AppForce1: news and info for iOS app developers

Jordan Morgan writer of Best in Class iOS app

September 08, 2021 Jeroen Leenarts
AppForce1: news and info for iOS app developers
Jordan Morgan writer of Best in Class iOS app
Show Notes Transcript

Meet Jordan, I got famliar with him through his book called “Best in Class iOS app”. Turns out he works at Buffer and does a lot of thinks in his sparetime. Like building SpendStack and selling that.

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Jeroen Leenarts:

Hi, and welcome to another special episode with Jordan Morgan. Now this time around, you might know him from his wisdom ebook or something else, but it is called a best in class iOS app. It's something that he created, I think, quite recently and that He promised us to, to work on for quite some time from now on. But people who don't know, Jordan might be interested to learn that he also had some other very interesting features in the past, as well. So we'll just dig into everything and see what Jordans journey into iOS development has been, and how we ended up various right now. So Jordan, welcome. How are you doing today?

Jordan Morgan:

I'm doing fantastic. Thanks so much for having me on. I think it's gonna be a lot of fun.

Jeroen Leenarts:

So, just to just to get started, just to throw down a bit of a timeline of you as a software developer. Can you take us through it when you got started with software development? And what were the highlights of your career? Up till now? And then we'll just pick everything apart after that?

Jordan Morgan:

Yeah, yeah. So I guess it kind of goes back to like, around 2008 2009, when I first got interested in programming at all, I was in community college and had no major selected, and I had gone there for a few years. And I was just trying to figure out what I wanted to do. And so you know, I thought about it quite a long time met with a career counselor, and we ended up on it or programming, you know, those two career paths, I don't know, I don't know if they're different outside of the states. But here it is more of, you know, hey, I'm going to set up your internet at a school or, you know, organization, and programming, obviously, being solely dealing with software development. So I didn't know if I could kind of hack it. Because I've never been good at math, I still am not great at math. And I kind of had this pre conceived notion that like you had to be some sort of math wizard to succeed in any facet of programming. But around this time, I stumbled upon this WYSIWYG editor to make games called Game Salad. And it's it's still around today. Still Still kickin. And that was like my first kind of introduction to any sort of programming, and I loved it. So I just, I fell head over heels in love with that, and I just couldn't get myself away. And so that kind of gave me like that first nudge of confidence to try it out. And so what happened is, I just kind of said, Okay, let me give this, let me give this a try. I went to community college for it. And it just clicked instantly. Like, there was no turning back from that moment, from the first class I had, there was no like, maybe this isn't for me, maybe I won't enjoy this, maybe I don't like it. It was hook line and sinker right away. So around that time, you know, the iPhone, I've always been an Apple fan had one ever since 2007. And I knew I wanted to get involved with that. And game sell, let me make my first kind of game that I released on iOS. And as I was going through my education at community college, I just kind of got to the point where I learned how to learn, right. And as a software developer, if you're listening to this, and you already are one you know that that's like that tipping point where you can pick up new languages or go cross discipline, you know, like, if you went to school for maybe dotnet Microsoft stuff like I did, that's very prominent in this area, you could pick up any sort of web development or in my case, iOS development. So I picked up a book over that kind of hammer on it for a few years and got my first job out of college doing kind of half web development, half iOS development. And then I got then I got the India which along that line too and made my first few apps and had had a few that did great at a few did not so good. And I guess if you kind of Fast forward seven, eight years, here I am so I've been hacking on stuff ever since but the long story short is Yeah, community counselor got me taken on a programming path Game Salad gave me some competence and then then I ended up just loving it, thankfully. So I wanted to always learn more.

Jeroen Leenarts:

So and where in the US did all of this happen? Actually?

Jordan Morgan:

Yeah, so I live in southwest Missouri. So it's Missouri is like right in the middle of the United States and I live in the bottom left area of that I've lived here practically my whole life my my dad was in the military so I moved around all over when I was little, but I've been here ever since and then no plans on on moving. I love it here my whole family's here. The cost of living is ridiculously cheap. I'm always laughing with some of my buddies who live out in SF from New York about how affordable housing is here. And you know, I just we just built a house recently moved in and and so I'm always having a good time with my close buddies. You know, give him give him a hard time about the one bedroom apartments that cost you know, twice as much as my house. But it's a great place to be not not a huge programming scene, but it's just very friendly area a great place to raise a family so and I've got three kids my own so it's it's a good spot.

