Under the Radar

Under the Radar 110: Workouts++ 2.0 Launch Diary


  hello and welcome to a slightly

  different episode of under-the-radar if

  you're a longtime listener to show you

  might remember that back last December

  when I launched workouts plus plus I

  kept a kind of a bday diary of the

  experience that I think ended up turning

  into a pretty interesting episode I'm

  honestly personally very glad to have

  recorded it just because so often for

  these kinds of things you you have this

  experience and honestly with independent

  development you often have the

  experience complete or served by

  yourself largely and it's you never

  really get the benefit of kind of

  recalling and remembering and just you

  know having this memento going forward

  and so it's very great to record it and

  so today this is December 12 2017 about

  a year later I'm launching the 2.0

  update of workouts plus plus and as a

  result it seemed like a good opportunity

  to record my experiences again and

  hopefully this is interesting and

  somewhat instructive it's funny thing

  launching a 2.0 update as opposed to

  conversion one ivory listen to a bit of

  the I first launched a diary for

  workouts plus plus and there's a lot of

  apprehension and a lot of the sense of

  complete unknown about how it will react

  to it about you know how it's going to

  go I felt like there was a lot more

  riding on it a 2.0 update it feels

  different like this is a substantial

  update and it's something that I've been

  working almost exclusively on for three

  or four months now it's a large

  substantial investment you know any of

  my time but I'll say that I'm less

  worried about it then I was for version

  1 just because I know the core concept

  sort of works you know then it was I had

  the experience of workouts plus plus 1.0

  to tell me that and then think also I'm

  just feeling

  slightly liberated by the fact that as I

  discussed I think on four or three or

  four episodes ago free with benefits I

  think was the name of the episode there

  was I made the decision that for this

  update I'm just making the app

  completely free that I'm using this more

  as a marketing tool to expand awareness

  of my other apps to just in general try

  and see if I can make the app broadly

  used or you know get wide acceptance and

  focus on those things rather than on

  trying to you in the short term make

  money and that is incredibly liberating

  that I'd it's a little weird to not have

  the sense of you know if the day goes

  really well often there would have been

  some kind of you know it's like this

  direct payday but it's quite liberating

  in some ways to just say like you know

  whatever the day is like this is just

  step one in trying to build a big broad

  audience for the application and

  hopefully you know if the app does

  really well today that's a good step

  toward that process but beyond that it's

  it's quite liberating to just be able to

  say you know what let's see what happens

  and if it doesn't quite go right I guess

  you know I'll just continue to sort of

  adjust and you know redirect the app had

  new features try marketing things just I

  have the opportunity to do that in kind

  of a fun way but we'll see it's

  currently about 5:43 a.m. it's a bit

  early but I've started working kind of

  early recently and so I'm just doing a

  little bit of work before the launch

  gets started I expect to launch the app

  just before 9 o'clock or so or these

  that's when I'll put hit go and iTunes

  Connect and then probably do after 9:00

  once everything is propagated hopefully

  I'll actually you know start sort of

  start to promote it and talk about it so

  at this point I'm just going through and

  editing my sort of launch blog post

  where I outline the features and

  starting to think of any kind of

  checklist items that I need to do

  because one thing I've learned from

  doing several launches is it's pretty

  important for me

  to have a like a checklist of things

  that I want to do and think about that

  now when I'm not kind of in the anxious

  excited excitable phase and just write

  them all down so right now I'm just

  gonna be editing blog posts and thinking

  of things I might want to do later on

  today and then you know I'll check back

  in in a little bit as we get closer to

  when I hit go it is now 6:35 a.m. and

  this is where the day transitions to do

  kind of uh I guess a true indie mode

  because as much as I'm excited and

  focused on launching the app I am now

  going to be transitioning to family

  stuff and like getting my kids bright

  breakfast and getting them ready due off

  to school and then I'll go and drive my

  son to school and drop them off and then

  come back and it is one of those things

  that I feel like is both lovely and

  complicated about being an independent

  developer where you your personal life

  and your professional life are so close

  together I try very hard to have them

  not over lap too much and get into

  intermixed and you know that can cause

  lots of problems but they're very close

  together you know I'm finishing up this

  update and it's a pretty big day for the

  business overall I you know I'm about to

  just go and make breakfast and do that

  kind of stuff and then I'll come back

  and I'll do some work and it's kind of

  one of those funny things about being in

  this role where you're never really away

  from work and you're never really away

  from home and it is nice I will say on a

  day like this to have that balance to

  have that thing that's grounding me that

  me know my kids you know we're launching

  an app today and they're kind of excited

