113 iPS Launching an App in the App Store with Matt Ronge

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01:34 - Matt Ronge Introduction

01:54 - Launching Astropad

05:10 - Being Unique (Unique Selling Proposition)

10:05 - Launch Sequence

12:34 - Approaching the Press

14:31 - Marketing Towards Non-Press Members (Influencers)

16:14 - Launch Day

  • App-Store Purchase
  • Trial

20:51 - Learning to Launch

22:05 - Marketing: Messaging/Communication/Packaging

25:36 - The Technical Story Behind Astropad

32:02 - Marketing After a Launch

34:16 - Splitting Responsibilities

35:42 - Niche Down

Script use for teams for gender neutral environments (Jaim)KanbanFlow (Chuck)HandBrake (Chuck) Hire Chuck for training! Email Chuck@devchat.tvRails Testing Coach (Chuck)The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! by Al Ries (Matt)Computer Networks by Andrew S. Tanenbaum (Matt)Findings (Matt)

Transcript

[This episode is sponsored by Hired.com. Every week on Hired, they run an auction where over a thousand tech companies in San Francisco, New York and L.A. bid on iOS developers, providing them with salary and equity upfront. The average iOS developer gets an average of 5-15 introductory offers and an average salary offer of $130,000/year. Users can either accept an offer and go right into interviewing with a company or deny them without any continuing obligations. It’s totally free for users, and when you're hired they also give you a $2,000 signing bonus as a thank you for using them. But if you use the iPhreaks link, you’ll get a $4,000 bonus instead. Finally, if you're not looking for a job but know someone who is, you can refer them on Hired and get a $1,337 bonus as thanks after the job. Go sign up at Hired.com/iphreaks]**[This episode is sponsored by DevMountain. DevMountain is a coding school with the best, world-class learning experience you can find. DevMountain is a 12-week full time development course. With only 25 spots available, each cohort fills quickly. As a student, you’ll be assigned an individual mentor to help answer questions when you get stuck and make sure you are getting most out of the class. Tuition includes 24-hour access to campus and free housing for our out-of-state applicants. In only 12 weeks, you’ll have your own app in the App store. Learn to code, it’s time! Go to devmountain.com/iphreaks. Listeners of Iphreaks will get a special $250 off when they use the coupon code IPHREAKS at checkout.] **CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to episode 113 of the iPhreaks Show. This week on our panel we have Jaim Zuber. JAIM: Hello. CHUCK: I’m Charles Max Wood from Devchat.tv. And this week we have a special guest, Matt Ronge. MATT: Hi. CHUCK: Do you want to introduce yourself? MATT: Hi, I’m Matt Ronge from Astro HQ where we make Astropad. It’s a new app from iPad that turns the iPad into a graphics tablet so you can draw directly into programs such as photoshop. We just launched on February. CHUCK: Oh, cool. We brought you in today to talk about launching an app in the app store. I’m curious; do you want to start talking about what you did to get Astropad launched and how you help people find it? MATT: Yeah, sure. So we had a really long development process before this as well. The development took us almost a year and a half for Astropad, and we were working on the launch probably about two months in total. And we started – yeah about two months out we worked on the design for a site working on a video because Astropad is a very unique app. We knew that it was going to be hard to explain but it was also an advantage because it was so unique compared to everything out there. We hadn’t really seen an app like it before that would replace a graphics tablet. And so, just to step back a moment, Astropad is – we’re really trying to build it as a replacement for Wacom tablets, so if you’re familiar with Wacom tablets at all, they’re pressure sensitive drawing pads that artists and designers use to get their pressure sensitive input into their favorite creative tool – Photoshop, Illustrator or whatever it is. The problem with them is they are quite frustrating to learn how to use because you’re – there’s this very weird hand-eye coordination you have to learn because normally you’re drawing directly on a piece of paper, but with these, you’re drawing on a pad while you’re looking at the screen, so that’s quite uncomfortable for artists to learn, to change their drawing habits they’ve learned over many years. So Wacom also sells this really high-end device – Wacom Critique – which is a built-in display and pressure sensitive pen input. The problem is they’re really expensive – I’m talking thousands of dollars. So we wanted to see if we could build something like that but use the iPad to do it. And that’s what we did with Astropad and so it’s not a standalone iPad app; it works with your Mac. So we knew that was going to be difficult to get across, because most people are going to expect that it was a standalone iPad app. But this also gave use this really unique, fresh angle when it came to launching our app, which is something I – I got to talk at [inaudible] about launching an app, and one thing I really stressed is having a unique angle, having something fresh, because if you’re yet another to-do app that looks like all other to-do apps that are out there it’s going to be hard for the press to cover you. CHUCK: So I think that’s a really interesting thing. I mean I think a lot of examples out there for “how to learn how to write iOS apps” takes you through writing a to-do app and, yeah, I mean why would people use yours over something else? I really like that angle there. MATT: Yeah, you really – and when I say – as to my talk on launching on the app store is you breathe and begin the development on the