Developing Perspective

Marco Arment. Infinite Potential.


00:00:00   (upbeat music)

00:00:02   - Hello and welcome to the fifth

00:00:04   in the Developing Perspective Interview Series.

00:00:06   The Developing Perspective Interview Series

00:00:08   is something that I do to break out of the 15-minute mold

00:00:11   of just me talking and to hopefully talk

00:00:12   with interesting developers about how and why they work.

00:00:15   And today I'm delighted to be joined by Marco Orment,

00:00:17   who I'll introduce more fully in a moment.

00:00:19   And we're gonna talk about just how he works

00:00:21   and why he does the things that he does.

00:00:23   So first I wanna thank you for taking the time

00:00:24   to be on the show.

00:00:26   - Anytime.

00:00:27   - So probably the best place to start off

00:00:29   is just to give a little bit of a background of who you are

00:00:33   and what you do.

00:00:35   Sure.

00:00:37   Well, I'm Marco Arment.

00:00:39   I currently work on a few projects.

00:00:41   I have Instapaper, the magazine, Marco.org,

00:00:45   the neutral.fm podcast, and wasting all my day on Twitter

00:00:49   at Marco Arment.

00:00:51   Excellent.

00:00:51   And I've currently forgotten about app.net.

00:00:54   Haven't we all?

00:00:56   Unfortunately.

00:00:57   You know, I'm kind of upset about that, because I got a really good username there.

00:01:02   I just got Marco.

00:01:06   And I joined Twitter too late for that, so I had to take Marco Arment on Twitter.

00:01:07   And I kind of feel bad that App.net didn't take off and replace Twitter for me,

00:01:11   because I just have a way better username there.

00:01:16   Well, I think it's the kind of thing for me that I'm glad that it's there.

00:01:18   It's the fallback position.

00:01:22   It reminds me a little bit about Pinboard and Delicious,

00:01:24   that I feel like at some point there'll be a day in the future

00:01:24   where there'll be this mass exodus of nerds from Twitter

00:01:29   for some reason that they're doing.

00:01:33   And we'll all go there, and I'll be glad it's there,

00:01:35   and you'll have your great username.

00:01:38   I hope so, yeah, I hope that happens.

00:01:41   We'll see, I guess.

00:01:44   So anyway, that's what I do.

00:01:45   I waste time on the internet,

00:01:46   and when I'm not wasting time on the internet

00:01:48   for about a half hour a day, I do some work.

00:01:50   So when you're doing that work,

00:01:53   what kind of, if you just kind of work through,

00:01:51   What is that, sort of the physical environment

00:01:54   and sort of the computers and things that you use,

00:01:56   what's that kind of setup look like for you?

00:01:58   - It's pretty straightforward.

00:02:00   I work from home and I have a home office,

00:02:02   so it's just a room in my house that is called the office.

00:02:05   And it contains, my wife and I each have a Mac Pro

00:02:08   and a desk and a monitor in this room,

00:02:10   so it's just a room with two desks and computers.

00:02:15   And really, for the most part, for most of the day,

00:02:18   I'm sitting here in headphones.

00:02:20   Generally speaking, if I'm not wearing headphones,

00:02:23   I'm not working, because it helps to block out

00:02:27   both ambient noise and noise, we have a baby,

00:02:30   so he's occasionally noisy, and just noise from the house,

00:02:33   and UPS deliveries and stuff like that.

00:02:36   So headphones help prevent distraction for me.

00:02:39   Yeah, so basically watching me work looks like

00:02:43   a guy typing while wearing headphones,

00:02:45   and not really moving until it's time for chicken salad.

00:02:47   - Nice.

00:02:48   And is that, that sounds basically like the same environment

00:02:52   that you would have if you were working in a,

00:02:54   like a traditional office too, right?

00:02:56   That sounds like, almost every time I've ever seen

00:02:59   a software engineer working in a normal cube farm

00:03:02   or something like that, that's exactly the same thing.

00:03:06   - Not only is it similar, it is my desk from Tumblr.

00:03:09   I took it with me when I left.

00:03:11   The actual physical desk.

00:03:13   - Did they know about that?

00:03:15   - Yeah, I negotiated on my way out.

00:03:18   it was, 'cause it's an electrically raising

00:03:20   and lowering desk, and it's very nice,

00:03:22   and I like being able to raise it

00:03:24   to a standing position occasionally.

00:03:26   It is very convenient.

00:03:27   So I took that home with me, and yeah,

00:03:31   and even when I was working there,

00:03:33   I would always try to have an exact clone

00:03:36   of my work hardware set up at home.

00:03:38   So at work, at first I had a laptop

00:03:41   I'd bring between both places,

00:03:42   just a 15-inch MacBook Pro, put it on a stand,

00:03:46   have an external keyboard, a mouse, and a 24 inch monitor.

00:03:49   And then eventually I upgraded to a Mac Pro at home

00:03:52   and went to two 24 inch monitors

00:03:54   and I convinced my boss at Tumblr

00:03:57   to upgrade us there to the exact same thing.

00:03:59   And so I always tried to keep parody

00:04:01   of the hardware in both places

00:04:02   because as a computer nerd,

00:04:06   I'm sure you've always had a really nice monitor at home.

00:04:08   Well, what if you go to work somewhere

00:04:10   and you have this tiny little 17 inch monitor at work

00:04:14   and you go home to your 30 inch?

00:04:15   I was like, that sucks, you know?

00:04:17   It sucks to have worse equipment in one place or the other.

00:04:21   Yeah, I try to make it as work-like as possible.

00:04:25   There are some people who, in fact,

00:04:28   my boss at Tumblr, David, was like this,

00:04:30   who are very comfortable working on a laptop,

00:04:32   like on a couch, and I really can't do that for very long.

00:04:36   I'll do it if I'm on vacation somewhere

00:04:38   and I have to get something done

00:04:39   or I wanna type something up,

00:04:40   but I really prefer working at a desktop,

00:04:45   at a desk with a full-sized keyboard, a mouse,

00:04:48   and a giant monitor.

00:04:50   And it feels-- whenever I do it, like, the only things

00:04:53   that I can do in that kind of environment, if I'm not sitting

00:04:57   in my fancy chair with my Microsoft

00:05:00   keyboard and my particular mouse and the whole thing,

00:05:03   the only thing I can do there is I

00:05:04   can be sending email, maybe, Twitter or something like that.

00:05:08   But it doesn't feel like work, unless I'm

00:05:10   in that particular place in my particular setup, I find.

00:05:15   - Right, and also because I have a giant monitor at my desk,

00:05:20   every laptop screen feels cramped to me.

00:05:22   So every laptop screen feels like, just like what you said,

00:05:25   it's like I can get some stuff done here,

00:05:28   but I'm not gonna really get any, quote, real work done

00:05:31   until I get back to my giant setup at home.

00:05:33   And it really has nothing to do with synchronizing files

00:05:37   or anything like that.

00:05:38   I mean, those are all minor things

00:05:40   when you have multiple computers versus single computers.

00:05:43   There are some minor issues like that,

00:05:44   but for me, really, the biggest thing is just

00:05:46   I need a whole bunch of space

00:05:48   and I need the comfortable ergonomic setup.

00:05:52   - Yeah, and it just allows you to,

00:05:54   there's something, I don't even know if it's,

00:05:56   it's almost like Pavlovian or whatever, right?

00:05:58   Like, I don't know for you, but for me,

00:05:59   it's like when I'm in that environment,

00:06:02   that's where I can become productive,

00:06:04   even if I'm not in the mood to be productive

00:06:05   by putting myself in that place

00:06:08   in a way that's more difficult if I was just like,

00:06:10   pick up my MacBook Pro and just sit down

00:06:12   and try and do something.

00:06:14   It doesn't feel as,

00:06:16   it doesn't put me in that kind of mindset

00:06:19   or in that frame of like, okay, I need to do some work,

00:06:21   let's get this done.

00:06:23   - And again, back to the headphones,

00:06:24   that really helps isolate myself from the outside world,

00:06:27   whereas when you're like on a captured laptop,

00:06:30   that's harder to do.

00:06:32   And my headphones usually are at my desk

00:06:33   'cause they're tremendous.

00:06:34   And so, just like everything else on my desk,

00:06:36   Tremendous headphones, giant monitor,

00:06:39   ridiculously giant keyboard,

00:06:41   'cause it's all big, split ergonomic.

00:06:44   Yeah, ergonomics are very important to me.

00:06:47   I had a brief RSI scare during about my second year

00:06:51   out of college when I was two years into working full time,

00:06:55   where I started getting some pretty bad wrist pains,

00:06:56   and it freaked me out so much,

00:06:59   'cause RSI is such a big problem in our field,

00:07:03   that I quickly switched my whole setup over

00:07:07   to using a split keyboard and sitting properly

00:07:10   with proper posture and knowing the proper height

00:07:12   for desks and monitors and everything.

00:07:14   And what a lot of people don't realize is like,

00:07:16   if you use a laptop on a desk all day just by itself,

00:07:19   that's really terrible for ergonomics.

00:07:21   Like it's one of the worst things you can do.

00:07:23   - Yeah, 'cause your monitor's at the wrong height,

00:07:25   your keyboard's at the wrong height, your--

00:07:27   - Right, and your wrists are bending in and yeah,

00:07:29   and yeah, just having the monitor at the wrong height,

00:07:31   you're going to mess up your neck and shoulders probably.

00:07:33   And I've talked to a lot of people who do work that way,

00:07:38   and then at the end of the day, they have a sore neck

00:07:41   or a headache and they don't know why.

00:07:42   And it's like, yeah, laptops are really,

00:07:46   and I think this is going to be an increasing problem

00:07:48   because laptops are so popular these days

00:07:50   as people's primary or only computers,

00:07:53   but they're really not designed ergonomically

00:07:55   to work on for long periods.

00:07:58   they're really designed for occasional or portable use.

00:08:03   And so if you do work on a laptop all day,

00:08:06   at the bare minimum, you should really put it up on a stand

00:08:09   and get an external keyboard and mouse.

