot this week or last week I

00:00:06   guess. Did we? We missed a lot. I was here. He says with not a hint of bitterness. No, of course not.

00:00:12   John, bitter? No, surely not. I did want to mention quickly the Dave

00:00:18   Moore and Vanity Fair thing. Oh God. Because I think from what I can tell

00:00:25   Based on some things I've seen, both from him making a few little comments here and

00:00:31   there and from a few other people, including the magazine's esteemed editor Glenn Fleischman,

00:00:35   who apparently talked to him a little bit more, it sounds like it was pretty overblown.

00:00:42   It sounds like the Vanity Fair reporter might have been exaggerating or taking some of those

00:00:47   things really far out of context or mangling them somewhat.

00:00:51   So I want to give the guy a little bit of the benefit of the doubt.

00:00:57   I've had reporters mangle stuff I've told them and it's terrible because it makes you

00:01:03   look like a total douche.

00:01:05   And certainly his thing did make him look that way.

00:01:12   We don't really know how much of that he really said and how bad it really is.

00:01:17   So I do want to give the guy the benefit of the doubt and just, you know, maybe—and

00:01:21   float the idea that that might not have been entirely accurate, because it sounds like

00:01:26   it probably wasn't.

00:01:27   I mean, I don't know, could you—could any human being be that much of a colossal jerk

00:01:34   without intending it?

00:01:36   I mean—

00:01:37   I don't know if he's so much of a jerk, because, like, if I had given those answers

00:01:41   and people had, like, complained about me giving those answers, I feel like I could

00:01:45   defend them.

00:01:47   I didn't read the whole thing, but I saw most of the quotes, and they did seem ridiculous,

00:01:52   but assuming they are talking about real things, I would say to the people who didn't like

00:01:57   them, "Come at me, bro."

00:01:59   They'd be like, "You got two phones.

00:02:01   You got one for the day and one for the night."

00:02:03   I'd be like, "Yeah, because a battery pack makes my phone bigger, and so if I have two

00:02:07   phones, and I can't charge it all day because I'm running around from meeting to meeting,

00:02:11   so having two phones lets me have a skinnier one."

00:02:13   You could defend it.

00:02:14   I'm not saying that, you know.

00:02:15   did defend that particular point. He said in some Twitter

00:02:18   @ reply to somebody that what he really said was that he has,

00:02:23   and he does have two iPhones, which is ridiculous, but he is

00:02:26   also a very successful tech company CEO. So it's not like,

00:02:30   you know, it goes with the territory to some degree. But he

00:02:32   said what the reason he has two is he has one of them for only

00:02:36   work stuff and only work apps and the other one for only

00:02:40   personal stuff so that he can like leave work at work and not

00:02:43   be distracted by personal stuff. So that actually, okay, I still don't really ever see myself

00:02:49   having two iPhones, even if money was no object, but I could see why he would do that.

00:02:54   It's not a great solution, but I feel like you could explain it and defend it. Now, what

00:02:59   you can't explain and defend is, I mean, assuming the quotes are accurate, is saying

00:03:05   those things in the context of an interview and not thinking people are going to think

00:03:08   you sound like a tool, because you will. Certain things need to provide context, and if you don't

00:03:14   think you're going to be able to provide that context, or it's not the right forum to do that.

00:03:19   Say you're talking with your friends about how you manage your phones. That's the time to pop,

00:03:23   "Oh, I have one for work and one for home," and stuff like that, because it's not extravagant

00:03:26   cost-wise, and it is kind of annoying. I bet he has lots of problems syncing stuff up between

00:03:30   the phones and stuff, but that's the context where you bring this up. You don't bring it up and like,

00:03:33   "Hey, we're talking to you for a magazine interview." That's not the time to bring that up.

00:03:37   So he made some strategic errors in when to bring things up and the the always being on the offensive defensive

00:03:43   But you could say that as a joke

00:03:45   Meaning mostly you keep your ringer off because you don't be disturbed during the day and the person says and ask you why so

00:03:50   What you know the offense defense thing? It's a funny joke, but if if you just see the words written there

00:03:55   You're like he's dead serious. He thinks you know well one of the theories

00:03:58   I heard which right at the beginning right after it was published somebody said

00:04:01   That it looks like he might he might have just been trolling them

00:04:04   Like and if you if you go into it with that theory and you read it again

00:04:08   You can kind of see that like that's that's actually I would say that is equally plausible as

00:04:14   He's that much of a douche like those I said those are equal. I

00:04:18   Would agree with that you told me that we had discussed this when we when I had first arrived in New York last week and

00:04:25   When you first said that I was like, you know, well, maybe it's possible

00:04:30   So, I mean.

00:04:31   But really, I mean, I think the way more likely answer is that he wasn't trying to intentionally

00:04:35   troll them, and he isn't that much of a douche, and the real answer is it was just blown out

00:04:40   of proportion by the reporter.

00:04:41   Like that's…

00:04:42   He might not be that self-aware, like, if you are…

00:04:44   That's true.

00:04:45   I don't know.

00:04:46   It's hard to tell.

00:04:47   I mean, look at the picture.

00:04:48   The picture he's got of himself, he does like collars that stick up.

00:04:50   You have to give him that.

00:04:52   That is true.

00:04:53   And the pictures are kind of precious and like, you would think, like someone who's

00:04:57   a little bit more self-aware and perhaps not as a CEO of a big and important company might—like,

00:05:04   I couldn't put a picture of myself like that. I don't know. It's a tough call,

00:05:11   but this is a fluff non-story anyway. It'll just come and go, and I don't fault him

00:05:15   as a person for any of this silliness. Speaking of silliness, I guess let's go chronologically.

00:05:22   home.

00:05:23   Yeah, I don't know what to make of that.

00:05:29   I was never big into Facebook, although it seems from what I can tell that both you guys,

00:05:35   even at your peak, liked Facebook a lot less than I liked Facebook.

00:05:40   But I look at it a few times a week because it seems socially awkward not to.

00:05:45   I have never looked at Facebook a few times a week, ever.

00:05:49   And that's exactly my point, is that I think I've, at my peak certainly, and even now,

00:05:53   I probably have embraced it more than I think either of you gentlemen.

00:05:58   And I think I could get away without ever looking at it, and certainly Erin and I have

00:06:02   mostly the same circle of friends, so she could keep me updated on the 800 people that

00:06:06   are having babies right now.

00:06:09   But I don't know, I couldn't imagine an entire phone experience based solely off of what

00:06:15   all my friends are doing.

00:06:17   And furthermore, it seems to me like one of the things that society is challenged with

00:06:22   these days—that sounded way overblown, but I'm going to roll with it now—is that

00:06:26   you're never in the moment.

00:06:27   You're always worrying about what your Twitter people are saying, or what your Instagram

00:06:31   followers are commenting on and liking and so on and so forth.

00:06:34   And this seems to just make that even worse.

00:06:37   I don't know.

00:06:38   I just don't get it.

00:06:39   I think it depends on—like, you know, for me, one of the reasons why I've never gotten

00:06:44   into Facebook. I have an account, but I've never been active. In fact, my wife created

00:06:51   the account for me when we got engaged so that she would have something to point to.

00:06:57   So she could put you as a fiance.

00:06:59   Yeah, exactly. That's when I got my account and that's why I got my account.

00:07:02   That is very symbolic and apt.

00:07:06   And so I've never really been active because it's not that I fundamentally object to

00:07:10   product. I don't really care either way on that front. It's that Facebook is set up to

00:07:19   conflate the idea of people you know and people whose content you want to follow online. To

00:07:27   me, those are very much non-overlapping circles. I think that's true for a lot of people.

00:07:33   That's why the beauty of Twitter, at first Facebook didn't even have asymmetric following.

00:07:39   and I think now it does.

00:07:41   I don't even know for sure.

00:07:42   That's how little I use it.

00:07:44   And usually I'll end up logging in

00:07:46   like maybe once every two or three months

00:07:48   to answer some message from somebody

00:07:51   that I probably should answer

00:07:52   that I get an email notification about.

00:07:55   And so every time I log in,

00:07:57   there's like a totally different interface

00:07:59   and it confuses the crap out of me

00:08:01   and I never know how to do anything

00:08:02   or what's going on or where something is.

00:08:04   - You're like an old man.

00:08:05   - Yeah, really.

00:08:07   Like, I need the kids to explain it to me.

00:08:09   Like, that's how I am every time I log into Facebook.

00:08:12   But anyway--

00:08:13   I don't need the kids to explain it to me.

00:08:14   I know an annoying product when I see one.

00:08:16   I'm like, no.

00:08:17   This is-- I know all the things that it can do, and I can figure out how to do them eventually.

00:08:21   I just do not want to do them.

00:08:23   I don't-- "do not want" is my reaction to Facebook entirely.

00:08:26   And like, I have to stop myself from like-- you know how people get, you know, they're--

00:08:31   they get all angry about Apple, and they're just like angry at Apple, and like, you just

00:08:34   mention anything about, oh, I got my new iPad.

00:08:36   "Oh, I hate Apple!" and they're just getting angry.

00:08:38   I have to stop myself from having that feeling about Facebook.

00:08:41   We don't curse on this podcast, right?

00:08:44   I said "douche" like four times.

00:08:46   I mean, we can curse lightly.

00:08:47   I'll abbreviate it, but like, every time someone mentions anything about Facebook,

00:08:51   I just hear it in passing, like this voice in my head says, "Man, F Facebook!"

00:08:55   Like, wait a second, why are you getting angry about it?

00:08:57   It's just like a website where people do stuff and they enjoy things.

00:08:59   That's a good way for people to connect and people, you know, not everyone can have their

00:09:02   own website and it's a way for people to post pictures to each other and social.

00:09:05   Like my rational brain knows why Facebook exists and is popular, but this other part

00:09:09   of me has this visceral hatred of it.

00:09:11   Well, I mean, one thing I really don't like—

00:09:13   It's a struggle.

00:09:14   You know, it's one thing to say this is a website where people can communicate.

00:09:17   Like Tumblr is a lot of those same things for people, so I got to see that develop.

00:09:24   And I think what's different with things like Tumblr versus things like Facebook is

00:09:29   that Facebook is one of these companies—we've had a few of these in our history of this

00:09:33   industry.

00:09:34   It's one of these companies where if something is having some success, they want a piece

00:09:41   of it too.

00:09:42   And they can't stand not to be in a market.

00:09:45   And the originator of this was Microsoft.

00:09:47   In our lifetime, anyway.

00:09:50   In our industry, I would say.

00:09:54   The previous giants like IBM, I don't think they were ever quite like this.

00:09:57   Microsoft was much worse about this than Facebook is so far, because Microsoft wouldn't do anything

00:10:02   Like, if anyone became remotely popular, like, "Whoa, we're going to do one of those,"

00:10:05   and Facebook at least is like, "All right, well, lots of people can go off and do lots

00:10:09   of other things," but they didn't make a music player when the iPod was popular.

00:10:13   They didn't make a tablet.

00:10:15   I mean, like, the phone, they're not as, like, Microsoft was like, "Anybody does

00:10:21   anything.

00:10:22   Even if it looks like they're going to fail, we'll make a failure project alongside it,

00:10:25   just in case."

00:10:26   Well, you know what?

00:10:27   Let's merge with NBC, too, or whatever they did, or buy NBC.

00:10:29   Because you know why not.

00:10:30   Like a TV-- interactive TV could be the future.

00:10:32   People could be doing things on TV.

00:10:34   And like, yeah, they're not as desperate a feeling

00:10:36   as Microsoft.

00:10:38   But it's that type of vibe where a company gets big enough.

00:10:41   And I think this is a rational thing.

00:10:43   Google and Facebook both do it.

00:10:44   It's like, look, we are big and successful.

00:10:48   But if we're just content to be what we are,

00:10:50   we are going to get left behind.

00:10:52   And so all the companies are looking

00:10:53   to see what the next thing is going to be.

