The Double Standard of the Internet World

John Gruber talking about adding sync to his app Vesper:

There are a slew of very frequent requests from Vesper users, but sync stands apart. It’s not only the most common request, it’s the only one that is often accompanied by “this is so important I can’t believe you shipped without it”. We totally understand that for many of you, a notes app that doesn’t sync to some sort of cloud storage service is a non-starter, full-stop. But we have no regrets at all about shipping Vesper 1.0 as an iPhone-only data silo. We ourselves find it useful, as do our existing customers. And as a company, shipping without sync allowed us to operate profitably many months ahead of when we would have seen our first dollar if we had waited until we had sync to ship 1.0.

When Gruber and Brent Simmons launched Vesper in June, it was their brainchild of a simple, but elegant note taking application. They purposely left any sort of syncing or backup out of the application, citing a “simple” approach. Part of Gruber’s argument I believe (I can’t find it now) revolved around the idea that sync is only needed if a user wants to have their notes in multiple places. Their idea was that this was a great standalone app. But that doesn’t make a lot of sense these days. And that’s before factoring in the fact that if a user’s iPhone takes a dump, they could lose all their notes.

This proves an interesting example of the state of certain people in the online world. John Gruber is an intelligent writer with a loyal following. Brent Simmons is a respected and successful developer. They, like anyone, has the right to include/exclude whatever features they want. They can play it this way because they hold all the cards. Gruber releasing an app was going to be successful, relative to most note taking apps released, strictly because of who he is. The world has always worked this way. The movie, music, television industry, and many others operate this way as well. It’s not Gruber’s fault either.

But it is crazy that just a few months later they are backtracking from their “simple” stance because so many people complained1. Without their built in audience, and loyal following, they wouldn’t have gotten away with this. It’s a sad double standard, but there is nothing that anyone can do about it.

  1. Gruber noted that many people were happy with a lack of sync, but I would still think that is the minority opinion, and doesn’t take into account people who didn’t buy it be cause it has no sync []