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Episode 133 September 4, 2018 | 25:23min

Going Off Script: A Conversation on SDKs

When software design is like playing with Legos

Show Notes

Pull to Refresh? How about Smile to Fave: This week, Paul Ford and Rich Ziade discuss the building blocks of software development. Why do apps so often look and behave the same? We break down the tension between working within parameters (even beautifully designed ones) and the need to innovate. What principles do fast food and software share, and does this have anything to do with why Paul had so much trouble ordering his salad?

Paul Ford People should probably know, as co-founders, we tend to always have the same one [Rich laughs]. We—it’ll be like, “What style do you want? Today we split a hamburger and a salad.” Um [Rich laughs], “And then we split a little dessert.” It’s like two—

Rich Ziade I don’t feel gross—

PF No, it’s like—

RZ I just wanna point out.

PF We’re like two old aunts [Rich laughs] and just sort of like, “Oh! Let me have a little bit of that!”

RZ [In elderly woman voice] “Oh have you tasted the peach pie?”

PF “Mm that’s good!” Everyday. [Music fades in, plays alone for 18 seconds, ramps down]. You know, we talk about being programmers and designers and um product managers. Right, Rich?

RZ Yes.

PF And I think a lot of times people don’t [music fades out] exactly what that means in that they sort of assume maybe that programmers sit down at a blank screen and just start writing code.

RZ Colored type.

PF Yeah.

RZ All sorts of colors. Colored fonts on your screen—

PF Syntax highlighting—

RZ—on black.

PF Right? Or that designers sort of sit down and, again, blank screen and then they think like, “How will I design today?” But the reality is that our industry is actually on rails. There’s a lot of things that are already there that you take for granted that we don’t actually have a lot of control over. Apple’s iOS: you ever notice how the apps all look kind of the same? A little bit?

RZ Yes.

PF Not the games, necessarily, but almost everything else, it’s got that texture and the way the buttons look. And then Android has its own thing.

RZ You can’t possible swim into an ocean of possibility such as iOS or Android and start with nothing. They have to give you head start.

[1:50]

PF We never start from scratch in our business. If you say, “Hey, I need to build an app.”

RZ Yeah.

PF What you’re actually saying is, “Hey, Postlight, I want you take a whole bunch of libraries and frameworks of existing code—

RZ Lego pieces.

PF—that Apple give you and they all have names and documentation and I want you to start there [mm hmm] and I want you to open up a program, probably Ex Code, and I want you to use one of two programming languages, Swift or Objective C—

RZ Ok now you’re—you’re killing people.

PF I am. I know this is a lot, right?

RZ Yeah.

PF But—and I want you to use those programming languages to—and buttons and little uh wires, fake wires on the screen [yeah], like a mixing board [yup] and I want you to go into the library of all the code that exists and let’s say I want something that tracks my heartbeat, then I go and I use the Health Kit tools. Or I want something that plays an MP3 and I go get the MP3 player widget as a programmer and I glue these things together and then I spackle it with as little new code as possible.

RZ Maybe.

PF Yeah, maybe.

RZ Some people like to get adventurous but yes.

PF This is the thing that people don’t know: when you come to us and say, “Write me an app,” you’re asking us to write as little code as possible. That’s in your best interests.

RZ Yes.

PF You’re saying, “You have domain knowledge. You understand this library top to bottom better than other people [yeah] and I want you to go in and make a collage of all those pieces and do as little as you can to give me the experience that I’m asking for.”

[3:17]

RZ You know what’s a great example here? I think that people will—it’ll help people process this. I want to create a camera app.

PF Right.

RZ That’s a corner of that phone. That phone—there’s a world inside that phone.

PF And you think about it like, you know, a camera app needs to understand things like light and pixels and—

RZ Yeah, we’re not starting there.

PF Yeah.

RZ We’re not starting there.

PF Right? Like I’m not gonna start—I’m not gonna say like, “How will an individual pixel work? How many colors [no] can I have?”

RZ Apple did a lot of work thinking about that.

PF That’s right.

RZ Right? I’m gonna create an app that turns pictures that I take into pencil drawn sketches.