00:10:56   And like, Google decided, look, we

00:10:59   to do something with social and they're like refocus their entire company on Google Plus.

00:11:02   And Facebook, already the king of social, said, you know, we see the area where we're

00:11:07   weak is in mobile and that is not going away. It's going to be a big thing and we got to

00:11:10   figure out something there. So I think it's a reasonable strategy for companies who are

00:11:13   very large not to be happy with what they are and just get better at it, but to look

00:11:19   for the other thing that's going to be big. Not everything, not like Facebook's not making

00:11:22   a game console. They're not like, you know, doing things that will deliver groceries to

00:11:28   your house or whatever eBay is doing, stuff like that. They've picked a reasonable thing,

00:11:34   I think, for like, "Look, we have to be in mobile. If we're not in mobile, we're screwed

00:11:36   long term," and so they're doing something.

00:11:38   Well, the way they're doing it, though—and this is partly why I brought up the sprawl

00:11:44   argument—the way they're doing it is seemingly designed with the assumption that everyone

00:11:51   using it exclusively uses Facebook, or primarily uses Facebook as their communication mechanism

00:11:57   to anybody. And it seems like, and part of that might just be like blindness to people

00:12:06   who only partially care about Facebook or communicate with some of their friends on

00:12:10   Facebook and some not. And part of it might be an effort to actively extinguish that kind

00:12:16   of use and to convert those people to like, to spread the tentacles and bring them in

00:12:22   and kind of railroad them into using Facebook for way more of the communication they previously

00:12:27   were doing through other channels, like text messaging or anything else. And that kind

00:12:33   of rubs me the wrong way.

00:12:37   So if it's just ignorance where they're just thinking, "Well, of course, everyone who uses

00:12:41   Facebook only uses Facebook," that's one thing. I don't think they're that stupid, though.

00:12:45   has shown extremely good product sense, product sensibilities, skills in getting people in

00:12:54   and keeping them there. So I don't think you can attribute any Facebook move to stupidity.

00:13:00   I think they have very, very smart people running that company. And so, you know, it's

00:13:05   not like Microsoft. They have extremely smart people running that company, so they know

00:13:11   know exactly what they're doing. And I think it's very clear what they're doing here. They

00:13:16   are extinguishing, or at least attempting to extinguish, any other communication methods

00:13:22   on the phones that have been infected by this home thing.

00:13:27   What about "instinguishing"? All the old stuff is still there, too.

00:13:31   Well, they're trying to bury it, is what I'm saying. Like, by taking over the lock screen—

00:13:35   They just want to be there too. If they're not a sibling, at least with SMS text messaging

00:13:42   or whatever other thing people are using, if they're not at least a sibling with that,

00:13:46   if you have to launch the Facebook app, they're subordinate to the rest of the phone experience,

00:13:50   kind of like they are on iOS, right? They think they should at least be a sibling with

00:13:54   those things, and since Android allows you to take over the lock screen and stuff, it

00:13:59   looks like they're out in front of everything else, but I would still call that a sibling

00:14:02   just because it's the first thing you see,

00:14:04   it's still alongside the other stuff.

00:14:07   - Maybe, I don't know.

00:14:08   I think we'll see how it plays out

00:14:10   because one very careful line they have to walk

00:14:13   is if they do go too far in that direction

00:14:16   of being too aggressive and not working very well

00:14:20   or making the phone not work very well,

00:14:22   if you wanna do a lot of non-Facebook communication,

00:14:25   that if they go too far in that direction,

00:14:27   they'll have fewer installs of this thing

00:14:29   and fewer sales of those phones that have it pre-installed.

00:14:31   So they have to walk that line somewhat.

00:14:34   I guess it'll be interesting to see how this plays out

00:14:37   and to see is this still roughly the same kind of thing

00:14:43   in six months or a year, and how many people are using it.

00:14:47   Yeah, the thing I was thinking about for home

00:14:50   and for another topic I hope we talk about--

00:14:51   I have a blog post stewing on this,

00:14:53   and I will go ahead and spoil the whole blog post.

00:14:56   Does it involve a utensil?

00:14:58   There's not that much overlap, it seems,

00:15:00   between people who read the blog and people who listen to the podcast, because very often

00:15:03   I choose not to blog something that I podcast about, and people are like, "What are you

00:15:06   talking about, podcast?

00:15:07   I don't know what you're talking about."

00:15:09   Anyway, so in both of these situations, I'm viewing it kind of like an RTS a little bit,

00:15:16   and the resource that is critical to victory in the realm of both Facebook Home and also

00:15:24   in the WebKit Blink thing is developers.

00:15:28   They need to mine for more developers, basically.

00:15:30   And the reason I'm thinking about it in that respect--

00:15:34   and I'm talking about developers who make this stuff-- is

00:15:37   that on home, everyone's like, oh, this is just a precursor.

00:15:40   They're going to fork Android.

00:15:41   They're going to do their own OS.

00:15:42   They could do the lock screen now,

00:15:44   but clearly, they're going to make their own phone OS.

00:15:46   And thanks, Google, for giving us a head start with Android.

00:15:50   We'll take what you've got and go off in our own direction,

00:15:53   kind of like Blink did with WebKit.

00:15:56   And same thing with Samsung.

00:15:57   "Oh, Samsung's working on their Android port. Thanks Google for all your hard work. Now we're off to the races. Haha, screw you Google, we're making all the money, you're screwed."

00:16:03   Like, they can't beat Facebook with Google+, and they can't make money off Android because Samsung's selling all the phones and making all the profits, so poor Google did all the work to make Android and other people just stole it and did what they wanted.

00:16:14   they wanted. That's one narrative about this thing. But in the case of Samsung and Facebook,

00:16:20   I have to think, look, does Facebook have the skill to say, "Oh, thanks, Google. We're taking

00:16:27   Android and we'll just take it from here. We'll fork it and we'll go off on our own." Can they

00:16:30   support a platform? Can they develop an OS on an ongoing basis?

00:16:33   Well, do they need to?

00:16:34   Well, but that's the whole thing. Like, saying, "Okay, you either fork it," in which case, "Okay,

00:16:39   well, you're on your own." It's not like you're going to keep merging with the next version of

00:16:42   Android that Google puts out, you will diverge. You will fork. You will split. You will not

00:16:46   be able to benefit from the future work that Google does, or it would be very difficult

00:16:50   for you. Otherwise, you're not forking. Otherwise, you're just piggybacking.

00:16:53   When people say, "Oh, they're going to make their own OS, and it will be a fork," you're

00:16:57   giving up being able to do sane merges with the next major version of Android. You're

00:17:02   either going to be the platform owner or you're not. Right now, Google is the platform owner

00:17:05   because they made it. They continue to make it. The next version of the OS comes from

00:17:09   and the other people say, "Okay, well, Google's come up with the next major version.

00:17:12   Let's integrate it and screw it up in some way and put our little crap on it," right?

00:17:15   And that's what Facebook's doing now.

00:17:17   But a fork is, "Become master of your own destiny. Own the OS. We make our own OS."

00:17:21   It used to be based on Android, yeah, whatever, but now it's our own thing, and we develop it.

00:17:25   We support the developers, like, to the point where you could have application compatibility

00:17:29   diversion at some point in the future, because that's what a fork eventually leads to, right?

00:17:32   Yeah.

00:17:33   Oh, this one works on Facebook's OS, but not on, like, regular Android, not on Samsung's OS.

00:17:38   And I don't think Facebook has the ability to be a platform owner.

00:17:43   Maybe they can hire up that ability.

00:17:44   Certainly, they didn't have the ability to make a well-designed UI until they hired

00:17:47   all those designers.

00:17:48   But right now, I don't think Facebook has the ability to be a platformer, because that

00:17:52   is a high bar.

00:17:53   How many successful platform owners have we seen in our industry?

00:17:57   Microsoft, Apple, Google.

00:17:59   And Facebook.

00:18:02   They're not making a native OS.

00:18:03   That's what I'm talking about.

00:18:04   - I'll say, and that's the thing,

00:18:06   is that it is a very big distinction,

00:18:08   but to kind of shove that aside just for a moment,

00:18:12   I mean, when I remember back to the original days

00:18:14   of Facebook where it was completely Facebook controlled,

00:18:17   there were no apps, there was no freaking Farmville

00:18:20   or anything like that, it was a very different place,

00:18:23   and that was really about sharing your life,

00:18:26   and at that point, it wasn't yet about throwing away

00:18:29   all of your privacy, or if it was,

00:18:31   they were quieter about it.

00:18:33   But now, to your point, it's not a native platform, but it's still, to a large degree,

00:18:38   it's a platform.

00:18:39   I mean, you have all these different apps, if you would call them that, running on top

00:18:44   of their platform.

00:18:45   And they've done a lot of kind of wild things in order to make their platform work.

00:18:51   And what comes to mind, and this is kind of what you guys were saying about them having

00:18:55   so many really bright people there, and Marco, I presume you would know better than I, didn't

00:19:00   they write like a PHP to C++ cross compiler or something like that?

00:19:03   At some point they did some crazy thing, but that's server-side.

00:19:06   You're right.

00:19:07   They have a web platform and they have an API platform, but writing an OS, you have

00:19:12   a hardware device and you are the operating system on the hardware device and you build

00:19:16   up in layers from the thing controlling the cell radio to the graphics system to every

00:19:20   other part.

00:19:21   It's an OS, an actual native OS, and Google is doing all that work now.

00:19:26   Well not quite.

00:19:27   They started with Linux.

00:19:28   I mean, come on.

00:19:29   Let's be realistic here.

00:19:30   Yeah, I know.

00:19:31   Let's be realistic here.

00:19:32   Right, but they didn't fork Linux, right?

00:19:33   like they have a base foundation that they follow, but when you do the OS part, that's

00:19:38   where you're making the API, and the new version has a different API for scrolling, it has

00:19:41   different buttons, and it has this feel like that's OS development.

00:19:44   And OS development involves all that annoying crap of like, "Oh, you've got to have API

00:19:47   documentation, you've got to have a developer program, and you've got to have an SDK, and

00:19:50   you've got to make sure the tool's working."

00:19:51   All the crap that Apple does, all the crap that Google does for its Google development,

00:19:55   and you have to develop the OS.

00:19:57   You have to make it better.

00:19:58   Year after year, they want a new major version that does something better, that has faster

00:20:01   graphics that uses the GPU better, that has new APIs. It takes a lot of people, a lot

00:20:06   of skill, a lot of expertise to do that, and it's not easy.

00:20:09   And I don't—like, Amazon was the example. Like, oh, they forked Android to make their

00:20:12   little tablet thing. Amazon's, you know, they forked it, and it's their own thing,

00:20:16   but they don't have the skills in-house to continue to develop their own OS. They're—inevitably,

00:20:20   they're going to have to either just be this, like, evolutionary dead end that slowly

00:20:24   evolves in whatever direction they want, or they're going to have to do some super painful

00:20:28   re-sync or another re-fork or something, but clearly they have not taken the reins of the

00:20:32   OS.

00:20:33   I think they actually have pulled more recent changes from Google into their version already.

00:20:39   For some of the newer devices, I'm pretty sure somebody told me that they had done that.

00:20:44   If they're doing that, they're not really much of a fork at that point. Then you're

00:20:46   just one of those people who's taking what Android's done and mutating it. You either

00:20:52   have your own OS or you don't. Are you dependent on Google or not? If Google decides we're

00:20:56   not developing Android anymore, are you screwed?" That's how you can tell whether you are really

00:21:01   a master of your own destiny. Apple is not relying on anyone to develop the rest. Microsoft

00:21:05   is not relying on neither is Google. But if Google just folds its arms and says, "You

00:21:08   know what? Never mind that Android stuff. We're going to stop developing it." Everyone

00:21:11   who makes an Android device who has been using Android in any form would be like, "But then

00:21:17   next year, when Apple comes out with a new version of their mobile OS, what will we do?"

