Deep Dish Swift - Day 1

Apr 30, 2023 · Follow on Twitter and Mastodon conference

2023 flew by and Deep Dish Swift suddenly happened! This is a summary of the first indie dev day. The talks are not recorded, so invite the speakers to your conference.

DeepDish Swift logo

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 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 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.

Curtis Herbert

SUBS 301

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 this, no one can claim that Slope’s success was by chance. It’s the result of top notch professionals working hard for years.

Curtis’ second half of the talk was packed with amazing insights about subscription-based apps in general and Slopes in particular. I will not even begin to try to sum up what he went through, it was mindblowingly good! If you ever get a chance to watch this talk, take it!

Rudrank Riyam

Build Fast, Ship Faster: CI/CD for Indies

I’ve been wanting to meet 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 as he went through all the steps required to manually archive and upload an app to the App Store. Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, Fastlane and CodeMagic to the rescue!

If you want to learn more about how to automate everything from building to shipping, this talk is well worth a watch. Considering how Rudrank seems to be everywhere, I hope you get a chance to watch any of his (I’m sure) many upcoming conference talks.

Emmanuel Crouvisier

Going Full Indie: From side project to best job you’ve ever had

Emmanuel is the founder of Card Pointers and started with sharing 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, test and validate your ideas. Also, competition is OK. Larger companies are slow, which gives you an advantage.

Regarding growth, 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 the update 1-2 months in advance, highlighting any usage of new API and device features. Do social media. Video is king. For rev-share and affiliates, create links that are easy to share. This act was so packed and information dense.

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 pay. Show your paywall. Pricing is hard, so test and don’t undersell! Regarding when to go all-in, it’s a very personal descition. No silver bullets.

Wow, such a packed and amazing talk. I highly recommend watching it if you get a chance.

Ariel Michaeli

It’s Not the App Store, It’s You - App Store Optimization for Indies

Ariel from Appfigures is a master of App Store Optimization and started with debunking a few 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 went through some rules. You have to choose keywords that match the users intent when searching for an app. You have to use those keywords correctly. And the currency? Ratings are the algorithm currency. Also, you’re not competing with the App Store or any other factors. If a company takes up a space where you should be, they are the competitor. You need tools that you can trust. If you trust your gut feeling, you’re probably wrong.

Ariel then had a fun live roast of apps submitted by the community, giving 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 app name. The ranking algorithm 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 very funny, relaxed, super professional and, guess what, seems like he knows a lot about ASO. Make sure to watch his YouTube channel to start walking ASO mastering path.

Discussions & More

Please share any ideas, feedback or comments you may have in the Disqus section below, or by replying to this tweet or this toot

If you found this text interesting, make sure to follow me on Twitter and Mastodon for more content like this, and to be notified when new content is published.

If you like & want to support my work, please consider sponsoring me on GitHub Sponsors.