Developing Perspective

Show 0.1


00:00:00   This is Developing Perspective, a new daily technology podcast about what's new, what's interesting, what's worth talking about.

00:00:12   I'm your host, David Smith. I'm an independent iOS developer.

00:00:17   And these are basically the things that I've encountered over the last roughly 24 hours or so that I think are interesting.

00:00:26   that I think are, would also be interesting to other developers out there, or just technophiles in general.

00:00:33   The format of this show is fairly straightforward. Basically I'll walk through a couple of links,

00:00:39   somewhere between probably two and five, depending on what's going on,

00:00:45   and then just have sort of a general discussion at the end.

00:00:49   The show will never be longer than fifteen minutes, so you don't have to worry about that.

00:00:54   And without further ado, let's get right into it.

00:00:58   So yesterday, Back to Work, episode 24 was recorded.

00:01:05   This is a show hosted by Dan Benjamin and Merlin Mann.

00:01:10   It's a show that talks about personal productivity and productivity in general.

00:01:16   But mostly, recently it's been talking about what it is to start a business

00:01:22   business and how you can go about doing that.

00:01:25   It's entrepreneurship, but more from the personal side rather than maybe from the business side,

00:01:32   the market side, those types of things.

00:01:35   And it's a very interesting discussion.

00:01:36   I highly recommend you read it.

00:01:38   It's linked to in the show notes episode 24 and last week's episode 23.

00:01:43   The thing though that I wanted to talk about regarding that is basically one part of the

00:01:49   premises, Dan very strongly believes that you can only ever do one thing properly at

00:01:57   a time.

00:01:58   That's not to say you can't have two jobs, you can't have two ways that you're applying

00:02:05   yourself, but if you're trying to start something new and you want that something new to be

00:02:10   really good, then you're going to have to say no to things.

00:02:16   And one of those things may be your current job.

00:02:21   One of those things may need to be hobbies, time with friends and family, etc.

00:02:28   That starting a job, starting a new business, those types of things take focus.

00:02:33   They take effort and they take energy.

00:02:37   And that's difficult.

00:02:39   And you're lying to yourself if you think, "Oh, I can just do this on the side and one

00:02:45   one day I'm going to wake up rich and famous.

00:02:49   I wanted to extend on that a little bit and just talk about and sort of interject three

00:02:56   words into that discussion that I think helped frame it from my perspective.

00:03:01   And this is speaking from my own experience as I've been independent for almost five years

00:03:07   and run a successful, profitable developing, development shop, which is basically myself.

00:03:15   So there's three different areas where I think it's important when you're thinking about this kind of movement to a new business, starting a new business, or just getting it started in entrepreneurship.

00:03:28   And the first one is duration. And I think it's important to remember that most businesses, most endeavors, will succeed or fail relatively quickly.

00:03:43   And that's of course relative to the desired duration of the business.

00:03:50   So if I'm, for example, trying to write an iPhone app, I'm hoping that it'll take, it'll make money for a longer period than it took for me to create it, almost certainly.

00:04:06   Otherwise, it's probably a failure.

00:04:09   And so it's important, I think, whenever you're starting something, is to be honest with yourself about

00:04:16   how long you're expecting

00:04:20   to put in the upfront effort for.

00:04:23   Whether that, and then

00:04:26   understanding that

00:04:29   that in of itself is important to know, okay,

00:04:34   I'm going to give this two months, three months, whatever it is, and put that on yourself and

00:04:41   understand that you can do almost anything for a specific measured amount of time.

00:04:47   If you even if you look at say the parents of triplets, right,

00:04:51   arguably probably one of the hardest things people ever have to do is be the parents of triplets.

00:04:58   And I imagine what makes that bearable,

00:05:01   What makes that workable is that you know they're going to grow up.

00:05:05   Every day you survive, you're closer to the day when you don't change diapers, when they'll

00:05:13   sleep through the night, when they go to elementary school, when they go to college.