product. Your launch begins that, because you need to have that fresh perspective, fresh angle on it. You need to be unique in some way. And the question I pose is you really need to answer for yourself how you’re going to be better or different than what’s already out there. And if you can’t really answer that, it’s going to be hard to sell your app to customers, and even just to launch, it’s going to be really hard to convince the type of press that cover it. JAIM: When you talk about being unique it’s almost as if like catch-22 because a lot of the – the problem, a lot of people are trying to go in the app store [inaudible] and no one has any idea what it is. Is it just about being unique? MATT: Yeah, and you know what, the other thing, too, is you don’t have to reinvent in targeting your category to be unique. On example in my talk is “the to-do” – it’s actually to-do app that’s really successful – Clear, from Realmac Software. And that came out, I think it was 2012, and there were tons of other to-do apps at that time. But this one was really – covered time in the press, had millions of views at their launch videos. It’s been a really successful app. And they didn’t create an entirely new category – it was still a to-do app – but they had a really fresh take on it. They had a flat UI well before iOS 7 so that was interesting. And then the other thing is they built the entire UI around gestures, and there’s no, really, button or anything like that. Their UI is just gesture-based and it was just really novel at that time. In fact when went back to look at the articles from their launch, most articles talked about that unique gesture-based UI. So there’s the part that’s understandable like, “Okay, this is a to-do app,” but then it has this fresh take on the user interaction. And I think if you are too unique – and I think that we’re very concerned about that, actually with Astropad it was so different than what was already out there that we’re afraid that, yeah, people are not going to get it. And I think that is a serious risk and you have to figure out where you’re going to be along that fine line. CHUCK: Yeah, it think that’s interesting, too. I mean, I’ve seen people that reinvent the way things work and people start using the app because it purports to solve a problem and they – it’s so different from what they look at that it’s – they can’t figure out how they use it. It’s not what they expected, and so they lose people even though it is the answer to their problem because they don’t look at it and intuitively know where to go with it. MATT: Yeah, you know I would say it’s best to take certain aspects of it – like the Clear app focused on the gestures – and have the rest of your very recognized [inaudible] of the app so it’s not, “Oh, there’s new concepts I got to learn”. It’s just something – one particular rule of the concept. CHUCK: Do you have any guidelines for people to find their happy medium? So you just change a few features or a few ways of doing things from the norm or– MATT: Well, I would also say, try to look for a newer segment within the market. So for example is – what I actually didn’t get to put in my slides is Sparrow, the e-mail app that came out a number of years ago in the Mac, and that Google [inaudible]. So they wanted the first in their category and it was way – they weren’t the first e-mail app and e-mail had been around for a long time. But they were first and they were already unique and they focused on Gmail. And they also had a little bit different user interface, kind of like a Twitter client by default. So most of the app was still very recognized as an e-mail client, but the focus of it was different than all the other e-mail clients out there. So I think that’s another way to go about having a unique take on an existing category. Another one I gave as an example is Disco, which was a Mac app in, about, 2007 and it was a CD burning app. In 2007, CD burning apps were – it was definitely not something novel; it was definitely not something new. In 2001, Apple had CD burning in iTunes. But what they did do was that they had a really nice writer [inaudible] on it, and then when it would burn the CD, they had smoke coming out of the top. So it was really fun, it was really playful and that was something worth talking about. JAIM: So in developing Astropad, a lot of people go out there and then they release an app and they’re app developers – how is this received? Is it successful? MATT: Yeah, it has been, especially with what they didn’t mention also being too unique is we run into a lot wherein artists and photographers, designers – people who are used to working on Wacom tablets understand what Astropad is. Outside that, with Astro we had a massive [inaudible] how to communicate the idea of what Astropad is. But it’s been really – a lot of photographers, illustrators have been our main group of users. They’ve been really likeable. It’s been really successful. In fact, before that we contacted iOS developers. But since the launch we’ve been able to take over entirely focusing full-time on Astropad which is really exciting. JAIM: That’s awesome. So you’re living the dream. MATT: Yeah. It’s been great. It’s been stressful, but it’s a lot of fun. CHUCK: When somebody has their idea and they’re working on getting ready to launch it – you know they kind of got that unique selling proposition is usually what I hear it called, the thing that makes them stand out from the other apps that do the same thing – what should they be doing before they launch, when they launch and after they launch? MATT: Well, one thing before is you’re going to need to spend a lot of time getting all those together – contacts and the press – it’s very time-consuming. You need to go out to the sites and find writers that have covered similar