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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Creating Great Mobile Apps! (snark)

The following is a re-post of something I said on Facebook just over a year ago. The topic came up today in a conversation on Twitter so I figured it was time to move it to here where others can see it.

Written after Twist went under.


How to create a great mobile (iPhone/Android) app in the current business climate:

  1. Go to school, fail math. HARD.
  2. Have an idea for a cool product.
  3. Get your programming buddies together, create a demo.
  4. Optional: Show it to a venture capitalist. Get lots of money to grease the skids for the first release.
  5. Finish the app.
  6. Release the app. Make it free for everybody. You'll make it up in volume! (See step 1.)
  7. Get lots of users.
  8. Wonder why you're not yet profitable.
  9. (Optional) Get more money from the vulture capitalists!
  10. Spend lots of money on marketing.
  11. Spend lots of time on a big update that makes the app prettier and funnerer.
  12. Wonder why you're still not profitable!
  13. Go out of business. Disappoint the millions of users who would have paid for your app had you let them.
  14. Blame the system. The app store. The market. The business climate. Never consider your own utter failure at math, because who needs math when you have millions of customers ^d^d^d^d^d^d^d^d^d users!
  15. Return to step 2, wiser and stronger for your failure, to create an even better business based on a free app (in a completely different space).

This just keeps happening.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Ten years? Really?

In 2001 my work life was all about Conversant, my personal life was all about Corinne, Shane, and a house full of cats and birds.

I don't remember much about 2002, except that I reconnected with Steve Davis, someone I've known practically since I was a baby. We've always had our faith in common, and found that now we also have our bikes.

Two years later Shane was gone. That's all that year (2004) was about. Nothing else mattered. Hanging on to Corinne, propping her up, making sure she understood how much I love her and need her still, and trying to help her cope with a pain that defies belief.

2005 was a pretty big year. It included the release of Firefox Hacks (my first time in print!), tutoring the Pride kids (Avonlee and Ethan) in math, the PMC and its software auctions, the main author of Firefox Hacks (Nigel McFarlane) committed suicide, Corinne and I met the crew of the Atlantia, Jed moved in with us, I made friends with Jimmy Lehn (morning DJ at a local radio station), and we celebrated Thanksgiving at the Westerly WARM shelter. Finally, 2005 was the year I first started playing with Prototype. (Wow, i can't believe it was that long ago.)

In 2006 I met Greg Pierce years after he had worked for me at Macrobyte, my friend Darren and his wife Angi brought home their adoptees from Nepal, I wrote the "custom events" code for JavaScript that is *still* being used on Apple's web pages, attended the first Rails Conf, and I finally got to meet and begin forming a friendship with Rich Siegel and started working on language modules for his company's main software product, BBEdit. Jed left us, and headed for British Columbia and the woman he would eventually marry. Finally, we met Mike and Shannon late in the year.

2007 was unreal. If not for the pictures, most of it would be forgotten. I helped man the booth for Bare Bones at MacWorld Expo. Mike and Shannon moved in with us. Lauren was born! Mike and Shannon went away for a while. We did our best with Lauren and truly, completely fell in love with her. Visited her parents a lot. Finally met Jim Roepcke and Sean McMains at the second RailsConf (while Corinne stayed home with lauren). Jed married Alycia (and I got to attend, way out there in B.C., while Corinne AGAIN stayed home with Lauren), my grandfather turned eighty, Jed and Alycia came out for a visit (and haven't been back since), Corinne and I celebrated our tenth anniversary, and my sister and brother-in-law had their third daughter.

Shannon came hom again in January of '08. Lauren started walking and talking, and turned one. We got news (on the day Shannon came hom) that the house was being sold so we'd have to move (after ten years). Corinne, Ellyn and Lauren went to FL (Lauren's first plane ride). Richie (Shannon's eldest) came to live with us. My parents came to live with us, for a few months. I went to FL in October with Ellyn and the grandparents to pack them up and move them to Ellyn's house. The year ended with a terrible sprained ankle and a move from Mystic to Westerly.

In January of '09, Mike came home and the family was all back together. Unfortunately, in June they all left again. The relationship slowly thawed, but then in September they disappeared to North Carolina without warning and we thought they (especially Lauren) were gone forever. We got a ten day visit with Lauren in October, but taking her home was the second most difficult and painful thing I've ever done.

2010 started out with a brief visit from the Deanes, but after that the contact (via Skype or telephone) dwindled to nothing within a few months. I entered a serious depression (my first), which I tried to fill or bury with World of Warcraft. In March a rainstorm tried to wipe RI off the map, and in May I was brutally attacked by some blood clots that came from nowhere and landed in my left lung (killing part of it). In June, the Deanes moved back to the area, and we got regular visits with Lauren again. It took her a few minutes to remember us, but once she did it was like we were never apart.

As I write this, Lauren and Corinne are sleeping in my bed, above my office, just a few feet right over my head. I don't know what changes are coming our way next, but right now we have joy and I'm taking nothing for granted.

Happy New Year, everybody.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Three Legged Stool

Retail software is a three legged stool.

  • User Interface
  • Engineering

Right?

Oh, what? There are only two legs there? Huh. What's missing?

Marketing is the third leg. Very rare is the product that can succeed without it, no matter how well crafted. (Yet so many try.)

More on this soon. Something very big is brewing.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Business Card?

Logged into my Google Voice account yesterday and saw an offer to get 25 of these (printed and shipped) for free.

googlevoice card.jpg

How could I pass that up!? :-) Not sure what Google is thinking, but I think they're funny.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Paying for Twitterific

Twitterific IconTwitterific is a great little Twitter client for Mac OS X. I use it for most of the day, almost all day. It makes my one-man-office here at Macrobyte feel a bit like I'm working in a big room full of friends and other developers.

The software is free if you don't mind seeing an ad once an hour. They show up in the same space as the "tweets" and can be skipped or ignored very easily. If you don't like the ads, you can register the software for $15. It's a good deal all around.

Some idiot unhappy person, however, has posted a hack that strips out the ads. People who use this hack are stealing money from the Icon Factory: they didn't pay for the software, and they're not showing the ads.

In response, I just registered my copy. They now have my $15.

The idiot gentleman who posted the hack is defending himself, as if he didn't do anything wrong. Here's how we (all Twitterific users, especially software developers) should respond:

  1. Register your copy of Twitterific for $15
  2. Post a note somewhere to let everybody know you've just registered your copy. (I put mine here, but that was probably overkill.)
  3. Post something on your own weblog. Either point here, or reproduce something like these instructions.

Let's see if we can drum up at least a few hundred registrations for them, to show our support. Turn the idiot's bad behavior into something good for the Icon Factory.

Update 1: Some people think the hack never worked, and that it's just link bait for the idiot. Would be great if that's true, but it lets the air out of this particular challenge. ::shrug:: Oh well. At least our friends at the Icon Factory have seen that we will stand up for them. :-)

Update 2: He's definitely a nut. Some people report the hack never worked anyway. Others say it did.

Update 3 (final?): Sheesh, he's a scary nut. With a banana. Now I'm sorry I called him an idiot. Wouldn't have done that if I had known.

Update 4: Here's a MUCH SHORTER version of this story/challenge. Funny!


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