Binpress Podcast Episode 37: Guy English of Aged & Distilled


On this episode we talk with Guy English, founder of Aged & Distilled, the software shop behind the Mac annotation app Napkin. Guy discuses how he left the game development world for software development, why burnout isn’t worth the perceived productivity, and how he keeps Aged & Distilled sustainable. He also covers why where you place ads is just as important as what you put in them, how he handles pricing, his experience running the conference Çingleton, and much more.

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Show notes


Alexis: Guy, thank you for coming on the podcast.

Guy: Oh, it’s my pleasure – looking forward to it.

Alexis: Now, before we get started on anything really, I need to say that you’re – I’ve probably already said this in the intro – but again, thank you for coming on the podcast. Now you’re on the other side of the table. Normally you’re the host of Debug on iMore, so I appreciate it.

Guy: I’m curious to see how this goes. [Chuckles] I tend to end up trying to interview people so I’ll try to refrain from that.

Alexis: [Chuckles] Alright. So, before we get to Napkin and Aged and Distilled, tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started programming?

Guy: I started a long time ago when I was about eight. I moved from England to Canada, and shortly after that my dad bought an Apple II Plus. And I hadn’t started school and I hadn’t really had a lot of opportunity to make friends at that point, and I’d basically spent a summer learning how to program the Apple II. And it’s been a hobby that stuck with me for a long time.

I eventually decided to try to make a career out of it after studying History and Anthropology. I’d figured I should actually lean on the skill that I have, that I’m interested in, but also can help pay the bills.

Alexis: We did a vaguely similar thing actually. I studied Anthropology as well but wound up doing computer stuff. [Chuckles]

Guy: Cool. That’s the way to go.

Alexis: Yeah. So I’m curious about when you started programming – what did you start doing? Did you start programming games as people usually do?

Guy: So when I first started out, we had these books – I mean this was early eighties kind of thing – we had books and magazines where you could type in complete programs in BASIC. So I would type those in and then there would be mistakes, and I’d delete the line and that didn’t work. [Chuckles] And I slowly learned how to debug syntax errors

and correct typos and learn what the different part of the program did.

A lot of them were games – they caught my attention – and very basic games. There were some arcade games but it was always like text characters moving around the screen – like the asterisks would be a bullet, that kind of thing.

But just tinkering with it helped me understand the process and I started building from there.

Alexis: So at what point did you realize, “Wait, I think I want to start turning this into a business,” or what kind of things did you start working on?

Guy: Like I said, I was studying Anthropology and History, and I took some time off and I came back and I decided that I wanted to make what had been my life-long hobby – I wanted to try to follow a career with that.

When I was younger, I foolishly thought that if you could be a programmer you can be in a cube farm and you’re not going to have anything to do except print out the TPS reports.

I took a vocational training course mostly to get a certificate that I could show to people, because I think by that point I’ve been programming for a long, long time – 15 somewhat years probably – because I started when I was like seven or eight, but at that point I was like in my early twenties.

And I got recruited after that into a video game company here at Montreal called Strategy First, and so I just started working immediately on production video games stuff on a very small team, like three programmers and an artist. So those were the days.

Alexis: I’m curious – did you not try to or were you not interested in combining your Anthropology or History background with computers? I mean, was there a way to do that?

Guy: At the time it didn’t seem obvious to me how to do that. I think the interview shows do a little bit of that – probably what you’re doing now, right?

But no, if anything it was – I also doodled and I loved comic books growing up and I always used to love to draw superheroes so that probably factored into making games.

We’re skipping a bunch of time here where I moved from the Apple and went to the IBM PC instead of running in Pascal and then 80×86 Assembler in order to make it go faster [chuckles]. This is like when Doom’s coming out and then eventually Quake and all kinds of stuff.

So I’d been getting pretty much into the hardcore programming side while still trying to make games which take out my creative side itch a little bit.

Alexis: I think, at least from you personally, the Anthropology and the History side of things almost – okay, this sounds cliché and corny, yes, but it really does help you think through things in certain ways.

Guy: I think so. I mean at least it helps with perspective. I really encourage anybody who is strongly in the STEM fields to at least do some sort of humanities courses. I don’t really care what they are, just –.

Alexis: Just do some, yeah.

Guy: Just do some. I really do think it’s a valuable, if not skill set, at least perspective to have.

Alexis: Okay, so you got to have to fill me on some of your history here because I know you started working on, was it, Tap Tap Revenge at some point?

Guy: Yeah, that –.

Alexis: This is way into the future so to speak.

Guy: Yeah, so Strategy First for years. We did a whole bunch of things. The first one was like an Age of Sail simulator which was – [inaudible 07:23] graphics. And so you’d simulate the Battle of Trafalgar, that kind of thing.

Alexis: See, the history! It’s coming back [chuckles].

Guy: Exactly. And then I did some more games that was only done there and eventually became the director of programming there. And Strategy First was a bifurcated house. It had a publishing wing and a development wing, and this – the development wing – basically got wrapped up; we all got laid off. Well, [inaudible 07:59] was closing down Omni – sorry Omni Group people, you are all awesome.

Origin had been bought by EA. We were a strategy game house and they were all – [inaudible 08:414] was gone. Everything was getting consolidated into the big guys and there was no room for independent houses at that point in time because the Internet stuff hadn’t really come up yet.

I mean obviously we had the internet but direct sales and being a viable small-end house was not possible at that time.

So then I did a bunch of other stuff, and landed at Ubisoft where I’d worked on the initial movies [clear 8:43] of a lot of PSP titles. Part of [inaudible 8:47] to the PSP – I worked on the team that [inaudible 8:52].

And eventually, I just kind of had enough of games and all of this time I’d been programming for the Mac ever since ’97 or ’98 when OSX first came up or like the seeds of OSX came up.

Alexis: Now, let me stop you here for a second. For folks who are itching to – they’ve been an indie developer for a while or they have been trying to make it as an indie developer and they’re struggling when they want to code to work for bigger developer. Any tips on how they can make that transition? I know you were under a different situation there but I guess –.

Guy: So do you mean in the video games phase?

Alexis: Yeah, in the video games phase.

Guy: I mean, keeping an eye out for job listings, one of the best things to do is to have friends in the industry. And if you’re an indie person you probably know people in the industry.

Alexis: Right.

Guy: If only because a lot of the people in the industry keep up with what is happening in the indie games phase, because they are very often huge aficionados of video games. And while they may be working on some of the AAA title that, sort of checks out all the boxes off of the future list, a lot of them really love games and if you’re doing something interesting in the indie world, they’ll probably pay attention or at least give you the time of day.

