One More Thing Conference 2012

    Good day, Habr.

    Recently I happened to visit One More Thing Conference 2012 . For some time I was thinking whether to write about it or not. In the end, I decided to tell what kind of event it was and what cognitive I learned there. If you are interested in the development topic for iOS and related stories, then welcome to cat.

    I learned about this conference quite by accident, somewhere in the Internet I came across a link. The venue (Melbourne, Australia) turned out to be just an hour away. I almost instantly decided that I would go, it would be a sin to consider myself an iOS developer and promote such an event. After looking at the list of speakers, I was convinced that it was worth it.


    The conference is still young, it is held only for the second time. In the past, as I was told, mainly local iOS developers and designers performed, this time heavy artillery came into play (the list will be below).

    On the first day, so-called mini-conferences. The speaker speaks to a small group of people, about 30 people, shares experience and answers questions. At the mini-conference, tickets were sold separately and cost more than for the main event. I decided not to take it for the first time, so I can’t tell anything more about the first day.

    On the second day, approximately 300 people gathered in the large hall, speakers spoke one after another, with a break for lunch. At the end - Q&A section. It is important to note that this is not a technical conference, no one talks about iOS frameworks, does not show code examples or something like that. People, if possible, humorously tell their success story (there were no others) and share first-hand experience. I will try to highlight the main points from the speech of each speaker, to note interesting points.

    Pusenyak Igor ( Igor Pušenjak )

    Horvath by origin, creator (together with his brother) of the well-known game Doodle Jump . Like many other speakers, he began developing for iOS almost since the opening of the App Store. For him and his brother it was an opportunity to work together, which they both had long wanted. Igor was engaged in design, his brother in programming, having no background with Objective-C.

    Of course, success did not come right away, before Doodle Jump there were applications like Eat Bunny Eat and AniMatch. Using AniMatch as an example, they noted for themselves the charm of frequent updates. Parents bought a game for their children and every week they waited for a new animal to appear. This is the concept of the Digital Snak, a way to stir interest in the game for some time after the first release. Now it seems obvious, then these were the first applications with this approach.

    Over time, games from major publishers and companies began to appear in the App Store, Igor and his brother realized that it would be difficult to compete with them and decided to look for their own unique direction. I didn’t catch when and how they came up with the idea of ​​creating Doodle Jump and didn’t remember how much time the development took. On the first day after the release, 21 copies of the game were sold. It’s hard to believe, looking at the subsequent success of the application. Igor decided to take up promotion more closely and began to send letters to forums and other resources devoted to iOS (then iPhone OS) games. He recommends starting small, i.e. don't mark right away in monsters like TouchArcade. Doodle Jump lit up on small forums and reviews began to appear here and there along the chain. Then they added new topics (Christmas, space, jungle, etc.). One of the effective ways to promote Igor considers cross-links (cross-promotion). Doodle Jump contained references to games such as Pocket God and others. And of course, there is little to compare with Apple’s Featured.

    Wong Winter ( Winter Wong )

    The next speaker was a developer from the Middle Kingdom. His story was about the Tapatalk app .. In short, this application allows you to read and post to all your favorite forums, blogs, feeds and magazines, totaling more than 1000. Winter and his team went through 10 circles of hell, or rather, through 10 failures in publishing the first version of the application. Not only that, the first failure came only after 2 months of waiting, the subsequent ones were not much faster. In total, the first version has been looking for its way in the App Store for more than 7 months. Winter has been visited more than once by thoughts like "is it worth it?" Agree, it’s hard to imagine something like this now, on average, it takes one week to consider, two are already a serious delay. The reasons for the refusal were for every taste and color, starting with the fact that the application icon contains an iPhone image, and ending with the fact that you can see nudity in the application (of course, access to 1000+ forums!).

    Tapatalk is one of the few paid social apps that sells very well and ranks in the tops. The Android version is also popular, but brings much less revenue. However, Winter believes that the Android market has matured enough to expect serious profits from it.

