#34 Why I Switched Mail Lists

Hello Folks,

I’m going to start with some follow-up from last week. Last Monday seems almost a century ago, though it was only seven days. I was upset and very depressed last week.  I was also honest, a little more honest than some on this list wanted.  In retrospect the damage isn’t bad. I got only one really nasty note about that post, who I unsubscribed and five people who unsubscribed either complaining that post was inappropriate or my politics didn’t belong in their feed. I assure you that is my last truly political post.  The post was more about my feelings than anything else.

With that said I will make clear that A Slice of App Pie is my site and I will say and do exactly what I want here. If you believe that you are in any way superior to any other human being because of your gender, who you choose to love, the color of your skin or your religion,  please unsubscribe. I will not be political, but much of what I have to say about being a creative indie assumes we are all equal but have cultural differences. I don’t call that political — that’s who I am. You won’t be comfortable with what I am going to say if you cannot accept that.

Okay enough of that. Onto the first topic of the week  which is still related to last week’s post.

Those six people give us a really cool opportunity for you to understand why I moved the e-mail list. That explanation was supposed to be last weeks post – why I made the move from Tinyletter to Mail Chimp. While I like Mail Chimp, this applies to other similar e-mail list system such as Constant Contact. Higher end mail systems have nicer content creation tools, and the look of the newsletter plus the speed I’m able to produce it are very important to that decision.

The second reason I moved is metrics. Tinyletter had almost no metrics. On tiny letter, I know only that a little less than third of the newsletters got opened. Beyond that I know nothing. Mail Chimp is a different creature. I know a lot about you, more than you can imagine. One example is the location you subscribed from. I can assume a lot about you from that information, and even group you regionally. Our six wayward friends, between their exit comments when they unsubscribed and their location lets me makes some simple inferences. While I have street addresses, for our purposes all you need to know is they were from Georgia, Western Washington State, Texas and Kansas. Given the political outlook in those geographic regions their unsubscribing makes total sense, and I wish them well.

That’s the example I wanted to share with you of using analytics to understand something that happens to a list. Unfortunately I don’t have any interesting data on iTunes connect for an example. The analytics is getting better there, but they aren’t as granular as this — at least for us.  Apple doesn’t give exact locations for a download, only countries. I’d love to see for my apps where people are downloading them. Geographic data can tell you a lot, as tribes do form in geographical regions. These are people with shared cultural values. If you have access to the cultural values or other demographic data that you can assume cultural values from, you can understand an audience better. That’s really what I’m doing with Mail Chimp. I’m looking at who you are, and then I can write what might be the best articles. Not everyone will agree or like what I write, but I know who I am writing to better.

Some of you, rightly so, should be getting chills. The first time I opened Mail Chimp’s analytics, I got them too. Even when you don’t volunteer information, you are giving a lot more than you imagine. Most e-mail systems do this to get the best idea of who their audience is. My ethics is such that while I will reference this data, I will not mention specific data about anyone. I will, however talk vaguely and most often with aggregate data. Your data is safe with me.

As another example, Location aggregate data is one of the patterns I have seen repeatedly on all my sites. Although this is written in English, this is not a purely American site. Americans may be the biggest demographic, but they are by no means a majority. Only 42% comes from America, 58% are outside the U.S. I need to think about that too, and what it really means, because I really don’t know what to do with a global audience, with lots of different assumptions and cultures behind them. In some of these newsletters I’ll talk more about the analytics. I think it is especially important for us to understand them to discover our customers. As I discover things over the next few months, I’ll be writing to you about them. Mail Chimp is a new adventure in marketing for me, and I hope I can give you insights about e-mail lists in this experiment.

Let switch over to iOS. I got a lot planned for you in the coming months. There are several topics that are tickling my fancy, not the least of which is something that came out of the lynda.com course. I wrote a whole chapter about notification on the Apple watch for that video course, but along the way found out that the new UserNotification framework has some pretty powerful  stuff in it. And so, I’m a bit hooked. This week post  goes into the management of local notifications. A fan wrote me about a problem he was having, and this happened to dovetail quite well with his problem. You’ll learn a lot about local notifications there.  I’ll add one more thing here that I did not cover there.

While you all have seen notifications on your phone, you may not know how the new UserNotification  framework does it thing. I’ll go more into detail in the posts on the website if you want code. You as a developer add a notification request using a UNNotificationRequest Object. This object has three parts: an identifier, a trigger and content. While you can assign values before you add a notification to the notification center, once you do the request becomes read only.

That the one thing I left out of the lesson this week. If you want to change content you make completely new request and then replace the current request with the same request identifier. You can only replace not change a request.

Now for my progress news.  Swift Swift View Controllers got delayed again, due to another round of Lynda.com courses. I’m also running into a big stumbling block of Apple shutting down publishing services for a good chunk of December, so it make it difficult to get everything done. I’m targeting very early January to get the thing complete. But I’m going to try an exploratory update over Thanksgiving. So some changes are coming soon.

Speaking of Lynda.com thank you for those of you who took a look at least the demos from the WatchOS course if not the entire program.  For those of you who heard my earlier episode of selling out and selling it I hit a gray area with this. I said in that post That I have a huge problem with affiliate programs. However, there is a Lynda.com affiliate program and I’m not sure if that is selling out or selling it to set the Lynda.com affiliate program up. I’m still debating it with myself. It would be to sell my product and make more money from it, but I’m not 100% certain of that. If you have a thought, let me know.

Practical Autolayout seems to be doing well on both iBooks and Kindle. Thank you all for your purchases.

So that’s it for this week’s post. Hope you have a good week. If you are that 42% of the list from the U.S. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

I’ll be talking to you next week, so keep coding.

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