PF Great. Ok so now I’m gonna use like, you know, Camera Kit—

RZ I have to get the photo and I—

PF And that’s how—why it looks the same, right? Like you pop—it gives you that little camera icon and you pop it up and you’re in the camera app!

RZ Yeah.

PF And then—

RZ I didn’t reinvent the [chuckles] software to access the camera hardware.

PF That’s right. That’s right. And so Apple has one of those.

RZ And what is all this called? What is—what are these—these headstarts? It’s a great way to call it. These are headstarts.

[4:14]

PF That’s right. They’re Software Development Kits.

RZ Exactly.

PF Now also, it’s—it’s interesting, right? Cuz on the web, there’s less of a concept of an SDK, even though that’s kind of what a browser is and more of this idea of frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Django on the backend and now there’s frontend frameworks—

RZ Which are, by the way, are totally optional.

PF Yeah.

RZ These are people playing on the web [that’s right]. If you really don’t—First off, you might not need ‘em [yeah]. You might be putting up a—a webpage that has some information about it.

PF That’s right. Just putting like, you know, “Come to my restaurant.”

RZ Right. Exactly. Sometimes you need something much more complex and sophisticated. You could just use the baseline capabilities of an agreed upon set of standards that browsers have.

PF That’s right.

RZ Or, you can get fancy.

PF So, look: we’re gettin’ into the weeds here but the key thing to understand is that, why do apps look the same? Why do they behave the same? Why—and this could be on the web and this can be on mobile and this can be on desktop. It’s because everybody’s using those same libraries.

RZ And that’s to—that’s to everyone’s benefit.

PF It’s really tricky, right? Cuz if you—you think that you wanna innovate, you’d wanna break out of that.

RZ And some do.

PF Some do but—

RZ We should talk about that, actually.

[5:25]

PF You know what really does often is games.

RZ But even those have incredible libraries like Unreal and—

PF Well they do but what they’ll often kind of reinvent the interface [yes] like, you know, you have to click [yeah] on a dog’s head in order to—

RZ Oh! Oh! You’re talking about the actual interactions [yeah] and the menus and stuff.

PF But the game—once you get inside the game, it’s a 3D—everybody’s chooses an engine which is the game SDK.

RZ Yeah.

PF These things are everywhere.

RZ Cuz, again, you’re not gonna do that again.

PF And this is the great tension in our industry because you wanna innovate and you wanna blow everything up but the cost to do so is unbelievably high because the minute you take these rails—the minute you take this like [yeah] starter kit away—

RZ Yeah. There’s a better way to go through contacts! [Chuckles]

PF No, you know what it is? I could go to the store, I can buy food, and I can cook from a recipe or I could grow my own wheat.

RZ Right.

PF Right. To make my bread.

RZ Yeah. That’s bananas.

PF There was a website about this and it was like, “How long would it take you to actually like—” for recipes it kept like breaking them apart. You know, to make your own wheat and get all the—you know, to get the—raise the cows to have the butter and so on [yeah]. It would be like 13 years to make a loaf bread [right]. Right? So you gotta be very mindful of what you’re up against. We had Bret Victor on this podcast at one point. He’s trying to create a new computing medium and he’s thinking literally in a 5,000 year cycle [yeah], right? And so it’s like—[chuckles].

[6:38]

RZ His spreadsheet is really long.

PF That’s right. That’s the kind of ambition if you’re gonna say, “I’m gonna get beyond today’s SDKs and frameworks.”

RZ I think you can take those little adventurous leaps and I wanna use an example [hmm] without getting too abstract and technical here. You know a lot of these are sort of categorized and organized in terms of objects and these—these are things that encapsulate both what they’re capable of doing and what they are.

PF Well they look like folders. When you’re programming, you have a bunch [mm] and then you open up the folder and it’ll be like, “Here’s the Health folder.” [Yes] And it’ll have, weight tracker.h and just sort of all the different things that you might need [correct] are in this box.

RZ And they’re—very parameterized, right? You can [mm hmm]—you have things that you’re supposed to stay within the rules but you can do this and—and the software makers do let you do it to a limit is override the capabilities and the characteristics of these objects or create your own [that’s right]. You essentially go lower level.

PF Well cuz they’re all—all those things that we’re talking about are just code.

