Developing Perspective

#48: All Good Thingsā€¦


00:00:00   Hello and welcome to Developing Perspective. Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing

00:00:04   news of note in iOS development, Apple and the like. I'm your host, David Smith. I'm

00:00:09   an independent iOS developer based in Herndon, Virginia. Developing Perspective is never

00:00:12   longer than 15 minutes and is recorded about three or four times a week. This is show number

00:00:16   48 and today is Monday, May 21st. So before I get into the main topic for today's

00:00:23   show, I have a bit of a sidebar. And so last Friday was actually my birthday. I turned

00:00:29   And so as a result, I was kind of offline for most of the day, and when I finally got back at the end of the day,

00:00:35   I discovered that the talk show had moved from

00:00:38   5x5 and being co-hosted with Dan Benjamin and John Gerber to being moved to the Mule Network

00:00:44   and being just hosted by John and a variety of what sounds like a rotating array of co-hosts and individuals.

00:00:51   And it was interesting as a result of

00:00:55   being gone and then reading through that all at once and all of what the

00:00:58   discussion and what people were saying

00:01:00   and I had a lot of people who

00:01:02   asked me my opinion about it. I think it's sort of no

00:01:05   secret that I'm a big fan of 5x5. I've written software for 5x5.

00:01:09   I listen to pretty much every show

00:01:13   I have for years. I listen to most of them live. I'm fairly well-known quantity in the

00:01:17   chat room, all those kinds of things.

00:01:19   So a lot of people were just kind of curious, you know, what I had to say and what my

00:01:22   thoughts were.

00:01:24   It's not the kind of thing that I want to go into much or say a lot about,

00:01:27   primarily because I don't think there's that much to say,

00:01:30   but I think there's a few things that are worth mentioning that I just kind of wanted to

00:01:34   put out there,

00:01:35   and this just seemed the best

00:01:36   platform to do so.

00:01:39   So first, the basics is, you know, John now has a new show called

00:01:42   still called The Talk Show, but

00:01:45   distributed through the Mule Network and kind of run by him.

00:01:49   In some ways that makes me kind of excited. It was really interesting to

00:01:52   listen to the first episode and to see what the talk show is like when John's having to

00:01:58   do a lot more of the work.

00:01:59   I mean to work, sort of be doing a lot of the organization and the management on it,

00:02:03   I think it was a really interesting sort of a transition.

00:02:07   That said, I'm genuinely sad.

00:02:11   When I heard the news, it was kind of like some of my...

00:02:16   Something that I love is either changed fundamentally or gone away or whatever kind of we want to

00:02:21   say about it. And that made me sad. And judging from what I see a lot of people saying, it

00:02:25   made a lot of people both sad and angry, and then some people just plain mean. And so there's

00:02:32   a couple of things that have sort of come to mind about this that seems, you know, I'm

00:02:36   a little disappointed that it seemed like all of a sudden, you know, sort of the Apple

00:02:41   tech community and news and things kind of turned into an issue of Us Weekly. And we're

00:02:47   like all spec-- it's all the speculation and talking and backstabbing and, oh,

00:02:51   intrigue and conspiracy theory and blah, blah, blah.

00:02:54   Like, I mean, it kind of just makes me want to be like, come on, guys.

00:02:58   This-- I mean, this is not-- this is not reality television.

00:03:02   These are two guys who've done a lot of work over a very long time

00:03:07   to produce a excellent show that we've all enjoyed.

00:03:11   And it's entirely reasonable and understanding

00:03:13   that we have some emotion when that is potentially going away, when something that we love is

00:03:20   either changing in a fundamental way or disappearing entirely or however you want to look at it.

00:03:25   But I mean, come on, let's be adult about this.

00:03:29   It is something that is entirely between John and Dan, and the reasons and the circumstances

00:03:36   are none of our business.

00:03:38   And while it's certainly something I don't think it's productive to say, "Oh, well, people

00:03:42   shouldn't feel that way, you know, people feel how they feel.

