recaps of the top 'ask me anything' interviews from reddit and more...
My name's Christian Selig, I used to work at Apple and now build the Apollo Reddit app with over 1 million downloads. 100% of the app's proceeds today will be donated to the SPCA animal shelter, which has taken in a bunch of orphaned/abandoned kittens and is very strained on resources. 🐶🐱AMA!

Hey all,

Little backstory, my name's Christian Selig, I'm freshly 26 (today's my birthday actually!), and I build the Apollo for Reddit app.

In the summer of 2014 during my Computer Science degree I was lucky enough to intern at Apple as engineer on the Enterprise App Development team in Cupertino (long way from Eastern Canada), where I learned an absolute ton from some crazy smart people.

After returning I set out to build a Reddit app that felt like if Apple themselves was to design a Reddit app, something that really felt at home on iOS and used a lot of the skills I learned to create something super fast and lean, while also being powerful and just a lot of fun to use. After 2 years of development and betas working closely with a few thousand Redditors to help shape it into the perfect client, I released it in October 2017.

The reception was really amazing, and it's now almost at 1.5 million downloads. It's been my full-time job for about 4 years now.

Today, 100% of the proceeds from the app will go to the SPCA Animal Shelter in Nova Scotia. Apollo is free to download and has a Pro/Ultra version you can unlock, so if you get those today the proceeds will completely go to the animal shelter and helping the cats and dogs and bunnies and turtles.

In addition I'll donate an extra $0.10 for every comment this thread gets by tomorrow. no spam tho plz

Why right now? These warm months are dubbed "kitten season" because it's far and away the time when most cats have kittens. Shelters are overwhelmed with abandoned/orphaned kittens and their resources and food becomes very very tight. The shelter we're donating to is where I adopted my two amazing cats from, and they're truly an amazing bunch who cares so much, so I really want to help them in this time that's really stressful for them.

Last year we did the same thing and raised $5,000 for them and they were absolutely floored. I really want to try to do $10,000 this year!

AMA! I will attempt to answer every question.

EDIT: A bunch have asked what the app exactly is in more detail haha, so here's the gist:

Apollo's an app for browsing Reddit on your iOS device, similar to the official Reddit app. I worked at Apple for a little while and was using Alien Blue, and really wanted to build a Reddit app that felt like if Apple themselves decided to build a Reddit app, something that felt perfectly at home on iOS. No knock on the official app (it's well done by talented people), but it doesn't follow a lot of the iOS design guidelines and feels a little Android-y to me at times. It's kinda like a car, you might be perfectly happy with yours and wonder what's the point of another car, but you might drive in another car and just find it more fun and comfortable to use. On top of this Apollo has some really slick custom gestures, a Jump Bar for quickly bouncing between subreddits, color-coded comments for easy navigation, a really powerful media viewer and it was voted the best Reddit app for iOS by The Sweet Setup.

Oh and I'm still answering questions.

EDIT2: It's getting late so I think I'm going to head to bed but I'll answer more in the morning!


188
questions
29,087
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July 20th 2019
interview date
Auttoh

Avid Apollo user. Picked up the lifetime sub as soon as I could and no regrets! Gorgeous app, bugs happen and get squashed as fast as possible, fun icon collabs with artists, and a dev that's prompt/interactive with his community and seems to be an all around good guy! Even answers my DM's O_O.

Two questions but feel free to answer one. Being a solo dev has its challenges for Apollo, but have you dabbled in any other projects in potential spare time? And what are some of the apps you can't live without/love? Any platform :)

Thanks for the AMA, the donations, and of course–Apollo.


iamthatis

Thank you so much, I genuinely try. :P

I'll answer both this ain't amateur hour.

  • No other programming projects to be honest, a few internal tools to help me answer messages/comments faster but that's basically an extension of Apollo. :P I really like woodworking though and do some of that on the side.
  • Oh wow, so many apps I can't live without. In no order and just a few off the top of my head, Alfred, Karabiner Elements, Sketch, Xcode, Spotify, Tweetbot, Visual Studio Code
QWERTYroch

What advice do you have for people who want to get into iOS design? Even as a programmer, I’ve been daunted by learning a new language and a complex API and a complex IDE. Where did you start, and what do you think is the best way to approach iOS development?

Also, fantastic app! Are you donating tip jar proceeds today as well?


iamthatis

Yeah, every penny of every dollar, I ain't making a cent today.

It's really not that bad to be honest, when you list it all like that it does sound like it, but I can assure you it isn't. :P Especially if you have other language experience, Xcode and Objective-C were my first IDE/language so if my dumb ass can do it I'm sure you'll be fine. :P

For instance the APIs are super well documented, not only by Apple but by just a myriad of tutorials as well as an active StackOverflow as well as the r/iOSProgramming subreddit. Xcode's a little daunting, but compared to most IDEs I don't find it too bad, you can honestly ignore alomst everything except the editor and the run/compile button, and slowly add more things in as you get comfortable to make it more streamlined. Swift as a language is pretty darn easy too, and very well documented, it removes a lot of the cruft Objective-C had (no knock on Objective-C, still love it), though optionals can be a bit to wrap your head around.

I learned just by reading an old Objective-C book in high school haha, re-reading it until it made more sense. Honestly my best advice though would just be to start building something, even super small, as soon as you can, found getting my hands dirty to help me learn 100x faster than just reading on its own.

FourFourSix

Love Apollo, great job there.

Wondering about “unreasonable feature requests”, what are the most annoying and craziest feature request you get?

Is there some requests that get asked a lot, but that is something you’d never implement because it doesn’t fit the app?


iamthatis

To be honest I can't think of many. I must just be super lucky, maybe it's because most people post through the r/apolloapp subreddit and realize that it's public and if their idea is really stupid/offensive people will downvote it. Or maybe the really really dumb ones are downvoted and I don't see them too often. :P

Some silly requests are based around "I just moved from the official app, I love your app now but wish you did this thing the exact same way the official app does" and it's like, that's totally fair, that's how they expect it to be done, but most of the time it just takes a little settling in to be maybe like "Oh actually I like this better nvm".

Some things like custom vote icons per subreddit give me pause, because… some aren't done well to be blunt, and it feels scary to inject the kinda weird looking ones into the app because I've worked really hard to make it look clean.

stoelwinder

I was going to start this comment by saying “I hate Apollo”. Not because I don’t like the app, but because of the expectation the app makes me have for other apps. I now want swipe to hide for Facebook and Twitter and nobody seems to be doing that. Especially not as beautiful as Apollo does.