00:21:22   Google should be like, "Well, you know, someone could quote from Watchmen right now

00:21:26   if they knew the quote, but I don't. But you nerds listening do, so imagine it in your

00:21:30   head right now." That's how you can tell when you're independent.

00:21:36   It's worth considering what happens in that scenario. Let's say, not that Google stops

00:21:42   developing Android, but that's unrealistic. No, they're not going to do it, but I'm

00:21:43   just saying that's just like a thought exercise to see if you really are independent.

00:21:47   But what if they take a closed source? That's probably even less likely than stopping

00:21:51   developed. I don't know, is it? I think the licensing prevents them from actually doing that

00:21:56   on a go-forward basis. I don't think they can just close the door and say, "Okay, well, what we

00:21:59   released so far is open, but going forward, all that will be closed." Why? If Amazon can do it,

00:22:03   why can't Google? I don't think Amazon has everything. I don't know the licensing issues

00:22:09   involved there, but that seems very unlikely, like legally speaking, and even if it's legally,

00:22:13   like politically, can you imagine what would happen there? Like, it's much more likely that they will

00:22:18   use their licensing agreements with the Google services to be like, "You know how if you

00:22:26   want to be able to use the Google services with your thing and be certified as an Android

00:22:30   device and all the other tools they have to put people in lines they've been trying to

00:22:34   use to get carriers to stop mucking up their OS and stuff, they probably will continue

00:22:38   to turn the screws on those." But that doesn't do anything against Amazon probably because

00:22:43   if they're just like, "Oh, well, you can't even call your thing Android. All right, fine,

00:22:47   we won't. Okay, well, you can't even use the Google Play Store. Okay, fine. We won't. We'll have our own store.

00:22:50   I mean, like, I don't know what kind of screws they can turn on Amazon.

00:22:54   I don't think they could bring it closed, closed source.

00:22:56   But same type of deal. Say they did take a closed source. If you all of a sudden are sweating bullets because you realize

00:23:01   you do not have people who can develop, maintain support, like a mobile OS, which is an incredibly complicated thing, right?

00:23:08   Then you realize, oh, geez, we really were a parasite on Google,

00:23:13   which may have been bad for Google and great for you when it was happening,

00:23:16   but realize that's what you are. So everyone who's clamoring for a Facebook, you know,

00:23:21   fork or a Samsung fork, I think Samsung is even less likely to be able to develop their

00:23:25   own mobile OS, right? That would be hilarious.

00:23:29   Both of them could staff up to do it. Like Facebook just bought OS Meta, which was that

00:23:33   company run by Amit Singh, if I'm pronouncing his name correctly, the author of the gigantic

00:23:37   Mac OS X internals book that's off to my right right now. He's a smart guy, heavily into

00:23:43   He did this like stealth startup that we don't even know what they're doing with a bunch of other smart people and Facebook bought them

00:23:48   I tweeted this afternoon that like, you know now he's got an OS now Facebook has an OS internal steam

00:23:54   So maybe they are staffing up for it

00:23:55   but like that's that's the resource that they need to mine for if you want to be independent of Google and

00:23:59   Be a player in the mobile space along with you know

00:24:04   Apple Microsoft rim and Google whoever you whoever you want to say out there who has actually a mobile platform

00:24:09   You've got to be master of your own destiny and do that

00:24:12   I wonder though, you know, I think it's worth considering. Let's say something happened

00:24:18   with Google or with Android or something happened where it forced Amazon to no longer be able

00:24:25   to pull changes from Google. Whatever it is, whether it's going closed source or whether

00:24:30   it just becomes really impossible for them to do it or Google does something else, who

00:24:33   knows. But suppose Amazon has to basically get stuck with what they have so far and either

00:24:42   let it stagnate forever and just build minor things on top of it, or hire some ridiculously

00:24:48   large OS team to develop that, which is a major undertaking, as you said. How long do

00:24:53   you think they could go without doing that? How long do you think they could keep selling

00:25:00   Kindle-branded tablets and maybe even eventually phones while keeping the same rough version

00:25:07   of Android they have now and just doing minor tweaks of it as necessary over time.

00:25:12   A couple of years, probably. I'm thinking it might be like 10 years.

00:25:16   Not 10, because I know things have matured a little bit and it's not horrendously slow or

00:25:22   whatever, but even just in terms of hardware support, hardware moves on. Like, 10 years,

00:25:27   all the phones are going to be using a 64-bit system on a chip, and they're going to have a

00:25:30   32-bit OS. And so right away, you just forget it. You need to do something there. Maybe those chips

00:25:36   won't even run 32-bit stuff, or, you know, like, you have to have a solution for fat binaries, and

00:25:40   maybe it's a different architecture, maybe they're all x86 then. God knows what's going to happen in

00:25:43   10 years. They cannot last that long, but a couple years they could do it. And by the end of that run,

00:25:48   it would be like, boy, this really doesn't, you know, the Amazon stuff already feels clunky and

00:25:53   slow. Like, it's not even awesome now. So, they don't have a big cushion.

00:25:58   But nobody buys the Amazon hardware because it's good. Because it's not. It's actually really,

00:26:02   really quite terrible in most ways, but nobody buys it for that.

00:26:06   The OS is not great. Well, and nobody buys it for that either.

00:26:09   People buy the Amazon stuff because of price and because of the Amazon content ecosystem.

00:26:13   That's, those are the two, in that order, those are the two big reasons why people buy the Amazon

00:26:17   stuff. I wish I knew how many people were actually buying Kindle Fire tablets and of those people,

00:26:23   how many people were using them like tablets and not just as a way to play Angry Birds and read

00:26:28   books. Oh, but John, it's a record number of Kindle buyers this year.

00:26:31   It's like 20% more than last year. And last year it was the number one selling product on Amazon.

00:26:37   Yeah, I don't pay attention to them until they've come to play, right? Because, you know,

00:26:43   reading fine. Yeah, they're doing, I assume they're doing well in that because I don't see

00:26:47   anyone else being dominant in the e-reading space. But in the tablet space, it seems like they just

00:26:53   haven't really committed. But they're like, Amazon is patient, so they'll keep doing what they're

00:26:58   they're doing. And I don't doubt, like of all the companies, Amazon has shown that it's

00:27:01   willing to staff up to do crazy ass stuff, you know? So maybe someday they will be, you

00:27:06   know, Jeff Bezos will wake up and say, "You know what? We need an OS team. Hire everybody."

00:27:11   And we won't—they don't need to make any money for another two decades.

00:27:16   And so the reason I bring that up in the context of Blink is because Blink is a similar situation

00:27:21   where you had WebKit, you know, it was KHTML with a bunch of Linux nerds making their stuff

00:27:27   for like Conqueror and everything.

00:27:28   Apple comes along and says, actually, we have like,

00:27:31   we're gonna pay people to develop this,

00:27:33   and they will quickly dwarf all your efforts

00:27:35   because they're highly motivated, highly paid,

00:27:38   highly skilled people versus your group of Linux volunteers.

00:27:41   And lo and behold, guess what?

00:27:42   Now we are the rulers of this thing,

00:27:44   and we dub it WebKit, and thanks a lot,

00:27:46   KHTML, KJS, we are now running the show here.

00:27:49   And then Google comes along and makes its browser Chrome,

00:27:51   says, oh, we'll use WebKit, that's great.

00:27:53   And Apple and Google go in lockstep developing stuff

00:27:56   until eventually it's like Google has more committers

00:27:59   and is putting more code into WebKit than Apple is.

00:28:02   And then there's this tension between the different process

00:28:05   models and all this other stuff, and they

00:28:06   can't cooperate because they're deadly enemies,

00:28:08   and they're supposed to be working on the same project,

00:28:10   and Google says, you know what?

00:28:11   We're going off on our own.

00:28:12   And at that point, Google is entirely

00:28:14   able to support its development.

00:28:15   If anything, Apple might be like,

00:28:17   but does that mean you're not going

00:28:19   to contribute security fixes to WebKit anymore?

00:28:21   Because those are really nice.

00:28:22   We like those.

00:28:23   And you know, like Google made its own JavaScript engine,

00:28:27   which was pretty darn good.

00:28:28   And Apple wasn't like, man,

00:28:29   we were so proud of our JavaScript engine.

00:28:30   They just made their own

00:28:31   and they keep making theirs better.

00:28:32   And I guess ours is good, but like, geez,

00:28:34   every two weeks they keep making that thing faster

00:28:36   and it's scary and I don't like it, hold me.

00:28:39   So, you know, so this is a situation where Google,

00:28:42   Google has the developers.

00:28:43   Google does not need to mine for more developer resources.

00:28:46   They are in the driver's seat of Blink.

00:28:50   I have no trouble believing they will continue

00:28:52   develop Blink at a, if not even more rapid pace than they had been developing WebKit,

00:28:57   and they felt like Apple is the one who was a little bit sheepish in this situation, going,

00:29:01   "Geez, we really were benefiting from Google putting all those developers against WebKit."

00:29:06   And now, presumably some percentage—not all, but some percentage of those guys—are

00:29:10   only going to be committing to Blink, and that's kind of not a great situation for

00:29:14   Apple to be in.

00:29:15   But of course, if Blink really is open, Apple can always switch to it in a couple of years.

00:29:19   Oh, yeah, right.

00:29:20   like that would ever happen. It would happen. If they keep it open, I could see it happening.

00:29:25   Either that or Apple needs to replace those developers to keep up the pace, you know,

00:29:28   because web rendering engines is complex and competitive field.

00:29:33   I think it's interesting. You know, we've always heard that, and as far as I know this

00:29:38   is still true, that teams at Apple are really quite small and that, you know, their overall

00:29:44   engineering staff is not nearly as big as you would think it would be for the number

00:29:50   products they have, the amount of money they make, etc.

00:29:53   And I think this is one of those things where, similar to

00:29:57   server infrastructure, where their model just

00:30:02   does not stand up to competition from other big tech giants, especially somebody like Google,

00:30:07   where Google is willing to throw massive engineering resources

00:30:12   at almost any problem that they want to solve. And so, like,

00:30:17   if Apple wants to keep its teams small, which seems to be the way it's set up to work,

00:30:24   and certainly it seems like that's just a choice they've made, if they want to keep

00:30:28   their teams small and not throw massive resources at this one particular problem, then they

00:30:33   won't be able to compete. They won't be able to keep up in this market anymore. It's gotten

00:30:37   too big for that model to work.

00:30:38   Well, they have small numbers of really smart people.

00:30:41   Sure, but at some point it becomes just a time problem.

00:30:44   Yeah, well, Google has larger numbers of equally smart people.

00:30:47   Right, exactly.

00:30:48   That's where the problem is.

00:30:49   They don't think they fear anything from Samsung throwing 100 times the number of bodies at

00:30:54   it, but they're all mediocre.

00:30:55   Yeah, Samsung has never shown any ability to write good software, and for that matter,

00:30:59   neither has Amazon on the client side.

00:31:01   Amazon writes pretty good server-side software, but their client-side software has always

00:31:05   been pretty abysmal.

00:31:07   So stupid question.

00:31:09   WebKit, is that C and C++?

00:31:11   Is that right?

00:31:12   I think.

00:31:13   WebKit, you mean?

00:31:14   is not what I just said, WebKit, is C++, is it not?

00:31:17   Italian?

00:31:18   I don't know.

00:31:20   The reason I ask is, I was just thinking to myself,

00:31:24   I don't know all the different kinds of things

00:31:26   that Apple works on.

00:31:27   But off the top of my head, obviously all their OS 10

00:31:32   and iOS stuff, that's all Objective-C by and large.

00:31:35   What is Clang?

00:31:36   Is Clang C++?

00:31:38   Clang is C++.

00:31:40   It's built as a series of C++ libraries.

00:31:42   Right.

00:31:43   So what I'm thinking is you couldn't take, in principle

00:31:46   anyway, you couldn't take a bunch of iOS or OS 10

00:31:49   developers and say, hey, go work on WebKit.