00:08:11   And ideally, you can even get a bigger monitor then too.

00:08:14   And that's a very good setup for a lot of people.

00:08:16   I used that setup for years before I switched to a Mac Pro.

00:08:18   - Yeah, and that's what I use right now.

00:08:19   I have my Retina Mac Pro connected to a 27-inch

00:08:24   cinema display, and it's strange because

00:08:27   The Retina display is so nice, but I just find that looking at a huge display feels

00:08:31   more comfortable.

00:08:32   There's just things being un-cramped about it, even though the Retina actually has more

00:08:36   pixels I think, but it feels different because it's just spaced out.

00:08:42   It definitely pains me that the Retina MacBook Pro screen is so nice, but there is no big

00:08:48   desktop version of it yet.

00:08:52   That's one thing that I really hope is fixed soon in the computing world, because there's

00:08:57   this awesome screen that I want to use full time,

00:09:00   but ergonomically I kind of can't,

00:09:02   and practically it's kind of too small for me.

00:09:04   And so just please fix this.

00:09:07   Especially because we know it's possible.

00:09:09   It's just a question of timing and technology.

00:09:14   It's some inconceivable technology

00:09:16   that we're asking for.

00:09:17   It's like the same thing, just stretch it out

00:09:20   by an extra, what is that, 12 inches or something.

00:09:23   Right.

00:09:24   It's like going all SSD for your storage.

00:09:27   A lot of people can already do it, a lot of people can't.

00:09:32   They need more space.

00:09:35   You know that in five years you can probably go all SSD

00:09:36   if you can't do it today.

00:09:41   But just from now to then it's going to be this weird transition.

00:09:43   Same thing with retina.

00:09:46   Yeah.

00:09:49   So moving in from the physical hardware,

00:09:50   when you're actually working,

00:09:54   what are the software, the tools, the things that you use

00:09:54   outside of maybe the traditional ones like Xcode and Photoshop?

00:09:59   Well, first of all, TextMate, of course, as my text editor,

00:10:02   I'm actually using the TextMate 2.0--

00:10:05   I don't know, is it an alpha? Is it a beta? I don't know.

00:10:08   I'm using the TextMate 2.0 development branch, whatever it is.

00:10:11   And it's usable. It's surprisingly fun.

00:10:14   In fact, I would say it's no more buggy than TextMate 1.0, whatever.

00:10:19   point, whatever.

00:10:24   So I think if you're a TextMate user

00:10:25   and you want to try out the newest stuff with TextMate,

00:10:27   I think it's pretty, I would very safely recommend it

00:10:30   at this point.

00:10:32   I've been using TextMate 2.0 for about a year now,

00:10:33   ever since the alpha came out,

00:10:37   I've been using it full-time and it's fine.

00:10:38   - Yeah, I do as well.

00:10:41   - Yeah, so that's good.

00:10:43   And then, you know, kind of other software.

00:10:44   I use desktop Twitter clients.

00:10:46   I don't really like using Twitter much on my phone

00:10:46   anywhere else. The desktop is my primary environment. That's where I use it most.

00:10:51   And I do have to use Twitter, or have to with air quotes, I have to use Twitter a lot for work.

00:10:55   Because I have to use Twitter to self-promote.

00:11:00   And so I have an account for the magazine, I have an account for Instapaper, an account for neutral,

00:11:04   an account for my website separately, for the feed people to follow.

00:11:11   And so I use Twitter as a promotional channel very heavily.

00:11:13   So my Twitter client's always open, and Solver's always open.

00:11:18   Got to have Solver.

00:11:19   Solver, Solver, I don't know how it's said,

00:11:21   but you know what I'm talking about.

00:11:23   We'll put a link in show notes or something.

00:11:24   Do you have show notes?

00:11:25   Yes, I do.

00:11:26   OK, we'll put a link in show notes.

00:11:29   And I cannot undersell this program to the audience.

00:11:34   It is so good, especially for programmers.

00:11:37   Anybody who works with numbers all day,

00:11:41   even basic math.

00:11:46   Solver, to give a quick description,

00:11:48   is kind of the hybrid between a spreadsheet

00:11:51   and a text editor.

00:11:53   It's like a line editor almost.

00:11:54   But you gotta see it, you gotta play with it.

00:11:57   If you haven't tried it yet,

00:12:01   delete calculator off your computer somehow.

00:12:02   Either hide the icon, move it, somehow get rid

00:12:04   of the calculator app.

00:12:06   Never launch the calculator app again.

00:12:07   Leave a Solver document open as a number scratch pad,

00:12:07   and you'll be sold, trust me.

00:12:12   The thing that I use solver for,

00:12:14   the thing that absolutely sold it for me was when I first realized that it did variables.

00:12:16   That I could say, "width equals 320,"

00:12:21   and then width becomes a token that I can use elsewhere in the document.

00:12:25   That just blew me away for usefulness for programming and for those types of things.

00:12:29   Because A becomes basically a programming language at that point.

00:12:34   It doesn't have iteration, but it has the ability to store things up and move them around in that way.

00:12:37   And I was like, that's perfect.

00:12:39   Yeah, I mean, not only will it replace calculator

00:12:42   for most people, but it will also

00:12:44   replace a lot of basic uses of spreadsheets, which is really--

00:12:48   at this point, I use spreadsheets

00:12:50   for very little casual, everyday stuff,

00:12:53   because Solver is so good for that.

00:12:55   So I cannot recommend this program highly enough.

00:12:57   I've been beating this drum to death for, I don't know,

00:13:02   five years.

00:13:03   But eventually, I will get everybody to use this program.

00:13:06   It really is that good.

00:13:08   In fact, I almost developed the iOS version of it.

00:13:11   I was back about a year after Instapaper launched

00:13:15   on the App Store, so around 2009 or so.

00:13:19   I've been using Solve for forever,

00:13:21   and not a lot of people were using it at that point.

00:13:24   And I went to the developers and I said,

00:13:26   "Hey, there really needs to be an iOS version of this,

00:13:29   and I would love to make it,

00:13:31   and I would love to license the engine from you

00:13:33   from you and whatever else, and here's how I think

00:13:37   the interface would look, and they're like,

00:13:40   you know, well, we have these concerns about the market,

00:13:43   and I'm like, look, whether you do it or I do it,

00:13:46   I just want it to exist, and I just want to use it.

00:13:50   And they're like, all right, we'll do it.

00:13:53   Okay, that was it.

00:13:54   - There you go.

00:13:55   That's all the push they needed was to know that someone,

00:13:58   it's like that there was a market for at least one person

00:14:00   to use it on iOS.

00:14:02   - Exactly.

00:14:03   So when you're sort of doing something new,

00:14:07   when you're laying out a new,

00:14:09   whether it be a new app or a new part of an app,

00:14:12   what's your workflow in doing that?

00:14:15   So you start from an idea of I need a screen

00:14:17   or I need an interface or I need something that does that.

00:14:19   Are you a pen and paper person?

00:14:21   Do you get into something to mock it up in Photoshop

00:14:24   or one of the other image editors?

00:14:26   Do you just dive into code and just start building it?

00:14:28   What's your kind of workflow for you have a new idea

00:14:30   and do you want to kind of get it going?

00:14:33   I would love to be a pen and paper person, but I'm not.

00:14:36   I would love to be a Photoshop person, but I'm not.

00:14:40   I have Photoshop, I use Photoshop,

00:14:41   but not for any kind of mock-ups.

00:14:43   I really, I may just get in there and code it person.

00:14:46   I tend to have some idea of how I want something to look,

00:14:50   but for the most part, I just dive in there

00:14:53   and I code it from the bottom up.

00:14:54   So the data model, the views, kind of from the bottom up.

00:14:58   And then I put the pieces together afterwards,

00:15:01   which actually does help in a lot of ways,

00:15:04   keeping the MVC roles separate,

00:15:07   because I'm kind of forced to by the way I make things.

00:15:10   But really for the most part,

00:15:13   I really just kind of build it.

00:15:15   I jump right in, and I know a lot of people say

00:15:17   you aren't supposed to do that,

00:15:17   and they're probably right.

00:15:20   I just don't have the artistic skills or the self-control

00:15:25   to go to paper or Photoshop first and make prototypes

00:15:29   and throw three of them away.

00:15:30   I don't do that.

00:15:31   I just go right into the feature and just make it.

00:15:36   And if it sucks, I don't ship it.

00:15:38   But for the most part, if I'm going to make something,

00:15:40   and most of what I make, I do ship.

00:15:44   If I'm going to make something,

00:15:47   I just jump right in and do it.

00:15:48   - And I think a lot of that speaks to,

00:15:50   it's wherever you're going to be fastest in,

00:15:52   or whenever you're going to be able to go most quickly

00:15:56   from your idea to some realization of it,

00:15:56   to see if it's a good idea.

00:15:59   I'm the same as you.

00:16:00   I just code things.

00:16:01   I remember I was writing for Check the Weather, a weather app

00:16:03   I recently launched.

00:16:05   I drew one picture on a piece of paper.

00:16:09   And I still have it, just this tiny little sketch,

00:16:12   essentially on a napkin, but it was just

00:16:14   in a notebook in my office.

00:16:15   And that's it.

00:16:16   And then everything else was just in code.

00:16:18   I just needed that concept of, yep,

00:16:20   it's going to have a panel to the side, the bottom,

00:16:22   and the other side.

00:16:23   OK, that's it.

00:16:26   And you have to kind of try it.

00:16:28   For a lot of people, myself and it sounds like you included,

00:16:31   you kind of have to try something, a working prototype,

00:16:35   before you really know whether it's good or not.

00:16:38   - Yeah, especially for something as tactile as iOS.

00:16:42   There's something different of,

00:16:43   will it even work in your hand is,

00:16:46   you hear by people, a lot of designers have those tools

00:16:48   that mirror the interface on their device

00:16:50   to get some sense of it, but there's that sense

00:16:54   if you want it to see if your idea will actually work,

00:16:59   and when you're actually touching it and playing with it

00:17:00   and seeing, you know, putting it into reality.

00:17:03   - Exactly.