Then I thought about purposely not buying Ultra today, because if I do, you don’t keep any of the money yourself which is only going to strain your resources to keep this amazing - erm, I mean horrible, bad - app going.

Lastly, I thought about not commenting, because it would make you donate even more.

Well, screw you and your amazing app. Wishing you a happy birthday and may you be donating a fortune to SPCA. You’re a wonderful person and an inspiration to all.

Hate to ask, but: any chance you’re adding other social services? :D I need more Apollo in my life.

P.S: muhaha, just bought Ultra! That’ll teach you to be nice to cats! (My kitty just gave me an evil look, so I change my mind: I love cats! Please don’t scratch me)

/ramblingmodeoff


iamthatis

Hahahaha, you had me in the first half. I've felt the same way about a lot of apps and wanted to create a similar experience.

It's totally okay, if you really feel that strongly go for a year and donate another time, but even if it's not monetary satisfaction I'm getting today personally there's a lot of satisfaction in knowing animals will be doing well.

Thank you so much though, I'd love to do more social apps, but things like Twitter are super well covered by Tweetbot and Twitterific though. You're the best.

A1p1n3

How was interning at Apple ? (I know they have a certain design philosophy that you use very well in Apollo btw)

Did working at Apple help you structure your time better when working on updates ?

E: fixed work to intern.


iamthatis

It was really awesome, it's so amazing being surrounded by so many super smart people, like the attitude is very infectious. That's almost why I think it's a little bizarre they don't let Apple employees work on apps in their spare time, because you're just super motivated to do cool stuff.

And yeah I'd say so, working on a team helps a lot in general because you're accountable to people right beside you rather than just yourself.

MasterMosha

How is development on the iPad application going?


iamthatis

Excellent! WWDC really invigorated me with the whole ceremonial splitting off to iPadOS. Have a bunch of requests for smaller things like better crossposting support as well as all the iOS 13 changes and stuff that's taking up a bit more time than I'd like right now though, but once I have those sorted it should be 100% iPad time.

Kush131

Hey Christian!

What resources do you use to keep up with iOS development trends? Are you following a lot of newsletters? Swift Talk from the objcio guys? Something else?

Thanks! Going to go get Ultra now :)


iamthatis

Probably not as many as I should haha. I follow Dave Verwer's iOS Dev Weekly, I really like John Sundell's blog, and I watch a bunch of the WWDC videos. Following some really smart iOS devs on Twitter helps a lot too because they often give some awesome insights.

sjs

What are your thoughts on the meme that indie iOS and Mac apps are dying?


iamthatis

It's definitely not the gold rush era where you could build a fart app over the weekend, release it Monday and be ready for early retirement by Friday. The App Store right now is dominated by large companies like Facebook, Instagram, Google, Snapchat, etc. with billions of dollars so I find it's a lot harder for people to understand paying for stuff anymore haha, because I think they almost subconsciously assume every app is by one of the big companies (which I don't blame them for, it mostly is). So it's harder for indies to thrive when there's such an expectation of free.

But if you're honest and open with your users and provide something they like I definitely think there's still very much a way to carve out a nice niche. :)

theapplen

What do you do to get back on track when you’re frustrated by a coding session?


iamthatis

I really like going for little walks, find it clears my head and helps me see problems differently. It's like a mini version of "go to sleep and when you wake up the solution will probably be obvious".

elstead

What’s it like to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo’s first beta users?


iamthatis

Hahahaha, I can interpret this in a few ways I think given that Apollo's beta period felt like 50 years. But I'd also love to imagine the Apollo astronauts even have any idea what my app is, as unlikely as that is :P

mrtbakin

What sort of games are you into?


iamthatis

Oh man. Anything haha, I find it very easy to get addicted to games so while I'm sure I'd love it I don't spend any time on the online games that can take up a lot of time, but I love campaign style games with a story that I can sit down and pick up randomly.

My two favorite games from the last little while were definitely Horizon Zero Dawn and Hollow Knight. Blew me away. Also really liked Life is Strange.

monkeymanpoopchute

Why are you such a good dude?

Edit: I love animals and told my wife we’re just gonna donate whatever assets we have to animal shelters before we croak


iamthatis

I fell over a lot as a young child and I think it affected my brain

You're a great person

LookinForRedditName

Given Apple’s new cross-platform development framework, do you see Apollo being available in Mac?


iamthatis

I'd love to do it down the road. Apple seemed very clear that you want a good iPad app foundation before embarking on that journey so I want to cross that bridge first though.

kobe24aran

just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY Christian!!!! What's the name of your cat?


iamthatis

Thank you so much. :D I have two, a black one named Ruby and an orange one named Hugo. Hugo's older by about 2 years. They're 2 and 4. :) https://i.imgur.com/FXrZIZU.jpg

TheOptimalGPU

Love your app. Do you use any trackers in it? This post has just caught my eye: https://reddit.com/r/privacy/comments/cfpec6/the_developer_of_the_reddit_apollo_app_is_doing/


iamthatis

Just commented there, geez that's an aggressive tone. But in short those are caching domains he mentions so I don't have to hit Imgur's expensive API a billon times, and Firebase's really clear about what they collect, and nothing seems out of place to me, everything's anonymized, they don't track IP addresses, and Apollo doesn't collect anything individually. Furthermore the official Reddit app also uses Crashlytics, it's a pretty standard piece of crash reporting software. I commented for some clarification, if there's something weird going on I'll happily rip it out of Apollo.

keeganzero

What other apps do you have on your home screen besides Apollo?


iamthatis

Oo, good question. We got Tweetbot, Instagram, YouTube, Sketch Mirror, Wunderlist, PCalc, Deliveries, Amazon, Spotify, Reeder, 1Password and Alto's Odyssey.

RobertAPetersen

Can we get a ‘block user’ option directly from pressing the three dots next to a users name, or from their profile? Having to memorize the name/spelling while navigating to Settings is annoying sometimes.


iamthatis

Super. Annoying. Agreed, yeah I will aadd that.

Sshaawnn

If only people in the world were half as decent as you.. I also have a soft spot for animals, tip coming your way!

Question: what do you think you’d be doing now if Apollo didn’t happen?


iamthatis

Thank you so much. I'd love to say people would just have to see some cute animals and they'd be helpless not to want to help them, but there's also some gross people out there who abuse them so who knows.

That's a really good question and I kinda feel like an idiot because I've never pondered that for some reason. Hmm. Maybe back at Apple, it was really awesome there.

