Learning to Ride a Bicycle, Again.

Over the weekend I watched this rather fascinating video where Destin Sandlin describes the process of learning to ride a bicycle with backwards steering. The underlying point of the video is to demonstrate how engrained our thinking can become, even without us knowing it.

The video is worth watching on its own, but I mention it here because it really got me thinking about the App Store. If you’ve been listening to my recent series of episodes on Developing Perspective you’ll know that I’ve done a lot of talking about how the App Store has changed over the last few years.

I’ve made my primary living from selling apps in the App Store for roughly five years now. In some ways that experience gives me an advantage over newcomers to the platform. My apps have a certain amount of momentum that helps keep them sustainable. But I’ve started to recently really worry about the skewed perspective that the last five years has engendered.

Am I still going along riding my old school App Store bike, when the steering in the modern App Store has reversed? The nature of mental biases is that they are insidiously difficult to recognize in yourself.

Take this past weekend as an example. There was a time when being in the App Store on Day One of a new platform launch would, on its own, generate a significant amount of interest, buzz, downloads, etc. From what I saw amongst my own apps (and comments from other developers) those impacts are significantly more muted these days. That isn’t a problem, in-and-of-itself, but it isn’t what I had grown to expect.

To stay competitive and continue to be able to make my living this way I expect I will need to make sure that I spend time making sure I know what kind of ‘bicycle’ the modern App Store is. My past experiences are still useful, but I cannot allow myself to lazily expect them to be predictive.

David Smith