45 – Crash


Paul texts me saying the publish story button doesn’t work. I’m not sure what he means. Works for me. Whatever, I’m trying to make my first proper story. A recipe.

I have a dish I cook. It’s a chicken and pancetta thing in a white wine sauce over pasta. Made it last night and finally perfected it. Added a sliced chilli. Sent the taste into orbit. I took photos along the way and had decided to make a story about it.

So this is the first time I’m using the app properly, like using about 20 photos, resizing/cropping them, reordering them, adding captions, adding blocks of text too. Doing it all. After half an hour and about 15 photos into the 20, Story crashes. I re-open; all gone.

I had a numb feeling. I’m used to it. I get it all the time. Had Illustrator crash a bunch of times while designing the app. I just sit and stare.

“Everything okay?” girlfriend asks.

I hate saying to her, ‘It crashed’ and looking all pissed off. I sound like the nerd I am.

“Ahhh, nothing… just like, crashed or something…”

“Aww honey…”

“Nah it’s cool. Just, you know…”

“You’ve been working on that for ages-”

“Yeah no, it’s cool.”

Fuck it, probably just random, things crash, it’s fine. I’ll start again.

Twenty minutes later. Crash.

“Babe? You okay?”

“THE FUCKING THING CRASHED. IT CRASHED ON ME. AGAIN.” Feel my head getting hot. Eyes puffy. Angry. Staring at a screen. That’s a nerd alright.

I silently text Paul. “Story crashed on me. Shit.”

Paul replies, “Yeah. Doesn’t work.”

44 – “Isn’t it done?”


“I thought it was done?” my girlfriend asks.

“The app?”

“Yeah, the app. Isn’t it done? Wasn’t it meant to be done on Friday?”

Like I’d be sitting here on a Saturday night if the app was done. Like I wouldn’t have maybe mentioned that it was done. Like me, Paul and Filippo wouldn’t have the champagne flowing if the app was done.

“No… not done…”

“Oh I thought it was meant to be-”

“Yeah, no.”

It was meant to be finished last week. Then Wednesday. And now this coming Monday. I keep throwing extra stuff at Filippo which isn’t helping. But the plan is to submit the thing to the App Store on Monday. Which probably means Wednesday/next next Monday.

43 – One more thing…


Filippo’s gonna kill me. 

But I can’t let this go. ‘No more changes’ he’d said. That was a week ago. But this change is so good it needs to go in.

I text Paul a photo of the design change. “Nice.” He replies. Nice spurs me on.

I’m trying to think how to word the email to Filippo.

“Hi Filippo, loving what you’re doing. Mate, could I ask you for one last, last favour?! I feel bad even asking but-“

Nah too eager, too weak. He’ll spot me a mile off. What combination of words will lead Filippo to make this change? I text Paul asking how to word it. He doesn’t reply.

Maybe I should go in hard like, “Filippo. Need a change executed soon as. Top of the list. Let me know when you have it done.”

He’ll destroy me.

I’ve designed new buttons for Story’s main screens. They have icons on instead of text. They make the thing look gorgeously minimal and, due to the buttons being bigger, it’s more functional too.

I’m sure it’s not that much work. I mean, I don’t know coding but I’m sure it isn’t more than 20 minutes work. 30 tops. That’s what I picture in my head. Probably exactly how it is. No worries. I’ll just say that.

Oh god. Kill me now. I’m a… client.

42 – Location


“Each story should say the person’s location on it.” I said ages ago when first discussing the app with Filippo.

“The location of the author or the location of where the story was made?” He replied.

“What do you mean?”

“Because if you go on holiday to Africa but create the story when you get home in London then it’ll say London, not Africa.”

“Huh. Good point.”

Like, you say something you think is really simple, ‘hey Filippo, yeah, just stick the location on there yeah? Quick job yeah?’ but then it opens up a whole bunch of new questions you didn’t think about. Which is weird when this is all you think about.