    Among his mistakes, Winter mentions the creation of a version of the application for Nokia and BlackBerry. If you ask the user to rate the application, make sure that the launch counter is reset to zero after crashes. In case a serious bug sneaked into the application, Winter provided the option to disable such reminders remotely. He showed a screenshot of his gmail account where as many as 28,000+ unread reports accumulated under the iPhone Crash Reports tag.

    A big headache is piracy. Hacked versions appear like mushrooms after rain, however, there are no effective means of struggle. A resource like , for example, doesn’t really help.

    Winter also recommended , a crowdsourcing service for translations, completely free. Only my site did not open.

    Lee Armstrong ( Lee Armstrong )

    A UK dashing comrade with a resounding name, Lee Armstrong, told his story. One beautiful morning (or evening), his wife read an article in the newspaper under the heading “App Store - a gold mine for developers”, looked up from the text and asked: “Lee, can you do this?” Well, he, in fact, was able, again, not having behind him programming experience. Every day dozens of ships, ferries, barges and other vessels sailed past the embankment of his city. He decided to create an application for tracking ships and their routes almost in real time. Thus appeared Ship Finder , and later Plane Finder , Plane Finder AR and Pinkfroot itself .

    One of the features of Plane Finder AR is the use of augmented reality for tracking aircraft. It is enough to point the camera at the sky above your head and the application will find all flights flying in this place. One morning, Lee woke up with the stigma of a terrorist. An article in the Daily Mail exposed him and his application as the main threat to air travel and a guidance tool for terrorist missiles. In fact, application sales have grown significantly. Conclusion - there's no such thing as a bad press.

    Of the important points, Lee notes a good relationship with reporters and reviewers. He began to build this relationship long before the first version of Ship Finder saw the light of day. In his opinion, journalists like to feel involved. From technical points, Lee noted the convenience of tools such as HockeyApp and Beanstalk .

    Not without a stone in the Android garden. Lee had a similar schedule in the presentation.

    “Look,” he says - “here it is, Christmas, has arrived on the App Store. And in the Android Market, what is it? No Christmas ... And at the very bottom, see? "I can help and highlight with a laser pointer, oh, he is there, this is not the axis of time, no, this is the schedule of sales of Windows Phone.”

    When there was a volcanic eruption in Iceland and almost all flights in Europe were stopped, Lee rightly feared that few people would need the application. He was pleasantly surprised when he found out that people use Plane Finder just as a replacement for Google Maps.

    Lee speaks positively of events like Apple WWDC. For him personally, it was a chance to talk with MapKit developers and get answers to all his questions, but he had a lot of them. Lee also noted the benefits of frequent updates and Featured promotion from Apple.

    Adam Kirk ( Adam Kirk )

    The next scene was taken by the serious American Adam from the company with the frivolous name Mysterious Trousers . Adam is one of the creators of Calvetica , an application that makes working with your calendar and events easier. According to his calculations, the creation of a simple event in the standard calendar requires from 14 to 25 tapes. Calvetica reduces this task to two screens and two to three tapas. Unlike previous speakers, Adam did not walk around the stage, stared at his laptop and shot into the audience with phrases that looked more like quotes from famous people. Be that as it may, this did not stop him from conveying his thought. Adam noted the importance of design. Calvetica was sold at 25 copies per day, the number rose to several hundred after improving appearance.

    He also mentioned an interesting question related to major updates. If you completely redesigned the look and added many new features, should this update be made free, available as in-app purchases and should the application be free, or should it be posted as a separate version? In this regard, many questions arise. Those who have already bought the application earlier will feel cheated and will not want to pay a second time. Adam chose the path with a paid update, but looking back, he admits that the best option would be to release a separate application. His general message is to make high-quality applications and smile less.

    Finally, Adam talked about the resource with which he is directly connected.