Jeroen Leenarts:

And the solid internet connection, I imagine. Oh, absolutely. Yeah,

Jordan Morgan:

I'm at a co working space right now that that's got a pretty good one. So critical for sure.

Jeroen Leenarts:

So um, yeah, you mentioned a couple things there. And so how did the game sell it app? Do once you finish it and launch it on, on the App Store.

Jordan Morgan:

You know, that was such a fun one, because that was like, so that was my first app I ever launched. And if you think back to that first app, I mean, the sky's the limit, right? Like, this is gonna go crazy. It's gonna make like a ton of money, right? Like, it's the App Store, like, it's gonna be a surefire hit. And that was my first dose of reality, I think I had, like, I really sit for like, $1. And this would have been 2010 11 ish, maybe, yeah. And I think it got like 50 downloads, which was like, cool at the time. But you know, like, half of them are your family. And you know, you go in, and you leave the first rating and review for it. So it was totally one of those things. But it was so fun. And what that did is gave me like the love of and that joy of creating something and shipping it like that was my first taste of that. And even though it didn't make a ton of money, it, it kind of put me down that path of wanting to build stuff and release it. Because there's just like, No, no highlight that making a product and putting it out into the world, not knowing what's gonna happen. Like it never gets old. Like there's nothing that beats launch day. So then been chasing after that ever since.

Jeroen Leenarts:

So yeah, you mentioned already that something gives you the Indy H, as you call it. So how did the Indy H, like, came out? In your case? How did it had an impact on you?

Jordan Morgan:

You know, it's funny, because every time you ship something you obviously learn, and you get a little bit better at it. And you see where maybe you came up short and what you need to get better at. And that's been like a continuing theme for me personally. So I think, once you learn iOS development, you almost by proxy, get that indie edge because you What do you want to do? You want to make your own app, right. And so my first app, spin stack is the one that I shipped. And some people who follow me on Twitter are somewhat familiar with me May May, you know, be familiar with it. But there were two different versions of spin stack I shipped. So the one that I'm referring to now was the very first like iOS app I made like on my own. And you know, it the design was was not great. It was very gesture driven, kind of hidden, you know, so many, so many things wrong with it. But the core idea of it, which was, you know, how do I have a list of stuff and get an accurate total from it was sales tax. And, and sorry, as an aside, in the United States, I found, I've always had to point this out, sales tax is never calculated until you go and check out which as I understood it, and learned is, it's not that way across most of the world, which makes a lot more sense. But

Jeroen Leenarts:

yeah, if you, if you if you're a Dutch person, because I'm Dutch, and you buy at a European outlet, then you pay VAT in the country, that you're actually buying it. But if I go international, then I also get this whole can of worms. And then there's also this interesting concept of people belaying the VAT from their tax jurisdiction to me, and then if you don't take that into account, and all of a sudden, the $10 that you make, it's all of a sudden, $2 less, because you have to, you have to pay that amount to the local authorities. So it's it's kind of run, but it's not as bad as in the US, I think it is because that's every state is different, right?

Jordan Morgan:

Every state is different, all the tax rates are different. It's down to like local government for a lot of it. So that's kind of what the app was meant to do, at first, like add up local tax rates. And you know, then I wanted to use it for grocery shopping and you know, produce and fruit is price by weight, it could have discounts get all these different quantities. So the app was meant to do something like that. And later on in the journey, it kind of morphed into a budgeting app. But the very first version, I shipped that, you know, I was so confident in it, it didn't end up doing real well. But it again, just like the Game Salad game gave me the confidence to like pursue programming, that kind of gave me the confidence to figure out what I need to get better at and how to ship it and how to market it. And the biggest takeaway there was was designed so that's really when I dove in to try and just get myself discipline on design user experience. And that was, I think, around 2012 at that point. Yes. So that those have been big bonuses for me ever since.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Because as you mentioned, already, there's been two versions of Spence neck. Right. And I think the the second version did somewhat better than the first one.

Jordan Morgan:

Oh, yeah, it wasn't even close. For sure.