So talk to those guys and ship something. I mean, these days it’s easy to ship something on an app store whether it be for iOS or for the Mac or Windows or Steam or Android – you name it – if you ship something, you prove to whoever’s going to want to hire you that you’re capable of getting in–.

Alexis: Getting something done.

Guy: Getting something out the door, which is really hard especially in a creative field – well, software in general but also in the creative field. Like games, you keep on thinking it’s –.

Alexis: “It’s never ready!” Yeah.

Guy: Well yeah, it’s never ever ready and you keep getting into this thing and it can get almost depressing.

If anybody hasn’t watched it, Indie Game the Movie is a great insight into this process. It’s definitely worth your time.

So yeah, my advice would be talk to people in the industry that love the studios, show them what you’ve done and give them your resumé if you want to get into that part of the world and they’ll hand it on.

A lot of these companies have bounties for hiring good people so they’ll – if they think you’re good they’ll be more than happy to pass it on because they’ll get the bonus, basically.

Alexis: Alright.

Guy: It kind of works all around here.

Alexis: So pulling back from that side track there for a second, OSX is tempting you into development again at this point?

Guy: Yeah, well I mean at home I’d been – I bought a Mac and I’d been working on the early versions of what would become OSX. And I just really loved Objective-C and the interface builder and the way that we’re writing stuff on the Mac.

My day job was making video games, and I’d kind of turned my hobby into my career so my hobby became writing Mac desktop software which, in theory, should be more boring than games but it caught my fancy, it really did.

So after a little bit of a run at Ubisoft, I interviewed with Rogue Amoeba and I joined in to start writing audio software for the Macintosh desktop.

Alexis: So I have you to thank for Audio Hijack. [Chuckles]

Guy: You don’t have me to thank. That existed – I did this with a long list of people, but yeah I think this follows [inaudible 12:52]. I did predominantly an app called Radioshift, which was kind of – we couldn’t market it like this because, two marks, but it is effectively [inaudible 12:59] for internet radio like you would pick the show and it would just download and record it.

These days podcasts cover most of that, but there was a window of years where stuff would just streamline from the and there’d be no podcast for it, so we tried to fill that niche a little bit.

Alexis: So after Rogue Amoeba, when you transitioned to Tap Tap Revenge, games came back into your life?

Guy: Yeah. When the SDK was announced, I sort of dove into the games thing. As I said, in Ubisoft I’d done a lot of work based on these PlayStation portable. I’d done a lot of work for Ubisoft; I’d also done audio work at Rogue Amoeba. I was doing a lot of audio work.

And I’d done a lot of Mac work, so when the iPhone was released – I’ve done a lot of graphics work, too so when the iPhone was released, it was a small embedded target and I had the skill set that was –.

Alexis: Transferrable or–.

Guy: Almost ideal, in some ways, for making a game like Tap Tap Revenge. I’d had all the graphics, I’d have all the audio, I had the Mac stuff, and I had the embedded experience.

So Nate True wrote the first engine and it was good, but it was a total hack. And then we rewrote a big chunk of it to use OpenGL and to create a more firm base tgat could be used going forward.

Alexis: Now, how did he find you? Were you friends from before? Did you just search online, “I need some sort of audio engineer, dude that –”?

Guy: So there’s a company called Tapulous that was two guys – Bart Decrem and Andrew Lacy. Bart Decrem had been around for ages at New Valley. Didn’t really noticed at that time, but he drawn Easel at that time which was like an old Linux desktop file browser company with Andy Hertzfeld and a whole bunch of other old school Mac people, Don Melton worked there – he’s the guy that went on to make WebKit. Susan Kerr designed all our icons – she worked there. She’s the person who did all the original [inaudible 15:28]. It’s like one of those small companies who did interesting stuff, it kind of just fizzled.

Anyway, what these guys did – Tapulous did – was they bought up all of the or a lot of the Jailbreak apps that’d been out before being the official SDK and their idea was import these into the official SDK and then WE release them.

So the one that I got involved with was Tap Tap Revenge which – yeah it would be called Tap Tap Revolution on Jailbreak because it was a Dance Dance Revolution riff.

Alexis: Right.

Guy: And I got introduced to them by this guy called Mike Lee; he’s @bmf onTwitter. He worked at Delicious Monster for a while; he’s part of the Seattle crew that I’m friends with through basically Mac development circles.

Alexis: Okay.

Guy: So yeah, he knew my skills and he basically got me to come down and meet Bart, and the rest is history.

Alexis: So were you working at Tapulous full-time or part-time, or what was the transition like?

Guy: I never actually worked for them – I was a contractor [chuckles] – so I worked at home; I didn’t really feel like moving to California at the time.

So I worked from home, which would be hilarious because I’d get calls at four in the morning because it’s late for them – it’s one o’clock in the morning – but for me it’s four so I didn’t want to answer those – that was exciting.

But yeah, they had a good team – they did a lot of other stuff. I was mostly involved in getting the actual engine running, so once you get into the game all of the capabilities of that were – all of them, like for a large part, on my shoulders.

Alexis: Okay, were you at Rogue Amoeba still? Were you doing this at night-time?

Guy: We intersected for a little while – I can’t remember how long, maybe 6-8 months? Something like that.

I left Rogue Amoeba because I wanted to my own app which took forever and I was getting more and more time wrapped up in doing this iOS stuff. Rogue Amoeba couldn’t really do much on iOS; we had a Radioshift app for iOS, but their core technology involves recording audio from other processes, and on iOS that’s forbidden, and since the only way to sell software is through the App Store, they basically had no avenue to – they had no way to get to market. So iOS to them was kind of a close box for the most part.

Alexis: So what gave you the itch to move away from Rogue Amoeba and start your own thing?

Guy: Probably the iOS stuff – Napkin started before the iPad came out as a way to bring a lot of the sensibilities of iPhone UI to the Mac – it’s changed a lot since the initial version. The initial one looked very much like an iPad app – we had pop-overs and we had all kinds of stuff. This was before the iPad shift too, so it’s not like I got – I’m not saying impression or anything – it seemed like a natural evolution of the way the iOS kind of stuff would work on the Mac.

So eventually what ends up happening is that I run for quite a few years doing Tap Tap Revenge and some other stuff, and eventually I teamed up with Chris Parrish, my Aged and Distilled business partner, in order to get Napkin out the door, and we envisioned it as – not an iPad app but more of something that would feel comfortable alongside the iWork suite on the Mac.

Alexis: Okay.

Guy: So we put it a toolbar, like a full Mac bar. We changed a bunch of the stuff to make it feel more like a Mac app.

