An Argument for App.net

Chris Enns:

The peo­ple who scoff at App​.net and won­der “why do we need another Twit­ter?” are missing the point. Actu­ally, they’re miss­ing the point of the inter­net. There’s plenty of room for another social net­work. You don’t have to use it but that doesn’t make it invalid. For every per­son that makes fun of Google+, there’s another 5 peo­ple get­ting a lot of com­mu­nity and fun out of it.

Interestingly, this article is talking about Favd, yet almost accidentally, he describes what I think is a very convincing argument for App.net’s relevance. Chris goes on to say:

And while Favd might look like “yet another Insta­gram clone”, it’s tak­ing the parts of Insta­gram that peo­ple enjoy — tak­ing and shar­ing pho­tos with friends online — and leav­ing behind the cor­po­rate shadi­ness that comes with being asso­ci­ated with Facebook.

Chris effectively points out, that just when we think a market has been saturated beyond belief, there’s always someone who can approach a problem a bit smarter.

Apple Becomes ‘Most Valuable Brand’ of 2013

Apple has taken the top spot as 2013′s Most Valuable Brand, ending Coca-Cola’s 13 year streak as number one in the annual Best Global Brands report compiled by Interbrand. Coca-Cola ended up third, surpassed by both Apple and Google this year.

I think this is pretty big news. A company’s brand is based a lot on public perception, and for Apple and Google to surpass Coca-Cola, which in my opinion is the one of the best brands ever created,1 is quite the compliment on how they’re doing.

  1. You know you agree with that. Whether you’re a Coke lover, or Pepsi lover (Oh god, can I footnote the footnote?), Coca-Cola has been advertising it’s drink with bears… bears. If you can advertise your product without taking cheap shots at your competitor, you’re doing well. 

Google Web Designer

Interestingly, I see a tool like this from Google, and my whole opinion changes. I had some pretty harsh things to say about Macaw.1

Google—in many ways—is the reason I do my job the way I do it. They’re advocates for building the web well, and fast. It’s hard for me to believe they’ll make a tool that does the opposite.

  1. I don’t know what happened to the tweet. But, I basically said that Macaw holds designers back from doing what they should do: learn to code. 

The 14-Hour Work Day Myth

Once I discovered the best times I like to work as a freelancer, I realized, why would I want to be working past that anyways? I love my job but I also love doing things outside my job. These things bring me great happiness and satisfaction, in turn, giving me the motivation and passion needed to perform effectively at my job.

I love when people write about how working long hours is not a good idea. I love it when someone like Janna Hagan—whom I admire very much—does it.

Speaking of which, have a great weekend!

Document Everything

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is documentation. And yes, I’m thinking a little bit about legacy—documenting our life, and the things we make. However, I also mean documenting our process.

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding what we do. I remember being a newcomer and feeling overwhelmed by everything it seemed that I needed to learn. This is where I think documentation can help us a lot.

As an industry, we’re getting comfortable with doing things in the open. Open Source Design is trying to do this, a project which I happen to be a contributor on, and there are other people doing it.

But what about being open about what we charge for services? What about talking about how much designers should be making in a beginning job? Medium level? Senior level? Should we negotiate for a signing bonus? Do companies still do this? To be very honest, I only learned about some of these things a couple months ago when I had dinner with my friend Bermon. Why is this such a mystery?

On a more personal level, what about our process? I have no documentation of my personal design and development process. All of it lives in my head, which quite frankly, isn’t useful for anyone. Pricing projects could be so much simpler if I had a process to run them through.

In a lot of ways, I don’t know what I’m doing. Yet, at the same time, I really do. But that knowledge is wasted if I don’t share it with others. Not to mention, there will always be people that can benefit from something I’ve learned. We’re all in different places of our career.


In the past month, I’ve met so many smart people who are saying nothing. They have great ideas, but they don’t tell anyone about them. Then, there are others who are content with believing in mythical gatekeepers that prevent them from having a voice in this industry.1

It’s rubbish.

If you want to have a voice, if you want to contribute, document everything. Tell people about what you’re doing, why you did it that way, and why others should think about doing it the same. We need your voice, but no one is going to beg you to use it.

As cliché as it might sound, anyone has the power to make our industry better, and personally that’s why I love our industry and working in the open. When many minds come together and collaborate and share, the end result is one-hundred times better. When more people share, we have a more diverse group of people to admire, to interview, to invite to speak, etc.

Step up. Document everything.

Further Reading

How To Blog About Code and Give Zero *****

  1. This particularly makes me mad. It’s so high-school drama. If you want to do something, do it. Complaining isn’t productive. 

The App Store Problem

Stephen Hackett on 512 Pixels:

The bottom line is this: developers should be able to work on their product in a sustainable way. Realmac are some of the good guys, and to have to backtrack on a business decision is a damn shame, especially in a world where people pour money into IAP-based games day and night.

This is a real problem. We can obviously see a huge hole in the App Store ecosystem. Honestly, I have no idea if Apple will ever implement upgrade pricing. Signs point to no.

Apple desperately needs to examine this problem, and understand that the beautiful ecosystem it’s created, could crumble because of issues like this. And as the person purchasing software, I need to understand that developers are in their right to charge money for new software. I love what Marco Arment said:

Upset about @realmacsoftware asking for another 3 dollars for a big update to Clear and going universal?

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Marco Arment’s Latest Project: Overcast

If you need tons of features or anything I’m choosing not to do, you’ll probably be happier with one of the others. (Before I started using Overcast full-time, Downcast was my podcast app of choice.)

I’m adding some new stuff that I haven’t seen before in podcast players, and implementing what I think is the best set of core features from the existing apps. It’s my ideal podcast app.

This is why I love Marco Arment. It happens to be the reason he’s also very successful. He trusts his gut, which I think is one of the most difficult things to learn how to do.

Marco isn’t given enough credit as a designer. He may not create the visuals for all of his products, but he is very deliberate with his design decisions. Can’t wait for this app.

James Christie on Sustainable Web Design

At 1.4MB, today’s average page is 15 times larger than it was 10 years ago, primarily due to images (881kB) and script (224kB). Plain old HTML totals just 54kB—but when’s the last time you saw an HTML-only site? This average page also makes more than 100 HTTP requests. Whether they fetch a big object or a small one, these add up to more delay and more power wastage. The average site is also slow: Alexa’s top 2,000 retailer sites now take an average of more than seven seconds to load—much longer than users consider acceptable.

We published a great issue today, but this particular article written by James Christie caught my eye. I’ve been doing a lot of research into performance, but I’d stupidly never thought how slow sites can have an impact on our environment. Site performance matters; not only to visitors, but to our planet.