apps or similar industries, and write down why you think they might be interested in what you’re doing, write down their e-mail, write down the site, and just keep doing this; make a giant list. And then as it gets closer to your launch you’re going to want o have something that you can share with them, to show that – another thing is as you’re approaching the launch, these journalists and people in the tech publishing industry, they’re very busy people, they’re getting pitched all the time by different startup founders, different app results all the time –and so you need to show that you’re credible and that they should listen to you and that you’re very serious about what you’re doing. So you should put some things together like for us, the big deal is the video we put together, showing the Astropad’s theme viewers. Putting together a nice website, putting together a demo of the app, and then really just [inaudible] down into an elevator page that you can put in a short e-mail as it gets closer, so that you could send those e-mails out to this big list of people, this list of journalists – just start sending out those e-mails. And you’re going to need to – you know you can’t draw a mass e-mail either. You’re going to need to graft on these e-mails for each particular site, for each particular person, and mention why they might be interested. Keep it simple and sweet, and then when they’re interested, you might want to follow from there. As you get closer – and hopefully from there you are going to get a couple of people that are really interested in covering you a couple sites. Then when you’ll work with them, they’ll get the details they need, demo material they need. We have a press kit we put together, and a press kit is going to be really useful once you get to your launch day because after a lot of these initial sites come up there’s going to be a lot of other sites who are going to want to [inaudible] and they’re going to be able to go directly to your press kit and get the material they need and quickly be able to put a lot of [inaudible]. So that helped us a lot for our launch. And then the other thing I would say is after the launch, is to just engage in social media. CHUCK: So, I want to ask a few questions about how you approach the press. So, do you just give them teasers about what’s coming? Re you looking for coverage before you launch? Or do you want the coverage around when you launch? Or– MATT: We really didn’t do any kind of teasers. We thought about it but we opted not to because we thought, “Hey, you know somebody’s going to hear about this,” – hear about Astropad and want them to be able to [inaudible] the app. So we didn’t – we decided not to do any teasers. We approach these journalists like two weeks before, and pretty much laid out what the apps was. CHUCK: Okay, I got you. Did you get many preview of the app before you launched it so that they were ready to cover it when it came out or–? MATT: Yeah. We gave them pretty much whatever they needed. The preview of the app, the screen shots – any material they really needed. And what we did is we set in embargo [clear]. So we set on a particular day at a particular time, everybody’s allowed to release their articles about Astropad. And before that point nobody is allowed to talk about the launch including us on our website. Then we just – among those people that we got – there were [inaudible] on the embargo, we just shared that material freely. We actually have a hidden version of our site, so if you went to our sight prior that, you know you’ve seen nothing there. But we have a hidden version – a hidden URL that are sent in to the press, so they could get a glimpse of what things are going to be like on launch day. CHUCK: Gotcha. Did you give them any guidelines or anything that you wanted to particularly call out when they wrote their articles, or did you leave it entirely up to them? [clear] MATT: Well, left that entirely up to them. There’s certain areas I always wanted to talk about, about the app, but pretty much they took their articles wherever they wanted that to go [clear] with them, and we just answer their questions as it came up. CHUCK: Did you do any marketing to people who worked in the press? MATT: Yeah, we did. We also went on Twitter and Youtube and tried to find influential artists and reach out to them and tell them about what we were doing. We had some limited success with that. We were able to get some people who blog [inaudible]. We did that also before the launch, which was really useful for us. We got 20 people to use the app prior the very heavy beta testing that occurred that was very useful. It helped us re-develop the idea a couple of months prior to our launch, so some of those folks as well also promoted the app on launch day. But it’s also been much easier to do that now, to reach out to artists and photographers now that we have launched and we have – we can point to cover [inaudible], we can point to cover [inaudible]. It gives us a lot more credibility so we’ve been much more successful that – now than we were prior to our launch. CHUCK: Right, but you have kind of a track record there so you could say, “Go look at all these other stuff and –“, you know. [Crosstalk] And then they’re interested because you gotten whatever it is that’s a tier below them or at their same level. MATT: Yup. CHUCK: I’m curious – so, with the artists and the people that you reached out to you, did you put that same embargo on them? They can release videos or reviews the day that you launched? MATT: Yeah, we did. We said, “Hey, keep this under wraps until I launch it. Nothing official, no nda’s or anything,” – we’re kinda like more of just like, “Hey, please keep this quiet. We’re getting ready for the launch, but we’d like your feedback though” And that worked – that