RZ Someone else coded ‘em!

PF So you could make your own piece of code that does the exact same thing but different.

RZ And share it out!

PF That’s right.

RZ To the world. One of my favorite examples is the invention of pull-to-refresh. Apple didn’t come up with pull-to-refresh—

PF It actually—yeah [chuckles] it sounded like it was one—like “poultarefresh” cuz we’ve all started to take it for granted. It sounds like—like poultry. Like “poultarefresh”.

RZ We should—it probably deserves a name. It’s three words. If you pause and think about it, it’s so pervasive everywhere.

[7:57]

PF But then it’s PTR. Which could be pointer, could be peener.

RZ No [moans in disagreement]. I dunno what it could be. We need to come up with that as a gift out of this podcast.

PF Sir Drag-a-lot.

RZ Sir Drag-a-lot?

PF No.

RZ That’s your shortcut? So pull-to-refresh was created inside of a Twitter app, an independent Twitter app by a guy named Loren Brichter, apologies if I’m mispronouncing it.

PF But back when you could build things on top of Twitter.

RZ Back when Twitter had an API.

PF Yeah.

RZ They do have an API, it’s just very limited now.

PF I know it’s—but it’s not for everybody.

RZ No, it’s not for everybody.

PF It’s for like downloading things.

RZ The app was called Tweety.

PF [In sweet voice] Tweety! I remember Tweety.

RZ He hated the little, usually it shows as like—

PF The little arrow.

RZ The arrow that’s looping around—

PF Oh reload!

RZ—into itself.

PF The reload!

[8:36]

RZ The reload!

PF Yeah.

RZ And he’s like, “This is ridiculous. This is what I do all day on Twitter.”

PF Right.

RZ Right? So he created this interaction and—and you pull-down on the feed [mm hmm], on the Twitter feed and it has this sort of elastic characteristic—

PF It bounces back. Right away.

RZ Only if you pull it down enough.

PF Yeah, ok.

RZ You have to get enough inertia behind it and the rubber band snaps back and refreshes.

PF Momentum. I always get confused.

RZ And it’s a work of genius.

PF Yeah, he deserves it cuz pull-on-refresh is great.

RZ It’s great.

PF Cuz you’re sittin’ there and you’re just like, “I need to consumer more trash in my trash hole brain,” and then you go [Rich laughs], “Well, what’s the simplest, most disgusting, filthy, lazy action I could do?” And you paw the screen like a fat animal [Rich guffaws] and it comes down just a tiny bit and then it bounces back and fills up with new garbage, just junk into your garbage brain and you just feel so good and then you do it again like a minute later.

RZ Oh, with one hand, by the way.

PF With one hand, you’re just—

RZ It’s cuz the other hand has a cheeseburger in it [laughs].

[9:32]

PF Actually you haven’t been able to get it in your mouth. You keep it putting it like on your face and hair. Um so—

RZ So Twitter acquired Tweety.

PF Oh ok.

RZ It became Twitter. The mobile client [oooooh k] and pull-to-refresh exploded. Uh the interaction [oh yeah] became so pervasive and, by the way, we’re talkin’ about how these libraries are great for engineers cuz [it’s a standard, yeah] it’s a skip. It—it’s great for users, because the—the patterns and the—and the gestures become common and become so much easier to pick up another app and use it the same way.

PF It’s also how giant platform companies like Apple and Google, consolidate their power.

RZ Without a doubt.

PF This is the thing like—

RZ Which we should get to design and design SDKs.

PF Yeah cuz people think it’s like—how do these companies get so much power in the world? Well, if you wanna make software, you have to use these frameworks if you’re gonna compete in the market and aren’t gonna—like pull-to-refresh is an exception, most people do not invent new user interface paradigms. And so you have to kind of play in their garden and then the software comes out on their platform and people go, “Oh I like software, I better get a Mac.” Or, “I better get an iPhone.”

RZ Yeah.

PF And—and then more people use it, so more developers show up and use that SDK. So—but this is the kind of soft power pull-in that these plat—this is how these companies get so big.

RZ Isn’t this the model behind fast food?

PF Yeah.