00:31:52   I mean, obviously, if you're a good developer, you can figure

00:31:54   it out, but if these are people who are living and

00:31:56   breathing Objective C, and you throw them into the world of

00:31:59   what I presume to be very complex and difficult C++,

00:32:02   that's not easy.

00:32:03   And I can't imagine that the Clang team, A, is very big,

00:32:07   and B, has enough free time to go and just decide to be

00:32:12   WebKit gurus.

00:32:13   And they also do WebObjects, which is Java, if I'm not

00:32:16   mistaken, so again, not exactly apples to apples,

00:32:18   pardon the crummy pun.

00:32:21   But I guess what I'm saying is if they wanted to throw a

00:32:23   bunch of bodies at the WebKit problem, I would assume that

00:32:26   there's not that many bodies to throw that

00:32:29   are that good at C++.

00:32:31   And either way, it sounds like one of the other things we

00:32:33   heard lately, or at least that I heard or saw fly by lately,

00:32:37   is that apparently iOS 7 is running behind, and so all the

00:32:40   OS-- did I get that right?

00:32:41   all the OS X developers have been punted over to iOS 7 to get that squared away before WWDC.

00:32:47   Yeah, that is the rumor. Well, I mean, first of all, I don't think it's an issue of language

00:32:53   familiarity. I think it's an issue of code-based familiarity.

00:32:56   That's a very good point.

00:32:57   Programmers are not interchangeable widgets, you know, Casey. Pointy-haired boss. You can't just

00:33:02   take the programmer and put them into slot. No, those teams are dedicated to people with

00:33:08   with knowledge, skills, and experience in specific areas.

00:33:10   That's why you can't actually mine for developers

00:33:13   like in StarCraft.

00:33:14   It's not like you could say, we need more web engine-- how many

00:33:17   people in the world do you think there are that can even

00:33:20   be useful working on a world-class JavaScript

00:33:24   interpreter for web engines?

00:33:25   Like, the number of people who even qualify for that is small.

00:33:27   And the people who have done it before, have experience,

00:33:30   and can make their engine faster than the next guy's,

00:33:33   it's slim pickings for that.

00:33:35   I don't know how many people there are in the world who--

00:33:38   The people on the V8 team and the Nitro team at Apple, and I guess maybe those crazy people

00:33:42   doing the Rust-based thing at Mozilla and Samsung, that's it.

00:33:47   That's the pool of people in the world who have years of experience making JavaScript

00:33:52   engines and getting someone up to speed, even if you're the world's best programmer,

00:33:56   whatever language is going to take you a long time.

00:33:59   Absolutely.

00:34:00   My point was just that if they wanted to handle this internally—I agree with everything

00:34:04   you just said, it's not as easy as just picking up the chess piece and moving it over

00:34:08   a few spots. But if they wanted to handle this internally, I don't know that that

00:34:11   would be easy regardless of the unfamiliarity of the code base. And so then you have to

00:34:16   start talking about, well, let's go hire a bunch of people to throw at the problem.

00:34:20   And that's just not an easy thing to do.

00:34:24   Jared Ranerelle You know, I don't think it's necessarily

00:34:25   an issue of not having the right talent in the company. I think it's an issue of not

00:34:31   wanting to allocate it to that project. Because for the most part, WebKit is—Apple's version

00:34:38   of WebKit is very competitive in general. It works well, and it doesn't seem like

00:34:46   a pressing issue. Well, wait a second. I'm going to actually

00:34:50   stop you there. It works and works well, because this is another thing that I think of when

00:34:54   I think of the WebKit blink divorce and who's holding the short end of the stick when—who's

00:35:01   who's missing a chair when the music stops, and how it might be Apple.

00:35:05   So, Chrome was sort of developed in secret, came out of nowhere, we're going to use WebKit,

00:35:09   here we go, but they did their own process model with the process per tab and stuff.

00:35:13   And not knowing the details of how it's implemented,

00:35:17   but just having used both browsers a lot, I think it's very safe to say that

00:35:21   Chrome's implementation is way better than Safari's.

00:35:25   So theirs came first, and Apple wanted to do something similar, and Google wouldn't give it to them, because Google did that code above

00:35:29   engine layer, like it's in the Chrome app itself, it's still open source, it's still

00:35:33   in the Chromium codebase, Apple could have, you know, forked it and grabbed it or whatever,

00:35:37   but it's not in the engine, and Apple and the WebKit team implemented it in the engine

00:35:41   so that even if you embed WebKit inside your just random application, you still get multi-process,

00:35:45   whereas in Chrome's model, if you, I don't know if you can, oh, they're still using WebKit,

00:35:51   but like Chrome does the multi-processing stuff, Chrome handles the, oh, figuring out

00:35:54   how many processes correspond to watch tabs and managing them and reaping them and doing

00:35:57   all that stuff. That's in the Chrome application. So if you were to take out the WebKit core

00:36:02   that they're using and embed it, you would not get multiprocess protection, whereas if

00:36:06   you embedded Apple's WebKit, you would. But anyway, the proof is in the pudding. As you

00:36:10   said, Chrome did it first, and when Apple tried to do it, Safari was wonky for like

00:36:16   two years.

00:36:17   I would say it still is.

00:36:18   Yeah, but I still get like, "Oh, WebPager's not responding. Would you like to reload?"

00:36:22   That never happens to me in Chrome, and there's like a new friggin' build of Chrome every

00:36:25   two days that I'm at my computer, you know, with the beta thing and everything, Google

00:36:29   is crushing them. And so it's like, "All right, well, who has the better web? Who has

00:36:33   the better web, you know, rendering engine designers on staff?" I don't really know who's

00:36:38   better. All I know is that Chrome is rock solid and stable, and I'm on the beta, you

00:36:43   know, beta channel, and WebKit has been wonky since they added multiprocess. So it's not

00:36:48   looking good for the home team, you know?

00:36:49   Oh, exactly. But I think that the chances of Apple having a meaningful amount of talent

00:36:57   shifted onto this project that wasn't already working on it is probably pretty minimal.

00:37:01   Because, I mean, A, something's wrong with the leadership at Apple somewhere along the

00:37:07   line between the top and WebKit because Safari has been so terrible since Lion. I mean, really,

00:37:13   and I still use Safari as my primary browser, so I still feel this a lot. I don't think

00:37:19   anybody who uses Safari on a regular basis will tell you that it's better now than it

00:37:23   was in 10.6. I mean, there's a few better features and a little bit better support for

00:37:28   some web standards things, because it's a newer build-a-webkit, but I think overall,

00:37:33   ever since they split the process model into the renderer versus the front end, it's been

00:37:38   slower and more crashy and just generally worse.

00:37:42   I think it's been faster. Stability definitely has been worse. It feels faster to me than

00:37:46   it used to be. I think the features and speed and everything, I still use Safari as my main

00:37:52   browser as well, although I run Chrome constantly alongside it. I would still rather use Safari

00:37:56   than Chrome, it's just that every once in a while Safari craps out and that grates on

00:37:59   me because it's like, "Why doesn't Chrome crap out? Why is Safari crap out? And why

00:38:03   do I have a new build of Chrome that presumably fixes bugs and improves performance every

00:38:07   three days?"

00:38:08   Yeah, and I've had Chrome tabs crash. I think every Chrome user probably has seen that at

00:38:13   least once, but it's--and I mean, I use Chrome a lot less than I use Safari, so obviously

00:38:20   this is not quite valid, but I see way fewer problems in Chrome. The problems I see in

00:38:25   Chrome that make me not want to use it are all of Google's creepiness, where they try

00:38:29   to--they keep trying to reach for more of my data and more of my stuff, and that's just

00:38:35   kind of--you know, I find that distasteful, so that's why I don't use the browser, but

00:38:38   I can't deny that technologically it is way ahead of Safari.

00:38:42   And I feel like we've come full circle and now we're back to talking about creepy people

00:38:47   like Facebook.

00:38:48   I don't know, it's an interesting thing.

00:38:53   One thing I was wondering while I was listening to you guys talk is, I feel like there's

00:38:56   an obvious answer I'm not realizing, but what is the motivation for Apple to really

00:39:03   have a world-class web rendering engine?

00:39:07   I wasn't around for the days of Internet Explorer on the Mac, so I never felt that

00:39:12   pain.

00:39:13   But obviously, it's just prudent in general to have a really good web browser on your

00:39:19   platform, but why does Apple need to have the ultra number one super fantabulous best

00:39:26   web experience in the world?

00:39:27   You can reverse it and say all those surveys that are out there, like X percentage of the

00:39:33   phones sold are Android and Y percentage or Apple's. And then you look at web usage,

00:39:37   X percentage of the hits to any popular website, it's overwhelmingly iOS users. And it's

00:39:42   because Apple was the first one out of the gate with a web browser that actually worked

00:39:46   worth a damn that fit on your phone. And so that attracted all the people who like browsing

00:39:50   the web, and you can browse the web from your phone. I mean, not just for phones, but for

00:39:54   anything. It's a strategic advantage to have a really good web rendering engine.

00:40:00   And leaving that to someone else, if you're a company like Apple, is crazy, because when

00:40:03   When you left it to someone else, they do a crappy job,

00:40:05   Microsoft doesn't really care about the Mac version.

00:40:07   Even when they do a great job,

00:40:08   Internet Explorer 5 for Mac was an awesome,

00:40:11   in terms of CSS support,

00:40:12   and was actually a pretty darn awesome browser.

00:40:14   You missed that and everything, but it was amazing.

00:40:16   That's why all the designers loved Mac back in the day,

00:40:18   but it's like, oh, this thing understands CSS.

00:40:20   You know, that spec from 1996?

00:40:22   Yeah, that one.

00:40:23   It implements like, all right, 60% of it,

00:40:24   but it's better than 0%.

00:40:26   But still, if it's not under your control,

00:40:28   then Microsoft loses interest

00:40:30   and never makes an IE6 for the Mac,

00:40:32   I don't remember what the OS X version was, maybe that was 6.0, but anyway, they ignore

00:40:36   it, and you can't get Mozilla to pay any attention to it, and you're like, "Look, this is hurting

00:40:43   our platform.

00:40:44   If browsing the web from our computer sucks, that's bad for us, so we need to take the

00:40:48   reins on this."

00:40:49   And that paid off double when it came time to feel the phone, like, "Oh, we already have

00:40:54   a web rendering engine, and we wisely chose the KHTML instead of the Gecko rendering engine,

00:41:00   which is a smaller and lighter weight,

00:41:01   and we are driving that project now,

00:41:03   and we can tailor it to our platform,

00:41:05   huge dividends, big payoff.

00:41:07   It was a great decision to do that,

00:41:09   and the WebKit team and the WebKit project

00:41:13   are probably the third most important, maybe fourth,

00:41:16   I don't know, some third or fourth most important thing

00:41:17   that Apple has done in the last couple of decades.

00:41:20   It's like Mac OS X, iOS, WebKit,

00:41:24   and I guess you'd have to include in that--

00:41:27   - The iPod Hi-Fi?

00:41:29   Yeah, the Apple Hi-Fi and iTunes, yeah.

00:41:30   Yeah, in that order.

00:41:31   I think one thing that annoys me about Google forking it,

00:41:36   though, is this arrogance-- and I shouldn't say this

00:41:42   is exclusive to Google, because Apple has and will make

00:41:46   similarly arrogant moves.

00:41:49   But it's the arrogance of them saying, basically,

00:41:53   it's technologically inconvenient for us,

00:41:55   for a few of our programmers to be working in your code.

00:41:59   So we're going to fork it, which basically takes

00:42:02   the technological burden off of the handful of people at Google

00:42:07   who it's affecting and puts it onto every web

00:42:10   developer in the future.

00:42:12   I don't know about that.

00:42:14   Now we're going to have one more engine that we won't know

00:42:18   is going to be similar enough that we're

00:42:19   going to have to test separately on.