Jeroen Leenarts:

So um, yeah. So you started working on spend stack two because spent stack one was something that you wanted to improve upon? Or what was the yes there?

Jordan Morgan:

Yeah, so you know, I yanked it off the app store after a while and then I just took like, a couple years of not shipping anything and just dove into the apple human interface guidelines really wanted to learn why some apps that I liked why I felt they were good or what worked about them learn about user interaction, you know, learn about you know, eating Some design basics like color palettes and font weights and when to use one or the other. Why apps, you know, and their color schemes make users feel a different way or persuade them to do X or Y. So I took a long time to kind of learn all of that, because my design skills were not great. And certainly always learning and getting better every day. But they got to the point where I felt like, Hey, I know enough to take another crack at this, like the the mission statement, and the idea of the app was good, but the design and the user experience weren't. So what if I got that part, right. And so I did start, like working on it. And that was about 2015 2016. And then it shipped in, wow, time is flying. I think 2019 is when I finally released that version. And during that time, I started writing a lot more like kind of technical blog posts and things like that. So I kind of had, you know, met a lot of people through the iOS community along the way through that. So it's always fun to reflect on that journey. Because some people who have you know, I've known for a while, I kind of started as someone who never who, you know, I didn't ship apps, I just wrote a lot. So you know, I got to meet a lot of people that way. And then it flipped. Then I shipped my app. And then I kind of went into indie mode and never had time to write anymore. And then since that got acquired, and then I kind of flipped back the other direction now where I'm kind of writing more on my book and my blog, but not really shipping any software. So I keep teeter tottering back between shipping apps and writing more on the blog. But but both are fun, and I love both. So win win.

Jeroen Leenarts:

But am I correct at the indie software development that all the time, that was not the only thing that you were doing? Or?

Jordan Morgan:

Right, yeah, I had a job as well. If that's what you mean. Yeah. Yeah. And,

Jeroen Leenarts:

and how, what was it like to actually spend your spare time on on your own products, your own content, writing, creating, and also having a day job to go to? Or at least to spend time on? And how did you combine the two? Because I can imagine that? Well, there must have been weeks that were pretty exhausting. Every now and then.

Jordan Morgan:

Yeah, absolutely. And that's one reason why I spent stack took like five years to ship the second version, because I just didn't, I was in no rush at all. To get going. Yeah, so I mean, the the thing that I always tell people when I get this question is time management and taking care of like, your, your mental health, which is so easy to say, like everyone says that, but like, a lot of us, I think don't actually do it. And I even find myself in that trap a lot. Like, you know, I'll burn myself out. And I know I'm burning myself out. But for some reason, I'm not stopping. And so then I'm like, oh, I need to take my own advice. But for me, I I work on any stuff in the mornings, and I do have a remote job. And it's a four day work week. So you know, I do have a lot of flexibility, which certainly helps, I don't know if it'd be possible without that. So for my nine to five, I like to say I'm in the office from eight to four. So you know, I'll get into the co working spot around 637 work on end stuff until eight, then usually stay an hour later and you know, do more indie stuff then. And then on the weekends, you know, if my kids fall asleep, and my wife falls asleep before I do, and I'm feeling it, then then I'll work on it at night or early morning. So, you know, it's there 24 hours in the day. And we like to say we don't have enough, but you know, usually the time is there if you really want it, but I just got this crazy edge to make stuff all the time. So I really want to do it. So I think that's the one reason why I've been able to do so much. You know, even though you know, I'm married and have the full time job and the three kids. It's just a value system like as long as you're not sacrificing time with your kids and your wife for for doing those things. Then once you fulfill those responsibilities and your responsibilities to your employer, then you know that time is yours. So how do you want to spend it and sometimes it's binging Netflix and playing Xbox. And sometimes it's it's making stuff but I don't I don't know, it's funny because I've always enjoyed having a day job along with Andy stuff. Obviously, in the United States, healthcare costs an arm and a leg. So it's very expensive. So the way I see it is if I can have my day job, and I can have my indie stuff, and they're both not combating and competing with each other than then why not do it. I mean, the book that I'm doing now is done very well. And it's making more than my day job at this point. And, you know, but I have the stability of the day job. Like if the book sales dropped off tomorrow, it'd be no sweat. And if I have a hospital visit, it would be no sweat because I have health insurance through my employer. So you know, I love that setup. And I don't know if I would ever change it unless I had some app or something go just completely nuclear and get like 500,000 Arr or something like that. But it would take a lot for me to not go with that setup. And it's fun talking about it because it doesn't seem like that kind of approach that a lot of people mentioned that. It can be good to have a day job and do your Indie stuff like you know, you don't have to choose one or the other. You can do both of them.