worked great. People respected that and understood what we were trying to do. CHUCK: Yup. So you’ve got all the stuff lined up. You’ve got journalists, writing articles; you’ve got artists review – you know – working through the app, giving you feedback and all of the kind of things you are talking about. So what do you do on launch day? MATT: On launch day it was – so much of the work aren’t even set in motion. So much of the work is just finding people that would be interested in covering what you’re doing [clear]. And honestly most of the people in your contacts are just never even going to reply to your e-mail, so you got to send a lot of e-mails, you visit a lot of websites. So a lot of stuff is in motion with the embargo already. But the stuff we did on that particular day is paid really responsible support. We wanted to be able to verify any files that came up. Thankfully for our launching, we had no significant problems. But we wanted to be there in case something blew up, so we’re on support, we’re answering e-mails as fast as we came in. We’re on Twitter trying to respond to people – as they were using the app, we’re answering questions. And then the other thing we did is there were some sites that, you know, social sites like Hacker News, Designer News – I’m trying to think what other ones we tried to get on. Product Hunt was one that we worked on promoting, submitting Astropad 2 and then trying to promote and get that on there. That was really the launch day. CHUCK: Now, what did you change on your site – what did it look like before the launch and then the day of the launch? MATT: So then we – we are before the launch, we really had like nothing there. I don’t even remember if we had anything up other than a blank page. CHUCK: Ha. MATT: So it was just completely stealth, and then on the launch day, then we also – we switched everything over. And then we had the site ad you see it now with some – a few tweaks in there. One of the things I wish we had done on out launch day is starting to collect e-mail addresses right away. We didn’t do that. I don’t thing we put an e-mail sign up form on our site, so I – two weeks later that’s something I would’ve wished we’ve done right away, because a lot of people signed up. CHUCK: Yeah, that makes sense. And then on launch day you can make the push and get a whole bunch of downloads and get a little bit of crash than the app store as well. MATT: Yeah. So what was interesting for us is we’re hybrid Mac and iPad app. We have an app – a component running on the itch. So there’s a port portion you get from the iPad app store, and there’s a Mac app download from our website as well. And so that gave us the opportunity that we could decide which one we really want to charge for – do we want the iPad version free and charge with the Mac or less for [inaudible]. And for our launch we opted to charge for the Mac version, and we made the iPad version free on the app store, which, in the long run, was not a good idea. In the beginning, we thought it was a good idea because everybody we talked to start browsing accessory for the Mac, and also was willing to pay more money for a Mac app. And also we can get things like customer’s e-mail addresses; we wouldn’t have to pay the 30% to Apple; and because of the way our Mac app worked, we weren’t allowed to be on the Mac app store. So we did that initially, and it worked, you know it’s – we’ll never know for sure which one – what would’ve been better to launch the payments on the app store or payments through our website, like we did. You’ll notice now that we do all purchases with the app store, and we no longer do payments for our website. So – I mean it was good in that we were able to offer a trial, you know a lot of people tried the app and I think that helped spread the word. But from a revenue perspective, it’s definitely been a lot better to be a one-click purchase on the app store. CHUCK: Why is that? MATT: I think the convenience is just huge. And the other thing, too, is we had a trial but a lot of folks would’ve missed that, and I think because they were so used to the app store and they were used on that having a trial, they thought they just had to buy the app outright to try it. So they were doing like – we were doing pretty soon the website. We had the trial but yet they were still treating it like it was an app store purchase without a trial. And so I think a lot people also are willing just to – even if they don’t stay as users, they’re willing to purchase it and just give it a try. And they might be happy with it but they’re like, “Hey, this app is a jewel [clear],” versus if those folks got the trial, they would never buy it. And so as a result you’d have to charge them a much higher price. JAIM: So all the things you talked about – getting the word out, talking to press, sending e-mails – it seemed like you went in with a pretty polished approach. Did you have experience doing that upfront, or did you learn it on the fly? MATT: Very much learning on the fly. We had done some shareware apps back in the day, but recently we hadn’t. We just try to devour everybody in for a week and find on how to launch our product. One book that was really helpful is “The Burned-Out Blogger’s Guide to PR”, which is written by a former TechCrunch writer. Kind of talked about their job as a writer in a place like TechCrunch, and what they’re looking for and what an ideal page looks like. That was extremely helpful. And otherwise just go on around, look at different blog posts, and also asking friends that had launched apps, “Okay, what worked for you? What did you learn from your launch?” We learn from there. I mean, we really – the week prior to that we were concerned – the week prior to our launch we were concerned we weren’t going to get any coverage at