Developing Perspective

#89: Counting Down.


00:00:00   Hello, and welcome to Developing Perspective.

00:00:03   Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing news of note in iOS development, Apple, and

00:00:07   the like.

00:00:08   I'm your host, David Smith.

00:00:09   I'm an independent iOS and Mac developer based in Herndon, Virginia.

00:00:12   This is show number 89, and today is Tuesday, October 16th.

00:00:16   Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes, so let's get started.

00:00:20   So if you've been following along at home over the last, I guess it's a month and a

00:00:25   half, two months, something like that, you'll know that tomorrow is a big day for me.

00:00:29   Wednesday, October 17th, I'm launching Check the Weather, which is the new weather app

00:00:34   I've been working on for the last while. And I've been kind of hopefully been helpfully

00:00:38   walking through the process on the show. I'm talking about all the various parts that go

00:00:42   into something like this, how I structure the code, how I do prototyping, how I do marketing,

00:00:47   how I do localization. I've been trying to really be helpful there. And as I'm winding down, if I've

00:00:52   missed anything or there's something that you really wish I had covered but haven't, please get in touch.

00:00:56   You know, I can sort of wrap that up before I kind of wind this down with

00:01:00   maybe a couple more shows, just kind of a post launch activities and things.

00:01:03   But overall, you know, I should be winding down a little bit the exactly

00:01:07   what it is I'm talking about.

00:01:08   But today, um, I'm going to kind of walk through the, this pre-launch activity.

00:01:12   It's kind of like, if you imagine, um, You know, it's a set.

00:01:16   If you ever watch like a NASA or something launch and you've got all

00:01:18   those guys, you're sort of, are you go, no go for launch.

00:01:20   Yeah, yeah, yeah.

00:01:21   And you're kind of trying to line everything up and make it all work.

00:01:23   That's kind of where I am today.

00:01:25   Like today I've gotten hardly anything done other than just kind of like making sure and

00:01:29   doubling and rechecking and kind of making sure everything's queued up, ready and set

00:01:35   for tomorrow.

00:01:36   Now the funny thing is, of course, tomorrow is actually today.

00:01:41   Tomorrow in New Zealand and now Australia and I believe most of Eastern Asia and so

00:01:47   on.

00:01:48   This kind of was kind of the funny thing.

00:01:49   I came into work today and check the weather's actually available for sale even though I

00:01:53   It won't show up in the US until midnight tonight.

00:01:56   And that's sort of intentional.

00:01:57   It's sort of a nice attribute of the way

00:01:59   that the rollout of the store works, where

00:02:01   I say the availability date was the 17th.

00:02:04   And it'll slowly roll out across the world from there.

00:02:08   And so that works out pretty well for me, in the sense

00:02:10   that I can kind of get a sense of what

00:02:13   it looks like in the store.

00:02:14   I can get a sense of if there's any weird bugs or things.

00:02:17   Some people in New Zealand or Australia

00:02:19   and things for me start buying it and seeing

00:02:21   how it works there.

00:02:23   And it also helps, I think, a little bit versus if you do a manual release, where you go in

00:02:27   and change the date on the day that you want it to launch, and it'll show up, but then

00:02:32   you have this weird awkward thing of like, well, it doesn't show up for me yet, or the

00:02:35   cache hasn't expired yet, and all these weird issues that can happen in iTunes Connect.

00:02:40   So I tend to just prefer to just roll it out based on time, instead of ahead of time.

00:02:45   And so now it's slowly rolling itself out.

00:02:48   You know, tomorrow, probably mid-morning is when I'll do kind of my announcement, officially, I suppose.

00:02:53   So people obviously, anybody listening to this, after midnight in wherever you are, if you search for "check the weather," you should probably see it.

00:02:59   And it should gradually roll out from there. You should be able to get it.

00:03:08   But, you know, sort of tomorrow, and I'll have a big show just sort of talking about the actual launch tomorrow.

00:03:11   But, you know, it's kind of a nice thing about it rolling out.

00:03:13   It's just something to be aware of,

00:03:18   that if you ever get a help desk request

00:03:20   the day before you launch,

00:03:23   and you think, "Wait, it's not live,

00:03:25   and you go into the store, it's not there."

00:03:27   It's possibly someone in New Zealand, Australia, et cetera,

00:03:29   as it's moving across.

00:03:31   So the sun is now chasing my app across the world,

00:03:33   which is kind of cool.

00:03:38   But otherwise, today is my pre-launch day.

00:03:39   And so I'm spending my day getting things ready.

00:03:41   And so you're starting to kind of do all these little parts,

00:03:44   like making sure everything's ready to go.

00:03:45   You know, I have a website that I'll be launching tomorrow.

00:03:48   I have cross-promotion ads.

00:03:49   I have all those things, and I'm kind of

00:03:50   making sure they're all lined up, that they're all ready.

00:03:52   First thing, you know, I can come in tomorrow,

00:03:54   and I can just sort of check them off, like launch this,

00:03:56   launch this, launch this, launch this.

00:03:58   The app will already be in the store, but that's OK.

