#36 – How Your Project is Like the Best Sandwich I Ever Had

Hello folks!

I’ll start again with the business stuff then work into my commentary for the week.

If you didn’t se it yet, I did post last week about the new Update Frames button in Xcode 8.1. I’m trying to finish four Lynda.com courses at the same time, so I’ll try to get to fix it in the books soon as I can, but I’m swamped. You’ll find the article also on the Book’s webpage

The new lesson is up on the website. This week I’m showing you how to use actions and categories with your notifications. This is a cool way to execute bits of code directly from the notification without opening the app.

For the tip of the week, I found out that the newer simulators work just like their device counterparts. That means any use of 3d touch in a simulator requires you to have a 3D touch trackpad. If you don’t have a 3D touch trackpad, you can’t do all functions  on iPhone 6s, 6s plus, 7 and 7 plus simulators. As I’ll describe in the post, this has some serious repercussions, since the newer phones require a 3d tap to get the actions displayed. The workaround is to use an iPhone 6 or 6 plus to test notifications or other application using 3D touch in the API’s. This would be the latest phone without the 3D touch feature.

I have a new idea for this newsletter that I’m beginning to work on. I have two readers who were nice enough to send me their apps to look at. Both apps I like a lot, and I’m thinking they might be cool to review and constructively critique on the newsletter. I haven’t gotten permission from either person yet, so If I do this, it will start next week. If you are interested in submitting an app in the app store for review, send me a valid redemption code  at podcasts@makeapppie.com with some info about you and your app and I’ll take a look.

Some of you might remember last week I promised to tell you about the second best memopry from my trip to Russia. That memory actually happened not in Russia but in Helsinki, on a stopover, but  on my way home.  It turns out I heard some news last week that dovetails into that story.

Restaurateur Jim Delligatti died last week at the ripe old age of 98. You might not know that name, but I’m betting most of you know of his innovation, one that the corporate environment he belonged to resisted. Delligatti knew  it would be a hit, because he listened to his customers more than corporate. His innovation is known world wide. While he lived in Pennsylvania, it was in Helsinki that I found his invention was the best sandwich I ever tasted.

In August of 1986, a few months before I went to Russia, the Chernobyl disaster happened. It changed our trip, cancelling the original stop of Kiev since getting there would require going dangerously close to the affected area. It changed the name of our dinner and lunch too. No longer was it called Chicken Kiev. It was Chernobyl Chicken.  Lunch and dinner every day for two weeks was Chernobyl Chicken. Even the ultra hot mustard condiment was not enough to make this tasty by the end of the trip.  After two weeks, I never wanted to see a butter stuffed breaded chicken breast again.

On our way back from the Soviet Union, we had an overnight layover in Helsinki. Many of my class mates and I went across the road from our hotel, to a restaurant there. I think we all ordered the same sandwich. The two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun I ordered with fries and a Coke was the best sandwich I ever ate.

Yeah it was a Big Mac. That was Jim Delligati’s invention.

There’s a lot to unpack there. How could a fast food icon be the best sandwich I ever tasted?  I mean, I’m pretty much a foodie. Most of you know me how I obsess about pizza. But I love food. I remember the best risotto I ever had was at Ristorante Mario’s,  just behind the forum of Augustus in Rome. The best coffee is Ladro’s in Seattle or any coffee shop brewing 100% Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. The best crepes are in the tiny town of Galesburg Illinois, at a place called the Landmark. The best pizza in the world is Pizza Renaldi in Cozumel, Mexico, washed down with a Limonada. I’ve been to restaurants worldwide. One star to five star. Why would a Big Mac be my favorite sandwich ever?

To be clear it was that Big Mac. Three weeks a later, the Big Mac at the local McDonalds I could take or leave. Food carries emotional value. That Big Mac in Helsinki was coming back to civilization. It was coming back to frredom and to the west. After all that Chernobyl chicken, that Big Mac tasted good.

That’s known as contrast bias. When exposed to something that we don’t like, especially after repeated exposure, there is a relief when we can change. Robert Cialdini in his book Influence gives the example of real estate brokers who show two or three really bad houses before showing a mediocre quality or a house slightly over the budget of a buyer. They people looking at homes like, and may even buy, this house not because it is the best for them, but it is not one of those objectionable houses.  I liked a Big Mac in that moment because it was not Chicken Kiev. It could have been any food that wasn’t Chicken Kiev and I would have loved it.

That’s one marketing strategy you might take if you are competing with similar apps in the app store. What makes you app different? What makes your app special, or a breath of fresh air in a crowded market? Marketing and user Experience go hand in hand here. By including what is a relief to users in your application, you make your app more attractive to users. Suppose you could build a perfect Pokemon Go clone, complete with proper licensing. Then you go and include the missing tracking feature that users are screaming about in Niantic’s version . The users would beat a path to your door. Niantic know this by the way, and spends more time blocking developers from building the missing tracker than actually making better game play.

The second thing about the Big Mac is the meaning of a Big Mac. It’s not Russian in any way: It’s a product of the West and specifically America, of my Home. We map a lot of meaning on things. Often we do not even know how much meaning we map on objects. I mapped a lot of meanings about the warmth of home,  about the freedoms I have at home onto a sandwich. I may have been in Finland, but eating a McDonald’s sandwich was mentally coming home. Remember that there are such mappings. Some you can create with enough media exposure. Most you don’t, but knowing what those mappings are you can exploit them — or avoid them. Some mappings are negative and will hurt your chances in the marketplace. That same McDonalds Big Mac in France often gets a very different reaction: It’s repugnant. Use the one that attract, and avoid the ones that repel customers. And like Jim Delligati, know your customers. Listen to them.

Finally, I want to talk about one more story I read about Jim Delligati. Delligati was selling the Big Mac only in his stores. McDonalds Corporate hated the idea of a Big Mac. They wanted no changes to their already consistent menu. They hated having to buy a different kind of bun, one with sesame seeds. This wasn’t a radical change by any means.  Such sandwiches existed at other fast food restaurants. “This wasn’t like discovering the lightbulb,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1993. “The bulb was already there. All I did was screw it in the socket.”  But there was still corporate resistance. What changed McDonald’s mind about the sandwich, and eventually led to it becoming one of the most profitable items on the menu was local growth. After Delligatti introduced the sandwich in his own stores, neighboring McDonalds owners  Started carrying it too. Corporate had a different option when the sandwich successfully spread like wildfire across Pennsylvania.

Always remember that your project is like a big mac. It may not be something radically different, but it can have some impact on people. Listen to your users to find what they want.   No big guy might want it, but let it spread locally first before taking the world by storm. It may have mappings of feelings and memories of good things. Exploit that for the local population first, the rest may follow.  It may be a breath of fresh air in an otherwise oppressive environment, making it amazingly attractive.

I hope your apps sell like big macs.

Keep coding,


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