RZ You’re gonna get—fast food it’s—it’s good cuz it has fat and sugar in it but consistency [yeah] is huge like people who go on vacations go back to McDonald’s because they know what they’re gonna get [but see my argument—] and that’s very powerful.

[11:00]

PF My argument is that all the power in all the platform companies, Microsoft is another example, the way that they get you, the way that they turned into trillion dollar, zillion dollar companies is that they had better SDKs. That they—their software development kit was usable—

RZ Lower the barrier.

PF Lowered the barrier and more people came on, more people came on because the software was what they wanted, and this is actually Microsoft kicked everybody’s ass this way for years they were—there was a joke where you know, Steve—it’s not a joke. It’s a meme, early meme, where Steve Ballmer is yelling, “Developers! Developers!” And running around, uh and sweating on behalf [it’s real] of Microsoft but Microsoft was famous for loving their developers and giving them the tools that they needed [yeah] to write Microsoft Windows program.

RZ A shout out to Microsoft Visual Studio.

PF Right.

RZ Microsoft Visual Studio, you would never think that you should bother to make a GUI [pronounced gooey] experience that was intuitive and actually helpful for someone that’s building stuff.

PF That’s right.

RZ Way back then.

PF Well and because back then it was you just used the text editor and you figured it out, dammit!

RZ Yes, yes, and the idea of hitting a dot or period and then seeing all of the attributes and methods that can come off of something to move you along the coding process was really the kin—to me, the ultimate manifestation of what you’re talking about is like how do we, not only lower the barrier in terms of they don’t have to code as much but even when they do code [right], how do we make this actually a good experience for them?

PF So what’s happening, right, is these giant platform companies are very good, they get good at reacting to complexity [yup] because if you read an old computer manual and I don’t if you’re coming from an engineering side, a design side, just out of curiosity, if you read from like the seventies like “How to do it!” It’s really simple! It’s—you were gonna write a program that might control like industrial refrigerators [yup] and if you were thinking about graphics, you were gonna draw rectangles [yup] and that was about it. And so the framework and the—and the—the limits were built in; you could make it deep, people could type into it, or it could like operate a crane [yup]. Those were the things a computer could do and then, you know, Windows comes along and suddenly you can do like five thousand things on a screen. Same with the Mac.

[13:11]

RZ And—and then that world kept expanding and expanding and there are teams that worry about those kits—that worry about and think about [oh huge! Huge!] the next version and the documentation is pristine!

PF There must be thousands of people working on or, you know, the Apple [music fades in] ecosystem at this point and so it really defines design.

RZ It’s a big deal [music ramps up, plays alone for six seconds, ramps down].

PF Hey, Rich, you know what people come to Postlight for?

RZ I do but [music fades out] but I’d like you to say it, Paul.

PF People come to Postlight to build the platforms that drive the entire global internet.

RZ Ho! Woah! Woah! Woah! Slow it down.

PF No! I can’t slow it down because I’m so busy delivering services! [Yeah] Uh no, I can’t uh oof.

RZ You know what’s one of the more interesting things about the blend of work we see is um some of it it’s people just wanna a new thing and sometimes [sometimes] it’s, “I’ve gotta fill-in-blank for—I—I wanna build the iTunes of blank.” Uh [yeah] it’s people riffing and they wanna talk. That’s fun [yup]. Always fun. And sometimes it’s the big company and that problem’s just it’s turned into a rash.

PF Let me tell you something before we get back to the show, what people come to us for is change, right? They come to us and they say—

RZ Solve problems.

PF That’s right. “I wanna make something new,” or something they say, “I know that if I get this piece of software to live inside of my organization that I will be doing right by the company because I will have created change—”

RZ “And succeeding, for myself.”

[14:38]

PF That’s right. “I will have crea—” Yeah, that’s right. “And I’ll be able to move forward and we’ll be able to move forward.” [Right] So that’s, in a very abstract way but what we really do on a day to day basis is we take your problems and we turn them into working software, on the modern web and on modern mobile and—and just anywhere it needs to go.

RZ Designers, engineers: great talent.

PF So if you need us: [email protected] and we look [music fades in] forward to talking to you [music ramps up, plays alone for six seconds, ramps down].