    Kepa Auvae ( Kepa Auwae )

    The last speaker before the break was a speaker with a colorful appearance and his dissenting opinion - Kepa Auvae, one of the creators of Rocketcat Games . The studio is known for games like Hook Champ, only I, frankly, did not play it. Before starting development, Kep worked as a nurse, his other partner was delivering pizza, but this did not stop them from finding themselves in the role of iOS developers. His message was: “Look at us, we don’t know how to do this and that, we are poorly versed in such and such things, nevertheless this does not prevent us from earning our living through the App Store. If we were able to achieve something, then nothing prevents you from doing it. ”Gradually, Kepa and his colleagues began to work at their main job only for half a day, and after some time they completely switched to development. He talked about the first games of their studio: “Now let's talk about our first games ... We decided to never talk about our first games again.” like many - the first pancakes are lumpy.

    In some of his statements, Kepa directly contradicted the rest of the speakers. “Don't bother with updates at all,” he says. I released the game, proceed to the next.

    He considers his games to be niche, so he keeps a fixed price of $ 2.99 for them and never deviates from this policy. For niche games, there is absolutely no difference in the price of $ 1.99 and $ 2.99, more precisely, this does not affect the number of purchases, but of course $ 2.99 brings more money to your pocket. The point of view on niche markets is as follows: from the very beginning you have a sales ceiling, a top limit, selling at $ 0.99 does not make sense, this is unlikely to make your product less niche.

    Promote on resources like After a couple of successful releases, it will be easier for you to get an overview on your new games. Never make a new release before Christmas, at this time all the major sellers make discounts and your game is hopelessly lost. Cross-referencing is certainly a good and useful approach.

    Sean Inman ( Shaun Inman )

    Sean performed first after the break. A distinctive feature of his presentation was the magnificent pixel art. Sean shared a link to all the art on his Twitter.

    Sean worked on various web projects before trying his hand at iOS development. His Last Rocket application has never been in the tops and has not been a resounding success. Development took about 140 days, instead of the planned 30. Sean recommended participating in marathons for creating games, the ones where you need to come up with an idea in 48 hours and create a working version.

    Dave Hauvell ( by Dave Howell )

    The next speaker was Dave Howell of Avatron Software , known for its product as Air Display .

    Dave noted that he is the only speaker "aged." Throughout his career, Dave has been developing one way or another connected with Apple. At first it was development for earlier versions of Mac OS, after which he worked directly at Apple and the next step was to create his own company. Dave made a couple of criticisms of Apple, starting with the company's internal kitchen and ending with the application review process. The early version of Air Display was not accepted in the App Store, because the icon was a rectangle that resembled an iPad. Oddly enough, after they turned this rectangle 90 degrees, the similarity with the iPad suddenly disappeared. A sad fate befell their other Air Dictate application for cunning manipulations with the keyboard (the application imposed its interface on top of the keyboard, moved it somewhere else, and when the user clicked a button in the application, he actually clicked the Siri icon on the keyboard hidden behind the outer layer). Nevertheless, this is a completely permitted approach, at the moment there are many other applications working on the same principle, so Dave just sighed again and said "there is no point in fighting, they cannot be defeated." One of his tips is to register the trademark in the name of your applications.

    Julian Lepinsk ( Julian Lepinski )

    Canadian Julian Lepinsky, one of the authors of Pano , an application for creating panoramic photos, entered the scene . Their story began with an amateur rock band rehearsing in the garage. Once they were driving in a car and in the process of discussion the idea of ​​Pano was born. Drummer Mike was fast asleep in the backseat, so the company only had 3 people, not 4. The first version of Pano was developed on a hackintosh. When the guys received their first check from the App Store, they went and bought an Apple laptop for further development.

    Julian gives one useful tip: “The best way to motivate your designer is to say that you will do everything yourself. As soon as I write, “You know, don’t worry, I’m now riveting the interface”, as soon as an hour later a psd file is neatly layered in my mail ”.

    At one point, Julian returned to study at Ph. D., the rest of the team began to build careers in other directions. Julian believes that this was a mistake, at the moment he left his studies and returned to development on an ongoing basis, like his colleagues.

    Some more tips: “Talk about your application anytime, anywhere. Updates are important. Do not be too lazy to describe in detail what exactly was done. The simple line “bug fixes” is the worst imaginable. ”

    Schaad Rafael ( Raphael Schaad )

    The organizers wanted to get some of the creators of Flipboard . Rafael, a Swiss working in the Valley, eagerly responded to their call. His first application was iA Writer. He worked closely with a company from Japan and was very close to moving to the land of the rising sun, only all these plans were destroyed by the tsunami known to everyone.