00:17:05   - And then it's like, so then on the other end of that,

00:17:11   what's your workflow when you're,

00:17:15   once you've built something in terms of testing

00:17:16   and debugging on the back end of creating an app?

00:17:19   Obviously you've launched enough apps

00:17:21   or on enough platforms, sort of enough,

00:17:24   they've been doing this for a long enough time

00:17:25   that in terms of dealing with compatibility,

00:17:27   dealing with all the kinds of challenges that you have

00:17:30   in terms of making sure that what you think is gonna work

00:17:32   will actually work for everybody.

00:17:34   - Part of how I do that is just by keeping

00:17:38   the feature set relatively light.

00:17:40   You know, I try to reduce the number of possible

00:17:43   configurations and conditions that my apps can be in,

00:17:46   just so that I don't have to test so many different things.

00:17:49   And so for example, I've been much more aggressive

00:17:53   than you recommend with the iOS version updating

00:17:57   and requiring minimum iOS versions.

00:18:00   I was requiring iOS 5 for Instapaper I think a year ago.

00:18:03   And I required iOS 6 from the magazine's launch

00:18:07   in October, which wasn't that long after iOS 6 came out.

00:18:13   I think it was a few weeks after it came out, actually.

00:18:15   It really was not very long at all.

00:18:16   And for the most part, the reasons why I do that

00:18:21   are to reduce testing and to reduce bug potential, really.

00:18:27   So that's part of my approach.

00:18:28   And the other part is I just use these apps a lot.

00:18:31   So you have a little bit of a different problem,

00:18:34   because you do a lot more apps than I do,

00:18:36   and you at least used to do a lot of consulting.

00:18:39   For me, I only make two apps, and I use them both

00:18:42   all the time.

00:18:43   And so pretty much almost any problem

00:18:46   that I'm going to run into with the apps,

00:18:51   I'll run into myself during development.

00:18:53   It's very, very rare that a bug in production comes out

00:18:55   that I didn't know about in development

00:19:00   or that never happened to me in development.

00:19:01   I might not have known how to fix it yet,

00:19:03   or I might have thought I fixed it,

00:19:05   or I might have thought the conditions that lead to it

00:19:07   are so rare that it would never be a problem.

00:19:09   But usually I have at least seen every bug in development,

00:19:11   and usually I try to fix most of them.

00:19:12   Do you find that works well in terms of both the split between iPhone and iPad?

00:19:19   In terms of using them both enough to get good coverage that way?

00:19:22   Because the other thing that I struggle with is I use my iPhone all the time.

00:19:25   It's within arm's reach essentially 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

00:19:30   And yet my iPad I use very sparingly.

00:19:33   And so I always struggle with that on the-- like my apps, all the iPhone's versions tend

00:19:37   to be 10 times better than the iPad versions just because that's where I'm used to and

00:19:40   in this where I'm working.

00:19:43   - Yeah, I mean, I have a little bit of that problem.

00:19:45   I don't think it's as bad as what you're saying,

00:19:47   because, well, with the magazine,

00:19:51   if I'm gonna ship a really terrible bug on the magazine

00:19:53   that only happens on one platform, it'll be the iPhone,

00:19:56   because I hardly ever use the magazine on the iPhone.

00:19:58   That's almost always iPad.

00:19:59   And Instapaper, I kinda use half and half,

00:20:03   so it's not, I don't think it's really a problem

00:20:06   for me that way, because I use it on both platforms

00:20:09   pretty reliably.

00:20:10   And if I ever made any more apps, that would be a problem.

00:20:16   - Yeah, the thing that actually, honestly,

00:20:18   as I think about it even more,

00:20:19   that I struggle with recently has been

00:20:21   making iPhone apps look good on the old stubby screens.

00:20:26   - Oh yeah.

00:20:26   - Because I never--

00:20:27   - Well, no one's buying those anymore.

00:20:29   - Yeah, it's like, I just never see it.

00:20:32   I mean, obviously, I have testing devices and things,

00:20:35   but the phone that I use all the time

00:20:36   that I'm doing most of my testing is an iPhone 5.

00:20:40   And so it's like, it's always a little awkward when I run out.

00:20:43   You turn it around, run it on the old screen.

00:20:46   It's like, oh, that doesn't work.

00:20:48   Right, like the keyboard slides up and something's covered,

00:20:50   or some minor layout problem like that.

00:20:54   Yeah, that is a good point, actually,

00:20:55   now that we have a different size screen

00:20:57   that we're not really using reliably anymore ourselves.

00:21:01   Yeah, I guess I probably have bugs I don't know about.

00:21:06   It helps me a little bit that I designed Instapaper

00:21:08   for that old phone.

00:21:11   So it was more like the iPhone 5.

00:21:13   I just had to stretch everything out and stretch

00:21:15   some flexible borders, and that was about it.

00:21:19   But if you started out on the iPhone 5 with a new app,

00:21:22   I could see where that could be a problem.

00:21:24   Yeah.

00:21:24   And I mean, it also depends a lot

00:21:26   on the content of your app, too.

00:21:27   If it's something that's vertically scrolling,

00:21:29   it's usually a lot better.

00:21:30   The place that I struggle with it--

00:21:31   Right.

00:21:32   Yeah, so you'll have a profile screen,

00:21:33   or you'll have some kind of informational screen.

00:21:35   and you want that layout to look perfect,

00:21:38   and it's very hard to make it work perfectly

00:21:40   on both platforms.

00:21:41   Because like, which one are you going to make look best?

00:21:44   Exactly.

00:21:45   And I found, too, over time that at first I

00:21:50   was designing for the iPhone and just kind of blowing it up

00:21:53   for the iPad.

00:21:53   And then over time, I've switched to the opposite,

00:21:56   where now I'm mostly designing for the iPad

00:21:58   and then trying to figure out how to shove it into the iPhone

00:22:01   after I know what it wants to do and what it's going

00:22:03   on the iPad first.

00:22:05   And that probably isn't great, honestly,

00:22:08   but it depends on the kind of app you're doing.

00:22:10   For a reading app, like both of mine,

00:22:13   I think the iPad experience really matters more.

00:22:18   - Sure, and it's even where, from a business side of it,

00:22:20   it's where most of your customer's going to be,

00:22:22   where's most of your usage going to be coming from.

00:22:25   It matters far more than anything else,

00:22:28   because your ultimate goal is to make the most customers

00:22:33   happy as possible.

00:22:34   Wherever they're going to be using it is where they want the most optimal and best experience.

00:22:41   Exactly.

00:22:42   All right.

00:22:45   And then moving out of the workflow side of things, one of the things I always try to

00:22:53   get into is the why you work or where you see things on that side of things.

00:23:03   And what I was curious is where do you see,

00:23:05   as someone who's been, I think if I'm remembering right,

00:23:08   Instapaper launched on the first day

00:23:10   the iOS App Store launched.

00:23:11   Do I remember that right?

00:23:12   - It was like the third day.

00:23:14   It was annoying.

00:23:14   I got there in time for the deadline,

00:23:16   but they had too many apps than they expected,

00:23:18   so I got bumped.

00:23:20   - But you've essentially been in there from the beginning.

00:23:22   And it's obviously, the App Store today

00:23:24   is a totally different beast than it was back then.

00:23:29   And I've been curious from your take on

00:23:32   Where do you see the biggest opportunities

00:23:34   in the App Store these days?

00:23:36   Specifically, sort of focused on more of the smaller,

00:23:40   independent style of developer shop.

00:23:43   - Sure, I think it's important, you know,

00:23:47   I hear all the time from people, from bloggers,

00:23:50   from developers, I hear all the time this idea that

00:23:55   all the low-hanging fruit is gone,

00:23:57   and that the App Store is now so big

00:23:59   that little people can't get noticed anymore.

00:24:01   And I don't think that's the case, I really don't.

00:24:05   I think that's crap, and I think people say that

00:24:09   either to discourage themselves from taking an effort

00:24:12   or to excuse poor sales of something that just

00:24:16   wouldn't have sold well regardless of when it was released.

00:24:19   I really don't think that's true at all.

00:24:21   I think there is still tons of potential

00:24:24   in the App Store, and one of the easiest examples

00:24:28   of that to point out is how you,

00:24:30   I think you and Brent talked about this last week,

00:24:35   or whenever you're releasing that time interval,

00:24:37   talked about Clear, the to-do list

00:24:41   with its all gesturey and orange and gradient.

00:24:43   And Clear came out with a very small team

00:24:45   and it got noticed and it exploded,

00:24:48   because it was good, it was noteworthy.

00:24:50   I actually still use Clear as my shopping list app.

00:24:52   It's a good app.

00:24:56   And there are a million to-do apps in the app store,

00:24:56   all with check mark icons.

00:25:01   There's a million of them.

00:25:03   And yet, there is still room for new ones

00:25:05   that do something interesting or that are different

00:25:11   from the other ones in some way that people want.

00:25:13   So I think there's infinite potential.

00:25:16   I don't know if that's mathematically true,

00:25:20   but there's a lot of potential out there

00:25:21   still left to be tapped for not only creating new kinds

00:25:26   of apps, but for creating just new takes on common apps.

00:25:31   I've talked a lot how if I ever get free time,

00:25:36   which is unlikely, honestly, but if I ever get

00:25:39   some free time, I'd love to do my own podcast client.

00:25:42   And there's a million podcast clients already out there,

00:25:45   some of which I like a lot.

00:25:47   (laughs)

00:25:48   And there's a few that are really successful

00:25:51   in the App Store.

00:25:53   In fact, I think Instacast and Downcast sell about as well

00:25:57   as Instapaper most of the time, if not better.

00:26:00   They're very successful and I would love to do

00:26:05   my own podcast client someday because I have some ideas

00:26:08   that I'm not going to tell everybody, but I have some ideas

00:26:11   on things I would do differently

00:26:13   than what everyone else is doing.

00:26:15   And I think you can point to almost any app category

00:26:17   in the App Store as a user of these platforms.

00:26:20   you can say, you know, if I was making this kind of app,

00:26:23   I would do things differently in this way.