  and motivating and encouraging about

  that but at the same time it's not

  something that they're really

  understanding like it's still just

  another day for them in a lot of ways

  and they're gonna you know we're just

  going to go have breakfast like we

  normally do have a normal morning and

  then you know I'll be coming back to

  work and it's a you know a significant

  day and that grounding effect is

  definitely very nice and it helps me I'm

  getting to in my head or you know to

  concerned or worried about you know what

  the day is gonna look like all right it

  is 829 a.m. I am sitting in traffic

  coming a home from dropping my son off

  at school a lot of mixed feelings

  because it's initially as soon as I get

  home I will be launching the app so I'm

  thinking about it a lot it's worth

  mentioning briefly the reason it might

  sound different beyond just being me

  rather than me and Marco this week is

  I'm recording on a mobile recorder just

  so that I can do things like this that

  it can be a diary throughout the day

  wherever I am not just every moment that

  I'm stuck in the desk so if it sounds a

  little different if the quality isn't

  quite what you're used to

  I understand that's what's going on

  there I also thought it'd be an

  interesting probably good time to talk a

  little bit about the update itself and

  why I'm excited about it even what's

  what's what's happening with this update

  so we're castles plus 2.0 is the three

  main features like the marquee features

  our watch based podcast playback

  location tracking and zoom support as

  well as there's a whole bunch of other

  stuff but those are the big three and in

  a lot of ways it's kind of finishing the

  app that I started with workouts plus

  plus 1.0 because in workouts plus plus

  1.0 a lot of those things just weren't

  really possible things like swimming

  support wasn't great until four point

  until watch OS 4.0 location tracking

  just wasn't possible before 4.0 and

  podcast playback support was sort of

  possible before but not really but

  wasn't really quite as compelling until

  we got the LTE have a watches so those

  are that's sort of the big three main

  big main features and in addition to

  that there's just the whole host of

  other stuff it has Siri integration a

  new design I did a lot of work on the

  charting that I do in the app so to

  display your heart rate and your speed

  over time there's a lot of other kind of

  things like that but those are the three

  main features and it's funny because I

  think the thing that most people are

  probably like in

  the initial audience of the app my guess

  I mean this is entirely speculative but

  my guess is that most people are going

  to be interested in the watch based

  podcast playback because it's a really

  tricky problem to solve it's kind of

  hard and it's anytime I was I'm able to

  solve a problem that ostensibly isn't

  solvable I always you know I'm excited

  about that that I was able to because of

  a lot of the weird mechanics of how a

  workout apps work I was able to get

  blood podcast playback working pretty

  well and watch in practice I imagine the

  actual number of people who use the app

  for about podcast playback is gonna be

  relatively small um in my own experience

  it's really really really nice in a

  really narrow use case to have podcast

  playback on the watch things like going

  out for a run and it's delightful if you

  have an LTE watch to just go out and run

  with just your watch no phone you just

  put your ear pods in and off you go like

  that's that's delightful but that's a

  relatively small number of people who I

  think are going to be using it for that

  purpose like the location tracking and

  the swimming support is actually

  probably a much more important to most

  of my customers but I think it's going

  to be funny today because I think more

  attention is going to come from the sort

  of the niche feature rather than the

  core feature but I mean part of why I

  made the niche feature is because it's

  good for press and also it's something

  that I just wanted for myself

  when I started off making podcasts

  playback for workouts plus plus I

  started off doing it not really

  expecting necessarily that I was going

  to ever be able to ship it that it would

  ever be good enough to actually release

  because I thought there was gonna be too

  many weird caveats and quirks and things

  I had to work around but in the end it

  actually did work out and it's it's

  shippable and it it works but I'd

  created it mostly for myself for those

  rare situations where I'm gonna be you

  know wanted to go for a run and don't

  want to carry my phone because I really

  hate having the little pouch that I have

  to you know strap onto my arm or onto my

  waist and so it's quite nice to not have

  that um Bay yeah so this is kind of the

  core features and then it's just a like

  a lot of other stuff like it's one of

  these updates where you know I probably

  added you know 40 50 features and in

  total over the course of the update

  and in aggregate it's you know it

  dramatically changes the way that the

  app feels in the way that the Hat yep

  behaves but no one of them other than

  those three are these kind of like huge

  big marquee features but anyway so I'm

  driving home I'll be home soon and then

  I'll be flipping the switch so you know

  unless I just it's like it's a little

  bit scary he's like I'm delighted to be

  excited to go home but I'm also a little

  bit nervous because once it's once I

  flip the switch then it's out in the

  world and in kind of a weird way it's

