One year ago today, I posted the first screenshots of Snippets.today for iPhone. I never would’ve guessed that a year later I’d still be working on the beta, still not quite ready to ship.
One theme from that post a year ago is even more true today, though. To succeed I need to not just announce and market the product, but tell a story about why it matters. This realization is what has held up the Kickstarter video for so long. It doesn’t need to be perfect — I’m sure it will be flawed in a few ways — but it needs to be right, in that it should frame the idea of independent microblogging correctly.
More from that post last year:
Earlier this year I gave a talk at CocoaConf about tips I’ve learned to be productive while juggling multiple projects. But as I worked on the talk, it turned out to be about something else. It was about Walt Disney moving from Kansas City to Hollywood. It was about crazy side projects that no one else believed in. It was about Texas Hold ‘Em poker and risking everything for an idea.
I still feel that risk. A long-overdue product is difficult to push forward, the weight starting to carry as much burden as potential. And everywhere I look there’s a new excuse to procrastinate.
I published 2 new Timetable episodes this week, with a shared theme around Kickstarter projects. They’re both just 5-6 minutes long.
Episode 19 is about how I finally sat down to record a video for my upcoming Kickstarter project. I still have editing to do, but I’m already feeling a lot better about actually launching this.
Episode 20 continues the discussion of Kickstarter, starting with my reaction after receiving the art book from Loish yesterday. I was really impressed with how well it was produced. Anytime I see something of such high quality I’m inspired to do a better job with my own work.
As I mentioned when I first linked to Studio Neat’s Obi project on Kickstarter, I enjoyed the Thoroughly Considered podcast that came out of that endeavor. It’s now one of my favorites.
On the latest show, Dan and Tom and Myke talk about the press: getting press for your product, communicating with press folks, and the impact of being featured in the press. Because Studio Neat makes physical products and not just software, their take on these topics is always good.
While I’ve blogged from time to time about the press, there’s a lot that I get wrong or don’t make time for. I was impressed with David Barnard’s promotion for Rando, a new iPhone app that was a joint venture with David, designer Rick Messer, and Jonathan Hays and Ryan DeVore from Silverpine Software. The app got a lot of great press coverage. Even the reviewers who weren’t convinced they’d use the app couldn’t help but recommend that readers download it. Not just because of its novelty, but because David framed the app with such a clear story.
Self-promotion is hard for many of us. I try to remind myself that journalists want something interesting to write about. The community as a whole benefits when writers have good stories and developers have good traffic to their apps.
One of the approaches I’ve been trying with my upcoming microblog platform is to write about related topics for months before the project is officially announced. It’s great because these are things I would want to write about anyway, regardless of having an app to promote, and so the heightened level of interest from beta testers and bloggers is like a bonus. Now I just have to actually ship the product while the timing is right.
On this week’s Core Int:
“Daniel orders a Brother, Apple defies the FBI, Manton continues to struggle with his Kickstarter, and the two discuss using structure and constraints to encourage tackling new goals.”
I like this episode because it has a mix of serious and fun topics. Toward the end of the episode we talk about my new goal of trying a new coffee shop once a day for a month.
Charles Perry has started a microblog. On the balance of what he should post to Twitter and what he should post to his own site first, he writes:
“Most of the things I write on Twitter are snippets of conversations or other thoughts that I don’t necessarily want to preserve. Those will stay on Twitter. But some microposts—is that a thing?—I think are of interest on their own. These I plan to post to the DazeEnd.org microblog and mirror to Twitter. That should allow me to preserve and archive my thoughts on my own website and use Twitter just for distribution.”
I was really happy to see these posts show up in my RSS reader. There’s some momentum around indie microblogging right now. You should start one too.
Here are some more of my posts on the topic:
Listeners of my new Timetable podcast also know that I’m writing a short book about independent microblogging. You can hear a little about this on episode 9.
We posted episode 202 of Core Intuition yesterday. This was a fun episode because we didn’t plan for it; we just started talking. From the show notes:
“Manton and Daniel discuss the paralysis of choosing what to work on as an indie, Manton’s mysterious Kickstarter campaign, and the allure of company stickers and other marketing stuff.”
Make sure to listen through the end for why I ordered stickers for my new app. If you want one, you can email me or send us podcast feedback.
As I said on the show, I highly recommend checking out Thoroughly Considered, the companion podcast for Studio Neat’s Kickstarter project. While you’re there, also consider backing the project, at the podcast level or the full Obi product if you have a pet that would love it. Even if it doesn’t successfully fund, I really enjoyed the first couple episodes of their podcast and hope it continues.