So, today, Filippo implemented a thing where it takes the location from where the cover photo was taken. Because the cover photo is the one most likely to be most relevant to your story. You know, makes sense.

But what if there is no photo? Huh. No worries. Filippo decided to do a mix. So Story will look at the location of your photo and, if there is no photo, it’ll grab your current location and use that.

Paul says he loves using Filippo for this reason, “Like, he is making a hybrid solution to determine the location of a story. Pretty cool.” It really is nice knowing this guy has got our back.

Okay, enough bigging up Filippo.

Great guy though.

41 – Congratulations Filippo


One of the other projects, apart from Story, that Filippo and his team have been working on is this one for Google. It’s been getting a load of buzz.

The last time we met Filippo he showed it to us right before it was about to go live. He was really proud. Me and Paul were gobsmacked. I’m not into fancy show-off examples of ‘what’s possible these days’ but this one is amazing. It’s a true bond between creative vision and technological skill. Urgh ‘technological skill’ sounds terrible…

“It’s a symbiotic relationship consisting of engineered creativity.” Paul says.

Yes, that.

It’s really beautiful and I’m so happy it’s these guys building Story.

40 – One week left


Paul enters Filippo’s office, takes his MacBook Air from his bag and wedges it side-ways on its corner in-between the table and a low shelf. So the thing is literally only resting on one of its corners, upright. It was awkward and tense. Me and Filippo stop discussing drop shadows on the text and look at Paul, who’s got his ‘fuck you’ face on. He was making an entrance switching up the tone from ‘safety’ to ‘danger’. We all laugh.

Paul had told me not to mention the three things we wanted Filippo to add to Story (but weren’t in the original spec) until he got there. He begins.

“Okay. So, we’ve got one week left and, Filippo, I know you want to have a chat with us about not being cowboys with changes etcetera etcetara but can I just tell you a little story?”

Filippo winces and nods his head one time.

“Okay. So. There’s this guy ‘Marty Cagan’. Works for Google. He commissioned some people to go away and make a prototype of those Google glasses. You know those glasses Google are making?”

Filippo nods again with his hands in a prayer position under his nose.

“So he gave them the exact details of how he wanted the glasses made. These guys go away, they spend a few weeks making this thing and they come back and unveil the prototype and he’s like, “Don’t like it.” The guys are like, “But it’s exactly what you commissioned.” And ‘Marty Cagan’ is like, “Yeah and I didn’t know I wouldn’t like it until I saw it. And now I see it I don’t like it”

Filippo is frowning. His nods had been slowing down throughout the story until he was almost motionless.

Paul carries on, “So yeah. Not saying I hate Story or anything, obviously, but just, like, yeah. Bear that in mind.”

“Okay…” Says Filippo.

I stare at the MacBook Air that is still wedged in the weirdest position. It’s starting to look like the monolith from 2001.

Paul keeps going, “Soooooo…” He lowers his head and rubs his forehead. “With that in mind…”

Ah, I get it. Paul’s about to tell Filippo about the extra stuff we want in the app. And he does. And Filippo, in a real nice way says no. He explains that he wants to help us. He wants Story to be as good as it can be. But this particular feature, like, he could do it, but it will take a lot more time and more money. I go in for the rebound and ask for one of the things I wanted. I get a no. I mutter the final feature we want. And he said sure no problem. Great!

We spend the next couple of hours going through everything that needs to get done. There is only one week left of development.

When I get home I text Paul asking if he’s feeling good. He says yes.

39 – Niiice


“New update feels niiice”

I get the text from Paul while on my way home from work. Filippo is updating the app most nights now. As I wait at the traffic lights I check my emails and see the one from him. It has a big green install button. I press it and it automatically installs the latest version of Story and I nearly get hit by a car as I cross the road.

It is feeling nice. Filippo’s updated the story icons to the latest design and they’re looking cool. I view a story and images have a new spinny load thing before fading in real smooth. There’s a bunch of other little things he’s done too that are making the thing feel like a real app. I enter my flat and show it to my girlfriend, she can’t tell the difference any more but nods and smiles and says well done.