  it's sort of like I don't know it's like

  asking someone out on a date or

  something where you have to sort of put

  yourself out there but anytime I launch

  an app it's not just this thing that you

  know is between me and with some of my

  close friends now everyone is gonna see

  it and and I hopefully like it but maybe

  not like it and so those kind of

  feelings are really complicated but you

  know anyway I'll be home soon and we'll

  go from there all right so it is now

  8:55 a.m. and I'm here with my wife but

  because it's I was gonna ask her if she

  wanted to push the button she's been the

  very supportive wife who's but born with

  me as I've gone through this update so

  it seemed only right that she would push

  the actual release of this version

  button I'm pretty actually very honored

  and excited to do this because I have

  never shipped it out there you go your


  you're about to ship it here we go

  release this version I see the spinning

  this is very exciting lots of spinning

  and their wares that say and thereof the

  the incredibly uncanny anticlimactic

  part of this it's like and then nothing

  happens please not right away

  so then we just wait and see for how

  long it takes to propagate through the

  app store it is now 912 am and I'm just

  sitting here refreshing the app store

  page in a browser they used to do this

  in iTunes then the iTunes got rid of the

  app store so now I'm just sitting here

  in a browser

  refresh refresh refresh hoping that it

  comes out and the hits the AppStore soon

  so I can sort of get out of waiting mode

  yeah otherwise it's this is the weird

  part of the day where you you hit go and

  then you have no idea how long it'll be

  until it's actually go time

  it is 922 am still frantically


  9:38 am getting close to an hour now

  since I hit go and I'm still waiting

  alright it is now basically ten o'clock

  thanks for getting serious I'm still

  waiting for it to propagate to the App

  Store but I'm giving my command and my R

  key at rest by I created a Pingdom alert

  now for the App Store page just so once

  a minute it's checking it and will alert

  me when it's a 2.0 finally appears in

  the App Store and desperate times call

  for desperate measures

  so this morning is not going at all how

  I expected it would be yeah so it's

  still enough not showing up in the App

  Store and I would plan to ready to go

  and run a few errands and then go to the

  gym and just at this point I figure

  things that have settled down so I'm

  still just gonna I'm gonna go run my

  errands go to the gym I guess I could

  say I'm doing some field testing for a

  workouts plus plus during that and then

  just wait and see hopefully I'll get an

  alert at some point that it's up but

  yeah not exactly how I expected my

  morning to go

  oh well sweet is now midday noon and

  still no sign of it appearing in the App

  Store I've run all my errands I'm at the

  gym I'm about to go to a workout if

  it'll that I mean everything or nothing

  to you that the work I'm about to go do

  is a very eternal fight gone bad so I

  will be thoroughly worked out and I

  guess testing my app over the next hours

  and then hopefully eventually it'll

  appear in the App Store and I can move

  on so it's now 4 p.m. and I realize this

  does not make good radio what's

  ever just here report after a report of

  the app never propagating but at least

  on the plus side in a weird way I've

  gotten a lot of reports for other apps

  are also having the same trouble so it

  seems like I just picked a bad day in

  the App Store is for some reason having

  a massive pickup today and not updating

  and not propagating so I don't really

  know what that means the kind of awkward

  thing is at some point it'll just appear

  and so like that and I just be in the

  middle of the night and I don't really

  know but yeah it's a bit frustrating

  alright is now 5 p.m. and I guess I'm

  gonna take a break from my vigil I mean

  I've been able to do a few other things

  work wise today but overall it's been a

  bit of a bit of a waste of the day so

  far alright it is 6:30 p.m. and finally

  progress many many many hours later we

  finally have some progress the app seems

  to be profs learning to propagate I now

  have new screenshots but old version

  texts in the App Store which makes me

  think that finally it's coming the

  moment is finally here it's a little

  awkward that it's 6:30 at night but

  we'll just do our best so I thought

  about it a while it's about 6 54 now

  about exactly what I was going to do and

  I think I've decided is I'm gonna do

  kind of a soft launch tonight just like

  a tweet just putting it out there that

  hey the updates out it's include some

  basic features and then tomorrow morning

  I'll do kind of a more concerted push

  and effort but I want to kind of just

  put it out there in the world but this

  update is there it's available am i

  thinking there is just I don't want to

  have anybody who is essentially thinking

  of linking to it or written press or

  something something like it's kind of in

  this kind of this weird embargoed state

  I'd rather just kind of say hey it's out

  there you know but do my big push in the

  morning I don't know if it's the right

  right idea and honestly at this point

  I'm just kind of exhausted but that's

  what I've decided to do so well you know

  do that and see what see where to go


  so it's now see 754 p.m. the tweets are

  tweeted things are you know going pretty

  well I'd say the reception in so far has

  been generally pretty positive and inked

  you know encouraging which is which is

  lovely and it's kind of funny though