Alexis: So for folks who are trying to figure out what in the world Napkin is, if they haven’t heard about it before and they’re listening – kind of like gestures inspired from the iPad, and UI inspired from the iPad – what is Napkin?

Guy: It’s a tool for concise visual annotation. One of the things that I had trouble with it – not trouble, but one of the things that came up consistently at Rogue Amoeba was that we would need to discuss design ideas, and Rogue Amoeba is a completely distributive company so we would have to swap images back and forth, or worse just try to describe what we were talking about in terms of “move this element to the left” or “that element to the right”, “this one seems weird”.

Napkin was kind of a tool that’s made to address that. You can quickly drag in images and moke [clear 20:45] them up and annotate them. The trick is there’s no tools – if you draw a line from one thing to another, you get an arrow pointing in it and it will be sticky so that as you move the thing that you’re pointing to, it’ll keep pointing to it. If you start typing, it will enter – it’ll add a text box and it’ll do it in a context-world ways, so if you drag an image and start typing, it’ll put a textbox immediately and blow the image so that it looks like you’re putting a caption. You draw a circle, you draw like a nice vector circle you can use to make – call out various other shapes.

So the idea was to ditch a lot of the tool-based way of putting images and focus more on what the intent is, which is to mark up an imaging and get rid of it quickly, or send it on quickly. And we didn’t feel like the customary set of tools along the left hand side of the tool palette that you’ve seen in the Photoshop or Acorn, that kind of thing.

That didn’t really necessarily suite what we were doing because we weren’t Acorn or Photoshop, that kind of thing – they are word processes to our iMessage or IRC.

Alexis: Right.

Guy: They’re built to make a final complete piece of work, and we were built to quickly dash off a message.

Alexis: And you, mostly, not always fighting with the tools but flexing along with the tools to make it do what you want to do but you kind of removes that barrier in a way.

Guy: Well, that’s our goal. I mean people who are good at Photoshop can do stuff that looks really nice quickly, but–.

Alexis: But when you’re mortals like us [chuckles]–

Guy: Well, I mean even if you’re good at Photoshop, I think that Napkin serves a point in that you can concisely and quickly say what you want to say without having to do whatever trick you got to put like a nice gradient in the back of your callout [inaudible 22:53]. It might get the zoom levels exactly right.

You shouldn’t have to bust out your best writing skills in order to type something into your phone in iMessage to get, you know, whatever – “I’ll pick up the cabbage tonight,” whatever. Yeah, “We need more eggs. Got it.” You don’t need to fire up Pages or Microsoft Works for that, so that’s kind of where we sit in that space.

Alexis: I’m curious about the name of Aged and Distilled – how did you get to it? And was it – okay, I’m trying to shove three questions in one; let me do a couple them.

How did you get to the name of Aged and Distilled?

Guy: I’m not sure. There’s probably a joke in there because basically a drinking thing and we can’t remember exactly how we got to it. I know I wanted an ampersand in there. I don’t know why but I just wanted the idea of – I’d like the idea of the name with an ampersand in it. Like A&D – I think that’s a nice name. Aged and Distilled goes to – there’s enough imagery that you can draw from, like we’ve got a little barrel icon–.

Alexis: It paints a lot of meaning.

Guy: Well it says “we find” without actually just saying, “We find software,” like it evokes something, hopefully quality over just being something booze-y, but you know it’s a little bit of both, maybe. I think a little bit of whimsy and a little bit of quality, maybe that’s what we’re looking for.

Alexis: I think it does a good job with both the name and the branding. Now, for the booze-y half, was it whiskey that you all had in mind, and if so what is your favorite kind of whiskey?

Guy: Sam’s more of a scotch guy and I’m like the [inaudible 24:52] guy – that’s my go-to.

Alexis: Okay.

Guy: I do love [inaudible 24:57]. I’m not actually that much of a bourbon guy, because up here in Canada, it’s kind of harder to come by, but Chris Parrish, [inaudible 25:10], obviously [chuckles]. You know, there’s a couple of other good products.

Alexis: Alright, okay, enough about the alcohol for now. I have more questions about that in the future, but how did you spread the word so you’d come out of this Tapulous background and Rogue Amoeba, so you’ve got the skills, but how about the marketing? Did you just e-mail people and say, “Hey, I used to work at Rogue Amoeba and you know these wonderful apps, and I’ve got this new thing.” How did you pull it off?

Guy: Well, the thing is both Chris and I had been around for a long time, but the time we launched our company, Chris had already won ADA – [crosstalk] Apple Design Award – and he’d already been quite of involved in the industry, and there’s been a big crowd in Seattle and he had connections elsewhere. And I’ve been around quite a bit, too. Through Rogue Amoeba I’ve met a lot of press people and other industry people. And Tap Tap Revenge moved a lot – I mean I can’t – I don’t know the full numbers but it was like 15 million at some point [crosstalk] –.

Alexis: Yeah, that was–.

Guy: Yeah, I don’t know [inaudible 26:31] on.

Alexis: Quick interjection here – Tap Tap Revenge is like one of the first, if not, like the first iPhone game that I really got excited about. I was like, “Oh yeah, this is so cool”. This was – that was the app that I would, or the game that I would show people like, “Oh yeah, we’ve got games on the iPhone.” [Chuckles]

Guy: Oh cool. That’s great. Okay, thanks.

It did a lot of numbers and while I wasn’t publicly – it wasn’t me – I was a contractor, but a lot of people behind the scenes knew that I’ve worked on it, so that helped. So when it came to launch Aged and Distilled and Napkin, we had a lot of connections. We wrote to our fans and we had the benefit of name recognition behind us, like even a cold call or like a cold e-mail carried some weight.

And yeah, so I mean I think if you’re looking for advice or a press release, try to meet these people at WWDC or that kind of thing whether you can and come up with a friendly rapport.

Don’t take too much of anybody’s time because it’s not – it’s not that anybody’s a jerk, it’s just that there’s always a lot going on.

Alexis: Yeah. [Chuckles]

Guy: So you know – the term “elevated page” is often derided but it’s a good one. It just means “be concise” and know exactly what your app’s about and be able to pitch in the space of about 30 seconds. And that doesn’t mean a hard page, it just means that, “Look, I’ve got this cool thing. Here’s what’s cool about it – okay, see you later”. If you’re going to write an actual press release, do not ever try to give them a story that they could just run because anybody of any quality will just reject you immediately because they do – they will not let you put words in their mouth. If you want them to just be supportive of you, don’t ever pretend do that; just give them the facts, be cordial and take feedback well. Taking feedback well is a big thing.