all, yeah, because we felt like we had no idea what we were doing. We managed to pull it off but it wasn’t like we were very experienced at this, we just kind of learn as we went. JAIM: That’s very cool. One of the takeaways I get from your experience is you’re selling to a market that does it for a living. You know, photographers, illustrators, [crosstalk]. But the second thing I got is that you put a ton of work into promotion, making sure that people find this [crosstalk]. MATT: Yes. JAIM: And–. MATT: Yes. JAIM: There’s a lot of code that you wrote, and these are pretty substantial apps, you were working on it for a long time but the effort behind promoting it was huge. I think that’s just lost in a lot of developers who think that, “Oh, I’d make this really cool app and people just discover it.” And it really works like that. MATT: Yup, you have to pack it – we spend a lot of time figuring out the messaging – how to package it up and how to communicate clearly what it is that Astropad does. Our website went through so many revisions. Not that necessarily the design, but more the copy that we had, the copy writing. That’s just – it was amazing how difficult that was to communicate and use words as possible, you know, what Astropad was about and where are the key benefits that Astropad – what you see on the site was the result of weeks and weeks of thinking about it. CHUCK: How do you go about figuring that out? [Crosstalk] Because I have some apps that I want to write; I think I know what the payoff is for the customer but I don’t actually know that. MATT: Well, one way to explain is just talking it on users because even for us, what we have on our current site I think we could focus even more on the benefits and less on to the features of like, “Hey, it works over yours through WiFi,” we can focus more on, “What does that mean to you as a user? How does that benefit your workflow?” Rather than the specific specifications of what it can do, say like, “Oh, it’s 60 frames per second.” Well, you know, maybe, what does that mean? We should say, maybe, smoother drawing, or keeps up with you as you draw rather than 60 frames per second. And what was really helpful to help figure that out was talking to users because we kept thinking of it as – like developers, very technical minded – and even when we talk to developer buddies. It wasn’t until we went out there and we’re talking to artists and photographers that would see it in a totally different way. They didn’t care about the technology at all. They just took it for granted that different aspects of it worked like – so we mirror part of the screen, and often we’d have developers like, “How did you do this? How does the mirroring work?” You know artists don’t care at all. They wouldn’t ask about that at all. They would just comment on, “Wow, the screen quality’s really crisp,” and we’d be like, “Oh, okay. We will write that down.” So I would kind of sit down with some of these folks and just ask them what they liked about it. And often I can take that and use it as a quote, or massage it and use it as a [inaudible] of the site. What are the benefits from their perspective? JAIM: Yeah, that’s very cool. By mirroring you mean you’re drawing on the iPad and showing up on the – on your Mac. MATT: Yup. And it mirrors what you see on your Mac onto your iPad as well so you can draw right directly on it. JAIM: Just to get a little tech talk over here, how did you work the connection such as standard APK, TCP/IP? MATT: Yeah, well it’s actually not TCP, but one final thought on the marketing side of things is that what we also did with the site is that we write down some copy we had that we thought was great and then we just kind of let it simmer, let it sit there for a week, and then we come back to it in a week, and oh it was terrible, and we continue to revise it. The way you – the same way you [inaudible] on an app, you come back to it again and again and again, we did the same thing with the website. Overtime it got much better. But getting back to the technical stuff, yeah, that’s an interesting story, how we managed to do that, and we started as high level as we could. And pretty quickly we found, that wasn’t going to work. And by high level we mean we started with, like, TCP. We’re like, “Hey, we’re just going to – we’re going to open up this TCP socket, we’re going to send data from the Mac to the iPad. Well it doesn’t really work very well for extremely demanding real-time application like what we’re doing for a number of reasons. And what we had to do is we had to drop down to actually make a UDP. We’re sitting on top of a UDP and we actually have our own network protocol. We packaged this up, too, and a bit of marking we call Liquid – it’s our marketing term for tech and that includes [inaudible]. We have a custom video codec in there and we also have a custom network protocol, and it’s like our competitor to Airplay and we call it liquid. JAIM: Okay, that’s pretty ambitious. MATT: Yeah. JAIM: So you got your own protocol via UDP. What is development like that for the Mac and iOS? So I did socket programming way back when [inaudible] because it’s still the same interfaces. MATT: Same thing. Yeah, and in fact we started with some of the higher level stuff, like we kept going down layers and layers and layers. We would start using solely Cocoa stuff we’re doing. I think we – I’m trying to remember – I think it was some CF network stuff – it’s actually not even Cocoa; I guess its core foundation. But we were doing that for networking and quickly ran into a limitation and had to drop even lower. So what we have is really the same thing we were programming years ago – Berkley-style sockets, the old-school way of doing it. And we – you know, we started at that much higher level, and it was just the tech prototyping