XmiteYT

when’s beta invite

uh, i mean, love the app, what’s your favorite subreddit to browse?


iamthatis

Right now probably r/WhatCouldGoWrong, something so satisfying about the stupidity

burritosandpuppies

How did you approach building Apollo? Did you start with design, functionality, or kinda do both along side one another? What language is Apollo primarily written in?

Also, what advice would you have for a hopeful app creator? I just started learning Swift and Xcode last month and have been having a blast so far.


iamthatis

Design definitely. Some design you can only figure out by building it out and figuring out it's a terrible idea haha, but far and away the biggest time sink for me is always figuring out how to design something in a way I like it. Most of that is making the flow nice, not visuals. But I did have a bunch of functionality I knew I wanted to have, so that played into the design too obviously.

It's 99% Swift.

My advice would be to jump in and get your hands dirty, building things is the most fun and effective way to learn in my experience. And build something you yourself would like, it really helps a lot with motivation and wanting to finish it.

TheArchitectOfFate

Christian ! I love the app! I'm completly stunned that such an amazing app has only a single Dev. There are apps out there that have teams of devs and don't make such a polished product.

As it's the 50th anniversary of the appollo missions, will we be getting a special appollo space program app icon? Maybe something that looks like a nasa mission logo, could be cool.

Keep up the good work, I look forward to the highly anticipated 1.5 features ;)


iamthatis

Timing wise I don't think I'll be able to get one out for today/very soon unfortunately, but I do have plans for one!And And thank you so much for the kind words :)

mongoosefist

Any plans on making an android version at any point? I still haven't found a reddit app that I've really been happy with.


iamthatis

Sorry didn't mean to not answer this. I'd love to one day if the time/opportunity presents itself, but currently I just have no time to work on an entire new version of Apollo, the iOS version already takes up 110% of my time as is. :/

Love to the Android folks though, I picked up an Essential phone on Craigslist for $80 somehow and it's seriously awesome.

CompC

How did you get into programming, and into iOS development?

As an iOS developer with a small(ish) app... what tips do you have? Anything cool you learned from Apple?

Thanks! I love using Apollo :)


iamthatis

In 12th grade I was bored in some class I can't remember and I thought iOS development seemed really cool so I bought a book on Objective-C and just read it in class over the course of about a month and then started building some things. :)

Learned a ton from Apple, but more than anything seeing the inner working and all the smart worker bees buzzing around was just super super motivating

AManBehindYou

Is it just you working on the app? How many hours would you say you put into it by the time that app got 100,000 downloads?


iamthatis

It is! My two cats walk across my keyboard sometimes but I hardly would count that as help, if anything's it makes it a little harder.

That's a good question. If I had to estimate I'd say by that point I had probably done 50 hours a week for 2 years so probably about 4 to 5,000 hours or so?

snakekiller9000

What is it like to work for Apple. Are they caring towards the employes. Do they care about users privacy and security?


iamthatis

Oh man, yeah I'd say not only do they, but they kind of have like an in-grained culture around it. Like if tomorrow for some reason they decided not to be that way as a policy, it would not go over well because it's just kinda part of how they operate. I know a lot of people who work there who would just flat out refuse to do something they morally disagreed with, or quit. Apple's an enormous company so it's hard to do everything right, but I genuinely do think they care.

IntenseScrolling

I was wondering what I was going to do today. Guess I'll be spending some money on Reddit! Christian, what is your favorite thing about Reddit and what is something you hope to change/prevent?


iamthatis

You're the best kinda person. :) Best part about Reddit is definitely the community, it's easy to get stuck on a few bad apples/communities, but as a whole it's an incredible group capable of some incredible things with incredible memes. I would it never loses the kinda indie feel it has, I love that it still kinda feels like a fledging site in the best possible way.

Ricky_RZ

That's a Redwall reference right?


iamthatis

My username? You betcha. :D

100-billion-galaxies

Could you explain what your app is? I live under a rock, but it sounds interesting


iamthatis

No prob! It's basically just an alternative the official Reddit app with some different design choices.

I'd say it's kinda like a car, you might be happy with your car and wonder why ever have a different one, but then one day you might try out your friend's car and say "Whoa, I actually kinda like this more, this is fun! The seating position feels nicer, I really like the feel of the steering wheel, the sound system has a bit more punch, and the driving experience is a bit more spirited".

I really wanted to add a bunch of "nice to have" features that just really make the whole experience more pleasant. :D

Specifically there's some really nice gestures that make navigating a breeze, it's really fast, the design hopefully feels super comfortable and at home on iOS, color-coded comments for easy navigation, a really powerful and awesome media viewer for your memes and GIFs, etc.

shittyTaco

What’s the most lavish thing you’ve treated yourself to since your app’s success?


iamthatis

Haha, that's a good question. I like to travel a little, went to Iceland recently but wasn't too lavish I guess. Oh I bought one of those electric skateboard thingies recently too, it's a lot of fun but I'm kinda clumsy so it's also terrifying.

XMALCOLMMLK

Have you ever had a spiritual experience while coding?


iamthatis

Is that a thing? Sounds cool, I must be coding wrong.

Selarium
  1. Why/How did you decide on building a reddit app?
  2. May I ask why the amount of subs you can filter is limited?

iamthatis
  1. Scratch my own itch, I wanted a Reddit app and there wasn't anything I 100% loved so I wanted to take a swing at it myself.
  2. Not my decision unfortunately. https://www.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/7a4bjo/time_for_my_quarterly_inquisition_reddit_ceo_here/dp71enr/ I'm looking for ways to work around it in Apollo.
Spudly2319

Christian! Thank you so much for doing this AMA and making an amazing app! I have two questions for you:

1) What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start their own app, beyond the usual “just stick to it and learn”? Little things along the way you wish you knew/were an impact to the development process?

2) I help organize a group of coders via www.inspireidaho.com, would you ever consider doing a Q&A session over Skype/FaceTime with us? We are sponsored by the University of Idaho, have some direct support from Apple as well as have over 15 groups across the state would would be very interested to pick your brain about the development process!


iamthatis
  1. Don't be rigid, if users say something sucks be receptive to feedback, it's easy to fall too much in love with one of your designs. Get a lot of feedback in general, it really, really helps. But honestly when it comes down to it, yeah, ship it, most people just leave things as side projects to die.
  2. Would love to! Feel free to email me sometime, me at christianselig.com
shane1333

Hi Christian, Love Apollo I have pro and ultra . I was wondering if you could give us an update on The test flight beta since you said it was going to be out soon and nothing yet. Also what is the latest status of the big iPad update? Thank you for the app and happy birthday man


iamthatis

Yeah no problem!