00:26:26   Or I would add this one feature that none of these apps

00:26:28   really have.

00:26:29   Or even a simpler thing, I would totally

00:26:33   change the visual design to a different type of mood

00:26:37   or theme or style.

00:26:39   Those are all-- I mean, look at Clear.

00:26:40   Clear is-- it's a very simple type of app, in theory,

00:26:45   it's a to-do list.

00:26:47   And they did a really radical visual design,

00:26:50   really radical functional design with the gestures

00:26:52   and everything, and that was compelling for people.

00:26:55   Even though it lacked most of the features

00:26:56   of the advanced to-do apps, and in many ways,

00:26:59   that was a feature.

00:27:01   - It seems like a lot of that is finding

00:27:02   the right niche there.

00:27:04   You don't have to address the entire market,

00:27:06   you only need probably a few hundred people a day

00:27:10   to like it.

00:27:11   And so that helps a lot with that.

00:27:15   It's like even if there's a million podcast clients

00:27:18   or a million to-do clients.

00:27:23   You only need a few hundred people a day

00:27:25   to say, "Hey, I like that," for it to be

00:27:26   a sustainable, reasonable business.

00:27:29   - Right, because if a few hundred people a day

00:27:31   give you a few dollars each, that's a job.

00:27:32   - Yeah, exactly.

00:27:35   - That's a pretty good job, usually.

00:27:36   You know, that's all you need to do.

00:27:38   And the iOS market is so big.

00:27:41   There are so many people using iOS devices,

00:27:44   and it is still fairly routine for people

00:27:45   to spend money on apps.

00:27:50   And I'm not sure that's always going to be the case.

00:27:52   I think it probably will be for a while more,

00:27:54   and then it'll switch more to in-app purchase stuff

00:27:57   and stuff like that.

00:27:59   But we're seeing the beginnings of that now.

00:27:59   But I still think you can, either way,

00:28:01   whether it's in-app purchase or up front,

00:28:05   I think it's very clear to everyone in this business

00:28:07   that people are spending real money on iOS

00:28:11   to solve problems, or just for fun, for entertainment.

00:28:11   So apps are like the new going out to see a movie.

00:28:16   Like if you have some free time with your phone or your iPad

00:28:20   and you want to try out some new stuff,

00:28:22   you'll go to the app store and you'll go spend

00:28:24   five or six bucks on a few new apps.

00:28:27   That's a form of entertainment now for so many people.

00:28:29   I do it, do you do it?

00:28:30   - Sure, yeah.

00:28:31   - Lots of people do this.

00:28:32   And so even with that, you don't even need to have

00:28:37   a groundbreaking bombshell of an app

00:28:39   that's going to get on all the sites in CNN reporting on it and everything,

00:28:44   you just have to have something interesting that people haven't seen before

00:28:49   or that does something a little bit differently that kind of looks like,

00:28:51   "Oh, hey, maybe I'll try that."

00:28:54   I mean, I bought tons of apps that I don't have on my phone anymore.

00:28:55   I don't regret having bought them.

00:28:59   I bought them to try them.

00:29:00   And that's the fact, that's iOS business.

00:29:02   That's it right there.

00:29:04   People do that all the time.

00:29:05   So you don't have to think in these giant terms like,

00:29:06   oh, what am I going to do entering this market with a big competitor?

00:29:11   Or what happens if someone else comes in here and kills my app?

00:29:15   You know, kill in quotes.

00:29:18   And I don't think people have to really think that way.

00:29:21   I think it's very apparent that there's room on iOS

00:29:23   for lots of different interpretations of the same concept.

00:29:29   And there's tons of potential concepts,

00:29:33   some of which have been discovered already and beaten to death,

00:29:33   but even those have some life left in them,

00:29:35   and some of them people haven't even thought of yet.

00:29:40   - Yeah, and it's, I think, it makes me think so much of the,

00:29:44   how I think so often people get too wrapped up

00:29:46   in how they define being successful in the App Store,

00:29:50   that you can get so wrapped up into trying to

00:29:53   be the next whatever it is.

00:29:55   It's the next, I want to be the next camera plus.

00:29:57   I want to be the next clear, or whatever it is,

00:29:59   that it's like the sort of the more runaway hits.

00:30:02   And the reality is, you can build a very, very good business

00:30:06   not being anywhere near there, just by doing the basics right

00:30:10   over and over again, and building a small

00:30:14   but consistent user base.

00:30:18   And a lot of people just don't see that option.

00:30:22   They only see what becomes big and famous, because that's what gets

00:30:26   to them press-wise or attention-wise, and they don't see all these

00:30:30   all these jobs in the middle.

00:30:32   It's like when you're in high school

00:30:34   and your parents start asking you

00:30:36   what kind of job you want to do for the rest of your life,

00:30:39   and at that point, you're aware of maybe 30 jobs that exist.

00:30:43   And so you've got to pick between these 30 jobs

00:30:46   that you know of that exist.

00:30:47   Well, do I want to be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher?

00:30:51   There's not that many that you know of.

00:30:54   And then you get into the real world and you realize,

00:30:56   wow, there is somebody who has to climb up

00:31:00   on that bridge and paint it.

00:31:05   That's a job I didn't know existed until high school,

00:31:07   or if I watch the Discovery Channel.

00:31:10   Or you guys are the workforce and you see people who are like,

00:31:11   "I don't really think they do anything all day."

00:31:15   It sounds like their job is really easy,

00:31:18   but someone's paying them a full-time salary to use Twitter.

00:31:20   There's all these jobs that you don't see

00:31:25   until you're in it.

00:31:25   And that's how iOS apps are.

00:31:27   From the outside, you see the big hits.

00:31:30   You see the top grossing list, which as you said last time,

00:31:32   I agree, is mostly useless.

00:31:34   You see the high profile stuff,

00:31:38   but there's this entire massive world

00:31:41   of the middle class of iOS apps.

00:31:44   And it's really a massive middle class.

00:31:48   There is so much potential there.

00:31:50   And yeah, I'm not going to be the next Angry Birds

00:31:54   by any means with any of the apps I make in all likelihood,

00:31:59   and neither will anybody who's hearing this in all likelihood.

00:32:02   But that doesn't mean that you can't make a good living

00:32:05   on the App Store, just making a handful of apps

00:32:08   or even one app that people like.

00:32:11   And it doesn't have to be half the world who likes it.

00:32:14   It can just be a few hundred thousand people who like it.

00:32:16   That's a good living.

00:32:19   Yeah, I mean, it's that difference of,

00:32:21   I think it's so easy to be distracted by the concept of being,

00:32:22   It's like the App Store millionaires, right?

00:32:27   As a concept.

00:32:30   Whereas there's far more,

00:32:31   and it's probably a better thing to aim for,

00:32:34   to be an App Store 100,000-er or whatever it is.

00:32:36   I was going to say it if you weren't.

00:32:40   It's like you want to do, to have that goal.

00:32:42   I remember when I first started out,

00:32:44   and I was trying to convince my wife,

00:32:46   we're talking to her about, oh, I want to make apps.

00:32:47   At the time, I was doing Rails work for a larger company,

00:32:48   and I was like, I just want to, I want to do,

00:32:51   sort of make something, I want to do something on my own.

00:32:53   And originally, sort of the deal in some ways

00:32:57   was I could focus on it fully.

00:32:58   I think it was once I made, I had to consistently make

00:33:01   $200 a day in the app store, which isn't easy by any means.

00:33:06   It takes a lot of work to get to there.

00:33:08   But that was my goal, which works out to be,

00:33:11   I think about, what, $70,000 a year or something like that.

00:33:13   Something like that.

00:33:14   That was the, because like, OK, that's a salary.

00:33:16   That's what I need to--

00:33:18   And that goal, when you kind of squish it down in that way,

00:33:22   makes it so much more attainable and tangible

00:33:25   for what you're trying to do.

00:33:27   It's not, I'm trying to meet millions of users

00:33:29   or have a system or an infrastructure that

00:33:31   can scale for that.

00:33:32   It's like, it's just a few hundred people a day.

00:33:35   And that's it.

00:33:36   And there's a lot of-- I know this

00:33:38   is going a little off track, but I think it's fun anyway.

00:33:40   There's a lot of stress.

00:33:43   Before I took InstaHaper full time,

00:33:46   I was really scared to do it.

00:33:48   And I probably should have done it a year earlier

00:33:53   than I actually did, but I was too scared

00:33:54   to leave my full-time job with health insurance.

00:33:57   And so when I took it full-time,

00:33:59   I had to do crazy, scary things

00:34:03   like address the health insurance problem

00:34:07   and do my own taxes and stuff like that.

00:34:10   And I was doing some of that beforehand,

00:34:12   but not most of it.

00:34:14   And then I realized once I was going,

00:34:17   like okay, well health insurance, that's just a number.

00:34:19   You know, I gotta pay, well here,

00:34:22   I pay a ridiculous amount because it's New York.

00:34:25   So I pay like 2,000 bucks a month

00:34:27   for health insurance for my family.

00:34:29   And it's like, well, that's a lot of money,

00:34:31   that's really scary, but that's just a number.

00:34:32   So that's okay, if I wanna do this full time,

00:34:35   I have to make whatever I wanted to make before

00:34:37   plus $2,000 a month.

00:34:39   And okay, then that's X dollars a day, whatever that is.

00:34:42   And okay, so you figure it out.

00:34:44   It's just a number.

00:34:46   And just like, you know, starting a business

00:34:48   was this intimidating thing for me.

00:34:49   Well, it's just paperwork that you gotta file.

00:34:51   That's it.

00:34:52   You filed some paperwork and you are officially a business.

00:34:55   You know, like that's it.

00:34:56   - It's almost scary how easy it is to do that.

00:34:58   - Yeah, exactly.

00:34:59   And I actually, yeah, I feel bad for people

00:35:02   who live in countries where it's a lot harder to do.

00:35:05   'Cause I know in the US it's almost notoriously easy.

00:35:09   But yeah, the fact is in the US,

00:35:11   starting a business is really, really simple.