Jeroen Leenarts:

So yeah, I guess and by the sounds fit you Like four main focus areas in, in your life at the moment that's like your day job, your Indie product creation. And so yeah, and that's the indie writing that you also do, because of course, the best in class iOS app standard product, and you also write some occasional blog posts and other content as well. And you know, if your family life, and how much how much time do you like take away from your family life? And how much does your wife and your kids give you? pushback on that? Or is there a good arrangement there? And any tips you might get from that area? Because that's, that's something that I'm dealing with as well, actually. Oh,

Jordan Morgan:

yeah. So the way that I look at it is I heard this thing a long time ago, and I forgot who mentioned it, but he was his, his whole thing was the main thing is to keep the main things, the main things. And so for me, like, what are the main things in order of importance? Well, my any stuff can't ever become more important than, you know, my wife, my marriage, my kids, right. So those are more important. So as long as those get the attention first, you know, then I feel like I'm in a good spot. My wife is super supportive of it. And it's funny because she almost is used to being married to like an indie software developer, and she's very understanding is the best way to put it, like, she'll know, if we're talking and then all of a sudden, I pause, and she'll be like, Oh, you just got like a, an app idea. Or you just figured out a bug, like, you know, take take your minutes to write it down in notes, so you don't forget it. And then you know, we'll pick up the conversation. So like, she's, she's great with that stuff. But the way that it works is that my kids would would not even know I'm a software developer. And that's how I feel that I'm doing a great job. Because when I get home, and I'm done with my indie stuff in my work stuff, like I'm just a dad, I don't do my laptop's not even open, it just stays in my bag. The only time they see me on the computer is if they happen to wake up, you know, and they couldn't go to bed and I'm upstairs working on stuff, or they get up really early, and I'm working on stuff, or they see me at work. But that gives you that freedom to know that you're putting your your time where it really is valuable. Because at the end of the day, the software we ship is awesome. And you shouldn't diminish how fun it is and how cool it is. And all these doors that can open. I mean, for me, the side projects helped me buy a house, it's bought me a car, it's you know, given us vacation money. So like, it's not unimportant, it's very important. But you know, the kids and the wife are way more important. So as long as the time and the energy is there, then you don't feel any guilt about pouring a lot of time and energy and the other things below those, which in my case is any stuff. So yeah, just make sure you're taking care of business with the things that are important to you. And then that way you can work on the other stuff, you know, totally guilt free. Because, you know, I've learned that lesson the hard way to where I had those priorities flipped and it didn't work out so well. But that's always that's always advice that I give often, because the first thing a lot of people say is, you're married, you have a job, you have kids, you know, you shipped apps, write blog posts, you sold an app, now you're doing a book series, like what how do you do that? And really, I mean, it's flattering, and I love that people say that, and it makes me feel good, you know, because I'm only human, but at the same time, it's like it's it's not as crazy as it sounds, you know, I just I get up early and I stay up a little bit later. And that's, that's really about it.

Jeroen Leenarts:

small bits of progress that are consistently applied to just absolutely

Jordan Morgan:

yeah, and incremental progress. And just

Jeroen Leenarts:

to talk a bit about your kids because I love kids as well. I have to admit I have my own How old are yours?