  • TestFlight Beta. If I wasn't doing this today I'd probably be submitting it tonight. :P But as it stands probably Monday. Was hoping to have it submitted for yesterday but I was going through the ol' to do list, and I added a bunch of moderator features this build and I realized I forgot to add the banned/muted pages for moderators so just gotta finish those off to be complete.
  • iPad update's going really well. Still a bit of work to do though and I've been putting a lot of time into other smaller features that people have been requesting (better PMing for instance) as well as iOS 13 changes so not as much time as I'd like to work on it lately but still have done a bunch.
poodle-feet

Are you currently working on an iOS 13 build and getting some bugs out of the way, or are you going to wait until the full release?


iamthatis

Fixing bugs this far out from the release is kinda tricky because it's like hitting a moving target. Having done it in the past and then the bug you just fixed was actually an Apple bug they fixed in the next beta… not too fun

GalacticSardine

Great app and a great thing you’re doing! How do you feel about SwiftUI and how long would you wait before thinking about using it within Apollo?


iamthatis

I think it's super cool and love it. I think it'll be a year before it's battle-tested enough for my liking, and then maybe I'll start playing around with it then. It's hard because it requires iOS 13 so I'd have to drop support for everything before that in order to use it :/

hshinde

Firstly, a very Happy Birthday to you 😊 I just bought the pro version, ‘cos you are a cool dude. Who designed the Apollo.app icon? It’s good. Keep up the good work, and may you always prosper.


iamthatis

Thank you so much. That was me haha, ran out of money to pay a designer so whipped something up myself, very flattered you like it. :P

SpinnyRL

Pineapple on pizza or nah?


iamthatis

Solid YAH

minicoop33

Hey Christian, happy birthday! Mine was yesterday so it is a good time of the year!

Anyway, I am currently getting a degree in computer science as well. What suggestions do you have for someone in this degree to set themselves apart from everyone else? Obviously you did it because you interned at Apple which is a feat in itself. I’d love to know your recommendations.


iamthatis

Happy belated. :D

Oh that's an easy one, do some side projects. I found at least with my degree it was super easy to graduate with the degree and some theoretical knowledge of programming but nothing concrete to show for it. Build some cool things you can show off to potential interviewers, they love that stuff. :)

RazorwireRose

Hi Christian!

My other half used to work for Apple, and left to go back into school for coding and computing qualifications. Unfortunately he’s been hit by the struggle bus and is starting to romanticise his time back there.

Any words of encouragement or advice?

p.s thank you for Apollo. It’s the only app I’m happy to continually pay money for. I hope my tiny input helps make a difference!


iamthatis

As in your other half is having difficulties with school and missing working at Apple? That's a tough one, I was not great at school either and graduated with not a lot of room to spare. :P I might not be the best one to offer advice, but I guess it depends on why they're there. If they're back at school because they have a passion for learning and want to get as much out of it as they can, I'd say just remember whey they're there, it's temporary, and they'll come out the other side improved and better rounded. If they're there for other reasons, well just grit your teeth and get through with it, it'll be over soon. :P

Thanks for the kind words. :) It definitely does.

DocWsky

Currently browsing on Apollo; it’s a fantastic App! Time to help some animals!

Edit: finally got on the Ultra for life train https://i.imgur.com/GPZf8vk.jpg


iamthatis

Thank you so much <3 <3 <3

4thinversion

Hi Christian! Thanks for doing this AMA.

When Apollo first came out, I had asked if there was a way to revamp the messaging system from within the app, do be more like the comments in that you could see what you’re replying to or to be more like a chat room style... any chance of that still happening?

How has Apollo changed your life? Anything, good or bad!

Also, you made a product that was able to replace Alien Blue in my life, and that is quite a feat. I exclusively use Apollo and it’s so smooth and polished. Thanks for all your hard work, and keep being amazing.

ALSO, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Went and bought lifetime ultra just now because I’m a sucker for kitties. <3


iamthatis

The beta for that's hopefully going out Monday, I just basically completely finished that the other day, so you're in luck. :D

Apollo's gave me the freedom to work from home and just feel a lot freer in life, meet some really cool people, and learn a ton. I honestly can't list all the amazing things it's done for me, I feel so fortunate. The only negative is that I don't have coworkers so it can be kinda lonely at times, missing hanging out with colleagues.

That's very high praise too, thank you so much. <3

xnormajeanx

What kind of comment counts as spam?


iamthatis

If you put a modicum of effort into it you should be fine :P Your comment is more than fine for instance

PublicDomain3

Just wanted to say thanks first of all.

My SO does not understand Reddit. I use Android she has an Iphone so many times if I send a link it brings her to safari browser Reddit, then Reddit spams her to download their app.

I truly think the way you have designed this will help her a ton. She really enjoys Pinterest but is jaded after their total overhaul. Are their any settings within the app that she should turn on/off to help her navigate and familiarize herself with how Apollo for Reddit works?


iamthatis

Haha yeah it's a bit to contend with at first for sure. Hopefully I don't think there's anything that makes it too difficult to pick up, unless she has an aptitude for triggering gestures accidentally, I should add an option to disable those. There's also an option in the share sheet once you download Apollo to add an "Open in Apollo" option so that might help her some too with being able to funnel the links into Apollo at least.

JCSHoosier

Android dev here... any thoughts on recreating this for the Android platform?


iamthatis

I'd love to one day if I had more time, but learning all the Android development stuff and then rebuilding it effectively from scratch for Android would take a massive amount of time I don't have time for right now, haha

GreenCinder

What’s your favorite text face in Apollo?


iamthatis

(ง'̀-'́)ง

I don't know why

bwaugh06

Hey! Happy birthday Christian! Huge fan. I'm an Enterprise developer as well working with Netsuite, SAP, and Salesforce out of San Diego and I've spent the last few years of any free time I've had working on a news + reddit aggregator (www.newzible.com) with a focus on a better UI for desktops and filtering out the low quality content. It's no where near the level of polish and usability of Apollo (especially on mobile) but it's what I've been able to figure out thus far with few resources.

Questions:.

What is it like working with Reddit initially getting approved and did they see you as a threat or an opportunity? Do you pay a portion to them for usage of the platform?