00:42:21   And eventually, it's going to diverge

00:42:23   in how it renders things.

00:42:24   and so we're gonna have to deal with that like

00:42:27   i don't know it feels like a read did you read glenn's thing on that

00:42:32   you don't read anything he writes i know

00:42:33   i don't think i saw it

00:42:35   sorry i was gone out of the country for a week

00:42:38   they had the internet over there in german anyway

00:42:40   his thing and i'm mostly on board with this is was that

00:42:45   we're past the point where anyone rendering engine has enough

00:42:50   has enough you know weight in the market

00:42:52   to do something in an incompatible way.

00:42:55   And any sort of divergence by any party is seen as damaged,

00:42:58   and you get dinged for it.

00:42:59   You don't know one is dominant enough to say,

00:43:01   oh, well, that's just the way Internet Explorer does it,

00:43:02   so everyone's got to deal with it.

00:43:03   And the point I would add to that,

00:43:05   although he might have added this as well, I don't remember,

00:43:07   is he says a lot of things,

00:43:09   that the variance just among quote unquote webkit

00:43:12   is already insane.

00:43:14   The variance between webkit on iPhone, webkit on iPad,

00:43:17   webkit on some other phone platform, webkit,

00:43:20   and some Nokia thing, WebKit on some television connected device,

00:43:24   WebKit in various versions of Mac OS X, that variance is already

00:43:28   bigger than the variance between Blink and WebKit is going to be.

00:43:32   Up until the point where you get to things like NACL and

00:43:36   I'm sure they're going to put Dart in their stupid thing too, but I don't think Google has the weight

00:43:40   at least so far to shove. Well isn't Chrome the number one browser now? Yeah, but

00:43:44   not like 90%, you know, it's like

00:43:48   a plurality or whatever the word is for when you don't have more than 50 percent, but you're

00:43:51   the biggest piece of the pie. Look at that vocabulary today.

00:43:54   Nice.

00:43:55   I probably got it wrong. We'll wait for the corrections. But yeah, no, I don't think they

00:43:59   have enough weight for that. It's a danger. It's something to look out for, because they

00:44:02   do want to put in the Native Client thing, and they do want to shove Dart down our throats,

00:44:08   even though it's not a very interesting language, I don't think. They have all sorts of grand

00:44:12   plans. But right now, they're just forking. They're getting rid of all the baggage. They

00:44:17   don't care about. And I bet Apple's looking on jealously that they're like, "You know

00:44:20   what? We don't even really care about the Mac and iOS, too. Why are we supporting all

00:44:24   these other platforms?" It's like now they're weighed down by the community of people, the

00:44:28   WebKit community. I mean, maybe they don't feel that way. Maybe they just say, "We're

00:44:31   going to do what we want, and then we're just going to land our changes, and we're going

00:44:34   to break everyone else's platforms, and boo-hoo." But right away, Google is like, "Ah, finally,

00:44:39   freedom. Now we're making a Web rendering just for us, drop all the other build targets,

00:44:43   drop everything else we're not interested in, and start landing the commits that we

00:44:46   care about, the kind of control that Apple sort of had with WebKit up to this point.

00:44:49   But Google's left the baggage behind, and now they're free, and Apple is left holding

00:44:54   the bag without Google's help and still having to support the WebKit community. That's why

00:44:59   I was thinking, if Google runs away with Blink but keeps it open source, Apple could find

00:45:04   themselves in a few years going, "You know what? The next version of Safari uses Blink."

00:45:08   And honestly, if that would also mean they would move more towards the Chrome process

00:45:15   I would love to see that. But we'll see. It would be an ego hit for the WebKit team,

00:45:20   don't you think? Like all the people who did the WebKit 2 stuff with the split rendering

00:45:25   engine and the Nitro JavaScript engine and just said, "No, we're going with V8 and their

00:45:28   process model." It would be a downgrade because Apple does embed WebKit and all sorts of things,

00:45:33   and it's part of their SDK. They have a native SDK for their iOS, for both iOS and the Mac,

00:45:38   and if you want to do a WebView, you can embed it and you get multi-process web rendering.

00:45:43   wouldn't get that with Blink because that logic, again, is in the application unless

00:45:47   they package that up in some way or refine it, but who knows where Blink is going to

00:45:50   be in a few years.

00:45:51   Well, you know, I think we see this as kind of a common failure with Apple.

00:45:58   Apple had such a great streak for so long, and they do so many things pretty well, that

00:46:04   it seems like they're culturally unable to accept when they do things badly or inefficiently

00:46:08   or just not as well as everyone else in the market. And they seem often unable or unwilling

00:46:15   to turn those things around. And with this, this is the kind of thing where WebKit became

00:46:22   dominant and was so successful, not because Apple did it, but because Apple was putting

00:46:30   the most effort into it. They started out with a really solid foundation and they just

00:46:36   poured effort into it at a time when there wasn't a lot of effort being poured into web

00:46:40   rendering engines, and they weren't built on solid foundations, except for WebKit, Gecko

00:46:45   and MS.

00:46:46   And they staffed up. They hired Dave Hyatt from, you know, who he formerly worked on

00:46:49   Mozilla and everything, like they hired all the people who had experience, who had cut

00:46:54   their teeth doing the web rendering engine that's going to beat Internet Explorer, the

00:46:58   whole Mozilla, all those people, they disenfranchised, they disappointed. "We'll pay you a good salary.

00:47:04   work for us. Apple's cool. The company's doing well. Maybe you'll get stock options."

00:47:07   They were able to staff up with the wandering masses of people with real-world experience

00:47:13   building web rendering engines, and they did a great job. And compare that with who was

00:47:17   out there working on Conquerer, just like random people who are kind of into, you know,

00:47:22   they want to have a web rendering engine for KDE. But yeah, Apple took it and ran with

00:47:27   it.

00:47:28   Right. And by the way, I've got to mention, everyone's linked to it already, but if you

00:47:31   you haven't heard this yet, you have to listen to Guy English and Rene Ritchie's podcast,

00:47:37   Debug. Not only should you be listening to this podcast anyway, but there's an episode

00:47:41   number 11 from two weeks ago that had an interview of Don Melton, the guy who I think he headed

00:47:49   the WebKit team?

00:47:50   He was managing the WebKit team.

00:47:51   Yeah.

00:47:52   He was brought on. He was the first member of the WebKit team. He was the first manager,

00:47:55   and then he came on board at the same time as the first employee.

00:47:57   And he discussed a lot of this stuff, and it's a really good episode. You should listen

00:48:00   I'll put it in the show notes.

00:48:02   But anyway, so Apple did so well with that

00:48:06   because they were building on a solid foundation

00:48:08   and just poured tons of effort into it.

00:48:11   Now Google is doing that.

00:48:13   Google is building on a solid foundation of WebKit,

00:48:16   and they're pouring tons of effort into it.

00:48:19   And so it's going to be really hard for Apple

00:48:21   to keep up with that.

00:48:23   And they probably won't.

00:48:24   Did you see the graphs that I put in the chat room?

00:48:26   Oh, no, I don't click links.

00:48:28   Click that link.

00:48:30   - Okay, fine.

00:48:30   Loading, loading, this is interesting.

00:48:34   Loading. - It'll take a while

00:48:35   to load. - All right,

00:48:35   while that's loading, this episode is generously sponsored

00:48:39   by igloo software.

00:48:42   Igloo is an intranet you'll actually like.

00:48:44   You can store content like Word documents

00:48:46   and Photoshop files, but you can also create content

00:48:49   with igloo's built-in apps.

00:48:51   Igloo has apps for blogs, calendars, forums,

00:48:54   Twitter-like micro-blogs, and Wikis.

00:48:57   It's easy to collaborate because your igloo

00:48:59   has everything built in, commenting, version control,

00:49:03   you can even @ mention your coworkers.

00:49:05   These features are available on any content type,

00:49:08   whether you create it in Igloo or upload it yourself.

00:49:10   Igloo's secure enterprise platform

00:49:13   is loved by their clients, like RSA,

00:49:15   Kimberly-Clark, and IDC.

00:49:18   One of the main reasons they love the platform

00:49:19   is easy customization.

00:49:22   There's drag and drop widgets

00:49:23   to configure your entire intranet.

00:49:25   Anyone can do it,

00:49:26   but they don't ignore the technical users either.

00:49:28   everything's 100% customizable.

00:49:30   The igloo website is actually built using their platform.

00:49:33   You have full control over CSS

00:49:35   and the ability to inject global or per page JavaScript.

00:49:39   There's even an open API.

00:49:41   So go check it out today.

00:49:42   Get a free 30 day trial at igloosoftware.com/atp.

00:49:47   That's our show, actually, on our tech podcast.

00:49:49   Go to igloosoftware.com/atp.

00:49:52   Thank you very much to igloo software for sponsoring our show.

00:49:55   - Every time I see this igloo thing,

00:49:58   Weep.

00:49:59   I wish my work used this for their internet, because we do not.

00:50:03   And it is not good.

00:50:04   Like, you know, you don't know what it's like out there in the world, man.

00:50:06   But we have Microsoft SharePoint, Exchange, like just the worst software in the entire

00:50:13   world.

00:50:14   But Casey knows that stuff, right?

00:50:15   Oh, do I ever.

00:50:16   Oh, you have no idea.

00:50:17   And can you imagine, like, I don't know if Casey and your JOB job, if you have to deal

00:50:20   with stuff that's worse than this, but this igloo stuff is like, "Oh my god, I would kill

00:50:23   for this."

00:50:24   Like, we have a wiki.

00:50:25   It's not like this wiki.

00:50:26   We have a calendar and it's so painful.

00:50:29   - What's especially cool about Igloo,

00:50:30   and they're not paying for me to say this,

00:50:32   what's especially cool about Igloo is that

00:50:34   they like our stuff, they listen to our shows.

00:50:36   Like, they always sponsored Five by Five

00:50:38   and I was sponsoring this,

00:50:39   and they'll put into the landing page,

00:50:42   they'll put in custom stuff to have jokes

00:50:44   about our show in it,

00:50:46   or they gave away an AeroPress last year.

00:50:49   They like our stuff, they're really supporting us.

00:50:52   So I really appreciate that, so thanks to them.

00:50:54   - Yeah, I remember,

00:50:55   a big Merlin landing page, and a SodaStream on it or something?

00:50:58   Exactly, yeah.

00:50:59   They're really into this stuff.

00:51:01   So they seem like really cool people.

00:51:03   I was like, do they have a dedicated person whose job it is to listen to these podcasts,

00:51:07   or are they just actual fans? I guess they have to be actual fans.

00:51:09   I think they're just actual fans.

00:51:11   They wouldn't know enough to make those clever pages with the AeroPress and the Merlin thing or whatever,

00:51:17   or be inspired enough to do something that funny if they were just doing it as part of their job.

00:51:21   Plus, I think they're in Canada. Let me double check that. But I think that's why it's called Igloo.

00:51:25   I was going to say, it's Igloo. What else do you need to look at?

00:51:28   Are there Igloos in Canada?

00:51:30   Maybe up in the very top part, I guess. I mean, it would have to be, right?

00:51:35   God, where's Dalrymple when we need them?

00:51:37   I know. Anyway, so I got this page to load. Let me go back to it here.

00:51:42   So what is this? Graphs of commits? Oh, yeah, look at that.

00:51:45   So look at the ones, summary of activity. Reviewed commits per company, active authors per company.

00:51:50   Blue is Apple, and the yellowish-p green is Google.

00:51:55   So you can see what has happened here. Apples, like, measuring commits is not a good measure.

00:52:00   I wish it was lines of code or something. It's a rough estimate.

00:52:05   And if you look at it, you're like, "Who's been the driving force behind WebKit in the past several years?"

00:52:10   And you look at these graphs, and it looks like it hasn't been Apple, you know?

00:52:15   Yeah, I would say, just based on whatever the heck they're measuring here,

00:52:19   it looks like Google started to outpace Apple in about 2009 or so.