Jordan Morgan:

Seven, four and two, the last nine months of the year all of us have birthdays so my daughter is this month my wife's next month and I'm October and then my middles November and my oldest is December so two boys and a girl

Jeroen Leenarts:

but that they're in age especially the youngest one that there are a lot of work to say oh my goodness

Jordan Morgan:

oh my gosh yeah, you know it's funny one kid was was not as I don't know drastically life changing in terms of routine is a lot of people told me and it's an caveat it's different for everybody you know, but you know our oldest kid was was an easy baby he listened so good you know, you we can say hey, you know go brush your teeth go take a shower and clean your room and no resistance having to was like different because you know, it's it kind of doubles the responsibility but he's super hyper and an honoree but three for me was was the absolute game changer like I want to do was was good three was just crazy and still is crazy, but it's organized chaos all the time. And the funny story I always give is buffer where I work has a great paternity leave policy. So you know, I took three months off for my middle and my daughter's birth because I had both of them while I've been at Buffer. And when I had my middle child you know, it was great between paternity leave was awesome. When I had our daughter, I called my mom crying on the first day I was like this is just madness. I can't even sit down it's what needs to be all the time. So it's but you know, it's a new normal. So I'm really used to it now. And she's kind of getting at that age where it's a lot easier now. Yeah. So she she'll be three and Friday. So tomorrow is a birthday actually. So you know, she's good. She's got a little bit better. We're out of the diaper phase now. So it gets it gets a little bit easier everyday. But the challenges get get different for sure. That's

Jeroen Leenarts:

to entry that's like around eight sets, you can have an actual meaningful conversation. Yeah,

Jordan Morgan:

exactly. Yeah. And I get excited when you come home. All those kinds of things.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Yeah. My youngest is three and my oldest is six. And yeah, it's, it's a lot of energy that you need to spend on them. And once you learn to let go,

Jordan Morgan:

yeah. Oh, for sure. Yeah. So they grow and make their own personalities really quick.

Jeroen Leenarts:

So just to get back on track a bit. Again, just it was a nice sidestep. Um, where did we? Where were we? So

Jordan Morgan:

second spend stack? I think it's where we're at? Yeah.

Jeroen Leenarts:

So yeah, we're working on the, you, we're working on the second spend stack. And you spend a lot of time of that. And basically, you you kept on the cover. So while you were working on it. And then you launched it. Then what happened? Because at some point, you reached the point that you think, Okay, this is good enough to my tastes. And now let's see what the world thinks of it.

Jordan Morgan:

Yeah, so I to a couple things happened in play there. So to kind of fast forward, the book series I'm working on now at best in class app is based on a blog post that I write and maintain every year, which the updates coming up in a few weeks, along with the new version of iOS, have this long checklist of things that I just think make a great app. So I was trying to make an app originally to fulfill that whole list, which is why I was under wraps for so long, because I was like I have no users and nobody to answer for I can just see like, as my fun little experiment, if I can make an app that's kind of checks, all the boxes, this checklist I've built up over the years of things that make apps really good. So that was one reason it took a while. And then at WWDC 20, it must have been 2019, I was having lunch with my friend, Dave Verwer, who runs iOS dev weekly. And you know, I was kind of showing him. And he was kind of giving me some good friendly ribbing a little bit like, well, you've got to ship it, like it looks like a version two or three already like that things got to just get out the door. And so I finally just resigned to my fate and realize, you know, perfect is never gonna come even if I did fulfill that whole best in class list. And so I was like, forget it, I'll just I'll kick this thing out the door and see what happens. So I announced it on Twitter. And you know, it was received pretty well and did the whole marketing bit and all of those things and then shipped it. But it was funny because my Twitter followers at the at the time, had no idea even existed. They kind of thought of me is not while I'm not on the same level, or as put out as much content or quality content as them. But you know that I was more of like a Johnson Dell or someone who just kind of wrote and didn't have like an app of my own show. So when I announced it, they're like, I had no idea you were even making something at all. So it was a lot of fun. It was a great memory. And but the other side of that is it was new to the world. But I was kind of over it already, because I had been working on it for like eight years if you can include the first version. So it was new, but old to me at the same time.

Jeroen Leenarts:

So and you mentioned you did you did the marketing thing. And but what does it take to to actually market a product that you're launching? Because yeah, what I hear from people is that they can come up with great ideas, and they can actually build it. But then it once they launch it the it just lands flat on its face. Because they don't I don't know they don't reach their audience or for some reason there's no fit or something is not going as they hoped or intended at that point.