How did you grow and scale the app and the expenses? Technical question, Reddit videos are weird to work with as the audio and video are separate how did you overcome this? Are there any helpful APIs you used?

How did you meet other people to help you in your venture? What are you plans with regards to the future for this?

Yes I know all these questions are all over the board :)


iamthatis

Wow, it looks super slick. Very fast too, nicely done!

Reddit's honestly been great, they don't seem threatened (nor should they, their app dwarfs mine in downloads haha), and they've even been very receptive to questions. The initial approval process wasn't anything more than filling out a form and waiting to hear back to be honest, which even that didn't take too long. Though that was years back now so I'm not sure about current processes. No payment split currently as they haven't requested anything like that, but if they deem that necessary or would like to discuss it I'm more than open to it!

Scaling wasn't too bad, basically all iOS development stuff is done on the user's device so scaling was kind of… automatic? Distribution is through the App Store obviously too which I don't have to worry about. I have some server side stuff but it's paid so that I don't have to lose sleep about it.

Reddit videos are weird. iOS handles HLS natively so it's not too much to get playing, but beyond that is a little tricky. I haven't done enough with it to be able to offer much advice unfortunately haha.

Haven't met a ton of other people in a professional sense, but made some cool friends along the way. Not sure how that might change haha.

j_fak

Hey Christian! Big fan of Apollo, I recommend it every chance I get. Planning on upgrading to Ultra as soon as I get some extra funds.

What are your 5 favorite albums of all time?


iamthatis

Oh man, I'm not musical enough to answer that well, haha. Like I love music but I'm more of a one-off song listener rather than an album guy. But some of the few albums I listen do repeatedly in their entirety are probably from Muse, Metric, and Eminem.

notyourbish

Will we ever be able to filter subreddits from r/popular?


iamthatis

Yeah I'll make it so r/all filters apply to r/popular as well, would only make sense to be honest.

ElectroclassicM

What an amazing backstory. I was set to ask what inspired you to built this app, but I guess I got my question answered lol. Anyways, My other question is, if you were to add a new feature to iOS, what would it be?. Rephrasing, What would be the perfect iOS feature, both for developers and for users?


iamthatis

Haha yeah, nothing too original, just scratching my own itch kinda thing. :P

Oh man that's an easy one, ability to set third party apps as the default action. So many people ask how they can make Reddit links open automatically in Apollo. I have a utility in the share sheet that helps, but the fact that there's no way to do it automatically is a bummer.

ImaHazardtoSociety

Hi Christian! Can you say trans rights?

Freakin love your app :)


iamthatis

Trans rights ftw

menagerie-

I think I already know the answer, but cats or dogs?


iamthatis

I honestly have no clue. I have cats right now because I'm kinda young and live in an apartment and my life's a little all over the place so I'm not sure I could provide the environment a dog requires, they're a lot of work! Cats are a little less maintenance, they probably have their lives together better than I do.

But my building is dog friendly so whenever I see one of my neighbors' dogs I freak out because I love them. Hope to get one some day. :D

g-money-cheats

How much revenue does the app generate each month?


iamthatis

I'd rather not get into a specific figure because people like know my account IRL and I'm kind of a private person but it's definitely comfortable, I'm not worried about needing a second job or feeling stupid for turning down an offer from another company. People are awesome and generous in supporting my work so I'm very fortunate, and I love doing the job so I can't really complain whatsoever. :)

yar1vn

Which iOS 13 feature are you most excited to work on?


iamthatis

I really want to play around with the PS4 controller support for some reason

Johnny_Fuckface

How much of our personal data will be harvested with this app? Will it know my butthole pictures and share them with a focus group?


iamthatis

I'm a reasonable guy, it's limited to 4 of those a day, just don't go overboard.

In all honestly, none? Apollo tracks (through Firebase) some anonymized info that helps me make better/more informed development decision (crash statistics, what percentage of users use light mode vs dark mode, etc.), but nothing weird. There's more info in the privacy policy which I tried to make pretty easy to read: https://apolloapp.io/privacy

These_Foolish_Things

Happy Birthday! This is a good thing you're doing. And obligatory question: What inspired the name Apollo?


iamthatis

It basically went

I need an app name > Reddit is space themed > my app helps you browse something that is space themed > spaceships help you browse/explore space > spaceship name needed > Apollo is an awesome spaceship name

DeadlyDancingDuck

What are your cat's favourite toys?


iamthatis

Haha, Hugo the orange one loves those "Da Bird" things, like the feather on a string on a pole. Ruby the black one doesn't care too much about those, her favorite toy far and away is a cheap wooden dowel from Canadian Tire that I run along the floor/couch and she tries to murder

tananinho

Is this app ios only?


iamthatis

Yeah unfortunately at the moment, I'm just one guy and porting it to different platforms is a ton of work that I don't have time for currently :(

KingAetherrr

Is your app your fulltime job or was it a side project? Do you make enough off it to sustain yourself?


iamthatis

Full time, the interest in it was pretty high right from the get-go so I hunkered down and spent a few years on it haha. And yeah absolutely, people are very kind and generous thankfully so I'm fortunate that I can work on it full time. :)

GreenBPartsUnknown

Hey Christian! Long time fan and Apollo user here. First of all, thank you so much for everything and I wish you a happy birthday.

Will Apollo be around for our kids and grandkids to enjoy? :)


iamthatis

Thank you! :D And I'd love that, working on Apollo is a dream, I legitimately love my job and hope I never have to stop. After 4 years I legitimately don't feel any less invigorated.


iamthatis

Those Ray Bans?

lman2121

Hi Christian!

Finally bought Apollo Pro after using free for a few months now. I’m happy to support you and donate to a good cause. Thanks for making this amazing Reddit client that I use entirely too much! My screen time app in settings is very disappointed in me (Exhibit A😳). Anyway, my question is do you have any plan or ambition for a completely original app or project outside of Apollo/Reddit?

Thanks again and happy birthday!! You’re awesome!! 🥳


iamthatis

Hahaha that's amazing. And maybe some day but not currently, Apollo's so fulfilling to build at the moment that I'm in no rush to explore other things haha. Thank you! :)

barrytech999

Just wanted to say thank you! I migrated from Alien blue and I couldn’t be happier with the App. The premium features are worth the upgrade.


iamthatis

Thank you so much, RIP Alien Blue

TheCoastalCardician

How do you feel about single handedly foiling a large amount of Rick Rolls?