00:03:45   I am kind of disappointed that it's something that a lot of people didn't seem to be able

00:03:49   to sort of channel that sadness or the frustration they feel or whatever, you know, into a more

00:03:54   productive kind of an appreciative way.

00:03:57   I mean, when I saw that, when I heard about it, it's like I went back and I sort of dug

00:04:01   up and worked out how long the talk show has been.

00:04:04   I mean, it's been running for years and years.

00:04:07   Even before, many of you may not even know, there was an original talk show before Five

00:04:11   by five that was kind of the talk shows are almost like a reboot of that

00:04:14   original show with Dan and John and I worked it out and I think it's about a

00:04:17   hundred and fifty nine hours which is almost seven days of audio you know 24/7

00:04:24   basically of you know just John and Dan talking and that's a gift that they gave

00:04:28   us that fair enough they made some money from it but in reality I mean that

00:04:32   effort was a gift that they gave us as a community for our entertainment for

00:04:36   and to help educate and inform us to just provide something

00:04:41   that was an enjoyable part of our week.

00:04:43   And mostly I'm just thankful.

00:04:45   I'm just thankful for what they did,

00:04:47   for them putting that together,

00:04:48   for allowing me to enjoy that and to be part of it.

00:04:51   And I'm sad, but I don't want to,

00:04:56   I'd say I'm not going to sort of spoil that memory

00:04:58   and spoil the experience that I had

00:04:59   over the last whatever couple of years

00:05:04   by getting all into speculation and backstabbing about what's

00:05:08   going on behind the scenes.

00:05:10   That's not productive.

00:05:11   I'm just thankful.

00:05:12   And I don't think Dan or John listened to the show.

00:05:16   But if they did, I just want to say thank you.

00:05:18   And I'm sorry that it didn't work out to continue,

00:05:22   but all good things come to an end.

00:05:26   And I think there's a side topic to this that's

00:05:28   sort of the broader theme of what a lot of this

00:05:31   has made me think about over the week.

00:05:33   and it is actually interesting for a little bit of nostalgia I was listening to some old,

00:05:37   some of my favorite episodes of the talk show and one specifically was episode 56,

00:05:41   which I have in the show notes, which and specifically a lot of that seemed kind of

00:05:47   oddly poignant about it was episode 56 is the episode where they talk about

00:05:51   Steve Jobs resigning from Apple. So this isn't, you know, associated when he died, this is when

00:05:57   he resigned as CEO and a lot of what they actually talked about which seemed oddly poignant was what

00:06:03   what do you do and how do you manage

00:06:06   the end of something that you sort of

00:06:08   you never wanted to happen that you don't want

00:06:12   you know you'd say no really what you say you always wanted steve to be at the

00:06:15   head of the home of apple

00:06:16   and that they had some point

00:06:18   that had that that came to an end and it's kind of interesting to see here

00:06:22   john and dan have walking through that process

00:06:25   uh... and talking about managing that which is much the same experience that i

00:06:27   think a lot of fun you know talk show fans are going through

00:06:31   Obviously the circumstances are different and so on, but very interesting to kind of

00:06:35   do and I'd recommend if you're a big talk show listener or fan to go back and listen

00:06:39   to that.

00:06:40   It just felt really kind of significant to listen to it in this context.

00:06:45   But I think the lesson is sort of to be thinking about going forward.

00:06:49   And I realize, just come on people, let's just start looking forward.

00:06:53   They've got new shows, subscribe to them, listen to them, check them out, see what you

00:06:57   think.

00:06:58   on their own merits, don't just sort of dive into them

00:07:01   and with some baggage coming from the breakup or whatever.

00:07:07   But I think it's important with so many things

00:07:10   to think of things that nothing is permanent.

00:07:14   And it's so easy to take for granted

00:07:16   that some things will just kind of last forever,

00:07:19   that you get used to some things being the way they are.

