The Apple Marketing Philosophy

Below is an excerpt from the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, from Chapter Six, section Mike Markkula. This part of the book is set in 1977, when Apple was incorporating, and Jobs and Markkula are fleshing out the business plan:

Markkula wrote his principles in a one-page paper titled “The Apple Marketing Philosophy” that stressed three points. The first was empathy, an intimate connection with feelings of the customer: “We will truly understand their needs better than any other company.” The second was focus: “In order to do a good job of those things that we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities.” The third and equally important principle, awkwardly named, was impute. It emphasized that people form an opinion about a company or product based on the signals that it conveys. “People DO judge a book by its cover,” he wrote. “We may have the best product, the highest quality, the most useful software etc,; if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be perceived as slipshod; if we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired qualities.”

How does the modern day Apple hit those three points?

The impute is still there in spades, visible in the impeccable packaging, the retail outlets, and also in the extreme secrecy policy and inability to admit wrong doing. The connection with the consumer, the empathy, is present in their employees, in their TVCs, and in their record breaking customer sat. But its the focus that seems to be slipping, as they continue to grow in size and market cap, and the pressure of increasing returns weighs down.

Maybe the watch will turn out to be a bad move. Maybe it will help define a new category only to taper off, ala iPad. Maybe, just maybe, the watch is an unimportant opportunity that should have been eliminated.

App Store Dishcount

I was recently inspired by David Smith on his podcast Developing Perspective to setup an iTunes Affiliate account. As detailed on his blog post, it is a relatively straight forward process of signing up with PHG for an account, and waiting a few days for approval. Once approved, you are given an Affiliate Token (at), which you can append as a parameter to any iTunes URL.

app-store-badge

App Store Affiliate Link

Whoever clicks this link is taken to the App Store, and you will receive a commission from sales made by that person. The commission is 7% of any purchases made within 24hrs of clicking the link. On top of this, you can add campaign tokens to the URL, which is great to see which links are being clicked (eg podcast, twitter, blog…). On the PHG dashboard, you get a pretty graph and breakdown of commission earned.

And of course, if you use the link for yourself, you are effectively getting a discount on any purchases you make. #winning.

 

 

Podcasts are good for you

One of the features of Stezza is the ability to play podcasts. In order to test it, I was forced to listen to a few, and I haven’t looked back.

Being into tech, there are a plethora of great podcasts out there that have grabbed my interest:

and of course, the most popular podcast, This American Life.

I find that listening to a podcast is great when commuting, doing chores around the house, and to wind down before bed (the more boring ones are great to get you nice and drowzy).

Being somewhat OCD I usually start with podcast number 1, which is always dated, but can be really interesting to hear predictions of the future, which is now the current. For example, listening to the guys on Accidental Tech Podcast predict the next Mac Pro, and realising that even the best in the biz can’t predict Apple.

For any developer, specifically remote based ones, it is a great way to listen to the thoughts and ideas of your peers and mentors, such as listening to the Vesper guys talk about how many times they iterate over a notes app. It can be validating of your own process, and enlightening on new ones.

So, if you are a human, and have read this far, why not comment below with your favourite podcast (need not be tech), and if you don’t have one, start listening!

App Store Clone Wars

As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, flattered I am not.

It has been brought to my attention that my iOS app Stezza has been completely ripped off, by someone called Rongrong Lai, aka RDeveloper. Rongrong, what you have done is just plain wrong. (Cheap shot, but not as cheap as stealing).

When Stezza was originally released, it was in the style of Metro. Since that started to feel a bit stale with iOS 7, it has been updated to look more modern, essentially by reducing the gaps between the buttons.

stezza_red_newstezza_red_oldimusic_player

Screenshot comparison: current Stezza, old Stezza, rip off iMusic Player

As you can see, the design has been copied completely, but to a lesser quality. The navigation style (swipe left and right ala Facebook) was copied as well. But wait, there’s more.

The process of getting to an app’s assets is well documented, and rather trivial. So, after opening up iMusic Player and taking a look, it was confirmation that all the images I used in the app have been copied (I have the original photoshop files that were used to create the assets).

Sound bites? Yep, they were copied too. Only one sound, but that means 100% of the audio was stolen.

Copy? You betcha. Comparing the app store description of the two apps, there is one line that I recognized immediately (because I wrote it): “Multiple colour themes for the fashion conscious.”

So what now? Well, I am not the first developer to have their work copied, and I definitely wont be the last. For me, its off to Apple to file a dispute, then back to Xcode to add more features.

 

Updating Flurry for iOS7 – Quickly

So, you just got spammed a whole lot of emails from Flurry, urging you to upgrade to the latest SDK (Flurry 4.3.2). Well, you can go and download it from dev.flurry.com, unzip, and be greeted with 3 PDF’s to wade through. Here is the tl;dr

  1. Download the SDK
  2. Delete the existing Flurry files in your XCode project (the libs are now named differently)
  3. Copy the files in the Flurry folder to your project
  4. Optional: Copy the files in the FlurryAds folder to your project
  5. Add Security.framework to your project (Build Phases > Link Binary With Libraries)
  6. Optional: If using Flurry ads, also add AdSupport.framework to your project

That’s it. You may want to test it :)

How to publish a book on iTunes

So you want to get your book onto Apple’s iBook store? Here are some (very) brief instructions.

1. Create an iTunes Account

apple.com/itunes/download

2. Create an iTunes Connect Account

itunesconnect.apple.com

3. Download and Install iTunes Producer

4. Create your eBook in Pages

5. Export your eBook as EPUB format

If you need an ISBN, get a cheap one at www.epubbud.com

6. Upload your eBook to iBooks

 

MEGA Post Mortem

So its finally over. Pitch pitched. MEGA 2012 complete. It feels reminiscent of school/uni when exams are over and the holidays are finally here.

For a little background, MEGA is a digital entrepreneurship masterclass where the challenge is to perform the best pitch and business proposal for a digital based idea. Over 20 weeks the competitors are taught and tutored in the art of pitching and startups, culminating in pitch day.

How did it go? Well, good I suppose. Only got positive feedback, but didn’t really expect any negative comments! No awards were won, but as NextFaze was a sponsor, it wouldn’t have been kosher. Zen said we would have won the award for funniest pitch – if it existed.

Feedback from the pitch panel (aka the dragons) was directed at lacking financials, and not showing a concrete product – we showed a screenshot of a Facebook page and a iPhone running Frappe, but not of the step in-between (the admin console). Overall, it was all constructive.

Big ups to Little Birdy for winning best pitch – well deserved, and also to City Sous Chef, for taking out the peer award – let the good times roll!

Thanks to Peta Pash for her always positive attitude throughout the course, and to David and Leila for their training and encouragement. Thanks also to Derek for getting us involved in this whole mess in the first place, and of course Andreas, for his unique style and polished sarcasm!

mega_pitch_day_andreas

What to do with frozen beer

So I just borrowed a fridge/freezer for an upcoming party, and thought I’d test out its beer-chilling abilities. I fired it up and placed a few beers in it, and left it for a day. When I returned, to my dismay, the beers were frozen, and some had popped their caps.

Turns out its more a freezer than a fridge. My bad.

So the question is, what can I do with the frozen beers now? I have asked the mighty googles, and the best answer I got was put them in the fridge so they thaw out real slow, and hope/pray that they are drinkable.

Other suggestions included make gravy, cook food in it, substitute the beer for water when cooking, and even use it as a hair gloss! (These suggestions assume the beer has returned to a liquid and the damage has been done – that is it now tastes weak as piss).

Moral of the story: don’t cry over frozen beer. (Although I wanted to).