Deep Dish Swift - Day 1
Apr 30, 2023
2023 flew by and Deep Dish Swift suddenly happened! This is a summary of the first indie dev focused day. Since the talks are not recorded, reach out to the speakers and invite them to your conference to get more people to hear the great stories they have to tell.
Malin Sundberg and Kai Dombrowski
Indie Dev Talk (Working Title)
After a fun European pizza exhibition to set the tone, Malin and Kai digged in into their talk on their life as indie developers. Having worked together for many years, I just loved how coordinated they are and how they kept bouncing off each other in their talk, which started with how they left New Zealand for Canada, albeit with a pretty rough start…which eventually led them to start their own thing.
Their first project together was the time tracking app Orbit, which they covered with much transparency. As an indie developer wannabe, it was sooo valuable to hear about their journey of burning though your savings, taking on client work, dogfooding etc. and constantly working on improving your products to get your own thing going…and how they got it going!
After Orbit, Malin and Kai took on weather forecasting with Mercury, which I’m sure is an app that many of you who read this know about and are as blown away by as I am. With two very successful apps, they now enjoy theywhere they’re currently at, having found a nice balance of working on their own projects with taking on fun client work. All in all, this was very enjoyable and inspiring talk.
Curtis, creator of the amazing Slopes app, gave a talk about how to do subscriptions right, and how subs can help us find a model that allows us to improve our apps over time, bring continuous value to users and remove the friction of version-paid apps.
Curtis was very transparent about Slopes performance, sharing graphs, revenue etc. Such an impressive story! After listening to him, no one can say that Slope’s success was by chance…it’s just the result of top notch professionals working hard in a disciplined way, year after year after year.
Curtis’ second half of the talk was packed with such amazing insights about subscription-based apps in general and Slopes in particular. I will not even begin to try to sum up what Curtis went through, it was just mindblowingly good! Such a pro! If you ever get a chance to watch this talk, take it!
Build Fast, Ship Faster: CI/CD for Indies
I’ve been wanting to meet up with Rudrank for a long time now, and today it finally happened. Such a nice guy, so much positive energy.
In this talk, Rudrank went through the power of automation. I’m sure all people in the room suffered equally as he went through all the steps required to manually archive and upload an app to the App Store. CI (Continuous Integration), CD (Continuous Delivery), Fastlane and CodeMagic to the rescue!
If you want to learn more about how to automate everything from building to shipping your apps, generate screenshots etc., this talk is well worth a watch. Considering how Rudrank seems to travel everywhere, I hope you get a chance to watch any of his (I’m sure) many upcoming conference talks.
Going Full Indie: From side project to best job you’ve ever had
Emmanuel is the founder of Card Pointers and started with sharing some rough, but fun, revenue data from his first years as he struggled to make his side business work as a side project.
Emmanuel’s talk was divided into three acts - build, grow and profit.
Regarding building, Emmanuel’s advice is to scratch your own itch and find a pain point in your life that you share with others, and fix it. Use your own app every single day and it will keep improving. Also, find your niche in which you can excel and test and validate your idea in such a community. Also, competition is OK. Larger companies are slow to change, which will give you an advantage.
Regarding growing, just because you built it, doesn’t mean they will come. Emmanuel listed 7 marketing pillars: Organic, App Store, Content (SEO + Social Media), Rev-share/affiliates, Notifications, Press and Paid ads. Organic will happen if people like what you build. To analyze organic channels, F5Bot can help you track keywords on Reddit, Google Alerts can track mentions and Twitter Search can find mentions. For App Store promos, make sure to tell App Store Promote about your update 1-2 months in advance, highlighting any usage of new API and device features. Also, do social media. Video is king. For rev-share and affiliate, create easy links that are easy to share. This act was so packed and very information dense, I don’t have a chance to include everything here.
Regarding profit, a lifetime plan should be 3x the annual price, but avoid this model if you have a high per-user costs! If it works, you will get a bunch of money upfront to reinvest in your business. Make it easy to get pay, show your paywall. Pricing is hard, so test and don’t undersell yourself! Regarding when to go all-in, it’s a very personal descition. No silver bullets.
Wow, such a packed and just amazing talk. I highly recommend watching it if you get a chance.
It’s Not the App Store, It’s You - App Store Optimization for Indies
Ariel from Appfigures is a master of ASO (App Store Optimization) and started with debunking some myths. No, not only big companies succeed on App Store…and no, the search does not favore big apps…and no, you don’t need a lot of downloads to show up in search. But there is a currency.
Ariel also went through some rules. You have to choose the right keywords, that matches the users intent when searching for apps. You also have to use those keywords correctly. And that currency? It’s ratings. Ratings are the algorithm’s currency. Also, you’re not competing with the App Store or any other factors, you’re competing with the competition. If a company talkes up a space where you should be, they are your company, and you have to compete. Also, you do need tools, and you need to trust the tools. If you trust your gut feeling, you’re probably wrong.
Ariel then had a very fun live roast of apps submitted by the community, giving spontaneous feedback as he looked through the App Store page, app name, keywords etc. and also using the Appfigure keyword inspector to visualize popularity of keywords. Some common takeaways: Put more characters into the name. The ranking algo order starts from left to right. Do not duplicate keywords in the title or subtitle, the leftmost will outweight the rightmost ones. An important thing to know - all new apps must have a subtutle to rank well, while older apps don’t. If you have added a subtitle, never remove it!
Ariel is a very funny guy, relaxed super professional and, guess what, seems like he knows a lot about ASO. Make sure to watch his YouTube channel to start walking the path of ASO mastering.
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