Jordan Morgan:

Yeah, yeah. And that's once I finished the book series, like that's another thing that I want to dive into and write more about, because I've learned so much about this. And there's a few little, I'll just give like my Quick Bits, because we could feel like a five hour podcast on this episode. I have a lot of thoughts on it. But one of them is that, you know, the launch is not the end all be all. So a lot of indie developers that I see though the launch this app, and maybe it doesn't get featured by Apple, it doesn't get get picked up in macstories. Or this, that and the other and they equate that with failure. And it's it's really not because what you have to realize is marketing an app is a very long journey. And the launch is just a small part of it. The launch is important. And it's great if you have a good one. But any developers sometimes say marketing and they think the launch that's it, there's way more than just the launch, right? You want the good launch, but if it's not there, it's fine. And then another mistake that I think people do is they think App Store marketing is is the only marketing. App Store marketing is great. And if you get featured, it's awesome. It's a badge of honor and means you know Apple thinks highly of your product. Those are all wonderful things. But that kind of narrows your focus, right? A lot of indie developers think of just the tech crowd, because the people that are going to read those Apple websites and the people that, you know, kind of how in the app store and look for new apps all the time is a small subset of your potential users. So what I've learned over the years is you've really got to lean into marketing and figure out who your target audience is and where they hang out and how you can reach them. If it's a very technical focus app, for example, Alex's app toolbox pro at shortcuts, automation, that's, that's kind of his crowd. So that's a good, good, you know, niche of people to lean into the ones on Twitter are the ones that follow those blogs, because that would be kind of like the target audience. Yeah. But for something like in my case, spin stack, it's super broad. So I've tried all sorts of things and learns about some hits and misses of where to market and paid advertising especially, which is something that I think a lot of indie devs think is for startups that are VC funded, or products that already have product market fit, like you can leverage paid marketing early on and be very successful with it. And I did that even in beta cycles to get more beta testers. And, yeah, there's just so many ways to think about marketing. But the biggest thing that I'm kind of preaching these days is, is if your launch falls flat, don't panic. Yeah, you'll have a day where you're kind of bummed, that's fine. But like, pick yourself back up and kind of evaluate the landscape. And maybe you misjudge who your users were, maybe you haven't even reached out to those people at all? Do they know it exists? You know, can you spare a few couple 100 bucks to run a few social ads and see, kind of which one of those things is working and what's not. So it's, it's the long game is really what it is. So don't panic, stay at it for the long game. And don't give up too early to that's that's the other piece of advice, kind of what I've been getting out to, you know, in a year or two, you've tried your product, and, you know, it's not going anywhere. You know, that's one thing. But you know, if you have a launch that didn't land, stick it out, you know, don't give up just yet.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Okay, yeah, I really look forward to your next book once you get to it. So just to wrap up, your app got acquired. So how was that process? Because did somebody approached you? Or did you actively seek it out? Or how does such a thing come to a conclusion?

Jordan Morgan:

Yeah, so it was actually both of those things happen. So I got approached first. And then I reached out to a few friends that had been through the process, and they connected me with some more people. And that's actually where me and the buyer got connected. i It wasn't the company that reached out, it was someone that I was network to. Um, but yeah, it was a great experience. I think, you know, a lot of people think your app getting acquired is like, the end goal. And it's great if it happens, but you know, it's honestly pretty easy to sell an app these days, there's a lot of avenues. Now there's, some people use Flippa. There's micro acquire, which kind of specializes more in SAS businesses, but you know, subscription apps are basically SAS anyways. But the process was a was, it was kind of crazy, because the house that we are building, and wanted to build, we couldn't build unless we had a lot more money. So I was like, well, shoot, you know, this is the house that I want to live in for the rest of my life, if we're going to build a house, I don't want to move again, I love the area, you know, home loan rates are low, we all these things. So I was like, we got to do it now. And so that kind of accelerated the process. Because those two things kind of happened in tandem us thinking about building and then you know, the buyer approaching and then me exploring that whole acquisition process. But it went great. I have a blog post on it, but I ended up selling it to a company that actually wasn't the highest offer. And I felt good about that. Because I thought that they were going to be good stewards of the app. And you know, kind of bring it forward. We really clicked with like my, my long term roadmap that I would do if you know I stuck with it and those types of things. But you know, it is fun. I don't want to make it sound like anybody can sell an app. It was great. You know, you feel like you made something of value. And to see a financial payout from it is is wonderful. It was a fun feeling. You know, when me and my wife went out and celebrated with dinner. We were able to get the house we wanted so it was a lot of good things happen from it.

