On Opinionated Software

In the Apple development community the term, “opinionated software” comes up often. It is applied to the design decisions we make while building our apps. Having an opinion and a direction is a good thing — it hones the final result to speak with one voice and be a whole unto itself.

At A&D Chris, Thomas and I are really dedicated to that idea. Napkin is a very opinionated app. Before Chris and Thomas came aboard I had one colour and it was hard to convince me otherwise. (It was the green you see in the toolbars) The case of Napkin is illustrative, not narrative. We’re all bathing in caviar and Champaign I can’t pronounce. (It’s not recommended. Between the bubbles, sugar and little caviar things it’s not comfortable.) That said, being opinionated isn’t the goal. Being useful is.

Being opinionated and shipping the truest form of your vision of software doesn’t assure success. I understand the amount of heart, soul, concentration and perseverance it takes to ship a piece of software that really makes you proud and hits all of the marks you’d set for yourself and your team. It can be a really great piece of software.

That doesn’t mean it deserves to be a hit.

More accurately it doesn’t mean you should expect it to be a hit. Hits are hard. Really hard. I’ve had a couple. And, to be honest if I’d had to pick … not the ones I’d have swung for.

This recent discussion of being able to make a living on the App Store has made me think about this a lot more. No, your odds of making a living on the App Store aren’t great. There was a gold rush. Some people made money. It’s more or less over now.

I do believe that if you continue to do good work, communicate with customers and partners well, then there’s a viable business to be in.

I’ve got 1015 unread emails so I’ll call this a post.