I use the normal Reddit App but I’m a massive fan of Apple and knee deep in their ecosystem. Downloading now purely based on how active you were on this AMA and just your genuinely awesome attitude. Do you think I’ll love it? :)

(I never participate in these, but your answers are freaking awesome and I’m a cat dad myself! Thanks for being a good person. It’s refreshing:)

Edit: Well, I’m disabled and literally penniless, but if I could I’d do the lifetime purchase. Love the layout and gestures. Unfortunately I need my notifications enabled :( BUT, if I ever am able, I’ll spend that money in a heartbeat! Hope my love is at least second place :)


iamthatis

Hahaha, a little bad to be honest. :P

I really hope you'll love it, and in the event you don't I'd love to hear your feedback. Thanks for being an awesome cat dad too. :)

And I completely understand, it means a lot you just downloaded it and commented, no pressure for more whatsoever. Thanks for being awesome. :)

ari5501

I just graduated with a computer science degree and I've never really made anything cool on my own. How do you push yourself to make a great product like Apollo on your own?


iamthatis

Haha, be selfish. :P No seriously, find something you want yourself, and build it, it makes it so much easier to stick through with it if you yourself really want it. :P

Blesker

Hello Christian selig, i'm Arthur from Brazil, i have 17 years old, you can help about carreer? I like so much technology and i want to do computer science on college, i want to be like you, work on a big company like apple or have my own company, i want just tips of you, and I would like us to be friends to talk about technology, congratulations for you app!!


iamthatis

Hey man! Hope all is well. It's honestly nothing too hard, you definitely seem to have the passion for it and I'd say that's the biggest part of it. Just find something you think would be cool to build, and build it. It doesn't have to be something super complex, but companies just love candidates who have built things they can show off, I think you'll do really well that way. If you don't know how to get started building things, that's not very hard either, there's tons of beginner tutorials out there on the basics, really anything will do. Start building something small like a "hello world" app, maybe then a to do list app, and just keep building your way up. :)

rabbitstomp

Is iphone better than android?


iamthatis

Different, not sure about better. Depends on what you value, I'm a fan of the apps on iOS more than the apps on Android, but Android gives you a lot more freedom to change things and tinker, which you may value more.

[deleted]

[deleted]


iamthatis

Well I mean that's an employee, yeah. I went through employee training, had an employee badge, had employee benefits. :P As for why I say it honestly people tend to find it interesting.

Thanks for the kind words, that means a lot coming from an Alien Blue person, miss that app.

cattlebull

Are you already getting help on development of the app or is it still a 1 one show?


iamthatis

Currently just a 1 man show!

jWlt6400

Less of a question...

Absolutely love the app. Especially seeing the purple for the username of the OP of this. Well done! Happy birthday as well!

To give a question... What do you think will be the next big step for Apollo? (yes I did make a pun)

Plus an Apollo app AMA on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing? Did you plan something???


iamthatis

Hahahaha. The next big one will definitely be the iPad app. :) I honestly didn't plan that, beautiful coincidence.

Pmmesmallboobz

My friend is trying to use the app but can't find any subreddits. What does he do?


iamthatis

At the top of the Posts tab is a drop down menu arrow thingy, you can tap on that and type in a subreddit. If he's looking to like explore and find new subreddits he's never seen before unfortunately Apollo's a little lacking there, I'd go to like r/all or r/popular (hit the arrow in the top left to go to the list) and check out what subs posts are being submitted from

GlitterIsLitter

What should I eat ? chocolate or vanilla ice cream ?


iamthatis

Chocolate

Mattgregor

hey happy birthday dude !!
might aswell throw a question at you, where do you see reddit in 10 years?


iamthatis

That's a really interesting question. Like websites aren't normally a thing that last 10+ years but it seems like that's changed. Honestly I hope not a ton has changed (at least on a fundamental level), I like where they're at now.

I hope that they open up the Chat API in less than 10 years.

colt45

How would you recommend getting into iOS app development without a Mac? Ive worked with a lot of languages, but right now I code a lot of python and I’m currently doing research in software defined radios (so c++ as well) but I’ve always wanted to try building iOS apps. I’ve used android studio for android development before, which I really didn’t like, but I was wondering what you would recommend on how to get into iOS app development for someone who is running Linux on a windows pc (can’t afford a MacBook atm).


iamthatis

I don't know if it's possible, is it? There might be some online services that could do remote work for you, but honestly I'd go find a cheap used Mac mini on Craigslist or whatever, can probably find one for like $100 and should work fine, you could plug it into any monitor/mouse/keyboard etc.

introllect

What is your favourite book in the universe? What was the last book you read and when did you finish it? Are you reading something now? If so, what is it?


iamthatis

Favorite book, that's a good question. I can't choose just one off the top of my head and it'd probably change if you asked me tomorrow, but Ender's Game (even if the author's a twit) and Hitchhiker's Guide were both amazing.

bogaRJ

What specific functionalities make this an IOS exclusive app? Are there future plans to crossover to Android (please say no lol) ?


iamthatis

iOS and Android just have fundamentally different designs. Apple's written a small bible on their design philosophies, and Android/Google have a similar thing for their "Material Design". I think an app built for each platform should cater to the platform probably and adhere to the design that users expect, and that was really my goal for Apollo.

Don't have the time currently to commit to Android unfortunately

Emypony

I sadly I cannot download the app BUT I can certainly leave a comment! Thank you for being so kind to animals! What is your favorite memory involving an animal?


iamthatis

You're amazing. Probably when I was like 6, my grandmother had this dog named Missie and it was trying to get at something under a small log, so I picked up the log and she was able to get whatever she was looking for, and she looked so thankful and was so nice to me after that, I think that's when I really first realized how amazing animals are.

[deleted]

[deleted]


iamthatis

Wait what, what's Marrowstone? I'm drawing a blank here friendo.

iMedvid

Hey Christian! Wishing you a happy birthday! 🎊🎁🎂🎉

My Question: How did you come with or what influenced you to make Apollo so community driven as it is?

Apollo has been amazing and the fact that you reply to people and answers their questions and give all of us those detailed release notes and discuss topics with us to come up with a conclusion is amazing. I have never seen any other developer do that as well as you do.

Apollo has been inspiring me to keep on coding and making my own app. Apollo is a dream to use. Keep up the great work you have been doing, we see all your efforts and are greatly thankful. I have both Ultra and Pro. Amazing job!


iamthatis

Haha, it's one of those things where I think I'd be stupid if I didn't, so honestly it seems kinda obvious to me. Like you're building an app based on a community platform, use the dang platform to your advantage. It was very easy to see early on how much it was shaping Apollo for the better, and it just makes development a lot more fun.

