In this mixed-up post-pandemic world it seems that there is a shortage of everything – vaccines, HGV drivers, baristas… and of course programmers.
People get creative when there are shortages, so we can expect to see a truckload of innovations in the months and years ahead. (‘Truckload’ might not be the best word to use, if we want these innovations to actually be delivered). Here at Conker we’ve always sought to be innovative, but we are clearly not doing so well at juggling.
We recently came across an App Store review of Audacity and it was bittersweet. It’s great to be given 5 stars, and to be told that you could, with more effort, be number 1 in your market. But it’s painful to be chastised – quite correctly – for going six months without releasing a new version.
I could also allow myself a small omg at the app being described as a ‘Best kept secret’… a reminder that we need to up our social media game!
Fortunately we have a major new release ready to publish, with a very long list of improvements and new features. But it’s a reminder that we need to release rather more incrementally in this new world. In the days before app stores it could be seen as a good thing that software hadn’t been updated for months, since it was clearly stable. Nowadays, users don’t expect total stability – look at how often Apple releases updates soon after each autumn upgrade of the operating system.
Many of the apps that I use will have almost fortnightly updates, often with no more than the bland explanation “bug-fixes and improvements”. So, no more hoarding of new features for a big bang… from now on we’ll follow the advice of Eric S. Raymond. In 1997, in The Cathedral and the Bazaar, he wrote “Release early. Release often. And listen to your customers”. I bought that book many years ago… if only I’d internalised its message…