One of my favorite reviews was from Macworld, it was a writer that I didn’t know. I was happy about this because I know quite a few people at Macworld at that time including Jason Snell – he was the [crosstalk] editor-in-chief so that was–.

Alexis: That was helpful.

Guy: Well it’s cool, but at the same time it was kind of – you feel like there’s a bit of a conflict of interest and I’m not–.

Alexis: Right.

Guy: I don’t want to like it’s – I don’t want it any more than they want that, frankly. It’s just that I really don’t think it’s good for anybody.

So the Macworld review I thought was great and it pointed out a lot of shortcomings in our app and it pointed out moreover the way we’d failed to communicate with our market material what this application was all about through review, and that helped tremendously because we went back and we wrote a lot of our copy so that it was more apparent what we were for rather than – so rather than having somebody to try and be disappointed, we would capture the audience that was interested.

And we still get a review from Macworld – I think – I forgot what it was, two and a half, four stars, whatever – it wasn’t great yet all the points he made were spot on. He came in with expectations that were not what the app was about and felt a little let-down and good for him because that helped us a lot. If it weren’t addressed I didn’t – in terms of the marketing and the – you know since then the app has been going quite a bit.

Alexis: Now following that thread of adjusting the marketing, what did you do – again, in terms of marketing – after the launch and up until now to keep spreading the word, to making sure that people still discover Napkin because if I speak to somebody like Keith Blount who’s behind Scrivener, I’m continually surprised that these Scrivener sales still keeps on flying in. Like it has nothing against the app I mean, because I used it to write my undergraduate thesis. I’m just surprised that so many people have not yet learned about this awesome text editor.

Guy: Well, so one of the things is that coming on the podcast is to talk about it. [Chuckles] It helps. For a while we – there was a few months there where we kind of quiet on it. We were working on the version 1.5 which came out a month and bit ago, and we hadn’t really done much promotion because you get – within the app you get a big spike when you come out and then you’d going down into the weeds for a bit, and you’d get minus spikes with one update.

For 1.5 we had a significant release, and we bought a bunch of ad slots on various podcasts and spread them out over about a month. So that’s actually pretty effective.

It’s just kind of getting the app happening out there – a lot – helps, and I know that that’s somehow marketing 101 but I do feel that I think a lot of developers do not really appreciate that or think that marketing is a bad dirty term; it’s not.

I mean people can’t buy you a thing unless they hear about your thing. And you’re not – I mean there’s crazy weird advertising that’s kind of like mind bend you in like tricking to buying stuff or make you feel like you’ve got body dysmorphia or whatever the hell it is, right? But there’s also just the kind of advertising that’s just like, “Look, what this thing does, it could be helpful to you. Are you interested? Try that”.

And so that has been great. We’re planning to do another round of advertising soon on various different podcasts with a twist system because we want to sort of A/B test some stuff.

I’m not sure I can tell you what the twist is yet [chuckles]. [Crosstalk] It’s not like anything crazy; it’s not like I’m going to be in a dunk tank or something you can throw a ball [chuckles] [inaudible 33:22].

Alexis: I would like to play one of those flash ads.

Guy: Yeah. Now we’re talking; let’s keep spitballing on this.

Alexis: Let’s see. Note to self: do not include funny dysmorphia on ads. [Chuckles] Got it.

Guy: So many people do it. I mean, not in our industry at least.

Alexis: Right. The weird content stuff like, “These eight weird tricks that do X, Y and Z.”

Guy: [Inaudible 55:51] in the cosmetics and fashion industry a lot – kind of guilty of that. Weight loss stuff and bigger penis.

Alexis: So, web hacks – have you – you’ve done podcasting ads and I’ve heard that traditionally, those do very well because listeners are engaged, they’re very selective about what they listen to, but what about web ads? I heard those have done not so great with software like banner ads and these kinds of thing; have you dabbled with those?

Guy: So we’ve kind of heard the same things that you have. We haven’t actually dabbled in those yet. We may get there.

Podcast ads work because often the person doing ad read has an anecdote where we can express a genuine interest in the product. That’s not usually the case with web ads – certainly banner ads and all that kind of thing.

Feed sponsorships like what Grouper does or Marco – that can be a little bit different. I’m not sure about Marco – I mean I know [inaudible 35:03], but I know John Cooper does.

I think on a Monday he runs exactly the ad that is given to him, and on the Friday, when he thanks his sponsor and will occasionally say some additional information that personalizes it a little bit.

I haven’t bought an ad but I do know that we’ve mentioned there and that’s helped sales quite a bit, although I can’t break it up for you because we were also featured on the App Store at the same time. [Crosstalk]

Yeah, and it’s different for all kinds of products, like some products probably suit his audience more than other products, right? And that’s the same for any kind of – where you place ads is probably as important as what you put in the ad.

I think if you had an ad that was all about like some highbrow design conference thing and you’ve only advertised it on Kittens With Bowties websites [chuckles], you may get some intersection but you’re probably not maximizing it, right?

For that you’d probably go to some place like The Deck, which is like Jim Coudol’s ad network which runs across any [inaudible 36:20] but it’s on Swissmiss and a whole bunch of other well-regarded design websites.

Alexis: Thank you for staying from the term “influencer” but [chuckles] yeah.

Guy: Well, I don’t like that term. I think it’s a little bit too reductive, gives you an influencer in terms of what, I don’t know. You know if you’re talking about Gruber I don’t even know how many people would greet him just to be angry at him. [Chuckles] I don’t know.

So advertising is a marketing channel – it’s a rich and complicated world that I don’t think should be dismissed just because it’s kind of soft and wishy-washy or they feel that it’s manipulative. It doesn’t have to be any of those things but people can’t support you if they don’t know that you’re something they want to support.

Alexis: So you’ve set the price of Napkin at $39.99 – was it from the very beginning?

Guy: Yeah, we haven’t played with it at all.

Alexis: So how did you come to that price point?

Guy: It was a fair price. We did not want to play games with the price.

Alexis: Uhm-hm.

Guy: We knew the features that we were going to get, if not necessarily in a 1.0 release, but certainly in all of the few releases we were going to do.

I think at 1.2 we’d hit all of that we planned. I mean everything was free and that was in the first three or four months kind of thing. I could be wrong about the [chuckles] haven’t – I’m not looking on a calendar here but it was within a reasonable amount of time.

And we thought the app was worth forty bucks. For the amount of time it saves you and for how frequently our users use it – or certainly our heavy users – it pays for itself very, very quickly. [Crosstalk] Go ahead.

Alexis: Oh, I’m sorry. Keep going.