    Rafael turned out to be easy to climb and after some time landed from the San Francisco airport, where he soon started to work for the company in Palo Alto. He sent the first version of Flipboard to the App Store while sitting in a coffee shop and using their not-so-fast Wi-Fi.

    During the Renaissance, many beautiful works of art and inventions appeared, but the most important thing happened in Florence. Raphael compares Silicon Valley with the IT Florence of our time.

    Key messages - look for a team of like-minded people (Team Up) and complete projects to the end (Shipping).

    Matt Rix ( Matt Rix )

    The scene was occupied by another Canadian - Matt Ricks, creator of Trainyard . His story is very interesting. Most of the time, Matt worked on Flash development. The idea of ​​Trainyard came to his mind during the next train ride. In a short time, Matt sketched a prototype on Flash, he was able to make sure that the game mechanics are realizable and interesting enough. Instead of the planned 3 months, the development took 7 months, all this in free time from the main work in the evenings and on weekends. The original Trainyard game didn’t sell. TouchArcade did not want to review, which greatly upset Matt. He began work on Trainyard Express, a free version designed to boost Trainyard sales. The birth of a son did not contribute to further development. The boss at his main job gave Matt a month off to help his wife and child. As it turned out, babies just do what they sleep day and night (that's where I am ready to argue with Matt, I think he was just lucky). Thus, Matt got almost a month of time to complete the development.

    Trainyard Express was more successful. The take-off was not instant, but Matt had all this confidence that he had created an excellent game, he knew that the product was good and he needed more advertising. At one point, he swung Angry Birds, it all started with a post on RedditMatt wrote, “Trainyard has every chance of getting around the Angry Birds!” And described his entire difficult development process. And the community responded, the story went online, finally made a review. Trainyard bypassed Angry Birds as a result, but was only second in the top, just at the same time Cut the Rope came out, she even took the first lines. Matt notes the importance of the story surrounding your application. The sales result is about 800,000 downloads of the paid version and 4,300,000 of the free one.

    Just a week ago, the Android version was released. Developed by Canadian studio Noodlecake, not even completely developed, they claim to have created technology for porting iOS applications to Android. It can’t be, I thought, but you should at least read about them. Matt was unable to answer how many Android sales there were this week, at the end of the day he was kindly informed from the audience that there were about 1000 purchases in the first week.

    Matt also believes that it’s never too late to try to take your place in the App Store, yes, there are hundreds of thousands of applications, but there are only thousands of really good applications.

    Justin Williams ( Justin the Williams )

    The last speaker was Justin Williams, creator of the Elements editor for the iPad. Justin entitled "Why I Sold Out." For a long time he worked from his home in Indiana. Prior to iOS, he was proud of an IT consultant. At some point, he left his main job with enough money for the next 2-3 months.

    After the success of Elements, he chose a path different from that followed by most speakers. The need to manage his own company did not appeal to him, it did not give him any joy to pay taxes 4 times a year, and not just one. Justin listed many other reasons, one conclusion - this is simply not his. After several years of voluntary solitude, he wanted more and wanted big changes. Learning from others is very important, he said. Justin moved to the Valley and got a job at the company creating Hipstamatic , which he does not regret a single drop of. In addition to iOS development, Justin has published several books.


    On this, the main program was completed, after a short break, a series of questions and answers (Q&A) came. All the speakers sat on the stage, the presenter and the audience asked questions. Some answers deserve attention.

    Some were interested in what the speakers thought about the Apple TV, about the possibility of creating a game console from Apple. Few people have a clear idea about this.