One of my test stories is a bunch of photos of meals I’ve cooked. As I scroll down watching them fade in, reading my captions, it feels niiice. It feels good swiping down a load of photos instead of, say, clicking through on facebook one at a time. It’s way less work and makes all the photos feel more coherent. Like they’re all part of the same story. Which they are.

We’re meeting Filippo tonight to discuss the rest of the development. Haven’t seen the guy for ages. There are a couple of things we want in the app that we haven’t actually agreed on with Filippo. Well, three things. Three things we’d like. One from Paul and two from me. Fingers crossed eh!

38 – Tuesday mornings


I’m worrying today. Don’t know why.

One of the things I’m worrying about are the tiny compromises me and Paul are making. They’re the tiniest little things, one on its own is nothing. But I worry that all the little things will add up to a massive thing.

Nah it’ll be fine. I’m just worrying. I’ll be fine tomorrow. It’s a Tuesday morning. Tuesday mornings are always a bad day. An alcohol come-down from the weekend.

Another of the things I’m worrying about is that we’re too small to make a dent. A few guys from London going up against a whole city in California and the rest of the world. They spend millions working out the next big thing; we scrambled together 15k and it broke us. They work full time; we squeeze it in on the Tube or when our boss isn’t looking. They have Ashton Kutcher; we’ve got:

(Me, Paul and Filippo)

So I worry.

I worry that they’ll take a look at the thing we’ve built. The real minimum viable product and rip it off in a week with something looking all polished with all the tiny little animations we can’t afford to put in right now and with a load of massive features that people will expect.

But I only worry on Tuesday mornings. Now it’s lunchtime and I have things to design for Filippo and my boss is out.

37 – Shout outs


Story will be like when you give a kid crayons and a pad of paper and they draw all over the walls. I can’t wait to see what people create. What my friends create.

I know this guy, Jamie, he writes a blog. Real good writer. Funny. Story will let people follow him and every time he publishes something new it’ll pop to the top of their feeds. Like, right now I have go to his website and check if he’s updated it. In Story it’ll just be there waiting for me. I say that but the guy hasn’t even got an iPhone so that’s not gonna happen.

Whatever, I know this guy Josh, a journalist. So, you know, you’d expect him to be good at writing, but his emails, you could even publish them. Insightful, intelligent, fucking funny. I’m bored of forwarding them to my mates. They’d make perfect stories.

I know this girl Laura, who works for a charity, the MS Trust. She wants to use Story to show what her charity does.

My friend Fran wants to make a fashion/cooking fanzine. My girlfriend’s mum wants to write about the 50+ dating scene. My mate Leon wants to document his involvement with the John Peel Archive.

Gary wants to put up a portfolio of his photography. Jamie, another Jamie, actually the Jamie, the guy who’s invested in Story, wants to have a list he can update of all his favourite restaurants across the world.

I wanna create stories with my girlfriend to send to her family back in America. Make funny photo stories for her little niece and nephew. Draw cartoons for them to follow. Document our nights in with photos of our cooking and transcripts of our arguments because her mum loves knowing that stuff.

I can’t wait, and that’s just my friends. I can’t wait to see what everyone else in the world draws all over the walls.

36 – Boom



Paul was in a meeting today and pushing out code from his phone on the sly. Filippo said he was proud of him. I swear it’s like the fucking Social Network right now. Paul had tied a couple of ends together. So I launch Story on my phone and take some pictures, write a couple of sentences, give it a title and press the ‘Publish’ button, it publishes and appears in the feed with its own icon.

(Okay, so I had to quit the app and relaunch to get it to appear but it was there!) And then I tapped on it and viewed it.

Paul’s already put a few up. Check this one out. It looks fucking gorgeous. This is all live stuff. No more mock ups.

That’s an out of date icon overlay too. There’s a newer design that looks even better. And the title isn’t on the icon yet, that needs to happen. But you know, getting there getting there!