Jeroen Leenarts:

But yeah, I can imagine that that you that you called the the builder and said yet about this option, say yeah, we need to re re evaluate those.

Jordan Morgan:

It's so funny you say that because what happened was after the acquisition was final and the ICA dried, we ended up going back to the architect and you know, making the house how we how we wanted to make it so it was a huge blessing it was tongue upon but you know, I kind of was overspend sack again. That was that was a big part of it. I kind of feel like I had accomplished what I wanted to accomplish. I thought it was a beautiful looking app. Still is it was you know, I kind of put my name on it and was ready for new things. And at this point, I hadn't been able to write a lot. And you know, I love writing and putting stuff out there. And there was so much that I learned about making apps that I hadn't been able to share about that it kind of all was was really good, cohesive, natural timing, for me to move on from that project, not something else.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Yeah, sometimes just things seem to line up in a way that it just feels right. When once you execute. And absolutely, so yeah, then spent stack was? Well, off your case, really. So you had some time on your hands? So did you immediately after that, once you stopped working on spend stack start working on on your next venture? Which is the best in class iOS app book? Or did it take some time for you to get your wheels on the ground again? Yeah, so

Jordan Morgan:

I had a few goals. One was to just take a break from all of it for a little bit. And I did that for about a month, and then you know, as kind of raring to get back to doing something. So one thing that I really wanted to try was whatever I did next, I wanted to do it and in as lean manner as possible. That is to say, like, I wanted to test out some validation of whatever I was going to make and see if people wanted it before I set out to make it a little bit more. Because you know, since that kind of just was my pet project that started to see if I could make this beautiful app that I wanted to. But now I really wanted to see how can I sharpen the skills to really find the audience first and make sure they want to buy something with their actual money before I do it. And so I kind of landed on this book series that I'm doing now the best in class iOS app, and I just threw out a tweet, I forget when but it probably wouldn't be too hard to take up with Twitter search. They just said, Hey, what if I had like a book series? Based on my best in class app blog posts, you know, like, what if it covered a whole book on accessibility design, user experience, iOS API's and some other stuff? If that sounds cool, here's a mailing list to sign up for it. So I made like a little landing page and just hung it off the URL of my existing blog. I didn't register a domain or anything. And then put the email signup. And my goal was like, if I could get 250 people to say, Yes, I'm interested in this, then I'll do it. And then within like, an hour, it got that. So I was like, Uh, well, okay, I guess this is this is great validation to do that. And I also want to take a second to pause here, because I remember years ago, when I would listen to podcasts just like this. Now to hear someone say that I'd be like, well, of course, it's easy for you, you've got like, you know, 5000 10,015, whatever, 1000 Twitter followers. So my caveat there is like, I took years to get to that point, too. So I recognize like, it may be easier for someone and not that I'm in some great position. But just being realistic. You know, someone was like, you know, 15, whatever, 1000 Twitter followers, yes, it is easier to talk about those things at that point. But I spent a long time building up to that. So caveat over there. But all that to say I got the signups there and figured that that was good. And by the time I launched in early access, I think that list was at like 1600. So that gave me a great leg up, because the day that it was ready for sale, I could just ping that emailing list and say, hey, here it is, you know, so you've got 16, or almost 16,000 16,000 would be wonderful, 1600 people who are interested in buying that. So it was I don't know, I'm really interested in marketing and like, invigorated by it. And so it's so fun trying all these different things to see what would you know, really work.

Jeroen Leenarts:

And once you sent a message to your mailing list was the conversion of the mailing list members above or below your expectation?