00:35:13   Making money is not so simple,

00:35:15   but having a business entity is quite easy.

00:35:19   And so, there was all this,

00:35:23   I was so scared to do it, and before I did it full time, I was so scared

00:35:27   because I had always just heard, or there was this mythos around

00:35:31   going on your own, you got to do everything yourself, and oh, what do you

00:35:35   do about benefits, and all these big questions.

00:35:39   On this topic, if the US really cared about small businesses,

00:35:44   we would have nationalized health insurance

00:35:48   for this exact reason.

00:35:49   But that's a different topic.

00:35:51   I'm going to get you so much angry emails, Dave,

00:35:54   but it's going to be great.

00:35:56   So I think starting a business

00:35:58   and being independent on the App Store

00:36:02   and succeeding, and of course, success is a variable there.

00:36:05   It's like, you know, people wonder,

00:36:07   oh, how do you succeed on the app store?

00:36:09   Well, what do you mean by success?

00:36:11   You know, I think most people mean money.

00:36:14   And so, and you have to be more specific.

00:36:16   You have to say, okay, well, you know,

00:36:17   how much money do you need to make

00:36:19   to consider it a success?

00:36:22   And again, it's not some big scary thing.

00:36:24   You just add up all these numbers,

00:36:25   say, all right, well, if I have this much coming in,

00:36:27   then I have to spend this much on health insurance,

00:36:30   this much on accounting, this much on taxes,

00:36:31   and blah, blah, blah, you go down the list,

00:36:33   and then you have at the end a number,

00:36:35   and that's roughly what you get to keep.

00:36:37   And then you can say, all right, well,

00:36:40   in order to get there, I have to make this.

00:36:41   And that's it.

00:36:42   And if you make it, you're succeeding.

00:36:44   And you have about as much job security

00:36:46   as you have at any real job anyway.

00:36:48   - Yeah, I mean, I was going to say,

00:36:49   the biggest part, I remember when I was going out on my own,

00:36:51   I've been out on my own, I think, for about seven years now.

00:36:53   And it's, the biggest part of that

00:36:56   was the real understanding that,

00:36:59   if at the end of whatever it was,

00:37:01   a few weeks, a few months, a few years,

00:37:04   If those numbers all suddenly crossed over

00:37:07   and I was unable to keep doing it,

00:37:09   it's not like I have a gap in my resume that I've created.

00:37:12   If anything, I'm more desirable to most smart companies

00:37:17   as somebody who's gone through that experience

00:37:19   and tried to be entrepreneurial,

00:37:22   who understands all these other different parts

00:37:23   of what being a successful business looks like

00:37:27   than I would have if I'd just stayed at my old job

00:37:30   writing code, being like one of a dozen programmers

00:37:33   sitting there working on a project.

00:37:35   And I think understanding that it's like the worst case,

00:37:38   the absolute, probably the worst case scenario

00:37:40   for if this happens is I'll end up with no job

00:37:45   and I'll have to go find one, which okay,

00:37:48   but I'll be coming at that from a position

00:37:50   of a lot of really interesting, recent, good experiences.

00:37:54   - Exactly, and you'll have your name on all those things.

00:37:59   If you spend seven years working at a big company,

00:38:03   a lot of times, depending on what you're doing,

00:38:05   you can't really put your name on anything big

00:38:07   that an outside employer would have heard of,

00:38:09   or can easily see or view or browse.

00:38:13   That's one of the reasons why people in our field

00:38:15   are so often encouraged to contribute

00:38:16   to open source projects,

00:38:18   because then potential employers can at least look

00:38:20   and see, okay, here's what you've done,

00:38:22   here's an example of your code,

00:38:24   here's a product that you helped contribute to

00:38:27   or designed entirely yourself.

00:38:29   Those are all very helpful to look at.

00:38:31   When you work at a big company,

00:38:32   a lot of times you aren't allowed to disclose

00:38:34   what you worked on, or you can't show the code

00:38:36   that you worked on or things like that,

00:38:38   or what you worked on is just some boring internal thing

00:38:41   that no one even cares to hear about.

00:38:43   Whereas, yeah, if you have to go get a job,

00:38:46   you can show them this giant pile of apps

00:38:48   that you've made entirely yourself and say,

00:38:50   "Hey, here's everything I did in the last seven years."

00:38:53   - Yeah, and as soon as I got my head around that,

00:38:57   I was like, "Oh, that's not so scary."

00:38:59   I don't have any, I have the illusion of job security

00:39:04   working a corporate job in the sense of,

00:39:07   I feel like it's stable just because every month

00:39:10   they've direct deposited into my bank account.

00:39:13   But there's nothing to say that they can't just,

00:39:16   the next day I show up they're like,

00:39:19   "Hey, sorry, the contract was canceled, you're out."

00:39:21   - Yeah, I think a lot of people overestimate

00:39:24   their job security until there's something like that

00:39:25   happens.

00:39:30   A lot of people think that any full-time job is inherently secure,

00:39:31   and it really isn't.

00:39:35   And I would say that the job security of most full-time jobs,

00:39:37   especially in our business, is roughly the same as your

00:39:43   self-employment job security, unless you're really terrible

00:39:47   at it or something.

00:39:50   But for the most part, I think it's pretty much the same

00:39:51   where, yeah, if you're self-employed, maybe you

00:39:51   couldn't run at the same job for eight years,

00:39:54   working for yourself.

00:39:55   If you're employed at a big company,

00:39:56   maybe you can go there for eight years

00:39:58   before you get laid off or fired,

00:39:59   or driven to quit because it's so miserable.

00:40:02   So you have about the same job security,

00:40:04   I think, in both conditions.

00:40:07   Yeah, and it's just-- I don't know.

00:40:09   I mean, obviously, I think we're both in the same boat

00:40:11   of enjoying it.

00:40:12   But I think the upsides of having control over what you do

00:40:17   and the final say on the quality of it,

00:40:20   on the nature of what you're doing,

00:40:23   and the motivations behind it,

00:40:25   is ultimately even a bigger incentive

00:40:29   than it's not like the two are even neutral

00:40:30   in terms of one being out the same as the other.

00:40:33   At least from my perspective,

00:40:35   I don't know why, at this point I'm unemployable, I think.

00:40:37   I don't think I could go and work at a regular job

00:40:39   and be happy. - I sure could.

00:40:42   Yeah, I definitely couldn't.

00:40:44   I'm totally with you on that.

00:40:45   I mean, and I would imagine you're probably a control freak,

00:40:49   'cause I know I sure am.

00:40:51   Is that fair?

00:40:52   - It's just certainly in the area of software.

00:40:56   Maybe not as much in other parts of my life,

00:40:58   but definitely in terms of--

00:40:59   - Well, in the area of what you do.

00:41:00   - Yeah, I like--

00:41:02   - I never really liked being told what to work on.

00:41:05   And I imagine this is very common,

00:41:08   especially in software developers,

00:41:09   because usually, most software developers,

00:41:13   I would imagine, I guess I don't have any data

00:41:15   back this up, but I would imagine most software developers

00:41:18   started at a young age programming as a hobby.

00:41:21   And when you have started that way,

00:41:24   it's probably, I know, like some of the best programmers

00:41:28   I've worked with were very difficult to employ

00:41:31   because they always wanted to go off on some tangent

00:41:35   doing their own thing with something

00:41:37   that was technically interesting.

00:41:39   And it was really hard to get them to meet a deadline.

00:41:41   (laughs)

00:41:42   Or work on some really boring feature

00:41:44   or some back end stupid administrative thing,

00:41:47   or fix some really obnoxious bug,

00:41:50   because they instead wanted to be working

00:41:51   on the cool new thing, the interesting thing.

00:41:54   And that's, I think, so prevalent in our industry.

00:41:57   It kind of helps to, it helps us have

00:42:00   so many independent workers,

00:42:02   because there's so many people who, like,

00:42:05   I want to work on what I want to work on, dammit,

00:42:06   and you can't tell me what my homework is.

00:42:10   - Yeah, and there's an opinionation about,

00:42:12   or like being a very opinionated person, I find.

00:42:14   seems to be also another attribute of a lot of

00:42:17   the kind of software developers who end up

00:42:18   going into independent work.

00:42:21   There is so many different ways to solve a problem

00:42:24   in software that in my mind there's almost always only one

00:42:29   that's correct and the rest are terrible ideas.

00:42:33   Intellectually I know that's not right

00:42:36   and that probably somewhere in the middle

00:42:38   there might be something there,

00:42:39   but I'm just an opinionated person.

00:42:40   I'm like, nope, that's the way I do it

00:42:42   because that's better.

00:42:44   And because you work for yourself,

00:42:49   you can do it exactly that way.

00:42:51   A long time ago, Merlin Mann on Back to Work, his podcast,

00:42:53   a long time ago there was three episodes in a row

00:42:57   about the concept of agency and being in control

00:43:00   of what you're working on and being in control

00:43:03   of your destiny professionally, basically.

00:43:08   And how when you're just somebody's employee,

00:43:10   you have given up some of that control

00:43:15   in exchange for less risk-taking, less liability,

00:43:17   a more stable paycheck, et cetera,

00:43:22   the benefits of working for somebody else.

00:43:24   But if you really want that control,

00:43:26   that's always going to be a friction point

00:43:28   in that relationship where if you are the kind of person

00:43:30   like you and I, if you're the kind of person

00:43:34   who really wants to work on what they want to work on

00:43:36   and doesn't want to do the boring homework,

00:43:37   then every single time your boss tells you to do something,

00:43:42   it's going to kind of hit that nerve.

00:43:45   And you're probably not going to do as good of work there

00:43:47   as you could because you're going to be working on stuff

00:43:50   you don't want to be working on.

00:43:52   And for a lot of people, I know, certainly myself included,

00:43:53   that means less productivity.

00:43:56   When your heart's not in it,

00:43:58   that means you don't do as good of work,

00:44:00   or at least as much work.

00:44:02   And so for me, I always kind of found,

00:44:04   like at Tumblr, I was at Tumblr for the longest part of my,

00:44:05   It was the longest uninterrupted part of my career.