  because I've been doing this kind of app

  store stuff for so much longer now that

  I'm at a point where well I'm excited

  about the launch well it's you know it's

  a really fun and you know important part

  of the process the actual importance of

  it to me is is dramatically reduced

  compared to what it may have been a few

  years ago because while I know it's an

  important part of you know having a

  building an apps audience you know the

  real test for the app and the real

  importance for the app is not how it

  performs in the next 24 hours you know

  it's how it performs the next 24 weeks

  and you're making choices and directing

  things to hopefully allow it to be

  sustainable in the long term so now the

  timber is in a weird way

  Mike the enthusiasm for today because

  you know any realize that it's a long

  journey from here but you know

  nevertheless today going well isn't it

  with less very encouraging I gotta say

  real-time analytics are both the most

  wonderful and the most awful terrible

  thing in the world of it you might not

  know this but if you go into the

  affiliate console so if you have like a

  link to something in the App Store you

  can create an affiliate link where you

  get a little commission but mostly I use

  it so I can kind of keep track of where

  my links are coming from and inside of

  that panel there's a real-time tracker

  of clicks on those links which is great

  except it also just means that I'm just

  sitting here and have been sitting here

  for the last five minutes just watching

  this ticker go by you know every time

  someone clicks on a link to workouts

  plus plus in the App Store so yeah Oh

  wonderful but also terrible certainly if

  I was trying to get some

  work done all right it is coming up on

  10 o'clock at night things are settling

  down it's kind of nice I'm up later than

  I usually am it's about past my bedtime

  but I wanted to just sort of you know be

  aware if there's any issues that jumped

  up I am honestly kind of nervous about

  in the morning when I had a lot of

  people who say hey can't wait to use it

  first thing in the morning for my

  morning run

  I'll have tested the app like you know

  as much as I can I take it very

  seriously the responsibility of people

  we know recording their workouts in the

  app and expecting it to work flawlessly

  and so how a little nervous now and

  we'll hopefully I feel a bit better in

  the morning when I get a few reports

  back of things working correctly

  but right now I'm just tired you know

  I've been up for a long time at this

  point had kind of a rough day middle of

  the day anyway and but overall things

  are going good I'll check in in the

  morning I do my little publicity push

  and kind of move on to the next phase of

  things it is now about 8:30 on Wednesday

  morning so the next the day after the

  launch Espo's and yeah things are good

  things went well overnight I was up a

  little bit late just respond to people

  on Twitter and just kind of getting a

  general sense of things and watching

  those curses real-time reports and

  overall I'd say you know things seemed

  well there's a couple issues around

  podcast import and transfer but I always

  knew those were going to be the rough


  honestly I'm most glad that I haven't

  had any reports of things going on with

  you know data loss or things like that

  like that's an area that I will say it's

  like the one thing I always remember

  when I was taking classes in college and

  they would talk about like sort of

  real-time systems and things where the

  you know it's like you know if like a

  flight control software or something

  where you can't make a mistake because

  you know then people will get hurt and

  while I'm delighted that I don't work on

  any high software like that and I was

  kind of decided that I do really just

  didn't want to go

  down that road the closest thing to it

  in a weird way that I do is safeguarding

  people's workout data that you know I

  take it very seriously that people take

  their data very seriously and you know

  took a tremendous amount of effort to

  make sure that even if things go funny

  like the app crashes or battery watches

  that battery runs out on your watch or

  whatever like the data is safe and

  you'll be able to get it back so

  thankfully so far that seems to have

  worked and I haven't had any you know

  widespread reports and you know overall

  the reception's been pretty good I was

  noticed that I was mentioned on nine to

  five Mac and Mac rumors which I was not

  expecting at all which was super cool

  and like kind of it's always exciting

  when you just see Rab mentioned and you

  know something a publication that you

  read normally but you know how did I

  know expectation or guess that that was

  gonna happen they just picked it up from

  somewhere else I suppose I hadn't

  reached out to them so like that was

  super cool yeah now I'm about to publish

  on my like a blog post and I'll do kind

  of a little a secondary push this

  morning and then just kind of settle

  into it and you know see where the app

  goes alright I'm going to wrap up this

  diary at this point it's you know the

  day after P launch too late as it was

  and you know things are settling down

  the place this is the I have a few kind

  of closing thoughts and things that are

  just sort of the realities of launch and

  you know this the Steyr didn't go

  exactly how I planned but I think in

  many ways that's that's something that's

  interesting to discuss before I do that

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  sponsoring this show so in close some

