Do it for free!

Tim Kreider’s essay could apply as easily to all those people who complain that an iPhone app is not free, or is so so expensive at $5.99. Not too long ago a piece of software would get $99 or $495. Makes you wonder how long Adobe can keep on charging through the nose for Photoshop and Illustrator. Anyway, here’s a bit of the article:

“People who would consider it a bizarre breach of conduct to expect anyone to give them a haircut or a can of soda at no cost will ask you, with a straight face and a clear conscience, whether you wouldn’t be willing to write an essay or draw an illustration for them for nothing. They often start by telling you how much they admire your work, although not enough, evidently, to pay one cent for it. “Unfortunately we don’t have the budget to offer compensation to our contributors…” is how the pertinent line usually starts. But just as often, they simply omit any mention of payment.” (from: Slaves of the Internet, Unite! –


Number crunching smartphone app success

Here’s my five-step plan for world domination:

1. I am creating a comprehensive taxonomy of characteristics of smartphone apps. Much more detailed than a feature list: “is it on android or iPhone” but really micro. I will have 20 different user interface ‘styles’ defined scientifically. I will analyze all 11 different variations on viral growth models and describe them scientifically. I will classify the color schemes, fonts used, left versur right swiping, number of customizable characters, and that’s just the start!

2. Once I have that, I will have an independent panel of experts score the top one hundred smart phone apps on each of the facets of my taxonomy. With that I will have a 200-factor success “genome” for each of the top smart phone apps.

3. In parallel I will have a panel of business researchers determine statistics, over time, on each of the top smart phone apps. Number of users, amount of revenue, number of downloads, user ratings, and most important return on investment.

4. Armed with that data I work with a top Statistics PhD and find the predictive factors that lead to a successful outcome for a proposed app.

5. Once I prove that my equation works, I will market my services to VCs and app developers and help them decide which horses to back, and how to improve and refine the concepts they work on for maximum pay back.

What do you think? Will it work?

Solving Equation of a Hit Film Script, With Data –

A chain-smoking former statistics professor named Vinny Bruzzese — “the reigning mad scientist of Hollywood,” in the words of one studio customer — has started to aggressively pitch a service he calls script evaluation. For as much as $20,000 per script, Mr. Bruzzese and a team of analysts compare the story structure and genre of a draft script with those of released movies, looking for clues to box-office success. His company, Worldwide Motion Picture Group, also digs into an extensive database of focus group results for similar films and surveys 1,500 potential moviegoers. What do you like? What should be changed?


Clever iPhone app vs. the Transistor

This interesting, and I think, correct article, makes the argument that the word ‘innovation’ is being watered down and even getting cheapened. It says, about “innovation”,

“Regrettably, we now use the term to describe almost anything. It can describe a smartphone app or a social media tool; or it can describe the transistor or the blueprint for a cellphone system. The differences are immense.” (from Innovation and the Bell Labs Miracle)

and leads to this:

“The conflation of these different kinds of innovations seems to be leading us toward a belief that small groups of profit-seeking entrepreneurs turning out innovative consumer products are as effective as our innovative forebears.

History does not support this belief. The teams at Bell Labs that invented the laser, transistor and solar cell were not seeking profits. They were seeking understanding. Yet in the process they created not only new products but entirely new — and lucrative — industries.” (from Innovation and the Bell Labs Miracle)

Excellent points and a useful distinction.

People forgot about iPhone 1.0

Funny to read this:

“The story started in 2007, with the release of the first iPhone. Led by its enigmatic leader Steve Jobs, Apple gave developers their first real taste of independence from the carrier oligarchy. The iPhone’s beauty was manifold, but first and foremost, it allowed developers to build applications and sell them for a fee — to users who could conveniently tap their iTunes account to buy things through the iPhone’s App Store. This bypassed the control of the carriers, which had long dictated what phones featured on their “decks.” (from How HTML5 will kill the native app)

Don’t you remember (it’s not so long ago) that when the iPhone came out, Apple and Steve Jobs were vehement against opening it up to developers? This is from October 1, 2007:

“We have been trying to come up with a solution to expand the capabilities of the iPhone by letting developers write great apps for it, yet keep the iPhone reliable and secure,” Jobs told developers at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. That solution was Web-based applications, which is sort of like being told that you can’t buy a DVD because HBO shows that movie every month or so, and it was met with tepid applause by Apple’s developers.” (from “Trouble in iPhone Paradise“)