RZ Apple doesn’t even call it anything I don’t think [music fades out].

PF Well, no, I mean they—they still—it’s the human interface guidelines.

RZ Yes, they do have those which are legendary [yeah] and frankly uh pretty funny to read [yeah]. They’re actually fascinating cuz it sounds like a fascist dictator [oh yeah] is telling you how to—how to live your life [this is—everything’s gonna be—]. It’s really good.

PF—on this grid.

RZ [Laughing] It’s just—and it’s also do not make the user go too far to the left, here. [That’s right, that’s right] Make it [laughs]—it’s really funny. And those are guidelines but then, to your point earlier, which is the look and feel of the thing and the reuse of a themed sort of set of controls is very aggressively uh enforced.

PF This is what I wanna get at.

RZ And encouraged.

PF This is what I wanna get at because design and sort of brand focused design and sort of the traditional qualities of design were always about having a specific kind of voice, right? LIke the work that Paul Rand does or the work they do down the street at Pentagram [yup] like there’s a real—you pick it up and you’re like, “Ooh boy. I recognize this, it feels familiar, it works within a set of parameters but it’s original too.” And there’s always a—there’s a huge tension in technology where follow the rules of the SDK, follow the human interface guidelines, and make it look exactly like the other apps and behave exactly like the other apps or you’ll use the user.

RZ Yeah.

[16:23]

PF This is very risky. If you don’t make it work the way we say it’s gonna—it needs to work, people will be confused, they won’t wanna do it, software’s really complicated [mm hmm]. So don’t [yeah] screw with it too much. Put the menu where the menu goes!

RZ And when you mess with that, and you mess with those patterns, it actually does hurt. I [stammers] I wanna use an example we went through yesterday, Paul, [ok] I don’t even wanna mention the shop but—

PF A salad chain.

RZ A salad chain. And I was ordering it online and I added Paul’s salad into the [chuckles] cart and then I spent about three minutes tapping around, I didn’t know how to add another salad.

PF No! And so you—Rich held this up to me and was like, “I want you to add your own salad,” and it was—I couldn’t do it.

RZ [Stammers] It’s worth noting: this is an engineering team and a design team that really decided to be a little more adventurous because they wanted to create a distinct experience.

PF Ah! It looks good too!

RZ And it’s—everything slides and—and skids and, and—

PF And you just—it feels like fresh produce. You’re like, “Oh, here we go!”

RZ I’m—I’m ordering lunch with a piece of lettuce [mm hmm] and [that’s right] could you do it, Paul?

PF [Laughs] I could not.

RZ [Laughing] You couldn’t do it.

PF I could not—and then I literally started to make excuses for them, I’m like, “Well maybe they optimized for a single salad experience.” [Rich laughs boisterously] If you wanna—

RZ Which is not good for business!

PF If you wanna understand the relationship that you and I have, it’s—you’re there like, “These sons of bitches!” And I’m like well you know you—

RZ “Give ‘em a minute!”

[17:40]

PF You sit in the planning room and you’re like, “Well people only order one salad and then—” which is completely wrong.

RZ Well, yeah, I mean you want maximum salads ordered!

PF It’s—it’s New York City, it’s a corporate salad order is a very common thing like they [Rich laughing] screwed up real bad. They screwed up terribly.

RZ Which, you know, I think going off the script [that’s right]. That’s a great way to talk [that’s what happens] when engineers and designers jump off [I’ll give you—] the script.

PF I’ll give you another example. This one is particular egregious. Adobe Creative Suite.

RZ [Breathily] I can’t.

PF Every new version! Right? You’re like, “Oh ok, Photoshop.” And then, you know, now I subscribe to it, which is wonderful [yeah], and then, “Oh there’s new stuff.” And it is a—I have no idea they change everything, everytime.

RZ It’s an abomination.

PF There’s—there’s toolkits flying all over the place, there’s—so Adobe is actually a fascinating example because what they have is their own SDK. They have their own like Adobe world—

RZ Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

PF—that’s eight million years old. They’re 20 years old. Then they go in and they’re like, “Oh we’re gonna build Creative Suite.” Well—well—they’re not gonna use Apple’s color picker. They’re gonna use Adobe Photoshop color picker which they’ve optimized beautifully for 800 years.

