inessential by Brent Simmons

How It Went on Vesper Syncing Day One

Of course I was anxious about Vesper syncing day one. My job was to write a bunch of iOS and Node.js code that ought to actually work. My job is also to monitor the servers and make sure they’re happy.

Everything was fine through the betas, of course — but things can change when it’s suddenly many thousands of people instead of dozens.

I’ll invent a day one 0-to-10 scale (because as a programmer I have to start with 0):

0 - everything went perfectly
5 - there were near-constant struggles and moments of panic
10 - had to remove the app from the App Store temporarily and turn off the servers

We ended up at 0.1 on that scale. That’s just about as close to perfection as we’re likely to see on a day one. I’m totally happy about that.

At the same time — non-technical stuff now — we got great response. The app is rated highly, with lots of reviews, and we’ve heard from even more happy people on Twitter and email.

As much as I love it when people write about how syncing is fast and unobtrusive, my favorite part is the feedback that mentions our customer support.

Customer support is all Dave.

Dave is the second-best support person I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve been privileged to work with great support people throughout my career. First best is my wife Sheila Simmons, who did support for years for NetNewsWire and MarsEdit. Everybody else is judged by that standard.

Great support takes empathy, imagination, and brains, and Dave brings all three to the job.

What’s great about indie software is pretty simple: it’s a small team of people who aren’t just doing a job — they’re making, by hand, carefully and with love, the best thing they can make for other people. That focus on other people doesn’t stop with the product itself: it extends to every part of the process. It’s why I blog about development. It’s why Dave makes sure that he does the best possible job helping people.

And yesterday we were reminded, again, that people like indie software. Even with all the changes over the years — App Stores, iPhones, iPads, etc. — people still like supporting the village toymaker.

(And if I’ve got you inspired about indie apps, and you’ve already bought Vesper, go buy Acorn. Or Napkin. Or MarsEdit, so you can blog more. Or Hazel. Or Capo. Great apps by great indies.)