00:52:23   Yeah, as soon as Chrome came out, because they were in self-loading until Chrome appeared, right?

00:52:27   And then Chrome comes out. I mean, the active authors, I think, is a reasonable metric.

00:52:31   Because the commits, you don't know how big the commits are, and what's the standards for the size of a commit,

00:52:35   maybe they're just putting in a bunch of little changes. But the active authors is like,

00:52:39   Apple's got an uphill battle, because people who work for Google are not dumb and are not terrible programmers,

00:52:43   a big area with the Google color in terms of the number of authors. And so, yeah, it's

00:52:51   a concern, I think.

00:52:52   Yeah. In fact, what's interesting is that on the author's quantity graph, Nokia actually

00:52:59   has a few more than Apple.

00:53:01   Where do you see that?

00:53:05   Authors per company? Yeah.

00:53:06   Yeah. Which color is Nokia? Red?

00:53:07   Red, yeah. And Apple's the light blue, not the dark. Anyway, this is probably really

00:53:12   born to listen to. Let's move on.

00:53:13   I think you're misreading that graph. The graph will be in the show notes so people

00:53:18   can judge for themselves.

00:53:19   All right. We'll see. But anyway.

00:53:22   If you hover, it looks like it's half as many for Nokia's Apple. If you just hover

00:53:26   somewhere, it'll show it.

00:53:27   Oh, yeah. I'm looking at the pie below it. But that might be the entire time. All right.

00:53:33   Anyway.

00:53:34   Sorry. Most boring podcast ever.

00:53:36   Let's listen to us click around and browse the web.

00:53:40   Moving on, do you want to talk about Panic Status Board?

00:53:46   That's fine.

00:53:47   What I want to talk about about Panic Status Board

00:53:49   is the pricing, which I think is genius, especially coming in

00:53:52   after a jury's big thing on pricing.

00:53:54   It's like, I don't think Panic needed to hear this from jury.

00:53:57   They knew it already, and they're demonstrating

00:53:59   their mastery of app pricing.

00:54:00   Yes.

00:54:01   So let's first give a quick overview of it.

00:54:03   Give them a little free plug here,

00:54:04   because they're cool people and they're very friendly.

00:54:07   Our friends at Panic, they made this app called StatusBoard that they had something similar

00:54:13   for internal use and then they decided a couple years ago to just start making it into a product.

00:54:18   And it is basically what it sounds like.

00:54:19   It's for iPad and it's optimized specifically also if you want to output to a big like HDTV

00:54:27   panel on a wall in an office, but you don't have to do that.

00:54:29   You can just use it on an iPad.

00:54:31   It just has customizable little widgets

00:54:34   that you can arrange on the screen

00:54:36   to show things like any kind of thing you can graph,

00:54:40   you can put in there.

00:54:42   They have built-in widgets for things like weather and tweets

00:54:45   and stuff like that.

00:54:47   And so it's made to be like hanging

00:54:49   on a wall in a tech company or something, which is exactly

00:54:52   how they use theirs.

00:54:53   This just shows the status of the company,

00:54:55   how things are moving, any kind of metrics

00:54:57   you want to graph, et cetera.

00:55:01   And I don't think it's the first thing to ever do this,

00:55:03   but it certainly looks like it's probably the nicest.

00:55:05   And it's interesting.

00:55:07   So the whole tech blogosphere-- oh, god--

00:55:14   kind of exploded talking about this yesterday when it came out,

00:55:17   just because-- mostly because we're friends with those guys.

00:55:19   Almost everyone who's writing about it

00:55:21   has met these guys at some point,

00:55:23   and everyone who works at Panic is ridiculously nice and smart.

00:55:27   So it's a pretty easy company to get friendly with.

00:55:30   and so part of it was just because of that, but I think the app is pretty damn good.

00:55:36   And the only thing that, you know, the problem I have with it, first of all, I think it was very smart to require iOS 5.

00:55:44   Because that means it can run on the iPad 1. And I bet a lot of people, myself included, have an old iPad 1 lying around not doing anything.

00:55:50   So that's very nice. Second thing is that I wish I had a way to mount this in my bathroom.

00:55:58   This would be like the perfect bathroom wall display.

00:56:02   Well, you just gotta get a TV and then just airplay to it.

00:56:06   What would you be monitoring while you're on the pot?

00:56:10   Oh, he's got things to monitor. Well, that would be the perfect RSS ticker kind of spot.

00:56:14   You know, weather. People bring the paper in there.

00:56:18   This would be the digital version. You wouldn't have to touch it.

00:56:22   I hate to see the software network failures in real time.

00:56:26   going on over there. But anyway, so what John was alluding to is that the pricing of this

00:56:32   is interesting. So it's $10 to buy the app, and then there's an in-app purchase if you

00:56:37   want the ability to output to the TV. Now, they've actually disabled AirPlay mirroring

00:56:42   programmatically. I don't know exactly how they do that, but I'm sure it's just some

00:56:46   flag where you can say they shouldn't mirror it.

00:56:47   Same way HBO Go did.

00:56:49   There you go, yeah. So I'm sure it's supported in the SDK. So they disabled AirPlay mirroring

00:56:54   supposedly because they said they tried it and the quality was terrible.

00:57:00   Like the picture quality was terrible.

00:57:01   So instead they have their own custom handling of the external display, which I think requires,

00:57:08   I don't think it can go over the airplane, I think it requires one of the cable adapters.

00:57:11   Yeah, the HDMI adapter.

00:57:13   And even that one they were complaining about with the lightning connector, how they did

00:57:15   a whole blog post about how it recompresses stuff and it's all gross looking, whereas

00:57:19   the old ones didn't do that.

00:57:20   Right.

00:57:21   And now we know why they were so interested in that.

00:57:24   But they took TV out and made that an in-app purchase that was originally priced at $50.

00:57:30   And then Rusty from Shifty Jelly was complaining on Twitter about it because he's in Australia,

00:57:37   so he kind of got the app before the entire US because of the date, the release date.

00:57:42   So he started complaining about it really like the first hour it was released.

00:57:47   Panic responded and then they decided to lower the price.

00:57:49   So now it's a $10 in-app purchase on top of the $10 app

00:57:53   to get TV output.

00:57:55   And so I think a lot of things about this

00:57:57   are very interesting.

00:57:59   First of all-- I think we'll get to the app price in a second.

00:58:02   First of all, the charging for TV out,

00:58:06   which is something these devices can normally

00:58:08   do for free to mirror, at least, doing your own implementation

00:58:12   which you think is better and then disabling the mirroring

00:58:14   and then charging for it, that's going to anger a lot of people.

00:58:18   And so that's kind of a ballsy move.

00:58:20   Charging $50 for that is even more interesting,

00:58:23   because you figure, I can see where they're coming from.

00:58:26   Like, if you're doing this, you probably

00:58:30   have dedicated a TV or monitor solely to this purpose.

00:58:35   So you've spent hundreds or thousands of dollars

00:58:39   for the hardware to plug this into.

00:58:42   You're dedicating an iPad to it, too.

00:58:44   Exactly.

00:58:45   I would have, maybe I wouldn't have stuck to the $50, but I think both sides, the app

00:58:50   price and the aftermarket purchase could have been increased because this is not a casual

00:58:55   application.

00:58:56   You're like, "Oh, you know what I could use in my life?"

00:58:58   If you need a status board, it's because you have an environment like a company or a workgroup

00:59:04   or something that needs money.

00:59:07   You are signed up, I'm looking for something so I can monitor the status of things.

00:59:12   Whatever that thing is is important enough that I need to see it now.

00:59:16   It's like selling things to businesses.

00:59:17   The reason you can charge so much money for businesses is they're a business.

00:59:20   They're already paying through the nose to rent their office and to pay for healthcare

00:59:23   for all their employees.

00:59:25   Money's going out like crazy.

00:59:26   And if someone says, "Oh, we want a thing to put up a status board in the room," how

00:59:29   much is that?

00:59:30   700 bucks?

00:59:31   Fine, just buy it.

00:59:32   We have these big TVs in our conference rooms that you can hook up your laptop to, and they

00:59:35   have a camera on top of them, and they have little PCs strapped to the back of them.

00:59:38   I don't even want to know how much those things cost.

00:59:40   They were probably thousands of dollars.

00:59:42   terrible by the way. They're absolutely terrible. So anybody who's in the market for a status

00:59:46   board of any kind would not blink for two seconds if this thing costs, you know, maybe

00:59:51   $100 is extreme, but like $20? Forget it! That's like, it's basically free.

00:59:56   And originally $60, like if that was still the price and if they go back to that.

00:59:59   It's still free. Anything less than like, you know, $300 is like discretionary petty

01:00:04   cash spending in anybody who wants to have a status board.

01:00:06   Right, because if you're putting like, you know, a $330 iPad stuck to the back of a,

01:00:10   a $500 TV or $600 TV, then...

01:00:14   - The software is free.

01:00:15   - Right, then, yeah, effectively the software is free.

01:00:17   And so, and I think the pricing is smart, too,

01:00:20   because most people who download it

01:00:22   are probably never going to connect

01:00:24   to any kind of external display.

01:00:25   Most people who download it are probably curious nerds

01:00:28   who want a status thing for their desk.

01:00:30   It's the same people, first of all, like me, of course,

01:00:33   I'm not denying membership in that group,

01:00:35   but it's similar to how in the late 90s,

01:00:40   people started getting little tiny LCD matrix displays

01:00:44   that would connect via serial or USB to their computer

01:00:47   and having their CPU fan speed and temperature

01:00:51   on a little LCD display next to their monitor.

01:00:54   Just to have little additional information.

01:00:58   And of course, people do that with cars all the time

01:01:00   and they have those tacky external meters and everything.

01:01:03   People like, nerds like that kind of stuff.

01:01:06   We like that.

01:01:07   And so to have something like this,

01:01:09   where many nerds have old iPads sitting around,

01:01:12   not doing much, and so dedicating an iPad to it

01:01:16   is not that much of a stretch for a lot of people like us.

01:01:19   And so to have this little $10 app,

01:01:24   granted $10 for an iPad app is on the high end

01:01:27   of what people usually charge,

01:01:29   and I'm sure they're getting a lot of flack for that.

01:01:30   But it's such a cool thing.

01:01:34   We want that.

01:01:34   And if any of us actually get it working and mount it somewhere

01:01:38   and use it every day, it's totally worth $10.

01:01:43   And the low price of $10 makes me

01:01:46   think they couldn't decide whether the curious nerd

01:01:49   market and the business market-- or not even just business.

01:01:51   People who actually need a status board is one market.

01:01:53   And curious nerds is another market.

01:01:55   And they're kind of trying to straddle the line between-- it's

01:01:58   not totally outside the curious nerd range.

01:02:00   I mean, I bought it.

01:02:01   I'm never going to freaking use the thing.

01:02:02   But I have a panic problem.

01:02:04   I buy every single one of their applications regardless of whether I'm ever going to use

01:02:08   it because I want them to continue to exist and succeed.

01:02:11   Also a little bit of a cable sass or fanboy.

01:02:13   But anyway, that's the curious nerd market.

01:02:17   But you could ignore them entirely and price the thing at 200 bucks and you might actually

01:02:21   make more money.

01:02:23   Because if this catches on with businesses, they'll just buy it.

01:02:26   They'll just buy it.

01:02:27   If they need something like this, they'll buy it.

01:02:28   If they don't, they want to have a status board and maybe they'll see some story in

01:02:32   Wired like they have that status board story.

01:02:34   Why doesn't our status board look that good?

01:02:36   Ours is just some webpage with ugly fonts that we put up on a screen.

01:02:41   I think the pricing here is very smart.

01:02:44   I think the original pricing of the $50 in-app purchase for the TV out and a $10 purchase

01:02:49   for the app, I think that's even smarter.

01:02:51   They'll probably have to go back to that at some point because it does straddle that

01:02:55   because you need a low entry price for the app because it's also an ecosystem.