00:07:23   But in reality, it's probably good as a businessman.

00:07:26   as good as an individual to have some sense of the impermanence of things, that all things

00:07:33   kind of pass away. And embracing and understanding that, that doesn't make the emotion around

00:07:40   that feel any better, but just kind of being aware of that is good. You can kind of say,

00:07:44   "Oh, well, I mean, it's like Apple is currently the king, the undisputed king of the mobile

00:07:50   world, especially in the context of this show, it's like of app development. If you want

00:07:55   to make money on an app, I mean, iOS is by leagues and bounds the best place to do it.

00:08:02   But that's going to change at some point. You kind of think about Microsoft 10 years

00:08:07   ago, 15 years ago, or IBM before that, or all these places where these things that feel

00:08:13   like they're going to last forever, they won't. And that's sad, but it's just kind of dealing

00:08:20   with that and being aware of that is something that you kind of want to keep in mind. And

00:08:24   And I think often the best things come out of the end of other things.

00:08:31   Apple as it is today in many ways came out of the end of Next.

00:08:34   And if you loved Next back in the day and were really sad when they stopped being Next

00:08:41   and merged back into Apple or whatever, you would have missed out on a whole fantastic

00:08:47   ride.

00:08:48   So that's just kind of where I end up.

00:08:50   I just end up in a place of gratitude.

00:08:52   I'm thankful for what they did.

00:08:53   I'm hopeful for what the future will hold, what that's going to look like for us.

00:08:58   And just sort of, it's a good reinforcer that some of the things you take for granted as

00:09:02   always being there, maybe they won't be.

00:09:05   All right, so that's just a bit of a sidebar.

00:09:06   Like I said, a lot of people have asked me about it, and I just kind of want to put it

00:09:09   out a few, you know, eight, nine minutes of just talking about it.

00:09:13   And that's all I'm going to say.

00:09:15   And so, you know, so stop asking.

00:09:17   And the main topic for today's show is a suggestion for a topic that was recommended by Nick Burns,

00:09:25   who's one of the fellow listeners.

00:09:26   And so if you have any...

00:09:27   And basically, he just, you know, after he replied to me on Twitter, which is the best

00:09:31   way to suggest a topic if you have one.

00:09:33   And he was curious about the process of being featured in the App Store, what that looks

00:09:38   like and, you know, sort of the artwork and the interactions between Apple involved with

00:09:43   that.

00:09:44   And so that's kind of going to be the main topic for today.

00:09:46   And so basically, when you say featured in the App Store, what we mean is that Apple

00:09:51   every week, roughly on Thursday evening, East Coast time, they put out a new list of apps

00:09:56   that they're going to promote and they're going to put them most significantly in the

00:09:59   leftmost tab of the App Store app on everyone's phone or on everybody's iPad.

00:10:04   And they're featured.

00:10:06   They're actively encouraging people to go and download these.

00:10:08   Now the process by which Apple puts together that list is entirely secretive.

00:10:16   there's no sort of external view for how they choose those shows, but choosing those shows

00:10:20   is incredibly lucrative as a developer. I mean, there's probably nothing short of a

00:10:25   very few kind of news outlets promoting your app that would do as much for sales as being

00:10:30   promoted as a featured app. It is ten, a hundred times sales for that week. And so you definitely

00:10:37   want to sort of be featured. And really the only way that you can try and be featured

00:10:43   is to make your app awesome and to get lots of people talking about it.

00:10:46   That seems to be the only pattern about it.

00:10:49   Some of it, the app reviewers are kind of flagging apps, some of it seems to be

00:10:53   if the press is talking about it, if you're getting on big sites,

00:10:56   those kinds of things, if there's a lot of buzz, you're trying to attract Apple's attention.

00:11:01   Now the kind of mechanics of the feature is actually fairly simple.

00:11:04   Because it's such a black box closed experience, there's really not much that you have to do about it.

00:11:08   You'll just sort of discover one day that your app is featured.