00:04:01   And that's just kind of the process

00:04:02   I'll be working through, making sure everything's ready to go.

00:04:05   Because you only really get to launch once.

00:04:07   You have, for subsequent versions,

00:04:09   you kind of have other things that you'll

00:04:10   with your launches for minor versions.

00:04:12   But generally, people don't care quite as much

00:04:15   as when you launch a new version.

00:04:16   It's a new thing.

00:04:17   It's fresh.

00:04:18   It's somewhat anticipated.

00:04:20   And so I'm trying to make sure everything's queued up

00:04:22   and ready to go.

00:04:23   I've told my API vendors that tomorrow's the day,

00:04:26   so they shouldn't be too surprised if things get crazy.

00:04:29   But overall, I'm just trying to make sure everything's lined up

00:04:32   and everything's ready.

00:04:33   Kind of doing a few little reaches out to the press,

00:04:35   though I'm trying not too hard on that just because you don't

00:04:38   to be too like, too naggy about that.

00:04:40   So a lot of people have it.

00:04:41   I've heard some people that are going

00:04:43   to write reviews, which is awesome and kind of humbling.

00:04:45   But it's definitely-- everything seems ready to go.

00:04:49   And so then, essentially, what's going to happen tonight?

00:04:52   And I'm walking this through.

00:04:53   If you've released a bunch of apps,

00:04:54   this is probably all I've had to you.

00:04:56   But if you're not, hopefully it's helpful.

00:04:58   But essentially what will happen is at midnight,

00:05:01   or whatever time, the app will just become available.

00:05:04   There's nothing more fascinating about it than that.

00:05:07   It's like the Apple just up here in the store.

00:05:09   And then it's on you to drive people to download it.

00:05:13   Especially in iOS 6, there's no real way

00:05:15   that people find out new apps are in the store.

00:05:18   There used to be a release date list that

00:05:20   was prominent in all categories.

00:05:22   That's been very diminished.

00:05:24   I think there's still a way to create that kind of a view

00:05:26   in the new app store, but it's very, very weaker

00:05:29   than it was before.

00:05:29   So you can't really count on people just discovering it.

00:05:32   You've really got to work on getting people's attention.

00:05:36   And like I said in the previous show about marketing and all

00:05:40   those types of things, hopefully the way you do that

00:05:43   is by reaching out to people you know, people you trust,

00:05:47   people you respect, and giving them preview copies of it,

00:05:51   giving them an opportunity to talk about it, to try it out,

00:05:55   give you feedback, which is both good for improving the app,

00:05:57   and then also will hopefully help spread it around

00:06:01   when they mention it on their blogs, on their news sites,

00:06:04   whatever it is.

00:06:04   kind of what you're trying to do.

00:06:06   I mean, tomorrow is a day that I'll be talking a lot about my app.

00:06:09   I'll be sort of making sure everything works well.

00:06:12   And it's like this kind of thing that you don't want to do too much of.

00:06:15   I've seen a lot of people who you launch something and then you start

00:06:20   kind of get a little crazy about it, where it's like you save the class.

00:06:22   Simple version, and to sort of explain what I mean by that is if you go on

00:06:25   Twitter and it's like they have their sort of announcement tweet,

00:06:29   like tomorrow I'll probably be like, hey, check the weather.

00:06:32   Is it available in the app store?

00:06:33   Check it out.

00:06:34   beautiful, simple, accurate weather, or whatever.

00:06:37   I'll tweet that out.

00:06:38   And then there'll be reviews about it.

00:06:39   And you can kind of sit there and retweet every single review.

00:06:44   And your stream just turns into one big advertisement.

00:06:46   And it's like, that's only sort of helpful.

00:06:49   I mean, maybe I'll mention it a couple times during the day

00:06:51   to kind of from a time zone retweet kind of thing.

00:06:54   Not really, but like trying to space it out.

00:06:56   But for me, that kind of just comes across as kind of like--

00:07:00   it's sort of like advertising by like megaphone or something,

00:07:04   where it's like, check me out, check me out, check me out.

00:07:06   No, really, check me out.

00:07:07   It's awesome.

00:07:08   That's not so great.

00:07:09   So you can just kind of be subtle about it,

00:07:11   be kind of restrained.

00:07:12   The people who follow you kind of have intrinsically said

00:07:14   they're interested in what you're doing.

00:07:16   And if they are interested, they'll probably check it out.

00:07:18   You don't really have to convince--

00:07:20   those aren't the people you have to convince.

00:07:21   These are really people who've expressed

00:07:23   an interest in liking you.

00:07:24   So don't go too crazy with that.

00:07:26   Be very respectful, thankful of people who write reviews.

00:07:29   I think it's very appropriate to write a lot of thank you notes

00:07:32   or things like that to those people.

00:07:34   They don't have to write about your app.

00:07:37   And so be grateful for them when they do.

00:07:38   And people who link to you, definitely give them thanks.

00:07:41   And otherwise, you just kind of watch.

00:07:43   Look at your early app ratings.