00:44:10   I was lucky there that I could pretty much invent

00:44:12   whatever I was working on.

00:44:14   There were some problems that I'd have to solve

00:44:17   just out of necessity, but a lot of times

00:44:21   I basically had the freedom there to say,

00:44:22   "You know what?

00:44:24   "I want to spend the next two weeks

00:44:25   "designing a new cache layer,"

00:44:27   or doing something like that,

00:44:29   something that I found interesting.

00:44:32   Certainly not all the time, but it was a lot of the time.

00:44:34   That's one of the reasons why I was so happy there

00:44:35   for so long.

00:44:37   But now it's even better because now I decide

00:44:41   everything I do and don't do for the most part.

00:44:43   And of course, you know, there's always,

00:44:45   even when you run your own business,

00:44:46   there's always things that you have to do

00:44:48   just as part of reality or, you know, the law,

00:44:52   like counting paperwork.

00:44:54   There's always stuff you have to do.

00:44:55   There's some overhead.

00:44:56   But there's a heck of a lot less stuff that you have to do

00:44:59   that you don't want to do for the most part

00:45:01   if you've set it up that way.

00:45:04   So it does make me, this is something that I struggle with

00:45:06   and I'm curious how you tackle this.

00:45:09   The most difficult part I find of being independent

00:45:12   is dealing with the concept of software maintenance

00:45:15   or you're doing work that isn't that interesting

00:45:19   new problem, that isn't that interesting new app,

00:45:22   that isn't that interesting new concept.

00:45:23   That it's going back and doing compatibility updates

00:45:27   for an older app or making it doing,

00:45:30   I mean even you imagine an app like Instapaper

00:45:33   point. There's a certain amount of the reality of a lot of the interesting problems have

00:45:40   already been solved, but you're still working on maintaining it and keeping it going. How

00:45:43   do you balance those two, the urge to be always be on working on the interesting thing and

00:45:50   the necessity to be, you're the only person who can work on it, so you just have to?

00:45:56   It's occasionally hard. I think in the case of Instapaper, what helps a lot is that the

00:46:01   the app is pretty mature at this point.

00:46:02   I don't really have to do much to it to just keep it going.

00:46:06   And I've set up the servers in sexuality

00:46:08   to be pretty low maintenance,

00:46:09   'cause that's how I have always done things

00:46:11   out of added necessity.

00:46:13   And so I've really kinda set up the whole product

00:46:17   to be low maintenance, relatively low cost of running it,

00:46:22   low overheads.

00:46:24   Really, Instapaper's biggest cost every month

00:46:28   the servers that it runs on.

00:46:30   If I have the urge to add a new feature to it, I can do it,

00:46:38   but at the same time, I decided this past summer and fall

00:46:42   to start up the magazine, and one of the reasons

00:46:45   I was able to do that was because the paper was

00:46:47   at this point where I could kind of de-emphasize it

00:46:51   for a while, and I don't intend for that to be permanent,

00:46:55   and I intend to reemphasize it soon,

00:46:58   because the magazine is now reaching a stable point,

00:47:00   but I had that freedom because the app

00:47:04   is pretty low maintenance.

00:47:07   And so when I jump back into it and start really working

00:47:11   on this big upgraded version full time,

00:47:15   I wish I still haven't done, but once I start doing that,

00:47:23   First of all, I have the freedom now

00:47:26   that I have an additional source of income,

00:47:28   which then, it kind of frees me up with Instapaper

00:47:32   to be a little more experimental.

00:47:35   Because when Instapaper was my only income,

00:47:38   it was very, very hard for me to take any risks with it.

00:47:42   If I wanted to remove a feature that was really old

00:47:46   and crufty and causing lots of problems

00:47:48   and making it hard to move forward,

00:47:50   Like a long time ago, I did that with the RSS folder feature,

00:47:53   which was a terrible idea.

00:47:56   When I wanted to remove a feature, that was a really,

00:47:58   really hard thing to do, because I knew it would anger people.

00:48:01   When I wanted to raise the iOS minimum bar,

00:48:04   that was a really hard thing to do.

00:48:05   Because I was afraid, this is my only income.

00:48:07   What if I anger everybody?

00:48:09   Everyone's going to go jump to Clipped or whatever,

00:48:13   if I anger them, whatever my new competitor this month is.

00:48:17   And that was always a big stress point.

00:48:19   And now, I have the magazine income,

00:48:22   and I have my blog income,

00:48:24   and I have occasional podcast income.

00:48:27   And so now, I have something else to fall back on,

00:48:32   so I can say, you know what, with Instapaper,

00:48:35   I'm gonna do what I wanna do here.

00:48:36   And I know a lot of people are gonna follow me on it,

00:48:39   I know a lot of people are going to love what I'm doing,

00:48:42   and I'm gonna get some new customers.

00:48:44   And if I anger a handful of existing customers,

00:48:46   that's just the cost of the progression of time here.

00:48:50   - Yeah, and I've had a very similar experience in that.

00:48:53   The biggest peace of mind I've been able to grow

00:48:56   in my business is by diversification,

00:48:58   into having all my eggs in many baskets.

00:49:01   And so you can be more,

00:49:06   even just from a peace of mind perspective,

00:49:08   it's like in aggregate, you'll probably end up the same,

00:49:11   even if one thing's going down,

00:49:13   there's a good chance something else will be going up.

00:49:15   - Exactly, and again, if I really screw up big time

00:49:20   and I somehow kill Instapaper by trying to update it,

00:49:24   then I'll make a podcast client.

00:49:26   You know, there's always more to do.

00:49:29   I mean, every time I need an app for something,

00:49:31   this happens a lot, like if I go on a trip somewhere

00:49:34   or if there's some kind of like single,

00:49:36   specialized purpose single use that I have for an app

00:49:39   and I go to the store and try to download something,

00:49:41   I'm always appalled at how bad most of the options are.

00:49:45   And so like almost every month I run into some situation

00:49:49   like this where I need a new app for something

00:49:50   and I think, man, if I had the time,

00:49:53   I would make the crap out of an app that does this.

00:49:56   (laughs)

00:49:57   And just really do this right, you know?

00:49:59   And I don't have time because I'm working on the other apps.

00:50:02   So if I really screw up royally and somehow torpedo

00:50:05   one of my main apps, well then I'll have some free time.

00:50:09   (laughs)

00:50:09   And it's not that big of a problem.

00:50:12   - Just move on and--

00:50:13   and make something else.

00:50:15   - And I think the last area I wanted to talk about

00:50:19   I thought was really interesting is if you kind of think

00:50:21   about you've been doing this for long enough

00:50:24   that you've probably made a few mistakes.

00:50:26   And I'm curious if you could talk about,

00:50:30   it's like, it's always a funny question to say

00:50:31   what's the biggest mistake you've made,

00:50:33   whether it's sort of business or technically,

00:50:34   but an interesting mistake that resulted in a lesson

00:50:38   that was worth learning, that you,

00:50:41   as you go forward you're thinking about,

00:50:42   I definitely don't want to do that again.

00:50:46   - I definitely think, it's hard to say

00:50:50   because I haven't fixed this mistake yet,

00:50:52   so it's hard to say whether it was a mistake, I think.

00:50:55   In retrospect, what I'm going to regret the most

00:50:59   with Instapaper especially,

00:51:02   is not having hired help earlier.

00:51:04   Because I've been doing Instapaper mostly myself.

00:51:09   I have somebody else, the awesome Richard Dunlop Walters,

00:51:12   who does the feature, formerly give me something to read,

00:51:15   who picks the stories for that and edits that whole thing.

00:51:17   In fact, he even does the site layout for that now.

00:51:20   He took the whole thing over, he's awesome.

00:51:22   And he does all that and all the support emails.

00:51:25   But beyond that, and beyond occasional design contracting

00:51:29   for mostly little things, I really have done

00:51:32   all of Instapaper myself.

00:51:34   That's partially because I'm a control freak

00:51:38   and partially because I am scared to delegate,

00:51:41   but also partially because I'm scared of the cost

00:51:43   of bringing on anybody else full-time.

00:51:45   You've talked a lot about having had full-time employees

00:51:47   in the past or even having worked with just contractors

00:51:50   on a long-term basis.

00:51:51   I've never done that really, and so that does scare me.

00:51:55   But with the magazine, putting together a magazine

00:51:59   turns out to be so much work.

00:52:01   I mean, the app is easy.

00:52:02   The app I've been working on, but it's, you know,

00:52:04   the app is gonna be done, for the most part,

00:52:07   quote, done relatively soon,

00:52:09   as soon as I fixed the main bugs left.

00:52:11   But the editorial side of it is just so much work

00:52:15   that I had to hire Glenn Fleischman, the editor,

00:52:18   almost full-time already.

00:52:20   And once I hired him, I realized,

00:52:22   and part of this is just 'cause Glenn's ridiculously awesome,

00:52:25   but I realized just how awesome it is to have help.

00:52:29   'Cause when I hired Richard to do the feature

00:52:33   and the inspaper support,

00:52:36   those were things I was barely doing anyway.

00:52:38   So support I was mostly ignoring, which I know is terrible,

00:52:43   but that's the reality.

00:52:47   I was mostly ignoring support emails,

00:52:48   and the feature was relatively quick to do.

00:52:51   So when he took over, it wasn't that big of a problem.

00:52:56   Just, you know, I saved a little bit of time every day

00:52:59   from not doing the feature,

00:53:02   and all the support emails started getting answered.

00:53:04   But I wasn't doing that before,

00:53:06   so it wasn't that big of a savings.

00:53:05   When I hired Glenn for the magazine though,

00:53:07   doing all the editorial work,

00:53:09   I was doing the editorial work

00:53:11   for the first couple of issues,

00:53:12   and it was so much more work than I thought it would be.

00:53:15   Once I hired him, it was a massive burden

00:53:18   lifted off of my shoulders.

00:53:20   And I realized then the value of help,

00:53:24   the value of having somebody who's doing work for you.