Guy: Previously Chris ended up at Rogue Sheep – not Rogue Amoeba but Rogue Sheep. No, they had an Apple design award-winning app called Postage, and they tried to play games with the pricing.

It would allow you to send these beautiful handcrafted postcards to each other over e-mail via the iPhone. They played with the price a little bit and they experimented, and we kind of just wanted to be upfront about what we think the app is worth forty bucks and –.

Alexis: Take it or leave it.

Guy: More or less, yeah. One of the things we’ve been asked for a lot is a trial. Yup, heard that. [Chuckles] Yeah, I don’t want to – whatever, I can’t really announce anything but yeah we’re definitely taking that under serious consideration because I think that’s completely fair enough.

Alexis: Okay.

Guy: If there’s somebody who wants to try some software, it’s going to cost forty bucks, I think, that yeah they should definitely get a chance to try it, so we appreciate that feedback.

At the same time, our app is worth forty bucks. If we charge much less, we couldn’t have a sustainable business.

Alexis: Right.

Guy: It’s basically barely sustainable at this point because we still do contracting.

Alexis: That was, in fact, my next question.

Guy: Yeah, well there’s two of us plus a designer. If there is one person, it would be okay, but there’s Chris and I, and our third partner, Thomas – he’s the designer.

We’re growing and we’re very happy with it, and we’re very comfortable with it and it’s great to have. At the same time, it’s not yet supporting three people.

Alexis: Before we go on to talking about the consulting work that you do, I just want to make sure – I already have my suspicion, but no sales for Napkin, right? No participating in a, “It’s a wild 50% off Steam-like sale where we’re going to slash off everything”.

Guy: We haven’t done that yet; we’re not desperately opposed to that, but we haven’t done it yet.

Alexis: Okay.

Guy: I mean I think we’ll consider that in conjunction with what other people for some kind of promotion or some kind of like – if we’re not closing off at Avenue, then we’d try not to just reject anything totally out of hand. But yeah, we haven’t done it yet and – I don’t know exactly if we would, under what circumstances, we would choose to do that.

Alexis: Now when it comes to the consulting work to keep Aged and Distilled on track, how do you figure out how you split your time between Napkin and the consulting work?

Guy: It’s about half and half. It depends on what we’re working on and what our clients’ timeline’s involve. But for me I try to make it about half my time on one and the other one half my time on the other.

On the other hand, consulting can vary between different clients. I don’t know if we’re trying to keep over that – we’ve tried to have one client that weekend–.

Alexis: At a time, yeah.

Guy: Working pretty closely well because we do a better job if we’re not contract switching all the time.

Alexis: Yeah.

Guy: We can do that with five clients, [chuckles] well first of all you got to hustle to try to keep up with everybody, then you’ve got a contract switch that’d get your mind into a different place. For the client stuff, it’s totally independent. Aged and Distilled is its own thing and then–.

Alexis: So you go your separate ways for the –.

Guy: Yeah. You know, I say that but it’s not like we don’t talk and figure each other’s [inaudible 42:56]. [Chuckles] It sounds like we don’t try to fix each others’ bugs when we can.

Alexis: Continuing on that thread – more on a personal note – I know from experience as well that the whole contract switching can be a real big pain but also from a, I guess almost a motivational standpoint in some ways, because sometimes we really energize about one thing like your own project for example Napkin – man, I really want to work on this but I’ve got this consulting work to do. And then sometimes you really want to knock out the consulting work and focus on it so you can get back to Napkin.

How do you – and this is a varied question – but how do you cope with that? And do you feel the same way?

Guy: Yeah, I feel the same way. And I don’t think you do cope with that – no, I’m saying it’s part of the job, right? You always feel bummed. I mean, your job could be making the best pastries in the world but every now and then you got to take out the garbage kind of thing. [Chuckles]

Yup, there’s kind of a crony aspects to it so I didn’t need to make a cake slash crown joke.

Alexis: [Chuckles] I didn’t catch that, thank you for–.

Guy: Yeah, those crony aspects are pretty much every job at some point, right? You just don’t want to do it and you have to do it.

And one of the things that has been really good about working with Chris is that – and one of the reasons why Napkin took so long to come out – is that is if I make a promise myself I can forget about it because I’m only kind of letting myself down. But with Chris – I like, well, okay I promised Chris that I would get this time but this time so that managed same thing with the client. So you kind of juggle, I would say, priorities, but you know you try to be honest with everybody and you juggled [crosstalk]–. And how you approached different things. Yeah, exactly. You know I’d say get everything aligned. And Chris and I talked when we’re busy with different stuff and when our opportunities to be free are. It works out [inaudible 45:09] and it works out for the clients too, I think.

Alexis: Now, joined at the hip with this question is the burnout issue – how do you manage burnout? How do you keep from getting to the point of, “Okay, I have all these stuff to work on but I don’t want to work at any of it”?

Guy: It’s always tough. I basically burnt out in games, like a long time ago and it kind of burnt out on TTR for the first [inaudible 45:59].

I don’t know. I’m older, more experienced – I just try not to – burn out is very seldom; I don’t think it’s ever actually worth the perceived productivity that you gain.

Alexis: Right.

Guy: I’m not adverse to doing a few late nights to get something out the door, but like a sprint at the last of months just not good with anybody because once you’re done, you’re kind of done; you won’t be able to get back up on your feet and be productive.

Alexis: Right.

Guy: And that’s kind of when we need to be because that’s when you shifted to the world and all the bugs you did just because you were too tired. That’s when everything comes up, so that’s kind of when you need to be on your feet but [crosstalk] – go ahead.

Alexis: It’s not just about bugs, it’s about the marketing; that’s when you have to continue to getting the word out and all these other stuff.

Guy: Exactly. Yeah, well especially for a small shop that you – when you’re done making the products, you are not done because now you’re running a business. Like you have to switch games and do something else, and, I mean a lot of ways the business mode is kind of more alien, so it’s not fun or doesn’t come as easy to escape as sort of messing around deep in some code; you have to deal with somebody that’s got an issue or is asking for more code, or that has some suggestions or – I don’t know. There’s just a lot of auxiliary work that goes into running a business rather than just typing the code and hitting “Submit It” on iTunes.

Alexis: When it comes to the consulting work how do you process things out to customers or to clients?

Guy: Generally our flat hourly rate, if it’s a long term client we can work out a block deal. We have a certain number of hours for every month and you’ll give me this amount of money. And that genuinely works out in the – I honestly think, by and large, when it happens I probably work more than those hours, but it’s a flat income so that’s good. I don’t have to worry about [inaudible 47:59] to get more clients.

It depends on what the kind of thing that they want, too, and it depends – there’s so many factors going to it.

