Caring where things come from

This last week Readability launched their new iOS app. This is an application with a complicated history for me. Its launch prompted some unexpected mixed feelings. It is a well crafted, thoughtfully designed application clearly created with care by its developers, but I found that I just couldn’t grow to like it. Something kept pulling me away, a nagging feeling that it just didn’t fit.

After thinking about it for a few days I think that feeling originates from a concern not only with what I use but also who makes it. This concern applies to more things in my life than just apps. I prefer produce from a CSA, meat from a local farmer and coffee beans from a small roaster. I have paid memberships to smaller news sites like Daring Fireball and Shawn Blanc, rather than subscribing to the New York Times. In the world of apps I prefer to play games from small indie game studios like Imangi or Big Bucket.

I imagine this impulse comes from the way I make my living. I craft and sell apps in the App Store, relying on the collective good-will of others to pay for my ‘wares. This isn’t some hipster-like aversion to the mainstream; I just prefer using my money to support people rather than companies wherever I can.

So after taking Readability for a quick spin and admiring the things it does well, it is no longer on my iPhone. Instead, Instapaper continues in its daily role as my offline reader, a truly fine product from a source I’m proud to support.

David Smith