00:53:29   And he took things in a direction

00:53:32   that he did things a little bit differently

00:53:33   than I would have done them.

00:53:35   turns out I like the way he does things.

00:53:40   So I would like to hire help for Instapaper, I think.

00:53:43   And maybe this is how I get to do my podcast client.

00:53:47   I don't know yet, I haven't decided all this yet.

00:53:49   But I want help for Instapaper because

00:53:51   I would like to free up more of my time.

00:53:57   So I think in retrospect I am going to have that regret

00:54:01   of seeing, you know what, I probably should have hired

00:54:01   like three years ago.

00:54:06   But we'll see.

00:54:08   The interesting part I found is that,

00:54:09   or at least the biggest,

00:54:12   in that vein, the biggest lesson I found

00:54:13   is to try and identify the things that you do

00:54:15   on a repeated basis that someone else could do

00:54:18   as well or better than you could.

00:54:21   And those are the things that you want to try and,

00:54:24   like I have somebody who does the help desk for me.

00:54:28   She also does my books, my accounting, my taxes.

00:54:28   she's an operations wizard, that's what she does.

00:54:31   - That sounds awesome.

00:54:32   - She does it in a way that's, it blows my mind.

00:54:36   It's in a totally different world,

00:54:38   and it's at the time, when it's sort of starting out,

00:54:41   it's like, oh, does this make sense, is that good?

00:54:43   But it's like, the reality is, that's what she,

00:54:45   it's like, she's an expert in that,

00:54:47   in the same way that I am, I guess at this point,

00:54:48   an expert in iOS development, or something like that.

00:54:52   And so, finding those things, it's like,

00:54:54   I don't really like, I drive no joy from that work.

00:54:57   I don't like doing my books.

00:54:58   I don't like doing those kind of things.

00:55:02   I enjoy doing Help Desk to some degree,

00:55:04   especially when I first launch or something.

00:55:06   Maybe it's good to be in there and making sure

00:55:08   I really have a good sense of things.

00:55:09   But at the end, after a little while,

00:55:11   it becomes very rote and becomes just a question

00:55:14   of giving people some time and some reaction,

00:55:18   but it's the same questions every single time.

00:55:21   - Right, like how many password resets

00:55:22   do you want to answer per day?

00:55:24   - Yeah, or just, yeah, the same,

00:55:27   It's like, one of my apps is an audiobook app.

00:55:29   And the number of times I get an email asking me why Harry Potter is not in my app, my book

00:55:35   catalog.

00:55:36   It's not even joking.

00:55:37   The first autoresponder I ever wrote was, "I'm sorry.

00:55:42   I have been unable to secure the rights to include Harry Potter for free in my audiobook

00:55:46   app that you also downloaded for free.

00:55:48   I'm sorry that's a disappointment, but that's where we find ourselves."

00:55:52   Oh, that's great.

00:55:53   Yeah, I mean, that's the thing.

00:55:55   So I definitely think the lack of,

00:55:58   and again, I was doing so much more of my own accounting

00:56:03   and bookkeeping too for a while,

00:56:04   and over the last two years I've finally hired an accountant

00:56:08   and I've finally just started using QuickBooks Online,

00:56:11   which is horrible, but it saves me time.

00:56:14   Out of curiosity, what do you use for accounting?

00:56:19   I know this is a bit of a derail,

00:56:20   but for bookkeeping, do you use a particular software package

00:56:24   or does your employee handle all of that

00:56:26   and you don't even know?

00:56:28   - So it's QuickBooks, that's what she uses.

00:56:31   - Online or local?

00:56:33   - Local on the Mac.

00:56:34   I never see it, except for probably

00:56:37   maybe three or four times a year

00:56:39   when we do kind of like a quarterly review or something,

00:56:42   or sometimes she'll just send me rollup reports and things.

00:56:44   But it's to a point now that,

00:56:46   yeah, she could use whatever she wants.

00:56:48   I know she uses QuickBooks because that's what she wanted

00:56:51   and what she wanted to use,

00:56:52   mostly because that's what our tax preparer prefers,

00:56:55   to get the import from.

00:56:56   Yeah, that's always the case.

00:56:58   But the key there was just to-- it's whatever she--

00:57:02   that's her specialty.

00:57:03   That's what she does.

00:57:04   She's an operations and finance person.

00:57:06   And so it's kind of like if she comes up and says,

00:57:09   I need this tool, I need this thing,

00:57:11   it's like, absolutely, whatever.

00:57:14   That's money well spent for me to make you as productive as you

00:57:17   as possible, because obviously that's

00:57:19   less time I need to be paying for.

00:57:22   And then on the flip side, it's like,

00:57:27   the better you are at your job,

00:57:28   the better my business is running.

00:57:29   - See, like in that way then,

00:57:32   what I just asked was actually a terrible question.

00:57:33   The right question is why am I still worrying about this?

00:57:34   - Yeah, that's the better question.

00:57:37   - That's a much better question.

00:57:39   It's like, why should I need to care

00:57:40   what accounting software I'm using

00:57:42   because why am I doing my own accounting at all?

00:57:43   Because I've already outsourced like 80% of it

00:57:45   to my accountant, like why don't I just outsource

00:57:47   the rest to somebody or them also?

00:57:49   I guess that's a very good question.

00:57:50   - You can apply to a lot of different sides.

00:57:52   I mean, I had someone recently ask me a question about

00:57:55   if the icon for Check the Weather was created

00:57:58   in Photoshop or Illustrator.

00:58:00   And they're asking-- - You don't even know,

00:58:02   do you? - I was like,

00:58:02   I have no idea.

00:58:03   (laughing)

00:58:04   I contacted a designer that went to the icon factory,

00:58:06   they did a great job.

00:58:08   I told them a concept, they came back with pixels

00:58:11   that look pretty.

00:58:11   I have no idea how, like,

00:58:13   they could have individually drawn those in MS Paint.

00:58:16   I have no idea.

00:58:17   That doesn't matter to me because

00:58:19   that's not where I'm seeking to put my effort,

00:58:21   or put my time, or put my energy.

00:58:23   It's like, I want to focus on the things that I'm good at,

00:58:25   and everything else, I'll try and find someone

00:58:27   who can do it better than I can.

00:58:29   - I definitely have a lot to learn from your method.

00:58:32   Also, and one other thing too,

00:58:34   I realize it was kind of a dodge for me

00:58:36   to say my biggest mistake was a mistake

00:58:38   I'm not sure that I actually have made yet.

00:58:41   So, a more concrete example,

00:58:43   because I'm far from perfect, I've made tons of mistakes,

00:58:47   A more concrete example, recently,

00:58:50   when I launched the magazine 1.0, the data storage engine--

00:58:55   and I know that Brent just talked about this,

00:58:56   so I'll try to be brief--

00:58:58   the data storage engine in the magazine 1.0

00:59:01   was just plist files, and just with a bunch of keys and values

00:59:06   for each issue and everything like that.

00:59:08   And the reason I wrote it this way

00:59:11   was I didn't know core data yet.

00:59:13   And with Instapaper, I do everything with raw SQLite,

00:59:18   I don't care how it's pronounced,

00:59:20   with raw SQLite calls to the C library

00:59:22   with a few functions around them.

00:59:24   So I didn't want to bring all that over to the magazine.

00:59:27   I thought it was overkill.

00:59:28   So I thought, you know, this is a really simple app.

00:59:30   There's no real user side data, really.

00:59:34   Like, it's just downloading issues and showing them to you.

00:59:36   So it's so simple.

00:59:38   I'll just use plist.

00:59:39   It'll be fast.

00:59:40   And I'll be able to get this launched quickly

00:59:41   and find out if there's going to be any subscribers at all.

00:59:46   Okay.

00:59:48   So it was, by almost every definition,

00:59:49   it was quick and dirty.

00:59:52   And what I realized by version 1.1

00:59:53   was that the system was just horrible.

00:59:58   And because what I thought when I first started doing it,

01:00:01   oh, there's no user site data

01:00:06   that I really need to store here.

01:00:07   It can be really, really gross and just a big

01:00:07   file for each issue and a big index of the issues somewhere

01:00:11   and a different plist file and it'll be fine. And it turns out

01:00:15   that that's not the case at all.

01:00:19   Even though I thought it was going to be simple, there's all these complex things. Well, okay,

01:00:23   is it downloaded? Is it saved? Is it deleted? Was it downloaded at one time and then they deleted it?

01:00:27   Is it open? Is it collapsed? Are the issues

01:00:31   here read? And then when the server updates this article,

01:00:35   is it easy to re-download just that article?

01:00:40   So when I fix a typo in an article after it's been published,

01:00:43   the app will download it without downloading

01:00:46   the entire issue again.

01:00:47   There's all these things that I thought

01:00:48   it was going to be a simple problem,

01:00:51   but it really isn't simple.

01:00:52   And so the solution I made with the assumption

01:00:53   it was going to be really simple

01:00:56   ended up ballooning into a tremendous pile

01:00:57   of terrible hacks to get this stupid Pila system working.

01:01:00   So eventually, after, I don't know, two months maybe,

01:01:03   I realized this was completely unmaintainable,

01:01:06   threw the entire thing out and rewrote the whole thing

01:01:08   in core data learning as I went and it was fine.

01:01:10   And I felt like such a fool for not having known

01:01:14   core data earlier because while it isn't the solution

01:01:17   to every problem, it was the solution to this problem.

01:01:20   And I just didn't know it.

01:01:22   And it was definitely the solution to this problem.

01:01:25   And so I definitely regret that.

01:01:29   And that was just a huge technical architectural mistake

01:01:33   to try to build my own crazy system that ended up being

01:01:35   a massive pile of hacks because I underestimated

01:01:37   the complexity.

01:01:39   - Yeah, and the difficulty I always have with that kind of

01:01:41   thing is as you're describing it, often I will do the same

01:01:44   thing to start with, that almost always, whenever I'm building

01:01:47   an app, initially its data store is some variation on

01:01:51   PLists or NS user defaults.

01:01:53   That's where you start off.

01:01:55   It's super easy, you can just get up and running and go.