Alexis: Any booby traps that people should watch out for and you’ve learned from experience?

Guy: Not that I’ve learned from experience – well, okay, and this is not a booby trap I guess – I still should’ve made this decision today but – with Tapulous one of the options was to be – this was like a three or four on one so God knows what the hell – it was like, “Oh I’d give you stock options because we’re so happy with you,” I mean that’s fine, just pay me – that’s okay. And then they got bought by Disney [chuckles] so – it couldn’t be a lot of money.

But in practice, I would suggest if you’re going to be contracting, try not to get too absorbed into the hype of the founders. Part of your job as a contractor is to be a bit dispassionate and to give honest advice, and not necessarily drink the Kool-Aid.

People pay me a.) because I can program well but I’ve also with a fair amount of experience and I hope, at least, that I can explain my misgivings if there are any, or explain why I think a particular course of action is the right one.

So it’s not all just code – we’ve been at it for quite a while. So getting overly invested – I mean, not in terms of stocks but just emotionally – can be a bit of a detriment to providing the level of insight and service that you may be capable of providing if you’re trying to keep a clear head.

On the other hand, I could be owning Disney World right now [chuckles] so I’d take that for this one this one.

Alexis: “Get off this ride kid, this is my Dumbo.” [Chuckles] You’ve described yourself as an iOS mercenary before, so I guess that [crosstalk] it’s pretty close.

Guy: Yeah. I am horrible at writing bios.

Alexis: I don’t know. I quite enjoyed it.

Guy: Well, yeah. [Crosstalk] It could be funny but it may not, yes. It’s a serious one; it gets simply rough.

Alexis: So I could do a whole podcast with you about – okay now, this is the first time that I would have said it out loud or hear it said out loud – Cingleton?

Guy: Yes, you got it right.

Alexis: Yes I got it right. Alright.

Guy: Yeah, that was great. So for four years my partners and I ran a small conference here in Montreal called Cingleton – well [inaudible 50:56] – and when we started we felt like a lot of conferences covered the technical aspects and we want to cover the sort of more of the business of – philosophical aspects of sort of indie development.

We had a lot of very fixed speakers, and we added a creative venue and it ran for four year and I couldn’t be happier or more proud of it, and last year was the last one mostly because we are all so busy, all of the organizers – Scott Morrison, Luc Vandal and myself – we’re all just so busy because Apple’s been in a bit of a tear for years. Not so much this year, but the past few years – I mean, who’s going to continue?

We all had businesses that were ended [inaudible 51:51] Cingleton and Cingleton was not a money-making thing. All of the money that we got were basically just put right back into the conference.

Alexis: Breakeven ordeal?

Guy: Yeah, that was the go. We had little bit left over in order to pay over the down payment for next year [chuckles] – the first down payment not the entire one, the first one. And you know sometimes our companies had to spoon some cash to make things work.

So it was really like throwing party slash wedding for – I don’t know, about almost two hundred friends or [crosstalk] for a community once a year and it was great. But I don’t know if you’ve ever thrown a party that you’re like, “Oh my god, I did not want to do this. I just–,”

Alexis: “It was great but I didn’t want to do it again,”

Guy: You think – fine, well it would’ve got that – either that – either Cingleton suffered or our companies would’ve suffered and it probably would’ve been Cingleton because it’s a lot of weird random work that comes at you from different directions. It’s like speakers can’t make it for work, the venue has eggs or somebody bought a ticket and they needed it transferred and like a whole bunch of stuff is going on.

And the time of year it was, was exactly when new iPhones come out. [Chuckles] Like it’s every year it’s been basically the weekend before, like a new iPhone has come out. So people are all stressing about getting their software ready for the latest OS release, which was of course launches at around the same time as the iPhone, so yeah it got complicated.

And we loved it so much that we didn’t want to do it – it’s a service but – doing it poorly.

Alexis: Right.

Guy: But all of the videos are up online. You can go to Vimeo and type in Cingleton and see four years’ worth of great videos from a lot of really terrific speakers.

Alexis: Yeah, I started watching Chris and Ellis talk and I’m about at least halfway through; I’m going to go back and finish it.

Guy: Oh, he’s as great – just last year we had John August who is a screen writer – big shot Hollywood screen writer. He’d given a great talk with Gruber a couple of times. Locke gave a great talk. I’m trying to think – I don’t even want to start [crosstalk] because it’s going to be all of them. But it really is, we had a lot of really terrific talks.

One of them was funny – Michael Jurewitz had left Apple, and then he came to give a talk at Cingleton about how to price – and this maybe apropos for your line of questioning – how to price your application for the Mac app store, or for app stores in general. Turns out he studied Economics in school, and he had a very rich understanding of this and he laid it all out, and then a few weeks later he went back to Apple.

So he’s like he came out, he dropped some truth bomb about how to appropriately – pricing, and then now he’s back at Apple. So if you’re interested from a business perspective, definitely go listen to him at Mollywood from Omni.

AJ from Marcus’ Circle from the first year – there’s a bunch there. Just go. There’s smorgasbord of information there that I think will probably last a long time because it’s not about a specific framework at the year, it’s sort of how to run a business or how to approach something that’s as dynamic as application pricing.

Alexis: So, I guess there are a lot of questions on here – I’ll spare you most of them – personally spare you from most of them – but you think, “Okay I’ve got a great idea for a conference,” where do you start playing something like that? Where do you even begin to think, “Is this possible? Can I pull this off?”

Guy: So we kind of came in to it backwards. At that time, Luke and myself and Scott were all living in Montreal and it was kind of a pain in the ass because you’d have to travel to California all the time – you know, see everybody – and there is a bunch of people in the North East.

So we thought that, “Well, why don’t we throw some kind of Cocoa heads get-together,” because we all have sort of independent branches of these monthly get-together. “Why don’t we have some up here in Montreal and make everybody come,” and it was great and then we realized, “Well, coming to Montreal is a bit of a trip and they probably want to spend the weekend”. So we can’t just have a sort of “let’s go to the bar” or you know like two flash talks.

Alexis: Everybody come up here to have a point and fly back down.

Guy: So we decided, “Well, we’ll put on a bunch of sessions,” and then we had a conference. [Chuckles] I hate to see some snow-ballers to that, I’m just going to keep doing it. I think you should gauge interest by – well, there’s a lot of really great conferences out there now, like a lot – I think you can gauge interest by trying to figure out what your reach can be, and trying to figure out what your angle can be. I think if your angle is being covered, it gets increasingly hard to multiply your reach. Maybe you know 20 people that you think might be interested coming to your conference; of those 20 people, maybe only a third will be able to actually make it–.

