I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
— Maya Angelou
When you’re young, you look at television and think, There’s a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That’s a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It’s the truth.
— Steve Jobs, 1996

Mallory O’Brian: We went to the moon. Do we really have to go to Mars?

Sam Seaborn: Yes.

Mallory O’Brian: Why?

Sam Seaborn: ‘Cause it’s next. ‘Cause we came out of the cave, and we looked over the hill and we saw fire; and we crossed the ocean and we pioneered the west, and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration and this is what’s next.

— The West Wing (S2E9)
Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
— C.S. Lewis
Tags: youth

Doing it Wrong

I’m going to get straight to the point: Pheed is a quick, hit-and-run money-making scheme. It’s evident from the moment you open the application, but let’s go down a list anyways:

  • When authorizing with Facebook, sharing every post you make is automatically enabled (with a defaulted checkbox). They’re all about traffic.
  • When authorizing with Twitter, there’s not even a checkbox for the user to undo. The user isn’t warned at all, their timeline is simply filled with posts they make on Pheed.
  • You’re forced to subscribe to at least three “featured Pheeds” before you can even complete the sign up process. They’re obviously more concerned with pleasing their advertisers than with their user experience, something Twitter is guilty of, although to a much lesser extent.
  • They allow users to monetize their content via 30-day subscription charges, which is cool. What isn’t cool, however, is that they take a whopping 50% of the revenue. This is a get-rich-quick scheme.
  • Sharing is everywhere. There’s probably not a single view in the whole application that can’t be shared from.
  • Everything is terribly-designed. Like, to a ridiculous extent. It’s just ugly.

I can rant all I want, and you can listen all you want, but go try it yourself. You will look back.

This platform will be left in the dust, with its founders pockets bursting. I’m @ramsey on Pheed. My first and last post is “This platform will fail.”

This platform will fail.

Ultimately, our constant dissatisfaction with the way things are becomes the driving force behind everything we do.
— Google
Tags: technology
There is no question about it now though, Twitter is heading someplace I don’t care to follow much longer.
— Gedeon Maheux
Tags: twitter
The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.
— B. F. Skinner
Tags: technology

Why Installous (and piracy) doesn’t hurt developers

I’m going to briefly walk you through this common misunderstanding. The truth behind the matter is, Installous (and piracy) doesn’t harm developers at all. Let us begin. Here’s a rough estimate of the user base of Installous:

As you can see, roughly 85% of these users weren’t going to pay for the application to begin with. This causes no loss to the developer (If someone uses something he had no intentions of paying for from the get-go, why it a loss?). If anything, it is beneficial to the developer of the application. Do you know what the most powerful form of marketing is? Word-of-mouth advertisement. If you can get a good thing going, and users have a good experience, they will tell people. Guaranteed. Now, do you think that just because they didn’t pay for their experience, they’re going to keep quiet about it? Absolutely not. If you have a good product, they will tell their friends. And chances are, they’re not going to pirate it. Only about 10% of all iPhone users jailbreak their devices. And only a portion of those users use Installous to pirate applications. So, 9 out of the 10 people that the pirate tells about the application are going to purchase that application, because their friend, who they trust, vouched for the application. They can safely buy it knowing that it’s a satisfactory experience. This drives sales. For the one unpaid user, the developer gained eight paid users. And the great things about word-of-mouth are these:

  1. It grows exponentially. There’s no limit to the amount of new users that will be introduced to your application because of one pirate. Of those 10 people he told, 10 of them will tell their friends about the application. So on, so forth. Exponential growth.
  2. It goes both ways. If your application really freaking sucks, then that word of mouth will still carry on, but instead of having 10 people learning of your application in a positive light, you will have 10 people learning that your application is crap. And it’s not just some random stranger telling them this; it’s their friend, their family member, someone they trust. They know to watch out for your application with double the emphasis, because someone close to them warned them that they would get burned.

So, that’s the 85% that don’t cause any losses. Now, the 14% that do cause losses. These people were going to purchase your application, but they didn’t, because they could get it for free. Do not get me wrong. These people are petty thieves. I am in no way endorsing piracy. I feel that developers should be rewarded for their work. I’m just stating the facts, which say that piracy doesn’t hurt developers. Now, what we’re dealing with here isn’t real loss, it’s called potential loss. This means that you had a potential buyer, but they decided not to buy your application only because they could get it without paying for it. The developer doesn’t actually lose money (it costs nothing to reproduce digital items, unlike physical items), but they lost money they had coming to them. Now, the reason why this doesn’t actually hurt them is because what I said above still applies. Word of mouth. Let’s say that ‘Bob’ developed an iPhone app. It costs $9.99. ‘Johnny’ was going to purchase it, but didn’t, because he could get it for free. So, ‘Bob’ lost $9.99 :(. But wait! Johnny likes Bob’s app. It’s really cool. So, Johnny tells all 10 of his friends. Of the 7 of them that decide to check it out, 6 of them purchase it, and one pirates it. So, let’s do the math. By now, Bob has lost $13.99 (Apple takes a 30% cut of all App Store revenue), and has gained $41.96.

$41.96 - $13.99 = $27.97.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. What about the $13.99?! They stole that money from him! No, that’s not actually what happened. You see, although they did prevent him from taking in that money, if Johnny hadn’t pirated the application and shared it with his friends, none of that $41.96 would have been made. This is called a profitThis is why the developer benefits.

And we’re not even done there. You have to include the exponential growth of word of mouth, as well as the additional publicity offered by Installous and Apptrackr.

$27.97 + publicity = $∞

I’d call that a pretty awesome gain. Now, we’re left with 1% of Installous users who use the service legitimately. Of course, they don’t cause any loss at all. So, nowhere in this graph can I see where a developer loses money. Can you?

There’s work and there’s your life’s work.

The kind of work that has your fingerprints all over it. The kind of work that you’d never compromise on. That you’d sacrifice a weekend for. You can do that kind of work at Apple. People don’t come here to play it safe. They come here to swim in the deep end.

They want their work to add up to something.

Something big. Something that couldn’t happen anywhere else.

Welcome to Apple.

— Apple’s letter to new hirees
Tags: apple