RZ It’s—it’s—it’s a lot.

PF And so—

RZ And it’s a mess. And—and—and I think—

PF They’re always reinventing and it’s hard. They wanna be an operating system company.

[18:50]

RZ Can you not get it? I know—I know—cuz I know designers who stuck to certain versions when it was boxed.

PF Oh yeah!

RZ Like, “I’m not upgrading. I’m—I’m flying on this.”

PF The last time anything actually significantly changed was CS4. Now they basically are taking away useful menu options. Like, I dunno, you can’t say for web in the same way you used to be able to and it’s just—

RZ I don’t understand any of any it.

PF It’s hard. And I have no idea what I’m getting.

RZ And if you right mo—I once right mouse clicked [ugh!] and it was the size of the whole monitor [oh my god laughing] and I have a big monitor [me too!]. It was a—a stack of 40 options and I didn’t know what I was looking at.

PF I also don’t—I don’t know half the programs from Adobe that I have.

RZ No, no, no.

PF I mean sure I know Illustrator.

RZ Oh you’re buying that package.

PF I have no idea.

RZ You can’t just get one thing.

PF No, I can clea—I could remake Titanic!

RZ It’s a shit show.

PF But I have no idea what—but—

RZ But credit to Adobe for giving every single engineer that worked on Photoshop props when you load it.

PF In the little [chuckles]—that’s right.

[19:42]

RZ The problem is it zips by at 180 miles an hour and so, “Mom, I’m—I’m on the Adobe team. Did you see my name when you loaded up Photoshop? And it’s like two milliseconds of my name.”

PF No, it’s just it’s—there’s eight million people. If—if Adobe Photoshop worked like Mac apps typically work, it’d be a lot easier to learn and adapt to but it would also be less differentiated and it’s Photoshop and it’s Adobe, so it has its own thing going.

RZ Wait, we should talk about Google.

PF Yeah, we should.

RZ About ten years ago, the—the design beast inside of Google woke up. [Yeah like a kra—] Maybe a little longer than that.

PF Like a kraken.

RZ And all of a sudden, Google gave a shit. About design.

PF Yeah.

RZ And they have—they’ve actually branded it. Uh they have a whole library and language and vocabulary and system around design called [pause for effect].

PF Material.

RZ Just reflect on that name.

PF Good name. The Material Design System which is like a pseudo—ok, so that works on Android. And they’ve also sort of poured out a lot of it to the web.

RZ Everywhere.

PF Yeah.

RZ I just got the Google Mesh router [mm hmm]. And you’re right, they applied that aesthetic which is sort of like kids’ construction paper.

PF You know I think—I was always think of—Google design used to be really like Marissa Meyers testing 900 shades of blue. That was always the story there.

[21:04]

RZ Yeah, that was the old story.

PF And I think at one point they must’ve just gone like, [defeated] “Yeah, we’re not gonna run everything on statistics. It’s not—it’s actually inefficient.”

RZ Yeah.

PF Like it’s inefficient to be like, “We’ll test everything!” It’s like sometimes you just like, “We’ll see what happens and then we’ll adapt.”

RZ Yeah and—and—

PF And that’s—

RZ—credit to them, it’s—it’s—the latest Android which I haven’t played with yet is called Pie [chuckles]—

PF I have it. Yeah, it’s great!

RZ Is it good?

PF Yeah.

RZ Is it a lot of new paradigms and—

PF It’s not even that much. It just works. It’s just—

RZ Smooth. They’re getting smooth.

PF Of all of them, they are probably the best at gettin’ out of your way [right]. You know who has a great web widget toolkit that works on a lot of the modern frameworks is IBM. They did this thing called uh Carbon.

RZ Ok. Let’s pause on that and absorb it. IBM. International Business Machines.

PF An open source widget toolkit that they can use cuz they build lots of software for lots of people.

RZ Yeah, it’s handsome. I’ve seen it and it’s pretty put together.

[21:53]

PF It’s just very elegant. It’s very simple.

RZ Yeah.

PF And so like if this is—if you are a giant, giant enterprise and you wanna keep things consistent across your org this is one of the things you build.