Alexis: Right.

Guy: On a given date because things get complicated. We were dodging American Thanksgiving –when we start to book it, things get complicated. And then the topic of the approach you’re going to take needs to entice the people that are like the second or third degree–.

Alexis: Connections, yeah.

Guy: Connections on that kind of social graph, yeah.

Alexis: Okay, so this goes along with that questions as well – probably more pertinent for the very first Cingleton – how did you decide or find out whether these people that you thought might come would actually come?

Did you announce the conference beforehand? Did you get people to commit before it started or after it started? And did you really have a contingency plan as well, “Okay, only six people signed up. I guess we got to take down this website landing page and go back home with our tails between our legs”? [Chuckles]

Guy: No, the contingency plan would be we would lost about somewhere nowhere around 20,000 bucks – it’s not a bit more.

Alexis: So you were determined to make it a success?

Guy: Yeah, we were determined. I believe by that time – this has not always true – but I believed that the first year we nailed down all the speakers before we sold the ticket.

We had a pretty small venue and I pulled out all the stops and just asked our friends to come speak – and a lot of ways we were trying to recreate Wolf Rentzsch’s C4.

Wolf had a similar pattern for his conference like a Friday night, a full Saturday and a Sunday morning. And also he, to my eyes, C4 was a magazine that he put on that happened to be a form of a conference. His was more of like a [inaudible 59:41] style magazine, and Cingleton would not be quite that hardcore technical but definitely in that spirit of like well, “We’re going to kind of put on a show and it’s going to have a strong editorial bent.”

So that’s what we did and I think a lot of people just came because they knew they would put on a good show in Montreal – it’s a nice destination town, too; that can’t hurt. We encouraged people to bring their spouses and kids and the fact that we had a Sunday – the Sunday morning ended relatively early so people could go and explore the town a bit.

But yeah, the first year we were just like, “If it didn’t work we were just going to lose a bunch of money. Like a bunch of money. [Chuckles]

Alexis: Takes a lot of guts.

Guy: Yeah. Or stupidity, one or the other. [Chuckles]

Alexis: The magic combination.

Guy: Stubborn-headedness. But yeah, it worked. The second year we moved venues and I do not have completely left over from the first year in terms of being able to pay the down payment, so that was when we – we still basically went in for a bunch of money. But by the second year we were pretty confident we’d make it back. [Crosstalk]

The other thing is we never – we got very lucky that we never advertised that Cingleton was a thing. We didn’t have to. We had a mailing list, people would sign up and would tell people on the mailing list; we’d tell previous attendees and we had an algorithm for – because that was another reason why it was getting complicated, like how to be fair in it. We wanted to invite everybody that’s ever been but we still want new faces.

Alexis: New people, yeah.

Guy: So it’s like the who would be [inaudible 1:01:36] shorter and shorter window to apply to this thing [chuckles]. It got really complicated.

But yeah, we never had to advertise and a lot of that was just because we had, after the first one, just a good reputation and a good – a small enough venue that we could reach all of the people we wanted and a good enough reputation that we were attracting people that were new to the seam.

Alexis: So how many people on average came each year?

Guy: It kept growing up, but in the final year it was about 200, I think.

Alexis: Okay, so you started with the – how many?

Guy: About 120 and I think we just – so it’s a pretty small number [crosstalk]–.

Alexis: No, I mean right out the gate to start with such a–

Guy: Yeah.

Alexis: Narrow topic and all that.

Guy: Well, so I mean one of – the killer thing is, believe it or not, the hotel rooms.

Alexis: Yeah.

Guy: And this is like nobody – I mean because you got to order all the food and all – that’s bad to you. But hotel rooms are – you get the hotel to give you – well, part of the deal with renting a space is you have a block of hotel rooms so the hotel gives you a block of rooms, and if the people don’t use your code to block in a room then they’re not being credited to block. And if your block of hotel rooms does not sell out, you’re responsible for paying as if somebody was in there.

Alexis: Yeap.

Guy: So if you don’t sell your block of hotel rooms – that is a lot of money, like it adds up quick, so that was kind of troublesome.

Alexis: Thanks Airbnb. [Chuckles]

Guy: We didn’t actually have a problem with that, like it didn’t – but we were nervous, even last year. We were like, “Oh man, people are just going elsewhere,” because it wasn’t even our fault, or anybody’s fault. The hotel’s website would be screwed up and it wouldn’t accept the code. So they were like, “Okay, well just do it without the code”. We’d say, “Oh god, not that we’d have to go through the list of our registered attendees and mash it up with their thing.”

There is a number of really annoying things that you don’t want to have to think about when you are putting up a conference.

Alexis: So I’m curious about when you first reached out to speakers. Did you tell them that, “Hey, well maybe nobody will come,” or did you put on a kind of a – not of a sob, but an air of confidence that, “Yes, our conference is going to be sold out”. Did you not worry about telling them, “You know, we may not have anybody come.”

Guy: The first year it was pretty much all my friends where [crosstalk] and they were – to be perfectly honest they gambled as much as we did. I mean they came out here and gave a talk, and that was awesome and it worked out because it was great. And then by the final year, we could’ve just sold out way bigger venues but we were still trying to keep it small just because we need to – we liked the venue, and doubling – quadrupling the number of people, we probably could’ve done it for like one fun blowout, but it would’ve ruined what it was so we didn’t want to do it.

So by the final year we got a guy like John August whom I’ve never met in person, and he’s an A-List Hollywood screenwriter but he also does software and I know he’s a nerd. So I asked him and immediately he replied back like, “Yeah, I’d love to because I’d love to hang out with all the people that I’d follow in a nerd circle.

Alexis: Yeah.

Guy: Perfect! So that’s great. So I think by having basically a quality experience each time, it sort of builds on itself, but the first one really was rolling the bones, like I could’ve gone either way. [Chuckles]

Alexis: So what would you do differently if you had to start Cingleton all over again, or if you decided, “I’m going to start it up again”?

Guy: I don’t think I would do Cingleton any differently. These things that frustrated me and I was annoyed with, that I wished I’ve been different, but I don’t think I would do anything differently. Does that make sense?

Alexis: It’s circumstantial stuff that –

Guy: Well, behind the scenes yeah, we could’ve done this or that but, no. In terms of the things that people enjoyed I think we did a pretty good job, and I don’t necessarily know how we would’ve made that better. I’m happy with what it is and what it has done.

If to do something new, I’d probably do something different. I don’t know what that would be. But I think Cingleton’s been done if solely not going to rip off the name definitely not without my partners, and we’d close the company so it doesn’t even exist. [Chuckles] We would have to have a new company.