    An inconvenient question was asked to Rafael “Why is Flipboard for Android available only on Samsung devices?”
    Rafael chose not to answer this question. Indirectly, Dave gave the answer. When asked “What about Android?”he replied, “We are not in a hurry to port anything ourselves. We are waiting for companies like Samsung, Motorola, etc. to contact us and pay us to port applications to their devices. ”They

    asked, “ How much do you take negative feedback to your heart? ”
    It turned out that many perceive this very closely. Lee Armstrong is strictly forbidden to respond to users, apparently for good reason. Speakers noted that in the case of the App Store it is very difficult to get more details from the user. The App Atore interface does not allow any feedback. Sometimes it is possible to answer a person to his negative review. Buyers really appreciate this, very often, those who wrote a negative review and received a response from the developers become the most loyal customers. In the case of Android, developers sometimes have almost a complete dossier on their hands. It is not difficult to “reach out” to a dissatisfied customer and continue communication.

    “When you decide that is all, the project is not worth the effort expended on it and you need to switch to something else?”
    The most common answer is “When I understand that I will no longer use my application myself. As long as I am personally interested, I will continue. ”

    “ What are your thoughts on cross-platform, in particular Android, is it worth the effort and try to enter this market? ”
    Adam Kirk was very critical“ We don’t care about people who have no taste ” .
    Others were less categorical. For example, if you are creating enterprise applications, you will most likely have to write across multiple platforms.
    The creators of the games noted that the profits so far are not so hot. Igor Pusenyak told a funny story about letters paid by BlackBerry. According to him, he often receives letters written according to the same template, sometimes there are lines in the text insert developer name here. In letters, users tearfully ask him to port Doodle Jump to the BlackBerry Playbook.

    “I work on the application in my free time. From time to time, new features and ideas prompt me. Should I try to realize all the possible features or try to enter the market as early as possible? ”
    One of the answers was“ Enter the market early. ”Often, the fate of the project is often unclear from the beginning, whether it will be in demand. Then it makes sense to get to the App Store early, observe the reaction of users, get feedback and move on. In rare cases, you can be sure of the relevance of the product and postpone the release, working on new features. I know for myself, if you work alone, the appearance in the App Store is a good motivation for further work, otherwise you start to doubt, “Will I ever finish?”

    “What do you think about the Trial Period for applications on the App Store?”
    For some categories, this would be a definite plus, for example for productive applications, at a price of $ 10. For games, according to the developers, this would be a nightmare . They referred to the example of Android, people download a casual game, kill several hours of travel time and require a refund within 24 hours.
    There was such an opinion - Apple will not move until it encounters the problem itself. For example, if they want to get the same Microsoft Office on iOS, they will have to think about the idea of ​​a trial period, since this is a standard approach for Microsoft, in addition, the price of the product is very high and it makes sense to try the application before buying.
    One possible solution is to use a subscription mechanism that is already supported by iOS.

    At some point, a man approached the microphone, an ordinary man of his own, middle-aged. He preceded his question with a short story about himself. It turned out that he runs the iOS development office, they have written 150 applications over the past 6 months! At this moment, I, and many in the audience, had a slight break in the template. Being impressed, I did not catch the exact number of employees in his office, it seems to be 20, which is undoubtedly impressive, although maybe 40, at such moments you begin to doubt whether you heard everything correctly. The comrade said, “Of course, this is such a Shotgun approach, some applications are so-so, not very, some are very personal.” As for me, this is not a “shotgun” approach, this is a nuclear bomb approach.
    After the conference, when people drank beer, this man approached everyone, as soon as he found out your name, his next question was “how many applications?”, Everyone else asked “where are you from?”, But not him. If you called a figure less than 20, he immediately lost interest in you. I think if I said “20-30 in the last half of the year” he would have invited me to work at my factory.


    After the official part, everyone went to drink beer and chat. I would not say that the communication turned out to be universal, but it was free and easy, you could sit on anyone’s ears if you wanted to. After an hour and a half, I headed back to the airport, at this the conference ended for me.

    Overall, the impressions are positive. It is very interesting to hear all these stories first hand. Make sure that iOS is obedient to all ages and receive other positive messages. Many things, it would seem obvious, made me take a different look at certain aspects of development and take steps in a new direction.

    So the main conclusion would be more such conferences.


    You can write about errors in the text directly in comments, I do not see anything wrong with that.

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