Thank you so much for the kind words, it really means a lot to hear them, genuinely.

JokuIIFrosti

If your Reddit app didn't exist, which alternative would you pick as your favorite?


iamthatis

That's a really good question, Alien Blue's like basically dead isn't it? I'd have to go out and look, I haven't really kept tabs on the other apps currently, but I always hear great things about Narwhal. Slide too.

3amnick

How old are your kittens now?


iamthatis

2 and 4 :)

TheUltimateM

I hear a lot of students out in Eastern Canada (Waterloo specifically) talk about the “Cali or Bust” mentality of getting an internship in Silicon Valley/with big tech companies. What was your experience like at Apple and do you think it prepped you for the future?


iamthatis

Like if they don't get into a SV job they're screwed? That's probably a little strong but it definitely helps, one of those things on a resume that definitely opens a lot of doors. Waterloo is like the Canadian capital of engineering students haha, it's always funny too when people call that east and my "east" is a 24 hour drive east of there. :P

My experience at Apple was really awesome yeah, I think it prepared me about as much as 4 months could have yeah. Great people, made some great friends. :)

phantal_R10

Hey, I’m currently doing software in school, and want to go on to do computer science, I have been doing a lot of courses, on coding and computer science in general, sometimes I get overwhelmed with how much there is to learn, and find it hard to figure out what I should learn and in what order, as there is so much to do, how did/do you deal with this? Btw send more cat pics plz, they will go well in my cat pic collection


iamthatis

Hahaha, just take solace in the fact there IS an absolute ton of things to learn, but you absolutely don't have to learn 99% of it. :P I've programmed for a few years and I'm sure those courses would overwhelm you, carve out a niche of programming you enjoy and focus on that. :) I'll try to get to more cat pics too!

squid50s

What’s different between the official Reddit app and Apollo?

P.S. Thank you for doing an AMA, and donating all of the process to the SPCA was an extremely great and kind thing to do.


iamthatis

I'd say it's kinda like a car, you might be happy with your car and wonder why ever have a different one, but then one day you might try out your friend's car and say "Whoa, I actually kinda like this more, this is fun! The seating position feels nicer, I really like the feel of the steering wheel, the sound system has a bit more punch, and the driving experience is a bit more spirited".

I really wanted to add a bunch of "nice to have" features that just really make the whole experience more pleasant. :D

Thank you so much. :)

macroscian

I love cats. We always took some in when I was a kid and I keep that good karma going. I have no proper questions to ask but I like this initiative. So let's do one belated question: did you ever have the fortune of having a cat that could live its life mostly outdoors? It's a privilege to have that option, no doubt. Ours have, except one who refused to step outside despite a cat flap for anything other than necessities.

Thank you.


iamthatis

Thanks for being amazing with cats. :) I never had cats growing up (parents allergic) but I got my two when I was able to, I live in a city so it'd be really dangerous to let them out and about unfortunately, so I just try to make em really happy indoors. :)

domasszn

Hey Chris, ive been an astronaut on Apollo for a while now and it seems these updates just keep on coming, never disappointing us & you’re extremely engaging with us & on behalf of the other astronauts i thank you for that. But my question is when you aren’t busy improving Apollo & making us happy with bug fixes and what not what do you do? Not everyone has a job they love and seeing that you do, what else comes close to a huge role in your life?!


iamthatis

Oh hmm. My life isn't super interesting haha, I like to kick back and relax a lot, lately I've enjoyed longboarding and some travel, oh and woodworking, but sitting back with some Netflix is always very enjoyable. :)

ZeroTheSecond

First of all: happy birthday, and thanks a lot for the amazing app. It’s actually made me use reddit more than I did before because it simply works so well and smooth!

Question: What would you recommend for a PHP and JavaScript developer looking to get into Swift and making apps?


iamthatis

Get into Swift and make apps. :P

Honestly, you're a programmer already so you could probably grasp the basics in the afternoon of a weekend. Grab some beginner tutorials, download Xcode and read a tutorial on like, how to build a to do list app. I honestly bet you'd find it a lot easier than you expect! Then just keep building progressively more ambitious things. You got this. :D

Gizoogle

Christian!!! You're the best. You've responded to everything I've asked (or harassed, sorry) you about on Twitter and I just want you to know how great it is to have your favorite app have such a down-to-earth developer. I always know a problem is going to get fixed and communicated, and that is something sorely lacking in the modern app ecosystem-- so thank you for that!

My question: what has been your #1 resource for learning iOS app development/Swift? As someone interested in breaking into the field (largely in thanks to Apollo!), there's a lot out there-- so was there a website/program that was like a bible to your career development?

Much love! <3


iamthatis

Hahaha, thanks, happy to respond, people have great ideas. :D

Honestly my best resource has just been trying things out, like if I want to learn a new API, I try to get the gist of the docs or briefly read a tutorial, then just try to use it and if I get snagged on something that's when I start looking up help, I find I learn a lot faster by doing than reading. Mostly following general tutorials like "how to build a to do list app" then gradually increasing in difficulty was definitely the best way I found to learn.

Pun-Master-General

I'm a big fan of the app - I ended up switching from Apple to Android last year for other reasons, otherwise I'd be sending this from Apollo now.

I know you've said your vision for Apollo was influenced heavily by your work at Apple and wanting to make it feel like a native iOS app, which I think you did a great job of. If you were to hypothetically make a Reddit app that wasn't specific to iOS, what do you think you would do differently?


iamthatis

I think it's all about adopting the conventions/accepted norms of the platform, so if it was Android I'd immerse myself in Material Design for a few months for instance and see how they do things differently

rtmfrutilai

Christian you deserve the best you are a great human 👏👏👏👏


iamthatis

Thank you so much haha

Xae0n

Hey, how do you spend your day mostly ? i am 25, graduated from computer engineering with no job as of this moment. it's also been a while since i don't code. what would you recommend me to work on so i could get a good job and good future ? also how do we stop procastinating and focus on working ? i appreciate any kind of critic you would say


iamthatis

Mostly spend it at my desk or couch with my laptop haha, nothing too glamorous. I'd honestly just recommend something fun that you'd personally enjoy building/using, I think it makes a big difference in showing it off to people and plain ol wanting to finish it if it's something you're excited about. :)

Yaced123

Holy crap. You are a hero I didn’t know I had.