00:05:17   Every single day is closer to that.

00:05:20   And I've seen a lot of my own experiences.

00:05:22   People who start businesses without specific durations of what they're really looking at

00:05:30   investing into, just waffle. They're just, "Oh, I'll ship it when it's ready. Oh, I'll

00:05:37   do whatever." But what they're really saying is, "I'm never going to ship it because there's

00:05:44   no deadline. They're not working against something." And that leads into the second topic, which

00:05:51   is constraints. And this is just being more general than just duration. Duration is probably

00:05:59   your most important constraint when starting a new business.

00:06:02   But constraints are very, very important.

00:06:05   It's vital for you to give yourself a ballpark in which you're operating.

00:06:13   To say, "I'm going to give it this amount of time.

00:06:16   I'm going to spend this amount of money.

00:06:18   I'm going to do it in such a way that the following things aren't neglected, whether

00:06:23   whether that be family, whether that be hobbies, relationships, etc.

00:06:29   And putting those constraints on yourself is just vital for allowing you to really get

00:06:35   focused, to not just waffle about.

00:06:38   And a lot of that's an honesty question.

00:06:41   It's so easy to spend the evening being like, "Oh man, I'm going to make this awesome app

00:06:47   and I'm going to make a million bucks."

00:06:48   Well, you're probably not going to make a million dollars.

00:06:52   That aside, the real thing there is you're not putting any handles on that.

00:06:58   You're not saying, I'm going to try and make an iOS app.

00:07:01   I'm going to give myself two months, and I'm going to give up the following things,

00:07:08   and I'm going to make it work.

00:07:10   You're just waffling, and I don't think waffles ship apps.

00:07:16   And the last thing is I'm going to talk about is transition.

00:07:21   And so part of this discussion has definitely been along the lines of, you look at people, say like Mark Gormet with Instapaper,

00:07:29   where, well, he started Instapaper on the side and it worked fine for a while and then it went into, did it full time.

00:07:37   And I think the important thing to keep in mind there is there was a, the most important part of that story isn't that he was successful at Tumblr

00:07:46   and that he was successful at Instapaper,

00:07:49   is that there was a period of time where he was transitioning

00:07:53   from one to the other.

00:07:55   And that is, I think, the only caveat that I don't--

00:07:59   that needs to be added to what Dan was saying in order for me

00:08:03   to fully agree with him.

00:08:04   And basically, that just says you

00:08:07   can't do two things at once, but two things at once

00:08:12   can be overlapped.

00:08:14   you can work on something and take a hobby from a hobby to something more complicated, more full.

00:08:23   And there can be a short period of time. I think in his case it was roughly a couple of months

00:08:30   where Instapaper went from hobby or something like that to serious "Oh goodness, this is really making me some money."

00:08:41   And so those are just some thoughts on that.

00:08:45   Next topic I was going to talk about is Tweetbot.

00:08:50   And specifically how recently they published a list of tips and tricks which are in the show notes.

00:08:57   But the actual tips and tricks weren't that helpful to me.

00:09:03   But they encouraged me to go back and try it again.

00:09:07   And I think they've made a lot of updates since it was first launched.

00:09:11   And it is now by far the best Twitter client out there.

00:09:17   For the way that I consume Twitter.

00:09:19   It may not be the best for you, but primarily what I use Twitter for

00:09:25   is keeping up to date on what's happening, what's going on,

00:09:30   what are the cool articles, videos, pictures, etc.

00:09:33   What are the things that I should be interested in?

00:09:36   And their interface for that is by far the most frictionless of any app I've ever seen.

00:09:43   It is, for example, you see an article that you're interested in, and you just want to send that straight to the Instapaper queue.

00:09:52   You don't even need to preview it, you just, that sounds interesting.

00:09:55   Just tap and hold on the tweet, the little menu pops up, says "send Instapaper", you do it.