and pushing it, and the one thing is we knew it had to be really fast, we knew we had to be as no lag as we could possibly achieve, because if you’re going to draw on this, you don’t want to be waiting for your strokes to appear. They need to appear as fast as it possibly can. So that’s why we kept punching through layers and going deeper and deeper into the system, trying to get lower and lower at lag and latency. JAIM: Okay, so the problem with TCP is lag, because with TCP you’ll guarantee it gets there. MATT: Yup. JAIM: And may take a while. MATT: Yeah, there’s a couple things with TCP. One is that as you said, yeah you’re going to guarantee that it’s going to get there, but for us, because we’re really real-time, if a packet’s lost, TCP is going to resend that data. But the thing is, in our case, that data is not really useful to us anymore. The screen has already updated since then so don’t resend that old, stale data. What we really want to do is cut out some new data and resend that in its place. So the resend mechanism of TCP really wasn’t appropriate at all for what we’re doing. The other thing is that TCP also optimizes for bandwidth and not the latency. And there’s kind of a trade off in either direction, you know, you push more and more bandwidth you might trade that off for latency. In our case we didn’t want the maximum bandwidth; we wanted the lowest latency possible and TCP doesn’t optimize for that at all. TCP is trying to push as many megabytes per second as possible. For our case, we wanted the lowest round-trip time, one of the lowest time possible to get a packet from the Mac to the iPad and then to get a packet back to us, and TCP is not a great solution for that either. JAIM: Now, what are the restrictions from the device and the network where it’s setup – do they have to be the same WiFi network? MATT: Yup. For us we really optimize for the local WiFi, so you have to be on the same network, and the – you know – the same WiFi network and for it to really work fast. And that’s another interesting thing about TCP, is we optimize for wireless, and TCP was not created for the wireless environment. And the reason is because TCP look for dropped packets as a way to tell what it needs to slow down so in order for it to figure out how fast it can send data, it keeps sending data to the receiver until it detects a packet loss. And then it’s like, “Okay, I guess I have congested the lines, I’m sending as much as I can possibly can; I better back off.” The problem is, is in a wireless environment, you’re just going to get random noise, you’re just going to get random fluctuations because packets have been dropped. And that’s going to trick TCP, and it’s going to think it needs to slow down, when in fact on the wireless network, you should just keep going. And so that’s another optimization we were able to make. So we don’t take packet loss into account at all, and in fact we try to actively avoid packet loss because once we’ve reached packets being dropped, that means we already filled up the buffers and the router, we filled up the buffers in the computer. And yes, that maximizes your bandwidth, but now you’ve got all these buffers filled with potentially stale data, and that’s going to make the lag higher. JAIM: Oh that’s very cool – very cool attack in handling those problems. So what’s causing the fluctuations in WifI? Like [inaudible] on and off, electrical equipments? [crosstalk] MATT: Yeah, it could be any of those things. Even like water, I think it was – I forget which either the 2.4 or the 5 megahertz [inaudible] – one of them water droplets interfere with a lot, so you’ll see that if it’s raining and then you’ve got a network connection outside, it won’t work as well. So things like that, just lots of random signals bouncing all over the place interfering. A lot of – interference is the main problem, and that will cause these random packet drops that confuse TCP. In our case, we just keep going, we just keep power run through it. And then we’re also not sending that stale data. Another thing with that, too, is when TCP does stop and starts resending data, and it’s not only resending old data, but it stops everything else that it’s doing. It’s like, “Hey, I need to get this new – I need to get this piece of data to a receiver. In our case, “Hey if we lose a packet along the way, that’s fine, just keep going. Just keep sending the other data for other parts of the screen. Don’t stop everything that you’re doing and keep trying to resend for that portion of the stream because we want to maintain the reactivity and the low latency. CHUCK: So how long has Astropad been out? MATT: Astropad has been out since February. February 18 was our lunch day. CHUCK: So now that you’re six months into this, it’s funny because Jaim is interested in the technology and I’m interested in the marketing – [chuckles] MATT: That’s good. I find both sides really interesting. CHUCK: I guess my question is, what are you doing for marketing now, now that you’re not in the middle of a launch? MATT: That’s been hard for us, you know, because most of our background is in development. Now you know the engineering side of things, so it’s been – just like we learned how to do the launching part, how to do the PR, there’s been a lot of learning on the marketing side. And we could do a lot better job than we are, and I think that we need to continue to push [inaudible] so you can launch new version of the app, you can launch new products and you get a PR boost for that. But one big question for us has been, what are you doing between those in-between periods? And we have taken advantage of doing more launches to get more press coverage. We did HR partnership with 53 of the makers of Paper and Pencil. We added support for Pencil, so we did a launch with them, and