#007: paying for apps • ethical marketing • Jamaican disco

Welcome to the seventh edition of Ephemerata, a weekly-ish digest of links, ideas, learnings, and sounds that I think are worth sharing.


I’m doing this to stimulate discussion around what I find interesting, and also to share things before they disappear into the void of my journal.

Thanks to ‘Lawrie’ (AKA my dad) for contributing to my Open Collective this week 🙂.


The latest episode of Metamuse is a comprehensive overview of issues around software pricing. They discuss sustainable business models, data ownership, trade-offs of using app stores, the importance of letting people try the app first. Might be a worthwhile listen for anyone wondering why many apps are moving to subscriptions.

Some useful concepts for me:

  • The term “modern living app” expresses how apps need regular maintenance and are never ‘finished’. To ‘sell it and forget it’ is unrealistic and so is charging for it once.
  • The concept of “alumni mode” is about making sure people have access to their data even if they cancel their subscription. I demoed this in my funding button earlier this year, and I’m glad to have a short name for the idea.
[Consider the psychological goods as well as the commercial ones (community, social signaling, ambience).]
[One does not simply change the price: they need to rethink the product, marketing, analytics, testing, support, etc… It might be useful to have a dedicated pricing person, in the same way as designer or engineer.]

For even more discussion, check out their episode with the creator of Agenda, which goes into the dynamics of producing apps as an independant developer, and engaging with your community.

My upcoming event with Fission on July 8th, 2021 around “earning a living from apps without holding other people’s data” will also get into these topics, so please join us if you’re interested.


I’ve been rediscovering Plausible Analytics this week. They wrote about all the marketing practices they don’t use:

Don’t confuse marketing with advertising, spamming and shoutingWe don’t do any paid advertisingWe don’t use spy pixels from Facebook and Google to retarget youWe don’t track your every click using session recordingsWe don’t do any exit popups and other intrusive calls-to-actionWe don’t have affiliates and don’t pay anyone to recommend usWe don’t do A/B testing and other experimentsWe don’t try to get you on a sales call to test our productWe don’t have a fancy email sequence to “nurture” you into payingWe don’t try to engage you after you sign up for our productWe don’t use a chatbot or an AI-tool to engage and convert youWe don’t ask you to join yet another webinar to learn some secretsWe don’t participate in any link buying to game search enginesWe don’t have a podcast and a video channelWe don’t know who you are, what you like or where you’re fromWe ignore all other unethical proposals we see in our inbox

Respect for making a more conscientious option profitable.

They also describe some noble properties of open-source software:

Open source is software that you can trustSoftware that is ethicalSoftware with more earnest goals, motives and principles other than profit making and shareholder valueSoftware that tells you what it does upfront, direct and honest.Software that is open and transparentSoftware that you are a user of rather than a product ofSoftware that is created by real people rather than faceless organizationsSoftware that can be verified that it does what the creators say that it does


If you’re enjoying this, consider contributing to my Open Collective. Virtually everything I create is public, accessible for free, and open-source. Your support helps me keep adding to the commons and making it available for everyone.



Some fundamental thoughts from Jessica Alonso around psychological defenses (via the Female Rivalry salon):

[Every baby has cried and been scared of being abandoned.]
[We’re hard-wired to avoid rejection and abandonment because it’s directly linked to our survival.]
[Be loving and accepting, and undo any false sense of scarcity that has been created.]

David Chapman describes a theory of how subcultures arise and fall in Geeks, MOPs, and sociopaths in subculture evolution. (via @neauoire@merveilles.town)


Guess who said this:

I’d like to do my part in encouraging a return to longer forms of thinking and writing, which provide more room for nuance and more opportunity for establishing consensus or, at the very least, respecting a diversity of perspective and, you know, science.

I want to revive the original spirit of the older, pre-commercial internet, with its bulletin boards, newsgroups, and blogs — if not in form, then in function.

Hint: rhymes with ‘feds were snowed in’

Hashvatar generates trippy geometric images from text—try changing ‘Hello’ to your name. (via @expede)


Love in English versus Persian:

In English we suddenly ‘fall in love,’ but in Persian love comes in stages: First the ‘havā’ (infatuation) of youth, then the ‘dūstī’ (affectionate love) of a couple, followed by the ‘eshq’ (passionate love) of newlyweds, and finally the ‘mohabat,’ (caring love) of an old couple.


Been getting into Ze Frank’s inimitable videos again and found his Guide To Candy Trading after Halloween. His series on obscure biological creatures (such as killer surfing snails) can be fun in moderation.

Flowbee is a “Revolutionary Haircutting System” from the twentieth-century that attaches to your vacuum cleaner. (via @boris)


All the following items can be accessed as a one-click playlist via Joybox without accounts or sign up—just open and play.


Muchos Plus’ Nassau’s Discos from Nassau’s Discos (1979) is fast and funky with cowbells and other African percussion. (via Bandcamp Daily)

Thumpasaurus’ I’m Pissed from I’m Pissed (2021) is a dramatic rock dance production, complete with timestamps for each section (of a four-minute video), and a… sort of website.

Exuma, The Obeah Man from Exuma, The Obeah Man (1970) wild stompin’ folk groove with whistles, frogs, yelping. (via @flying_fisher)

fran’s coração tambor from raiz (2020) documents the artist’s search for his ancestry in Angola, featuring some indigenous music and percussion. (via Sushma)

Gospel vibes from Wilson Pickett’s Steal Away from Right On (1970) makes you snap your fingers, with both hands, on two and four. (via @cicredopoco@mastodon.social)

More music in last weeks’s edition.

I always love receiving music. Send me recommendations anytime, anywhere!

That’s all folks!

Feel free to reply and share any reflections you might have, or just say hello.

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