  closing thoughts I was trying to think

  of how I could wrap this up and really I

  think you know in many ways then he'd be

  unfortunate but still meaningful lesson

  of this experience is making sure that

  you have you know manager expectations

  for something like this that you know

  the launch went well it was picked up in

  places I was not expecting to be picked

  up as best I can tell from initial sales

  and response it went you know and as

  well as I could have hoped for

  you know things things are good but I

  think it's often easy to end up with

  kind of like a movie in your mind right

  like you end up with this expectation

  that is outsized to reality and in that

  I think that's the reality of what

  happened to me in this case and you know

  things like it being delayed and you

  know I have planning around I launched a

  particular time and that not happening

  but you know that that's life that's

  what's going to happen but I think the

  thing that is probably most important to

  remember is that you know it's like the

  this is just day one this is the first

  couple days it doesn't actually matter

  probably in practice or in reality you

  know what Pratt what matters in practice

  is what happens over the next few weeks

  few months like that's the life of the

  app not not today

  and what's really probably important for

  today and this is something then not

  encourage every anyone launching

  anything to do is to just celebrate the

  accomplishment of getting to this point

  my wife is incredibly good at this and

  you know like we're having a fancy steak

  dinner tonight at home just to celebrate

  this and she makes a big deal out of you

  know getting to this point because you

  know especially when you're an

  independent developer you have you you

  know your family is your team in that

  and you know if I was working at a

  bigger company maybe we would you know

  I'll go out too I'll go out to a nice

  lunch or go out to a happy hour or

  something like you might have a

  celebrate you know have a cake in the

  break room whatever it is like you may

  have something that you would do but you

  know being a one-man shop like it was

  yeah if you remember back to the

  beginning of this this episode I had had

  my wife push the release button which

  was kind of exciting and then also like

  you know we're celebrating it tonight

  and it might making a big deal out of it

  by being intentional about that I think

  it's an important part of you know it's

  like you can only do so much and I think

  we were saying we always you know it's a

  its base but it's parenting advice but

  we always talk about in the in my my my

  family about you know we praise

  performance not outcome we focus on you

  know the input the effort the how much

  effort you put into something your

  intention about it and we feel good I

  and focus on that rather than the

  outcome you know I it makes no sense to

  have your goal be tune if your goal is

  to have a number one app say for

  whatever definition of a number one that

  is the unfortunate thing about having

  that as a goal is you have no control

  over that directly you can't do anything

  to make that happen

  it may happen or may not happen but most

  of the reasons why it would happen are

  outside of your control you know you say

  I want to have and want to hit number

  one on launch day like if that's your

  goal then the reality is what if someone

  else lunches on that day and they have a

  better app than you you're not going to

  meet your goal

  but you did everything you could right

  focus on the on the input and like I'm

  very proud of that work I put into this

  the effort it took the you know the

  patience it took my goodness there was

  so much testing with this app update but

  the focusing by focusing on those things

  and this it's a hard thing like it's so

  easy to just focus on the tangibles and

  the measurables because I think that's


  it's easier to do and if there's a

  natural inclination to to focus just

  something that's a bit more measurable

  but you know focus on the outcome or

  focus on the performance

  of the work that I did we're gonna

  celebrate we're gonna hopefully you know

  and then move on from here and I think

  that that's what I mean that's what I'm

  doing this I'd encourage anyone to do

  make sure you manage your expectations

  and you know hopefully that will be

  enough to have a good launch and to

  finally having a good launch as you know

  if they think things not falling apart

  when it gets out into the world like

  that's something that you have control

  over and some that you can do so anyway

  hopefully this diary was interesting I

  know these episodes are a bit different

  than what normal yeah Marco and I will

  be back for a normally scheduled program

  next week so if this is not your thing

  don't worry and I will talk to you next

  week thank you so much for listening and

  thank you to Leonard for supporting the