then they covered us on their blog, and we showed up on some of the press again the next [inaudible] and we put a VO together. And that’s been successful in enduring more tension. And in fact just yesterday, we did an announcement about Astropad being used for photography, because we noticed that photographers were a good portion of our customers but all of our marketing material right now is basically illustrators. So we put together some new material and w put up a new video, highlighting Astropad for Photoshop in newsroom [clear] photography. And then we made some optimizations to make it look better for photography. And then we made that announcement, and then we got covered on a photographer’s site – Fstoppers – and we’re running a sale 30% off right now. This is part of our post-show [clear] photography. So we’ve been trying to find opportunities there to do other launches, kind of like micro-launches, and kind of spread the word about Astropad. We’ve also been trying to do a lot of social media stuff, trying to do blog, but that’s been really hard for us to do just with so much to do as a two-person shop. CHUCK: So when you’re two person shop, you’re both developers, did you split the responsibilities or was one of you more responsible for the marketing and the other more responsible for keeping the app development going well, or did the other did that? MATT: You know that something we’re still trying to figure out the best arrangement for. We’ve split generally the market side of things, like one of us will work on development on one part of it because we’ve split up development as well. My co-founder Giovanni Donelli he does a lot of the UI and the network side of things; I’m more of the video codec side. And so we split up that responsibility as well and we’re going to alternate working on that versus working on marketing and handling scripts. And it’s been – you know, the context which we found going between marketing and the business development side of things, and the development side – the context is huge and we’re really – we’ve been figuring out that it’s best to focus on one thing for a good amount of time. We’ve tried doing every other day or every couple of days; even there it’s such a different way of working, different way of thinking the [inaudible], the business development marketing side to the development – hardcore development side. CHUCK: Well, it looks like we’re kind of getting to the end of our time. Is there anything else that we should talk about with regards to launches or Astropad that we didn’t bring up? MATT: No, I would really stressed the – having a unique angle on whatever you do as a fresh take on what you’re doing now other thing, too is I would say look for a niche, too, for your app. It’s been really great for us to focus on the art side of things, the professional creative, that’s worked really well. Rather than having just like your market be any Mac user or any iPad user, that’s a much harder market to market to, and you’re also going to have a lot more competition, so I really look to niches. One example I always point to is ForeFlight, and they make software for pilots. Really, general aviation people are doing as a hobby. They [inaudible] more corporate stuff now, too. I used to work for Garmin, so that’s high. I used to work on some aviation stuff, too, with Garmin but they’ve been a really successful business because they focused on aviation, making pilots really happy. As a result, they hve less competition, they have well-defined market segment, and are able to charge a lot more money, because if you’re going after the general iOS user, you’re going to be stuck charging a dollar and .99 – 99 cents – or even free as a lot of apps are going now. And so it’s much easier to focus on those niches. We’re like – even for us, we can charge 25/30 dollars for an app rather than 2.99. At 2.99 we couldn’t make it if we had to do that. So definitely look to the niches and look for a unique angle, that’s what I would say. CHUCK: Alright, let’s go ahead to the picks. Jaim, do you want to start us off with picks? JAIM: Sure, I’ll start things off. I’ve got one pick, which is really a product but it’s   so one of the common things that we talk about in tech these days how we’re excluding women, how [inaudible] it’s like, “Hey guys,” and using “guys” could be harmful. And I’m trying to change my language – a lot of people are. One little trick I ran across that someone in our slack group that I’m in did is they created a little script that every time someone says “guys” in there, it replaces it with something. It says, “I think you mean team,” “I think you mean squad,” “I think you mean gang”. So it was a little friendly reminder to be careful with the words that we use because it is important to people to just – keeping things that, if we can be gender-neutral, do it, so it’s something I’ve been trying to change and it’s a good way to help encourage that in a team. So if you have any influence on teams or slack groups, or how you do IM it’s a good technique. Just – it’s a little thing that replaces slack box response to anything that has guys in it with, “I think you meant ‘team’, didn’t you?” So, it’s a little hack that I ran across the local women put together on our local [inaudible] channel. MATT: Yeah, it’s [inaudible]. Definitely guilty of that myself. I’ve tried to actively say ‘folks’ when I’m talking instead of guys; we’re using ‘guys’ all the time, been trying to make a concerted effort myself. JAIM: I’m doing years of just habit. MATT: Yeah, absolutely. CHUCK: Yeah. I’ve got a few picks here. So the first one I’m going to pick is Kanban Flow. I think I’ve picked it on a show before because I use it for managing my schedule for the week, but I recently created KanbanFlow boards for each of the shows, and