Watermark now has App.net posting, replying, and an improved UI for tweeting. You could always tweet from Watermark, but it used Twitter’s “web intents” system, which opens a new browser window. The new interface is integrated directly into the Watermark sidebar, and it works with both App.net and Twitter.
Here’s what it looks like when it’s visible:
Watermark had some downtime early last week. While I was able to bring back the server faster and hopefully more robust than ever, I also wanted to quickly act to improve the service in visible ways. So I wrapped up a few features for Watermark over the Thanksgiving break, including two specific new features for Twitter and App.net.
For Twitter: Copying tweets to custom collections was cumbersome before, involving lots of clicks if you are copying multiple tweets in a row. Now there’s a faster way. After you copy a tweet to a collection, Watermark remembers that recent collection for a couple minutes and offers a “quick copy” link directly next to the tweet.
For App.net: You can now repost or star a post directly from the Watermark interface. I’ll continue to fill out Watermark with more features like this, whether you’re living in Watermark as your default client, or just searching your archive and want access to more functionality.
Search and performance should also be better across the board.
Last month I tried an experiment, lowering the price of Tweet Library for the first time in 2 years. It wasn’t selling well and I wanted to do something to determine if I was just stubbornly pricing it too high or if there was a deeper issue with the quality or marketing of the app. So let’s follow up on whether this was a success or not.
Here’s the graph of revenue for a 2-month period: one month before the price cut and one month after. There was also a new version released about a week after the price cut, but it didn’t appear to have a significant impact on sales.
Downloads were up 175%. Profit was up 40%. My gut feeling is that I should have dropped the price to $7.99 instead of $4.99, but I’m wary of changing anything again right now. We’ll see what next month looks like.
Watermark now supports App.net’s Stream Marker. You can click a post in Watermark to set its marker, the current marker will be retrieved when refreshing posts from the server, and the “Scroll to marker” link scrolls to the marker or loads more posts trying to find it.
Here’s what a marked post looks like:
I don’t know if any other clients support Stream Marker yet, but I expect many will in their next updates. I thought it was appropriate that I should be one of the first to support it.
I launched Tweet Marker in June of 2011. It wasn’t exactly a new idea — Echofon had a private sync before, and developers had long been asking Twitter for an official timeline position sync API — but Tweet Marker was the first to support sync between different apps. And it was the first to bring this idea to many more users, to make it a must-have feature that customers asked for.
In a way, I think of Stream Marker as a next-generation Tweet Marker, even though it’s not mine. The API and name are different, but it feels familiar, like an evolution from what we learned from Twitter apps. It’s a no-brainer to support it in Watermark.
Great essay from Rands on Scott Forstall. It’s one of the first I’ve seen to capture what made Forstall valuable to innovation at Apple:
“While I’d continued to hear about the disdain amongst the executive ranks about Forstall after I left Apple, I was still shocked about his departure, because while he was in no way Steve Jobs, he was the best approximation of Steve Jobs that Apple had left. You came to expect a certain amount of disruption around him because that’s how business was done at Apple — it was well-managed internal warfare. Innovation is not born out out of a committee; innovation is a fight.”
One part of this executive shakeup that had me puzzled was the rumor that Scott Forstall refused to sign an apology letter about iOS 6 Maps. We’ve had a few open letters from Steve Jobs, and now one from Tim Cook. It seemed out of character to have a VP do it, someone who’s lesser known to the general public.
But then I ran across this letter about EPEAT from Bob Mansfield again, posted just a few months ago. It is signed only by Mansfield. It starts:
“We’ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT.”
In other words: we’re listening, we’re sorry, and here’s what we’re doing to set things right. And I think that’s Tim Cook’s Apple. Proud and passionate about the products they’ve built, definitely, but always sincere. Arrogance has no place.
Like many programmers, I’m often fooled into thinking that it’s enough to build a good product — that people will find it on their own, instantly recognize its value, and pay for it. It’s easy to forget that even great products need marketing to succeed. For a one-man shop it’s important to take a break from writing code and work on how the app is sold.
Building a business is hard. I started Riverfold Software 6 years ago and in many ways it has fallen short. And for some of the past year, I’ve squandered the success of Tweet Marker, failing to practice and experiment with how to make money from it.
Jason Fried of 37signals wrote for Inc Magazine last year about how making money takes practice:
“One thing I do know is that making money is not the same as starting a business. For entrepreneurs, this is an important thing to understand. Most of us identify with the products we create or services we provide. I make software. He is a headhunter. She builds computer networks. But the fact is, all of us must master one skill that supersedes the others: making money. You can be the most creative software designer in the world. But if you don’t know how to make money, you’re never going to have much of a business or a whole lot of autonomy.”
In the last week I’ve taken a couple steps in the right direction. I’ve finally redesigned the Watermark home page around a simpler marketing statement of what the app is about. And as discussed on the recent Core Intuition, I switched from PayPal to Stripe in an effort to make payment smoother and subscriptions easier to track. There’s still a lot to do, but I hope to make even more time for marketing before the year is up.
From John Gruber’s iPad Mini review:
“If the Mini had a retina display, I’d switch from the iPad 3 in a heartbeat. As it stands, I’m going to switch anyway. Going non-retina is a particularly bitter pill for me, but I like the iPad Mini’s size and weight so much that I’m going to swallow it.”
As I said on the last Core Intuition, it’s even more of an easy switch for me since I never upgraded to the iPad 3. The iPad Mini has essentially been my only iPad for the last week. I’m using it more, and taking it places that I would’ve have bothered with before. My new favorite Apple device.