01:03:00   It's a platform. It's a small one, but it's still a platform.

01:03:05   You need people to develop modules for common things to be stuck in there.

01:03:08   And so out of the box, for instance, it doesn't support any kind of Google Analytics

01:03:13   or any kind of web analytics engine.

01:03:17   There's already people working on that, and there's already some engines that already have plugins for it.

01:03:19   I think Google Analytics would be a very obvious candidate for something that needs to be here.

01:03:24   Someone's already whipped that up.

01:03:26   Oh, yeah. Good. Okay. It wasn't done by noon today, and then I stopped looking.

01:03:31   It was done on launch day. I don't know if it's done in a nice way, but someone just threw together some Ruby

01:03:36   to connect and you just have that running on your server and point it to your own URL.

01:03:41   Like, do it yourself.

01:03:43   So, yeah, they need an ecosystem to start building to add value to this thing so that

01:03:49   the people who want to make a TV will have an easier time with it and will more want

01:03:54   to do that.

01:03:55   So I think it's a very smart split to have a relatively inexpensive app for the nerds

01:04:00   to play with and then be able to sell it to people who are building, who are devoting

01:04:04   hardware to it to be able to sell it at a higher price to them.

01:04:07   So I think it's genius.

01:04:08   And I don't think they're gonna really sell

01:04:10   a massive amount of those in-app purchases,

01:04:13   but I don't think they need to sell a massive amount of them.

01:04:16   - Well, the other thing I thought was interesting is

01:04:19   I looked at the, I don't know if I should call it an SDK,

01:04:23   but basically the mechanism by which you can input

01:04:26   random data that they're not privy to into the app,

01:04:30   and it was very, very straightforward.

01:04:33   If I remember right, for tables, or I'm sorry,

01:04:36   For graphs, you can give it CSV or JSON.

01:04:39   For tables, you can give it CSV or HTML, actually.

01:04:44   HTML tables, yeah.

01:04:45   Yeah.

01:04:46   And then you can just go wild and they

01:04:49   will render just straight up HTML, be it table or graph

01:04:52   or whatever, anything you want, just HTML,

01:04:55   as one of these little widgets.

01:04:56   And it was very cool.

01:04:58   And I looked at the-- I think it was three different PDFs that

01:05:00   talk about these three different methods, tables, charts,

01:05:03   and just random anything.

01:05:05   And the sum total of the documentation for all of that was,

01:05:08   I don't know, 15 pages or something like that.

01:05:10   John, did you look at these as well?

01:05:11   - It reminded me of a very Apple way to do things.

01:05:14   And I kind of mean that in a good way

01:05:15   and also in a bad way.

01:05:17   I don't know, I don't know if this is a good way

01:05:20   or bad way, you can decide for yourself.

01:05:21   But like, Panic decided how things should look

01:05:24   on a status board, because that's part of the charm

01:05:26   of the product is we're gonna give you

01:05:27   a nice looking status board, not that thing

01:05:29   that you had some random programmer throw together, right?

01:05:31   We're gonna have our designers work on it

01:05:33   and lay down the law for like,

01:05:36   these are the types of graphs you can have,

01:05:38   these are the colors they can pick

01:05:39   'cause they look cool together,

01:05:40   this is how the things are shaded,

01:05:41   and it's not just like, hey, look,

01:05:43   you have a little corner of a web view

01:05:46   and just go nuts and put your stupid blinking background

01:05:48   and auto-playing music in it.

01:05:49   Like, that's not how it's gonna work, right?

01:05:53   But then the SDK is necessarily very limited to,

01:05:56   these are the kind of things you can do,

01:05:57   these are the elements you can put in them,

01:05:58   you can have a word, you can have an image,

01:06:00   you can have an optional little line of bar graphs,

01:06:02   you can use HTML tables, there's a couple of styles we've defined.

01:06:05   It's very, very limited, where if a company like Google did it,

01:06:08   like look at Google's graphing API,

01:06:10   that's the other end of the spectrum,

01:06:12   where they said, we're going to make a graphing API,

01:06:14   and it's going to be just like-- we are not-- it's

01:06:19   like the DH Edge thing.

01:06:21   It's not opinionated software.

01:06:22   The Google Graph API is we have a bazillion parameters.

01:06:24   You can make a whole bunch of graphs.

01:06:25   It's extremely flexible.

01:06:26   Make anything, any color, any size, any label you want.

01:06:29   And we have this really complicated API for doing that and go nuts.

01:06:33   Where the panic one was like, there are seven things you can do,

01:06:35   or three things you can do, a couple of variations on them, and that's it.

01:06:38   And so it's extremely limited in terms of flexibility,

01:06:41   but the reward you get for that is it's impossible to make a status

01:06:45   board that's just horrendously ugly.

01:06:47   So and the tech they use to do it, like, I look at it,

01:06:51   and I think to myself, CSV and HTML tables, I guess that'll work.

01:06:56   but they didn't develop a general purpose system for an API and then build their APIs

01:07:01   on it.

01:07:02   They just kind of decided, "These are the kind of things we're going to have.

01:07:04   What's the most convenient thing for you to emit?"

01:07:06   That's one possible strategy, but I don't know.

01:07:09   Maybe it's the programmer disease.

01:07:11   Let's cite the XKCD comic.

01:07:13   You ever see the one where someone asks the other person to pass the salt and he gets

01:07:18   hung up trying to implement a general purpose system for passing things across tables?

01:07:22   I'm probably blowing the punchline, but it's like programmer mindset.

01:07:25   You can't just do some simple thing.

01:07:26   You have to like, wait, no, I can develop a generic system

01:07:29   for doing things like this and use this to build the thing

01:07:31   you want me to do.

01:07:33   That's the programmer mindset.

01:07:34   Looking at their API and a lot of Apple's APIs

01:07:37   and things Apple does, clearly they're not

01:07:39   infected by that disease.

01:07:40   They're like, why should we do that?

01:07:42   We know exactly what we want to do.

01:07:43   Let's make it as simple as possible,

01:07:45   even if we haven't created a LEGO construction

01:07:48   set for building arbitrary status display things,

01:07:51   because they haven't.

01:07:53   So that's the trade-off in what they've done.

01:07:55   I don't know if you want to decide whether it's good or bad.

01:07:56   - I mean, to some extent, I think pragmatically,

01:07:59   as a user of this thing, pragmatically,

01:08:01   that's a very good thing, because this is,

01:08:04   like, for the most part, if you're building one of these

01:08:07   or tweaking this, or setting one up for yourself

01:08:09   or your company, it's futzing around, it's overhead.

01:08:13   You know, like, it's not a business-critical thing,

01:08:16   and so you don't really want your programmers or yourself

01:08:19   to be tied up tweaking this thing for three weeks.

01:08:23   You know, like--

01:08:24   Getting it out and not make it be ugly.

01:08:28   It's on rails.

01:08:29   And more DHH lingo there.

01:08:34   It is designed so that you give it your data and you make a few minor adjustments and that's

01:08:40   it.

01:08:41   And you don't have to think about how to make it nice looking or anything like that.

01:08:44   They take care of that for you.

01:08:46   That's a major appeal, I think.

01:08:48   But as soon as you want to do something that it doesn't support, you're sad.

01:08:51   Exactly.

01:08:52   That's certainly the Apple way.

01:08:55   But I think for this, because it's non-mission critical, I think the right answer for a lot

01:09:02   of people who face that is, "Oh well, just live without it or deal with what it does

01:09:06   do."

01:09:07   I'm not sure how many people will actually think that way.

01:09:11   I think that's the pragmatic…

01:09:12   It's Version 1.0.

01:09:14   So the guy who wants to see the live video camera of the security camera that's out

01:09:17   in front of his building is one of his status bar items.

01:09:19   "Oh, we don't currently support live video."

01:09:20   but if they get enough demand for live video,

01:09:23   they will come up with a nice, attractive,

01:09:24   simple way to do live video,

01:09:25   and version two will have a live video thing.

01:09:27   But they've just not made out the gate

01:09:30   a generic status board type thing

01:09:32   where you can build anything you want.

01:09:33   You can't, they give you a couple little things,

01:09:35   this is what you can do.

01:09:36   Future versions may have new ones,

01:09:37   but they're not designing an OS.

01:09:40   They're not making, you know, it's very constrained.

01:09:43   And like Casey said, the big payoff for that is,

01:09:45   I read every word of those instructions,

01:09:47   'cause it's like three pages of text,

01:09:48   nicely written, simple, you don't have to really know anything about anything to understand

01:09:53   what they're saying. You just need to have a little tiny bit of background and like,

01:09:57   I don't even know if you need any web development background. I guess you would to put up a

01:10:00   server or something. But it's so dead simple and so possible for normal people to do.

01:10:05   Well, and you remember one of the things they cited was, "Hey, if you have Dropbox, you

01:10:09   could just put a CS, I think it was a CSV example, you could just put the CSV in Dropbox

01:10:13   and you copy a public link and next thing you know, now it's in your status board."

01:10:17   That's how it's geared. It's explaining to people who don't know that, "Hey, did you know that something you put in Dropbox is accessible via HTTP on the internet?"

01:10:25   People might not know that, and you wouldn't mention that if you were writing technical DOPP documentation.

01:10:29   But panic documentation, there's not a lot of words. But take two sentences out to remind the people who are reading this, maybe they don't realize you can do that with Dropbox.

01:10:36   And one thing I mean and this this app so far I mean it is one point

01:10:39   there's a few people reporting crashes on the iTunes reviews, but

01:10:42   But overall the level of polish in this is incredible. I mean like

01:10:49   You know like fog Creek

01:10:51   You know famously Joel Spolsky with Joel and software start

01:10:56   You know he and Michael prior started this company and they have a few very successful products

01:11:00   And and one of their their first major product fog bugs

01:11:04   is so successful that it seemed to, at least for a while,

01:11:09   basically keep the entire company afloat

01:11:11   pretty much entirely on its own.

01:11:13   And it made so much money for them

01:11:16   that they were able to make things extremely nice

01:11:19   for their developers, make a very, very nice

01:11:21   office environment, and just add a ridiculous amount

01:11:25   of features into this product.

01:11:27   And it's like they had this great cash cow,

01:11:32   And so they're just redirecting all of that cache

01:11:34   into ridiculous features for this thing.

01:11:38   Panic, I don't know what their cache cow is,

01:11:41   they have a number of well-known products,

01:11:44   maybe transmit I would guess, but panic,

01:11:47   and actually probably coda these days, but--

01:11:50   - Actually we know what their cache cows are

01:11:53   because somebody pointed out--

01:11:54   - Oh, it says so on their example screenshots.

01:11:57   - Well, sort of, if you look, god, I'm trying to find--

01:11:59   They just tweeted a link that showed their revenue and graphs for the past day, and you

01:12:05   see the status board line shooting up like a rocket and everything else. Everything else

01:12:09   looks like zero, but that's obviously the reason they showed that, is it's launch day,

01:12:12   and there's no numbers on the y-axis.

01:12:13   Right. But at Panic!, I feel like they are a company where they've had their cash cows,

01:12:21   and they've made a very nice office and made things very nice to developers. And rather

01:12:25   than just adding a whole bunch of features constantly with all that money, they add polish

01:12:32   with all those resources. The Fog Creek ways, you just add feature after feature after feature

01:12:37   to FogBugs. Well, you know why that is, of course.

01:12:40   Because they're cool? I don't know. What? Because Joel's from Microsoft, and they're

01:12:44   a bunch of Windows users. That's what it is. It's a different ethos.

01:12:48   Possibly. They came from Microsoft. YouTube maybe don't

01:12:52   realize that's where you came from too, but it's just a different ethos. They come from

01:12:56   the world of Microsoft. They weren't even big on Mac support. It's like why their software

01:13:00   was nice, but it never quite looked nice, as nice as you would think it should look.

01:13:04   Right. It has every feature under the sun, though.