invited each of the hosts on there so that they could give us input on ideas for the show. So anyway, I’m really liking it. I’ve been using it for quite a long time so I’m going to pick that. The other things that I’m going to pick are HandBrake. Now HandBrake is a graphical user interface, or Gooey over the top of ffmpeg, and I’m using it to convert the videos from JF Remote Conf over to just smaller resolution videos so that people can get them on their iPhones and iPads – mostly iPhones and iPads. Anyway, it’s a really handy thing. You can queue up all the videos in a folder, which is basically what I did there. So I’m going to create an RSS feed, I’m going to put them out for free where you can subscribe to get all of the remote conference videos. So keep an eye out for that, it’ll be on Devchat.tv I just haven’t finalized everything yet, but I got the artwork and everything together I just need to plug everything in. One other thing I’m doing is I’ve done a few trainings for different companies on how to do testing and I’m not particularly skilled at iOS testing but if you need to understand dtesting concepts then I could definitely do training on that. And I know this is an iOS show but if you’re doing Rails – Ruby on Rails – then I can definitely help you out in testing our app, front to back, Java script and Ruby. So if you’re looking for anything like that feel free to e-mail me chuck@devchat.tv. I’m also going to have railstestingcoach.com by the time this goes live, so you can go check it out there. And even if you aren’t interested or do that kind of work I would really appreciate any referrals. So if you know a company that does Rails and needs testing help, then let them know that I’m available to help them out, and I’ll do both on site and over the internet training, so if they just want a couple of hours that’s great, if they want to find [clear] me out for a couple of days, that’s great, too, but yeah, just let me know. Matt, what are your picks? MATT: Yeah, so I have a few picks. One of it is a marketing book that I absolutely love. It’s my favorite marketing book. It’s called The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, and it’s from the early ‘90s, and it talks about really key things you should think about when you’re marketing an app, business, whatever it is – one of them being that you should be first and unique in some aspects. And the second law is if you can’t be first and unique in some way you need to create a market segment where you can be first. So there’s – a lot of the marketing that I was talking about comes directly from this book, loved the ideas. I talked about, coming directly from this book, for example of like re-segmenting a market would be like what Sparrow did with their e-mail clients. They said, “Hey, we’re not an e-mail client for anybody; we’re an e-mail client specifically for Gmail,” and they could be the first Mac native e-mail clients for Gmail. So a lot of good stuff in that book, I highly recommend that you check it out, and it a short, straight to the point, 22 immutable laws of marketing. And if you’re interested on the computer network stuff I was talking about, the best book I found for learning about computer networks is called Computer Networks by Andrew S. Tanenbaum. It’s a great book. It goes with an incredible amount of depth that is still very readable and not overly mathematical. And my final pick is an app that I haven’t seen mentioned much before that I’ve really been enjoying called Findings App. It’s a Mac app, and I’ve been using it kind of like a daily journal. It’s actually meant for science experiments but I’ve been using is as a development journal, because especially as we do a lot of experiments with Astropad, we’re trying to figure out different ways to reduce latency or prove the quality or speed things up in general. We try a lot of different experiments, and my memories aren’t very good so it’s best if I jot these things down. And I’ve tried some of the other journaling apps and I haven’t really liked them. Findings has been the best one I’ve used and it’s really well done, so check it out. Even if you’re not using the experiments part of it, they’ve got a bunch of stuff in there that I’ve no idea what it is. It looks like it’s for a Biology experiments or something like that. I just completely ignore it and use the other parts of the app and it’s really great. JAIM: Nice. MATT: So those are my picks. JAIM: I should definitely add that, definitely check out Matt’s [inaudible] Conf, which would hopefully be online soon. They mentioned you’d [inaudible] couple weeks – couple of weeks ago. But yeah, Matt’s talk on the topic was a really great primer to what we’ve been talking about, so definitely check it out. CHUCK: Alright, sounds terrific. Well, thank you both for being here. We’ll wrap up and we’ll catch everybody next week.[This episode is sponsored by MadGlory. You've been building software for a long time and sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. Work piles up, hiring sucks and it's hard to get projects out the door. Check out MadGlory. They're a small shop with experience shipping big products. They're smart, dedicated, will augment your team and work as hard as you do. Find them online at MadGlory.com or on Twitter @MadGlory.]**[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net.]**[Bandwidth for this segment is provided by CacheFly, the world’s fastest CDN. Deliver your content fast with CacheFly. Visit cachefly.com to learn more]**[Would you like to join a conversation with the iPhreaks and their guests? Want to support the show? We have a forum that allows you to join the conversation and support the show at the same time. You can sign up at iphreaksshow.com/forum]**

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