Jordan Morgan:

It was above and I realized I was probably a bit conservative in the beginning, but I kind of like to go in with low expectations on launches, because then it just feels even better when you when you exceed them. I didn't set up there was a way I use a service called mailer light for that. And there's a way where you can like track, if they click the button, like yes, I want to buy the thing. I never had any of that setup. So I didn't get to say, Oh, I know they bought it from the mailing list versus just going to the website. Yeah, excuse me. But um, I share the numbers. Quite often, it just passed 70,000 I think last night or the night before, or something like that. But that day was just, it was crazy. Because I was just sitting, I took the day off from work at my day job. And my wife knew his launch day. And you know, I got it all ready. I hit the launch button. And then you just kind of see the emails trickle in. And I use a service Gumroad to process the sales. And so like I saw one, two, and then like 345678 Like they started pouring in. And I was like, Oh my gosh, this is this is awesome. You know, this is wonderful. And it was wonderful for a lot of reasons. Because one it kind of was great to see some of the marketing things that I was interested fail in to. I love writing the book like this is the stuff that I love sharing about so it feels good to be able to share that with other people and hopefully Help them make better apps?

Jeroen Leenarts:

Yeah. Yeah. So um, so you mentioned 70,000. Is that like on the mailing list? Or is that

Jordan Morgan:

70,000? In revenue? Sorry. Oh, yeah. Okay. Yes.

Jeroen Leenarts:

So yeah, you're talking about about currency. Yeah. So that's quite successful. I'd say, it's,

Jordan Morgan:

it's gone. Great. Yeah, because it's still in early access. And for those who aren't familiar with the project, it's a five book series, it's gonna take me a very long time to write. So I, you know, said, Hey, I'll release it in beta, I'll give you a discount. And so that's where it stands. Right now. I'm almost done with the first book in the series over accessibility. And I released an update every two weeks to it. So yeah, I don't I hope the numbers stay up. I still try new marketing stuff all the time. And so far, it still sells and I'm, I'm glad it does.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Yeah, it makes a lot of things a lot more interesting to be validated. If you if you put some content out there. Absolutely. So if people want to learn more on the best in class iOS app, what's the best place for them to go looking for it?

Jordan Morgan:

Yeah, so that's the URL all one word best in class, iOS app.com. And that's got the landing page to it. There's also a free sample on my blog, which is swift, objective c.com. I think it's the last post I put up that Swift and Objective C mash mash together. But yeah, either. And then on Twitter, I'm, I post about updates to it all the time as well.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Yeah, I'll make sure to put some links in the show notes for that as well. Sure. And yeah, just to start wrapping things up a little bit. Is there anything that we forgot to talk about? Because you casually in passing, mentioned that you actually work here at Buffer for quite some years? already? Yeah. How's birth for us as employee?

Jordan Morgan:

Oh, it's a great place to be. Yeah, it'll be six years and a few weeks, which in tech years is like an eternity. Right. So it's been a long time. Yeah, no, it's great. They, they've taught me a lot. They they treat me well. It's four day work weeks. And, you know, I have interesting work is it's a small team, which I love. It's just me and one other person on iOS. So it's just, you know,

Jeroen Leenarts:

really, is it a two team, a two person team that works on the buffer app for iOS?

Jordan Morgan:

Yeah, yeah. So it's me and Andy Yates. He's on Twitter at a y eight s, which by the way, he has a great indie app called alpenglow if you're into photography, so definitely check that out. Yeah. So yeah, it's just been me and him for the majority of the six years. And and that's one reason I like it so much is we stay fast and nimble, and not a lot of process at all. And we can move quick and, you know, build things were interested in.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Okay. Yeah, that's really cool. So yeah, because I was surprised, because I've not recently, but a while back, I was actually using in, in some other capacity, the buffer app. And it really feels like it's a product that that at least has like a team of 10 people working on it, really. So that's, that's that way that is just two people who actually manage to put out such product. So yeah, with that, I think I think we're there, Jordan, that we covered most of the most important things that you did as an iOS developer. And is there anything else that you that you still want to throw out there and share? Or is it like, Yeah, I think we got along.

Jordan Morgan:

Well, I just say, if you're interested about iOS development, or any development, marketing, design, those are the things I'm all interested in. So feel free to look me up on Twitter and my DMs are open. I get a few of those every day. And I love answering them and just helping people out on their journey no matter where they're at. So I'd love to meet meet anybody who's interested in any of those things. But no, it was great. We covered a lot. We went from college, to parenting to any apps to day jobs. I think we did a good job.

Jeroen Leenarts:

Yeah, thanks. Great to hear that. And yeah, thanks for your time, Jordan and talk to you soon.

Jordan Morgan:

All right. Hey, sounds good.