Yeah, if I was doing the conference thing again I would like to be as – I don’t want to say the word invade – but to do something as –

Alexis: Unique?

Guy: Well, when Cingleton came out it was kind of unique, it was not necessarily about technology stuff, or taking details. It was held in a pretty nice venue, not that the other ones weren’t held in a nice venue, but we were trying to serve like nice food and wines and like do a nice – do a – I don’t even know what to say, like Gucci stuff, not even [chuckles].

I don’t know, just have like fine cuisine kind of thing. [Crosstalk]

Alexis: Aged and Distilled experience. [Chuckles]

Guy: Yeah, a little bit well because it’s also in Quebecan, like in Montreal the whole European vibe and there’s a lot of Frankie phones around, and the city is strange so we wanted to kind of play to that experience. And now, there’s a lot of that quite going on like Windows at Cocoa Loves did something similar. That’s a lot of that and it’s terrific and I like that that kind of notions been picked up around with.

So I don’t know if we were right to say to do something new, it would probably be something new, something [crosstalk] I don’t know where we’d be. If the mood strikes me [chuckles], I won’t let you know because I’ll keep it to myself until I’m ready to do it.

Alexis: Alright. A couple of last questions here going to the home stretch. This is probably will – might also be difficult to answer. What’s one mistake you’d rather not repeat?

Guy: Hmm. Professionally?

Alexis: In general, yeah. It doesn’t have to be Cingleton, it could be professionally, personally – whatever. [Chuckles]

Guy: An ice slip and fell – I’ve got a six inch scar on my shoulder from crashing into glass lamp. I’m in the hospital [crosstalk] I don’t want to repeat that.

Professionally, I think I’m pretty much okay with a lot of my bad professional decisions. I think I’d – sometimes I think I work too hard to do things that don’t – when you try to – eager to prove something that’s not either best for your health or your relationships –.

Alexis: I know this well. [Chuckles]

Guy: Yeah, don’t do it I’m telling you. So yeah, I probably would’ve wanted to tone back on that. But that’s more of something that you get with age and experience, which I – okay, it’s always tricky, that kind of question, because I don’t know how to answer without having had the experiences that lead me to understand why I would answer it that way, and without those experiences, I wouldn’t. [Chuckles] You know what I mean?

Alexis: Yeah.

Guy: It’s like you get a weird Mobius loop of causality there, right?

Alexis: No context, no – yeah.

Guy: At one project, like the AI guys write it all in C++ [chuckles] projectors in C so we have to interface with that. But they were bought in with the team for the last minute and they had a good idea so we just went on with it. That kind of – that was a pain in the ass. [Chuckles]

I don’t know. There’s any number of minor technical things but Buy n’ Large I think that – no, things are pretty good. I regret doing this interview. Does that help? [Chuckles]

Alexis: Things I’ll never do again – podcast with Alexis Santos, top of the list. I was just thinking, I could help you put that on a gravestone if you want, I’ll pay you for that. “The only thing I regret is doing the Binpress podcast.” But we have to set you up with a t-shirt or something.

Guy: Right.

Alexis: On the flipside, what’s one decision you are particularly proud of?

Guy: Ohh. I guess interviewing with Rogue Amoeba.

Alexis: It was one of the dominoes at the – towards the beginning.

Guy: Yeah. I mean I had a career going creating computer games and I just kind of walked away from it because I wasn’t feeling happy there, so I went and I did something different and I took a leave because I changed careers, I started working from home and since then I’ve grown into this community and got to the point where I can throw conferences or you’ll have me on your show.

I feel good about that; I think that was kind of a big gamble that I think paid off in a very big way. And I’m really grateful to Paul Kafasis and to the rest of the Rogue Amoeba gang for giving me that opportunity.

Alexis: Now usually, when I ask this question of desktop and mobile developers, their responses aren’t really as fun as web developers’, but what’s your text editor of choice? It’s XCode isn’t it?

Guy: It actually is, yeah. I also basically – I don’t bother changing the color scheme. [Chuckles] All I do [crosstalk] Mac is an increase in key BP rate, and the delay before the key BP. Stretching it out a bit here, and I think that’s it. Maybe the most sensitivity up a little – couple of notches – and the reason is, is that, “Oh man, I’ve had the wipe and I’ve viewed so many Macs – I don’t care anymore.”

I used to spend hours getting the colors exactly right in visual studio when I was working on Windows, and no, I don’t care. Just go with it. Like I don’t care to customize anything. It could just be because I’m getting older. I just don’t want to spend time messing with stuff that –.

Alexis: Doesn’t add up too much in the end, yeah.

Guy: Well, I don’t finish as much – I used to, but not anymore. I’d rather just concentrate on getting the work done.

Alexis: Okay. Last major question here – why the handle-kicking bear?

Guy: Long story. As I said I studies Anthropology and History and around the time that I registered that – well, those years I’ve been reading a lot of books on native Americans – and I don’t know if I just finished People of the Pines or [inaudible 1:13:50]. One of them’s [inaudible 1:13:54]. If you haven’t read that, go read that. Anybody listening to this.

Anyway, a lot of those Indian names were on the top of my mind and I don’t want to register it to main name and hadn’t really – anyway, I feel bad because now, I’m going to think about this total inappropriate [chuckles]–.

I was like, “Crazy horse,” “no,” “setting bull,” “no,” and because that’s how I’d be naming my computers from my local network.

Alexis: Right.

Guy: And I got down the list and I got to a guy called Kicking Bear.

Alexis: That’s it.

Guy: He was founder of the Ghost Ants, which is weird and the Indian wars period where he kind of takes Christianity and Native American or Zeus Mythology, and combines them into one. And gets a little bit wacky and in it this resurrection stuff and like they’re doing it like Ghost stances and –

Alexis: Wow, okay.

Guy: Yeah, it’s kind of creepy. So he’s an interesting character, also it sounds cool. And I had fun with the logo so it’s a little bit weird but yeah, that’s kind of where Kicking Bear comes from.

Alexis: Alright, if folks would like to learn about Aged and Distilled, where should they go?

Guy: or

Alexis: And if they’ll like to stalk you on social media, where can they go?

Guy: At GTE on twitter, and occasionally I’m on

Alexis: Alright, well, Guy thank you very much for putting up with me for an hour and 15 or so minutes. [Chuckles]

Guy: Okay, it’s been a lot of fun.

Alexis: Alright, and I’ll get you that t-shirt soon. [Chuckles]

Guy: Okay, okay.

Alexis: The listeners will catch you the week after next.

Author: Alexis Santos

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