00:07:45   If you have an email for tech support, which you probably do,

00:07:48   make sure you're on that all day, like being very responsive,

00:07:50   being on top of issues.

00:07:51   If people are finding problems, make

00:07:53   sure you're responding to them, giving them

00:07:55   a good sense of when things are going to go.

00:07:57   And then just kind of watch and learn.

00:08:00   For me, I tend to not really celebrate too much the day of launch.

00:08:03   I sort of do, but it's typically the day or two after that I'm actually really able to

00:08:09   enjoy the launch.

00:08:10   It's kind of like I said, I celebrate submission.

00:08:13   Launch is just terrifying, and then a couple days after things settle down, you can kind

00:08:18   of handle it.

00:08:19   Probably worth saying, you don't get sales reports until the next day, so there's always

00:08:27   this kind of terrifying day when you're kind of sitting there.

00:08:32   It seems like it's doing well,

00:08:38   it's ranking all right or whatever,

00:08:40   but you won't know until the next day,

00:08:41   so just don't worry about that too much.

00:08:43   You can kind of get a little nuts trying to look at the analytics or things,

00:08:45   but just kind of go with the flow and hope it all works out.

00:08:48   And then you want to have a good, compelling version 1.1 lined up.

00:08:52   And I've talked about this a little bit before,

00:08:53   But the way I mentioned it before was that I think it's good to hold back a little bit

00:08:58   and to not ship all your tricks and all the impressive things right at the beginning.

00:09:03   Because ultimately, your core product needs to be awesome.

00:09:10   Fair enough.

00:09:16   And hopefully check what there is.

00:09:17   I'll look forward to getting your feedback on it tomorrow.

00:09:18   But if your core product isn't awesome, a few bells and whistles aren't going to push it over the edge probably.

00:09:22   put that core experience, that 80%, that 90% of your app

00:09:27   has to be great.

00:09:30   And the other stuff, the sugar that you put on top of that

00:09:32   is something that you, in my experience or my goal,

00:09:34   is what I'm trying to do is I'm trying to build loyalty

00:09:38   to the app through that.

00:09:41   And so you want to add, for me, I think the best thing

00:09:43   you can do is to kind of show whatever every couple weeks,

00:09:45   if you add a new feature, add something that's useful,

00:09:48   be responsive to what people are saying about it.

00:09:48   If people are saying, man, it would be great if it did X,

00:09:51   take a look.

00:09:51   See if X is a good thing.

00:09:52   You don't want to get crazy and be constantly

00:09:54   throwing features in just for the purpose of adding features.

00:09:57   But for me, I find that that's a good kind of concept

00:09:59   of building loyalty by showing people

00:10:01   that you're invested in this.

00:10:03   And if they tell their friend about it,

00:10:06   their friend's not going to be disappointed,

00:10:08   or it's going to kind of go into decay over time.

00:10:11   But that's kind of it.

00:10:12   And then you kind of would iterate from there.

00:10:15   It's kind of an exciting time.

00:10:16   But it's definitely terrifying.

00:10:18   And if you ever launch something and you're like,

00:10:21   oh my gosh, how did the pros do it?

00:10:23   This is terrifying.

00:10:25   I've been doing this for four and a half years or something.

00:10:27   I've launched dozens of apps.

00:10:30   It's always terrifying because you're taking something

00:10:34   that's very personal to you,

00:10:35   that you've put a lot of time, effort, thought, energy,

00:10:39   sort of blood, sweat, and tears in that sort of way,

00:10:41   is you're putting it out and you're asking the world

00:10:44   to say, what do you think?

00:10:46   and some people will love it and some people will hate it,

00:10:48   and you just kind of hope more people love it

00:10:50   or the people who love it are louder

00:10:52   than the people who hate it,

00:10:53   but that's just the reality of it.

00:10:55   But that's kind of terrifying.

00:10:56   So don't worry about that.

00:10:57   You know, you just kind of have to roll with the punches

00:11:00   and overall, you hope people like it,

00:11:02   and I really, you know, the feedback I've gotten so far

00:11:04   has been generally positive,

00:11:05   and I really appreciate the people who've taken the time

00:11:08   in my beta group, my press preview group,

00:11:10   to try it out and look at it, and we'll see.

00:11:14   Alright, that's it for today's show.

00:11:16   I said tomorrow I'll have another one just talking about

00:11:18   the launch and how it went, how it's going, and so on.

00:11:22   But otherwise, I really appreciate all you guys' support

00:11:25   and sort of putting up with me as I've been going through

00:11:28   this process, I hope it was helpful for you.

00:11:30   It's certainly been interesting for me and it's kind of

00:11:32   helped me to be even a little bit more thoughtful

00:11:33   about what I'm doing so that I can talk about it

00:11:35   appropriately here.

00:11:37   But as always, if you have questions, comments, concerns,

00:11:39   complaints, I'm on Twitter @_davidsmith.

00:11:42   I'm on AppNet at David Smith.

00:11:44   And otherwise, have a great week, happy coding,

00:11:46   and I'll talk to you guys tomorrow.

00:11:48   Bye.