00:11:12   and that's in general.

00:11:14   There's a certain kind, each week there's about, I think it's eight apps that are

00:11:18   sort of super featured or whatever you want to call it, and they get kind of marquee

00:11:21   treatment.

00:11:22   And if you happen to be one of those,

00:11:24   you'll potentially get contacted by somebody at Apple.

00:11:29   The exact details of that I think vary from

00:11:32   instance to instance, but it's a story I've heard many times as well as being involved in

00:11:36   myself where

00:11:37   you'll get contacted and they say, "Hey, we're thinking of doing a promotional

00:11:41   campaign or feature this, we'll need some artwork from you.

00:11:44   And if that happens, you just kind of jump up and answer that call and give them exactly

00:11:50   what they want as quickly as you can because they're probably going to be making you a

00:11:54   lot of money.

00:11:55   So if you ever get a call from Apple asking you for assets, call your designer, get them

00:11:59   out of bed, have them work on it as quick as they can, get it over to them so they can

00:12:04   put your app front and center.

00:12:06   And usually this is kind of, if you go to iTunes, you're kind of probably familiar with

00:12:09   this, we have the big block marquee, you know, where it's, you're looking at, you know, it's

00:12:13   a big promotion of like the app of the week or something like that. And so they're taking

00:12:17   something beyond just the app's icon and putting it in a context. So often it's, you know,

00:12:20   it's kind of a big banner treatment. And, you know, basically, all this entire process

00:12:25   though is very passive. There's something active that you, that you're really involved.

00:12:29   You're just kind of responding to what Apple has to say. And when you're featured, basically,

00:12:33   you can be featured in a couple of different ways. There's, I think there's new and noteworthy

00:12:37   staff picks, there's often topical ones, you know, so it's like if it's Mother's Day, there'll

00:12:41   be a Mother's Day feature. If your app's related to Mother's Day, you may have a chance of

00:12:44   getting in there. But generally, you know, you just kind of wait and hope and make your

00:12:50   app as good as it can be in the hopes that that would one day happen. And the best part

00:12:54   about being featured is often apps that are featured once will kind of continue to be

00:12:58   featured in various ways going forward. It kind of has this, because the app universe

00:13:04   is so big, once you're kind of in that small pool of apps that are on Apple's radar, they're

00:13:10   kind of more likely to look at that again and to pull that up as you go.

00:13:15   So it's definitely something that's great, and I wish there was a simple way to say,

00:13:20   "Hey, if you do this, that, and the other, you can try and be featured."

00:13:23   I mean, people have done all kinds of crazy things.

00:13:24   Like, I remember there was a time when a lot of people were running Facebook ad campaigns

00:13:28   that would look for people who worked at Apple and sort of try and show them ads for their

00:13:34   apps, you know, because you can target by employer. There's all kinds of things people

00:13:38   have tried. Really, it's just make a good app and try and have the press to talk about

00:13:42   it, and that's probably the best you can ever do. And if it happens, great, fantastic, you

00:13:48   know, high five. It's an awesome thing. It's happened to me twice, I think. One of my apps

00:13:54   was even iPad App of the Week, which was just incredible to see, but, you know, it's just

00:14:01   Just a surprise, and enjoy the surprise, and if you get a call from the San Jose Cupertino

00:14:06   area code, definitely answer, because it's either good news or it's really bad news.

00:14:11   Either way, you want to know right away.

00:14:13   So anyway, that's it for today's show.

00:14:14   A little bit off from the usual pattern, but hopefully the sidebar at the beginning is

00:14:21   helpful for people.

00:14:22   And otherwise, I hope everyone has a good week.

00:14:25   Hope it's starting well.

00:14:27   If you have any questions, comments, concerns, as always, contact me on Twitter.

00:14:30   I'm _DavidSmith. The Twitter feed for this show is @devperspective. And otherwise, have

00:14:37   a good week, happy coding, and I will talk to you soon. Bye.

00:14:40   [click]