01:13:05   Yeah. It took a while to even get Joel to switch to a Mac. I think he's on a Mac now.

01:13:10   Those guys are from the semi-enlightened PC developer type things, but they kind of know

01:13:17   what they're supposed to be doing, but the difference between them and Panic is a great

01:13:23   illustration because Fog Creek probably has more great programmers than Panic does. They

01:13:29   have more people, period. It's a much bigger thing. The Fog Creek people are really smart

01:13:33   and successful and do great things and have a great working environment and all that stuff.

01:13:37   But when we look at the end products, and this is just no comparison, they are different

01:13:40   kinds of products for different audiences. Totally.

01:13:42   So everyone go out and buy StatusBoard.

01:13:45   It's a good app.

01:13:46   I mean, see, it's the kind of thing that, like, I don't need this app, but now I'm looking

01:13:51   for a reason to need it.

01:13:52   Yeah.

01:13:53   If you're a curious nerd, you're like, "I need, I've got to find some reason to use this."

01:13:57   Yeah.

01:13:58   Because we have old iPads.

01:13:59   I'm probably never going to use it, but it's just, I just like that it exists.

01:14:04   And I'm usually, in my various businesses, I'm generally pretty terrible at monitoring

01:14:10   metrics.

01:14:11   I just don't do it.

01:14:12   And many mentors I don't even collect.

01:14:15   And I don't do any kind of data mining

01:14:18   or anything like that. - You can't manage,

01:14:19   but you can't measure.

01:14:20   - Yeah. - Or you don't measure, sorry.

01:14:23   - And so I feel like this is like

01:14:26   an aspirational purchase for me.

01:14:27   Like maybe if I buy this cool app to do this cool thing

01:14:31   on my wall or my desk, then maybe I'll become

01:14:34   that kind of person who starts measuring things

01:14:36   and paying attention.

01:14:38   It's very unlikely, but maybe.

01:14:40   - Weird things have happened.

01:14:42   And what I was going to say before is very early on, somebody noticed, and I can't

01:14:45   find for the life of me where this link came from, but I saw it on Twitter.

01:14:48   Somebody noticed that they had posted pictures of the status board, I think perhaps when

01:14:53   they were dogfooding it but it wasn't released.

01:14:55   And you could see their revenue graph, and this was right before the status board public

01:15:00   release, and it was very, very, very clear that their desktop apps were making all of

01:15:06   the money and their iOS apps, by comparison, were making almost none.

01:15:10   I saw that graph too, but the x-axis was like three days, so you can't really tell.

01:15:16   That's true.

01:15:17   That's true.

01:15:18   Historically, Transmit I think was their big thing, but they also have Unison, the Usenet

01:15:22   subscription thing, and I always wondered how much that makes, because that's recurring

01:15:25   revenue.

01:15:26   It's a small audience, but the people who—

01:15:28   Yeah, but you weren't supposed to talk about Usenet.

01:15:30   Yeah, I know.

01:15:33   I don't know.

01:15:35   It's an interesting wrinkle of them producing a status board product and doing stories about

01:15:39   was a Wired story before the app was even out about status board things showing their

01:15:43   status board. It's in their office and everything, and it's kind of like revealing the innards

01:15:49   of your business semi-accidentally. I don't think they probably care, because so what?

01:15:54   What are you going to do with that information? Go ahead.

01:15:57   You make the next panic. See how easy it is. Right.

01:16:01   I think before we leave this topic, I think we should revisit the $10 price point of just

01:16:07   buying the app. Because that's also unusual in how high it is for an iOS app. And, you

01:16:16   know, obviously the question, there's obviously two big questions here. One would be, you

01:16:21   know, can they pull that off? And then the other one would be, can you pull it off? You

01:16:26   know, and, and, you know, or, or, you know, can X pull it off?

01:16:30   Can one pull it off? Yeah, right. You could, definitely, but.

01:16:35   So I think the question of whether they can pull it off is probably yes, for a long time

01:16:40   if not indefinitely, just because to some degree there's not that much competition in

01:16:46   this market, but also just because of who they are, that they are very well known already,

01:16:50   they have a great reputation, and their customers know that their stuff is very well made.

01:16:54   And so their customers are very likely to be willing to jump in blind and blow $10 on

01:17:03   the chance this might be good or useful to them.

01:17:05   And if they really do think it will be very useful to them, then $10 is not that ridiculous

01:17:10   of a price to pay. It's not like it's $100 or $1,000. It's $10, which, you know, by--and

01:17:17   if most of their customers are coming from the desktop world, where software is usually

01:17:22   far more than $10, then that seems like a very inexpensive product.

01:17:27   Well, there's also--the curious nerd market is presumably the people who understand that

01:17:32   software is worth money. We all know the people who don't understand why you would ever pay

01:17:35   pay for software and like they want Angry Birds to be free and blah blah blah, but they

01:17:39   would not be happy customers of the status board app or wouldn't want it. So if you're

01:17:43   selling to the curious nerds like oh these people already understand that you pay money

01:17:46   for software so I don't have to overcome that hurdle. I don't have to I don't have to pander

01:17:49   to their 99 cent thing. Well I think that's the case. I think that for the status board

01:17:55   app in particular that like isn't there's not a lot of looky-loos who are just browsing

01:18:00   through the store and like oh I'll buy that status board app.

01:18:02   Well, that's true, yeah. But I wouldn't necessarily assume that geeks are willing to pay more.

01:18:08   I think that, but not so much more, but they just understand, it's not outrageous to them

01:18:15   for the $10. The $50 thing is probably still over their line for those people who aren't

01:18:19   buying for a business and they're just like, "I just wanted to play with them, but on

01:18:21   my TV, I'm not paying 50 bucks." And they already went back on that a little bit. But

01:18:27   I think if you can sell, just think about things like pages and stuff like that. At

01:18:31   certain point you're selling to people who accept that software is worth money and $10

01:18:35   is not that much in the grand scheme of things. You already bought an iPad. It was a lot more

01:18:38   than $10.

01:18:40   Yeah, I don't know. So I think what we have here is a "it's fine for panic" situation.

01:18:51   They can charge $10, but the question is, can any iOS developer charge $10 for a good

01:18:59   product?

01:19:00   go back to the jury thing. It's like, if you make software for dentists, you can. You

01:19:05   can charge more than that.

01:19:06   Right. Like, this is, as you said, this is very clearly aimed at businesses and nerves.

01:19:13   And both of those, especially businesses, are usually willing to pay for stuff at all,

01:19:18   and businesses you can charge a good amount for. And this is still cheaper than anything

01:19:21   else they would probably find. But, you know, so it depends on what you're doing. And

01:19:27   In this market, it does seem like there's really not any kind of major competition for

01:19:31   the same kind of quality or taste put into this app.

01:19:37   But I wonder if I was making a new app today.

01:19:42   I found with Instapaper that I really can't price it any higher than like $5.

01:19:47   And currently it's $4 even, just because I found that I made more there.

01:19:51   That's an app that everyone who owns an iPhone should have.

01:19:54   Statusport is not an app that everyone who owns an iPad should have.

01:19:56   You know what I mean?

01:19:57   you were trying to sell, like, who could benefit from Instapaper? Everybody. Anybody. Anybody

01:20:01   who reads web pages on their phone, which is basically anybody with an iPhone, can benefit

01:20:05   from this app. Who can benefit from a status board? Already, you're just cutting it down

01:20:08   to a tiny, narrow fraction of the world who even has need for this in their life. And

01:20:13   so you can charge them more, because if they need it, it's not just like a frivolous type

01:20:18   of thing.

01:20:19   So I think that's a spectrum that Jerry was talking about. If you're making a to-do app,

01:20:23   a bazillion of them, anybody can use a to-do app. It's not specific to some particular

01:20:29   problem domain where a status board is. If you've been thinking about it for any reason

01:20:33   in your life, "If I could see that up on a board," just because even if you just think

01:20:37   it would be cool, you are one of the people who has that need, but most people who will

01:20:41   never have that need have no reason to ever have anything like that.

01:20:48   If you make "boring software" for specific people with very specific problems, you can

01:20:54   get away with charging them more.

01:20:55   But Instapaper, you can't, because Instapaper is for everybody.

01:20:59   It's basically the Angry Birds.

01:21:01   Anybody can use it.

01:21:02   Anyone can find it useful.

01:21:04   I found, whenever I've done a search for some kind of relatively specialized app, I've always

01:21:10   found that, A, they're all terrible.

01:21:13   If you're looking for some kind of specific X app, they're terrible.

01:21:17   Dentistry software, terrible.

01:21:19   Yes. They're all terrible and most of them are not 99 cents or free.

01:21:25   Most of them are like $5 or $8. They're up there in the iOS price world.

01:21:30   And a part of that is just because they can, because there's no competition or very little.

01:21:35   And part of that is because if you're not selling to the mainstream and you need to be able to pay a programmer

01:21:41   or pay yourself a reasonable rate, you have to charge more than a dollar,

01:21:46   because you're just not going to sell that much volume.

01:21:51   I think it's actually the reverse, though. If you are a dentist, you're not going to do everything on paper.

01:21:54   You need dentistry software. And if the dentist decides they want to do something on their phone

01:21:59   having to do with dentistry, and they search for dentistry apps, and there's two of them,

01:22:04   and you're one of them, you have the power to charge more.

01:22:08   because there's the terrible application that crashes on launch and then there's yours,

01:22:12   which doesn't.

01:22:13   And you can charge that guy almost whatever you want within reason, because he is a captive

01:22:19   audience, whereas when he searches for games, he has many choices.

01:22:23   And they're all perfectly fine and they're all great.

01:22:26   And he searches for to-do lists like there's a million of them, but the choices are slim.

01:22:30   Maybe there's no apps for a particular kind of medical imaging that you want to be able

01:22:34   to sort of airplay images from the big giant.

01:22:38   knows, but there's very specific problems. Someone has a problem in their job, and they would like to

01:22:43   use an iOS app to help them solve it in some cool way, and they probably fantasize about, "Boy,

01:22:48   I wish there was something that did that." If one of those things appear or two of them appears,

01:22:52   they'll put down $10 in a second, because they've been dying to give someone money for something,

01:22:56   and then the app will be terrible. So if you can field even just a competent entry in those things,

01:23:03   you can charge a lot more money. It usually requires some domain knowledge, which is why

01:23:07   you're able to charge a little more as well. But if you can feel the great app, like Status

01:23:11   Board is a great app, then you're so far ahead of the game.

01:23:16   You want to wrap it up? I think we're good.

01:23:19   Yeah, we're going long here. Alright, thanks to Igloo Software for sponsoring

01:23:23   this episode again. Go to IglooSoftware.com/ATP to start a free trial there, because they're

01:23:28   awesome. And let's play it out with the song.

01:23:35   Now the show is over, they didn't even mean to begin

01:23:40   'Cause it was accidental (accidental)

01:23:43   Oh, it was accidental (accidental)

01:23:46   John didn't do any research, Marco and Casey wouldn't let him

01:23:50   'Cause it was accidental (accidental)

01:23:53   Oh, it was accidental (accidental)

01:23:56   And you can find the show notes at ATP.fm

01:24:01   And if you're into Twitter, you can follow them

01:24:06   @C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S

01:24:10   So that's Kasey Liss M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M

01:24:14   Auntie Marco Arment S-I-R-A-C

01:24:20   USA, Syracuse, it's accidental, accidental They didn't mean to, accidental, accidental

01:24:30   Tech podcast so long

01:24:35   What song are you gonna play?

01:24:38   I'll play the same song again.

01:24:41   Which one?

01:24:42   I like the second one with the bleeps and boops.

01:24:43   You are so into the bleeps and boops.

01:24:46   [music]

01:24:52   I like that one so much.

01:24:54   See, the other one is so catchy.

01:24:56   It gets stuck in your head.

01:24:58   No, this is what happens if you let the Fish fan pick the music.