The Great Unbundling of Apps (and Identity)

Q. Instagram and WhatsApp are not going to be branded as Facebook apps. So eventually part of your business will be apps that people don’t think of as Facebook. Is that the way to think about the future of Facebook. Is it like a conglomerate?

A. One of the things that we’re trying to do with Creative Labs and all our experiences is explore things that aren’t all tied to Facebook identity. Some things will be, but not everything will have to be, because there are some sets of experiences that are just better with other identities. I think you should expect to see more of that, where apps are going to be tied to different audiences that you can share with.

from Can Facebook Innovate? A Conversation With Mark Zuckerberg

Last week’s news about Foursquare splitting into two apps spurred this excerpt to mind from a recent interview with Mark Zuckerberg. Not only has Facebook “unbundled” apps like Messenger, it’s also experimenting with unbundling identity.

Even though both Instagram and WhatsApp were acquisitions for Facebook, Zuckerberg teased that this could be experimented with on homegrown products as well. That’s exceptionally progressive relative to say Google, which does not even allow saving of maps locations without being signed in to an account on Google Maps.

James Dempsey on Life Without WWDC

One key was thinking about what WWDC provides and figure out how to meet those needs in some other way. For me, that boiled down to:

  • Sessions
  • Labs
  • Social Events / Networking

Here’s a handy reference about the many substitutes available to WWDC. As James notes though, the Design and App Store Labs are irreplaceable, which really is a shame. Hopefully Apple can find a way to fill in this specific gap in the future.

How to Export Campfire Chats

If you’re looking for a quick way to backup your Campfire chats, I can highly recommend James Taylor’s Campfire Archiver. While savvy apps is now on Slack full-time, ensuring we had a backup of Campfire was a long-standing item on our to-do list. It just never got attention.

For a bonus—and possibly for those not yet abandoning Campfire—check out this script from Ron Alleva that removes files from Campfire. We’d often have to hunt down large files that would take up our allotted space and this script would have been handy. To keep our export slimmer, I actually ran the remove script against all of our rooms and then did the archive.

How to Choose a Revenue Model for Your App

Dan Counsell recently published a great post entitled “Paid, Paymium or Freemium,” in which I also happen to be quoted. It reiterates what I’ve been harping on for the last couple of years, which is that paid apps aren’t dead. More generally, it should help independent developers understand the pros and cons of the revenue models available to them on the App Store.

I’m especially glad that Dan correctly labeled them as “revenue models” because it’s a pet peeve of mine when they’re improperly called “business models.” I also agree with him that paymium continues to show promise, especially for yearly upgrades.

The First App You Open

You wake up. You grab your phone. What’s the first app you open?

This sounds like a silly question — or worse, an insulting one.1 But I find it’s a rather enlightening question. Depending on when the question is asked, the answer can either be telling about the current state of apps or the current state of you.

A seemingly simple question but exceptionally thought-provoking.