01:01:58   And I think the danger is at what point,

01:02:01   It's having the awareness to say,

01:02:03   at what point does that just completely break down?

01:02:05   At what point is it no longer kind of prototyping,

01:02:08   and at what point is this like,

01:02:09   will this really stand up down the road?

01:02:12   Because it's valuable to start where you started.

01:02:14   I'm sure it helped you get off your feet

01:02:18   and be like, okay, this is going to work,

01:02:19   I'm going to build it, here it is,

01:02:21   I can play with it much more quickly

01:02:23   than if you had to start learning.

01:02:25   If you had said at the beginning,

01:02:27   in order for me to do the magazine,

01:02:28   and they need to learn core data,

01:02:31   that may have been much more intimidating

01:02:32   and something that you would have been more resistant

01:02:34   to diving into.

01:02:36   - Exactly, yeah, and it would have,

01:02:39   you know, when I was starting it,

01:02:40   this is one of the reasons I keep using PHP

01:02:42   for all my server stuff, when I started it,

01:02:44   I was just like, alright, I, again,

01:02:46   like I have to get this out quickly,

01:02:47   I don't know if it's going to have any subscribers,

01:02:49   so I don't want to spend six months making the app

01:02:51   before I know what, if it's, you know,

01:02:53   if it's going to flop on its second week,

01:02:54   I want to know that sooner rather than later.

01:02:57   so I don't pour all this time into it

01:03:02   that I could have spent on Instapaper.

01:03:04   So I wanted to just get it out there

01:03:06   as quickly as possible.

01:03:07   And so the last thing I wanted to do at that point

01:03:08   was learn a whole new technology.

01:03:10   It's like, all right, and so the server side

01:03:13   is written in PHP using the exact same framework

01:03:15   as Instapaper and Tumblr.

01:03:18   Because that's the framework I know best

01:03:20   in the language I know best for the server,

01:03:22   and running it is really easy and really low maintenance.

01:03:23   because once you've designed a framework to run 150 servers,

01:03:27   like at Tumblr when I left,

01:03:29   when you bring it down to 11 servers at Instapaper,

01:03:34   it's really easy to run.

01:03:35   - Sure.

01:03:36   - And when you bring it down to one server,

01:03:38   like the magazine, it's even easier.

01:03:40   And so I used what I knew.

01:03:42   And that works great in a lot of cases

01:03:46   until you run into something where

01:03:48   something that you don't know yet is a way better solution,

01:03:52   but you don't know about it.

01:03:53   And that's why you gotta always keep broadening

01:03:54   your horizons so that you know what tool to use for the job.

01:03:59   Because if you don't even know about a whole class of tools

01:04:02   that could save you a lot of time on what you're doing,

01:04:04   then it's harder for you to make good decisions

01:04:06   about what to use.

01:04:07   - Yeah, and I think that speaks to all kinds of areas

01:04:11   about how you keep trying new things, keeping,

01:04:15   it's like learning new stuff, having projects

01:04:17   whose purpose is just to learn something new

01:04:21   and to just keep trying to stretch out of your comfort zone

01:04:26   so you can try and just see what's out there.

01:04:29   It's always kind of amazing when you find

01:04:32   some of the things that, you're very rarely

01:04:34   solving that problem for the first time.

01:04:36   Someone else has almost certainly already solved it

01:04:38   and solved it in a way that's cleverer

01:04:40   than you could ever come up with.

01:04:43   - Exactly.

01:04:46   That being said, I still don't know

01:04:49   what the hell storyboards are.

01:04:47   - Or why I would want to use them.

01:04:50   - I think that's okay.

01:04:51   - I did just start using Arc, finally.

01:04:54   - Welcome to 2012.

01:04:56   - I'm shipping a point-to-point update to the magazine.

01:05:01   That changes it over to Arc,

01:05:03   as well as a whole bunch of other stuff,

01:05:04   but for marketing reasons,

01:05:06   it makes sense to call it a point-to-point.

01:05:08   - Sure.

01:05:09   - So it's going to be like 1.2.1 or something like that,

01:05:12   changing over to Arc and rewriting the whole backend.

01:05:16   Pretty-- it's-- yeah, it's-- again,

01:05:20   what I love about the technology like that

01:05:21   is that it let me focus on more interesting problems.

01:05:25   And I think that's even maybe at the undercurrent

01:05:27   of what you're getting at with this challenge was you

01:05:31   had to-- in order for you to keep advancing the app

01:05:35   and making it better and better, you

01:05:36   had to keep hacking on top of hacks in a way that was probably

01:05:41   a distraction from what you're actually trying to accomplish.

01:05:44   Your goal wasn't to try and work out a way to store this data.

01:05:46   Your goal was to enable a user-facing feature that

01:05:49   would make the experience better when reading.

01:05:52   And so that's always the thing that's so bad.

01:05:54   Like, I live up on Arc is I don't

01:05:55   have to worry about memory management nearly as much

01:05:57   as I used to.

01:05:58   And obviously, you have to have an understanding

01:05:59   of the fundamentals, and et cetera, et cetera.

01:06:01   But in general, it's one less thing

01:06:02   that I have to worry about.

01:06:04   I have less code to write, and I can just focus on stuff

01:06:07   that users will actually care about.

01:06:09   Because if you put in your release notes,

01:06:11   migrated from retain release to Arc.

01:06:16   I'm pretty sure nobody's going to care.

01:06:19   Maybe your techie followers or someone

01:06:22   would be interested about it, but it's like,

01:06:25   otherwise, no one cares.

01:06:26   Well, you know what?

01:06:28   The reason why I switched to Arc is pretty embarrassing.

01:06:29   You have massive memory leaks?

01:06:33   No, because I've actually, I don't do that much crazy stuff

01:06:35   with how I manage my objects and my code.

01:06:38   So for me, the regular retain release and conventions

01:06:42   around that, auto-release stuff, that's

01:06:44   always worked pretty well.

01:06:45   I very rarely had memory leaks in my shipping code.

01:06:49   It was fairly easy for me to do the old model.

01:06:52   The main reason, the only reason I switched to Arc,

01:06:56   the driving force here-- because again, I

01:06:58   didn't want to learn anything new up front.

01:07:00   I just wanted to push through and release this thing.

01:07:02   The reason I switched to Arc for this version

01:07:06   is because I added, for the first time,

01:07:11   AF networking to my project.

01:07:14   And the current version of AF networking requires Arc.

01:07:17   And I thought, you know, I could just enable it

01:07:20   for this file, but that's kind of hacky.

01:07:22   And I don't really trust that to not,

01:07:26   I know this is probably superstition on my part.

01:07:28   I know in reality it's probably very well isolated,

01:07:31   but I didn't want to just have Arc enabled

01:07:32   were part of my code.

01:07:34   I thought, that's gonna cause problems later on,

01:07:36   or that's gonna at least cause annoyances.

01:07:38   So I thought, you know what,

01:07:39   let me just convert the whole thing.

01:07:41   So that's why I'm using Arc,

01:07:44   because I added AF networking for some conveniences.

01:07:47   Now, I'm not even using most of what it can do.

01:07:49   I added it for some conveniences,

01:07:51   and I realized, you know what,

01:07:54   let me just switch the whole thing over now.

01:07:56   That's how I started learning Arc and using Arc.

01:08:01   And imagine it lets you, once you do it, you move on,

01:08:06   and now you can focus on whatever it was,

01:08:09   adding AF networking, adding more rich media support

01:08:12   or whatever it is.

01:08:13   It's not--

01:08:14   - Oh, it's really boring.

01:08:15   It's working around newsstand bugs.

01:08:17   That's the reason I'm adding AF networking.

01:08:18   (laughs)

01:08:19   Is because working around the newsstand asset download,

01:08:22   the NK asset download class, which is limited.

01:08:27   - Limited, limited.

01:08:28   - Yes.

01:08:29   - Is this the politically correct or the gentle way

01:08:32   of saying it, it's limited?

01:08:34   - Somebody said recently, I forget who on Twitter,

01:08:39   you can definitely tell which APIs Apple designed

01:08:42   for its own use and which ones they designed

01:08:45   for others to use.

01:08:47   Newstand is very clearly not used by Apple.

01:08:51   It is very, very apparent that they don't have

01:08:54   any of their own apps using Newstand.

01:08:57   And it kind of makes sense, like why would they?

01:08:59   You can understand why they wouldn't have newsstand apps,

01:09:01   but yeah, it's very clear that they don't use newsstand.

01:09:06   - Yeah, and that's just part of being on the platform,

01:09:09   I suppose, that's just the kind of thing you just learn,

01:09:11   and you're just like, alright, well,

01:09:12   I'll work my way around.

01:09:15   - And the advantage is, I'm very unlikely

01:09:16   to ever be Sherlocked here.

01:09:18   - That's true, that's right, you're not in a path

01:09:21   that's likely for them to get into.

01:09:23   - Exactly.

01:09:24   - Alright, so I think that's probably a good point

01:09:27   to wrap it up.

01:09:32   Before we do, though, I just wanted to give you,

01:09:33   if people wanted to follow you, follow your work,

01:09:35   follow your apps, where would be the best place for them

01:09:38   to find you online?

01:09:40   Craig: Go to Marco.org or Marco Arment on Twitter.

01:09:42   Or if you want to be mostly ignored for a long time,

01:09:46   Marco on app.net.

01:09:48   Peter: Excellent.

01:09:51   So anyway, thank you so much for taking the time.

01:09:52   I think it was a, I definitely learned a few things,

01:09:54   which is always great, and I hope everyone else did too.

01:09:53   - Oh, I have a TENTUS account.

01:09:55   - Oh, a TENTUS account.

01:09:55   - That's a real way to be ignored,

01:09:57   because I at least have an app.net client

01:09:59   that I can occasionally remember to launch.

01:10:01   I don't even remember how to log into TENTUS.

01:10:04   So if you find me there somehow,

01:10:06   that's the best way for me to never find that information.

01:10:10   - That's kind of like leaving a treasure buried somewhere

01:10:13   that one day you may discover.

01:10:15   - Exactly.