00:10:02   And most importantly, the actual act of sending is done in the background.

00:10:07   So you can keep on going. There's no friction there.

00:10:11   That's the thing that drives me crazy and Twitter-ific. Otherwise, one of my favorite apps.

00:10:16   But every time you hit "send to Instapaper," a little paper airplane comes up.

00:10:22   Very cute, very fun, flies across the screen, waits, total modal block, and you're just stuck waiting.

00:10:30   The definition of what I'm doing with that scenario is I'm saying,

00:10:34   "I'm not interested in that right now. I'll be interested in it later."

00:10:39   So don't show me a modal blocker saying,

00:10:43   "I'm saving that thing that you said you're not interested in right now,

00:10:47   right now," as an example.

00:10:50   Also, one thing that I really like in

00:10:53   Tweetbot that I think they've polished a lot is

00:10:57   the way that they interact with the various sort of parts of your feed.

00:11:02   And so you can do nice things like double-tap on your mentions area

00:11:07   to mark all as red essentially.

00:11:10   Those types of integrations are just really sharp and it's now my

00:11:16   go-to

00:11:19   Twitter app and I look forward to, I'm not sure if they'll ever do it, but I wish they had a version on the Mac.

00:11:24   I think that would be awesome.

00:11:26   And last but not least, I'm going to talk briefly about a post I did about a week ago.

00:11:36   And specifically it was talking about the various Android marketplaces.

00:11:42   And I have personal experience with two of them.

00:11:46   With the Amazon App Store and with Android Market, Google's app store.

00:11:53   And the thing that I was struck by, and this all got started from an article about the,

00:12:02   all the problems at the Amazon App Store.

00:12:04   There are many of them.

00:12:06   There's issues with customer relationships, with the actual review process, with their

00:12:12   interface.

00:12:13   There's some serious problems.

00:12:15   But moreover, what I have found is the problems themselves are fine.

00:12:22   There's a lot of problems with the iOS app store.

00:12:25   The thing that you really need though, and the thing that developers care far more about

00:12:31   than anything related to interface, usability, customer relationship, is actual sales.

00:12:39   Is cash on the barrelhead, how am I making money on this platform?

00:12:45   And the thing that I benefit from is I have almost the same app, my audiobooks app, available

00:12:54   in the iOS store, the Google store, and the Amazon store.

00:12:58   It has both a free and a paid app at 99 cents.

00:13:02   And in all cases, it allows me to kind of get some comparison.

00:13:09   It's in a very narrow genre.

00:13:10   It's in a very narrow feature set.

00:13:14   But the data is useful, I think.

00:13:18   If for no other reason than it's the only data we have that is publicly available for

00:13:26   something that is across all three stores.

00:13:29   And the thing that is so striking is Amazon versus Google.

00:13:36   Amazon is getting crushed.

00:13:39   They're worse by almost a factor of 20 on both free and paid to Google Market, which

00:13:45   makes sense because even though they're one of the largest retailers in the world, in

00:13:51   order to actually buy an app on your Android device from the Amazon store, you have to

00:13:56   do a horrible set of very technical things to enable downloads.

00:14:02   And then you look at the iOS store.

00:14:05   And the remarkable thing there is they're about 800 times better than the Amazon store.

00:14:12   And that's why I'm going to be sticking with iOS very much exclusively.

00:14:17   At this point I've almost entirely abandoned Android.

00:14:20   I think it's interesting.

00:14:22   I think it's targeting at a useful, you know, it's filling an interesting market niche.

00:14:26   But the people who buy Android phones aren't people who seem to like buying apps.

00:14:32   And since I sell apps, that doesn't work.

00:14:36   Alright, well that's the end of this show.

00:14:39   Like I said, this is episode 0.1, a beta, a test of where this is going.

00:14:45   Hopefully you liked it, hopefully it's interesting, and this will continue and develop as we go.

00:14:51   Thank you, and have a great day.