Consequences of Epic's stunt on Apple

What's in for developers, plus speed limits and the phantom risk of COVID-19

Hey everyone, welcome to the very first instalment of Business of Software. Every week I’ll send you a quick email about interesting ideas that may or may not be related to software, business and engineering management.

What the Epic's stunt against Apple changes for developers?

I’m going to kick this off with a short article I wrote. These past weeks we’ve seen major development companies attacking Apple’s App Store. Will Apple budge, and change its policies? Will changes benefit the business of independent developers or small development studios?

The short answer is, probably nothing will change for the small guys.

Read on for the long answer →

Agree, disagree? Hit reply and let me know!

Speed Limit

The other day I was at the park with my son when I heard a woman scream, "STOP!" I looked and saw a toddler girl running away from the woman and crossing the adjacent street. Thankfully no cars were coming, so the little girl was physically unharmed—though she certainly got an earful from her mom.

That episode gave me a newfound appreciation for school area (or park area) speed limits. Suppose there was an incoming car driving slightly over the limit. There's no way the driver could notice the girl emerging from behind a parked car and react in time to prevent the accident.

A slight admission of guilt: I didn't always pay attention to the city's lower speed limits as, from the driver's seat, those limits feel unreasonably, unbearably slow. That's because modern cars are not designed to be driven so slowly. The driver is sitting on so much power, they'd be over the limit just by lightly feathering the accelerator. I wonder if we could design ourselves out of that problem?

I, for one, can't wait until we have reliable self-driving cars that makes cruise speed decisions based on road safety regulations, not on how fast or slow it feels.

Interesting link

The Phantom Risk of COVID-19 by Tyler Cowen

The Phantom risk the article refers to is the risk of people, business and institutions being reluctant to expose themselves to SARS-CoV-2, even after the biomedical progress results in a significant drop in mortality rates.

Further declines in the mortality rate won’t help much, because “37 Covid-19 Cases Identified at UC-Berkeley” is enough of a headline to create reputational risk and an institutional response. Even if everyone makes a speedy recovery, that won’t get the same kind of media coverage.

As Mark Mason pointed out in his newsletter, the sunk cost fallacy may be playing a role here. People may become reluctant to go out for coffee with a friend because, if they contract COVID-19, the past five months of quarantine would have been "for nothing". 

That’s it for this week. If you enjoyed what you read, hit reply and let me know! Also, if you know other people that might be interested, use the button below to share this newsletter with them! It would help a ton 🙇🏻‍♂️

Enjoy your weekend, and I’ll see you again next Friday.