RZ But, again, if you think engineers like to go off the script, designers love to go off the script. That’s creativity!

PF Yeah and there’s this innate tension that is built into these things, right?

RZ Of course! I’m not gonna just pick up the same Lego pieces everytime!

PF No, I know. And so when you come and talk to us software people about building, this is the great wrestling match like, you know, if you bought a Commodore 64 in 1984, it came with a manual and you looked inside of it and it told you where all the different memory no—nodes were in the thing, right?

RZ Long live the Commodore 64.

PF No, but you could—you wanted purple goblins runnin’ across your screen, you did that at like the processor level. The whole computer was fully dedicated—

RZ Not a lot of tools.

PF No! And the whole computer was fully dedicated to your silly purple goblins.

RZ Yeah.

PF Ok. The way you do purple goblins now is you go into Illustrator and you save an SVG file that you then put onto the web and you slowly animate it using one of many toolkits.

RZ Yup.

PF Or you get the web animation toolkit out of your SDK [mm hmm yup] and you say, “I’m gonna use this purple gobl—goblin asset and [yeah] here are its eyes and I’m gonna have them rotate around this circle.”

RZ Yup.

[23:04]

PF Right? And so it’s—you can still be insanely creative within that but the box is really clearly defined.

RZ And that’s where innovation—like innovation comes when you do stray, right? I mean pull-to-refresh [that’s right], that’s a guy who just—I—I’m gonna assume he took like an acid hit.

PF [Chuckles] That—that’s how design happens in your world [Rich laughs boisterously]. Look: what do people out in the world, civilians, or people who wanna come to Postlight and hire us, or people who wanna get into software. What do they need to go learn and understand about SDKs? What do—what should they do?

RZ I—I—they should do what I do. I’m not an engineer. I’ve tinkered but I am not an engineer by any means. I love to go in. Just go look around.

PF That’s right. If you’re on a Mac, download EX-CODE.

RZ Yeah, but it’s—it’s pretty much beautifully documented on the web.

PF Yeah, that’s true. Just go search—

RZ Go look around! And it’s—it’s a fascinating world because you—you—and I think any product manager should have a sense of how this world works.

PF Yeah because these are your Legos.

RZ These are your Legos.

PF Yeah.

RZ And you need to know the dep—the depth of what you’re working with.

PF An architect knowing like how windows work in the walls [exactly!] like you gotta know.

RZ If there’s one piece of advice that comes out of this, it’s that.

PF Yeah.

RZ So, let’s reinvent something right now, ready?

PF Yeah.

[24:15]

RZ There’s pull-to-refresh [ok]. How about yank-to-respond? [Both laugh] What do you think?

PF It’s ok.

RZ Ok.

PF I just—someone recently put out a game where you just yell—you yell, “Enhance! Computer, enhance!”

RZ Yeah.

PF I think that’s—like yell-to-enhance is a good—

RZ Yeah, well we’ve got face ID.

PF That’s right.

RZ Um, how about this one? Ready?

PF Yeah.

RZ This gets intense. Smile-to-fav.

PF That’s good but I got one better.

RZ Wait! I’m looking at the post! And if I smile [smile-to-fav] and it picks up my teeth, you gotta get teeth in [music fades in] there.

PF That’s probably real but I got one that’s better [Rich laughs], you ready? And we’re gonna end this podcast with this, you ready?

RZ Go.

PF Kiss-to-quit.

RZ Oooh.

PF Blow a kiss.

RZ Uh huh. It’s very French [laughs].

[24:54]

PF App goes [makes kissing sound like moo-ah]! [Rich laughs] And then the app just closes.

RZ Do you have to blow it?

PF You don’t have to. Just the computer’s watching and then moo-ah!

RZ Blow is a hard force quit [laughs].

PF Yeah, that [makes a hard blowing sound like whooo]. Kiss-to-quit. Alright, Rich, let’s get out of here. [email protected]

RZ Woah. Woah. Woah. You’re in a hurry today.

PF I got a lot—got a lot of meetings [chuckles] actually. I’m pretty busy.

RZ Alright, have a great week, everyone.

PF Ok, bye! [Music ramps up, plays alone for five seconds, fades out to end.]