I have two things on my iPhone home screen, the calendar to know what day it is, and your app!

https://i.imgur.com/cCU59ng.jpg

I am downloading ultra now.. The only reason I didn’t have it because the free version is really good. I don’t know what ultra will bring, but I’m happy to support your fantastic work.

100 duck sized horses or 1 horse sized duck?


iamthatis

Wow, that's a legitimate honor. Nice taste with Focus at the bottom there too. :)

Thank you so much.

I'd take the 100 duck sized horses. Hopefully I don't have to fight them or anything because that sounds really cute to play with.

[deleted]

[deleted]


iamthatis

Well spam won't count anyway because I'm sure the mods would hate me and it's not really in the spirit of it, but you've generated $0.20 since I replied

3X0karibu

Have you tried android and what's your opinion on the mobile OS "war"?


iamthatis

I have! I have an Essential Phone and a Nexus 5, really love them both dearly, especially the Essential phone. I prefer the app ecosystem on iOS more and some of the design just feels more pleasant to me (rubber-banding when scrolling, the home-swipe gestures on Android feel a little weird), but honestly if iOS disappeared and I had to use Android I'd be fine, it's nice.

I think the whole "war" thing (not saying you specifically obviously) is silly and people should calm down and respect preferences. :P Some people get wayyyy too bent out of shape.

cwbh10

I'm a rising senior ECE (Electrical & Computer Engineering), and I'm more of a hardware person, but do you think that if I were to get into one industry (e.g. software development) it would be hard to switch? Maybe not the right place to ask, but since you clearly have experience with software development I'd love to hear your opinion :)

And yay for the cats!


iamthatis

Naw, I think you could make the jump from being a full time sea turtle to being a programmer fairly easy, it's all just about putting the hours in. If you're willing to do that you're golden. :)

balacio

Why did you call the app Apollo?

Also, here to say that when I had an issue with the Apollo app, you replied to me personally and I was really impressed. Thank you for caring about the user. Apollo app rocks!

Mucho love!


iamthatis

It basically went

I need an app name > Reddit is space themed > my app helps you browse something that is space themed > spaceships help you browse/explore space > spaceship name needed > Apollo is an awesome spaceship name

Thanks so much, I really do try to listen to people, I think it's made the app a lot stronger. <3

SlayeDraye

I really want to learn how to code but I don’t know what’s the best place to get started/ where or what website/ program to use. What do you recommend for an aspiring programmer?


iamthatis

Honestly, playing around and building is the best way possible. Find an area of programming you're interested in, websites, apps, robotics, etc., read some tutorials that focus on the basics for beginners, and build some basic things with the help of some tutorials. Honestly programming's a lot easier than a lot of people make it out to be. :)

SniP3r_HavOK

Why is apple so overpriced?


iamthatis

Do you have an example in particular? I'd say Apple is expensive, but in my experience they're not overpriced in the areas they compete in. For example Samsung's high end phones are just as expensive, iMacs are expensive but have a beautiful 5K screen attached, etc.

nomeindisponivel

I almost never comment on reddit. But if my comment is gonna help a cat, you better bet your ass I'm commenting.


iamthatis

There ya go, thank you :)

VeganAilurophile

Your kitties are adorable! Thank you for adopting, bringing attention to kitten season, and donating to help more cats! Spaying/neutering pets (and TNR'ing our feral friends) is one of the best ways people can help prevent shelters and rescues from being flooded with homeless kittens.


iamthatis

Absolutely! Preventing an unnecessary influx of kittens is much preferred to having to deal with them when the time comes!

TechnoEnder

Never heard of it; What would you say the main benefits are over the official app? The disadvantages?

Great thing you’re doing here!


iamthatis

Advantages I would say would be a faster, smoother browsing experience with an improved media viewer and some really nice swipe gestures. Disadvantages would be that I'm a one man team so I can't always add in new features that Reddit adds as quick as Reddit themselves can

Im_a_bus902

We recently lost our beautiful girl Thumper, and our last remaining kitty (we had 5 at one point) is feeling pretty lonely and sulky.

I’ll have to visit the Dartmouth SPCA soon and pick up a cat or two...


iamthatis

Really sorry to hear that, we lost our family dog a few years back and it was genuinely terrible. I'm sure the SPCA has no shortage though if you want to commemorate their memory.

muwtu

dont you think that its a bit too “blocky” to fully represent apple? i mean, jobs was crazy about the rounded corners and shit, and i feel like the app is a bit “sharp edge”. it looks and feels great tho otherwise


iamthatis

If you got some screenshots of what you're talking about I'd love to see. :P It almost uses entirely stock Apple components so there shouldn't be much room to stray haha

pixelated_cappuccino

Your an amazing person! I’ve never known someone so devoted to their job and so devoted to helping those in need. I will purchase a tip today in hopes that I’ll be able to help an animal in need.


iamthatis

Thank you so much, it's really nothing crazy for me to do though, pets are awesome and I think if most people were put in a position where they could do some good for them they would :D

RafaSaraceni

Hi, thanks for the AMA! What is your opinion on Flutter and React Native for mobile development? Have you tried them? Are you willing to?


iamthatis

They look super cool. They still feel a little weird to me, like I can normally pick out when an app is built in RN versus true natively, but it's such a cool platform and the stuff like Hot Reload makes me so jealous as an iOS developer, haha

PurrincessZelda

Thank you so much for doing this! Kitten season is so tough and every little bit makes such a difference for these tiny felines! Do you think you want to adopt more cats in the near future? Also I really really want to know their names cause your furbabies are beautiful!


iamthatis

I'd love to but 3 would be a little crazy for my apartment haha. Thank you so much too, Hugo and Ruby. :D

imasensation

You're a true inspiration. One of the real ones out there actually making shit happen. Keep doing you. Don't ever get bought out. You are truly a good person and I appreciate everything you do.

My only question is Hows it going? Like literally just right now in general. Hope all is well :)


iamthatis

Thank you so much. Great honestly, I feel really content with life right now. :)

Drackene

Why not give the Android users an iPhone-y app? When I decided to get on Reddit my coworker suggested Apollo, but alas I'm stuck with another 3rd party app.


iamthatis

I'd love to if it was that simple, but the reality is it would probably be another few thousand hours to port it over to a brand new platform, and that's not something I have the time to do at the moment. :(

TheWarThatEndedPeace

Hi Christian, thanks for building the app! It's great 🙂 Hope you have a great birthday.

How did you decide to apply to Apple? Were you already an Apple diehard, or were you considering other paths/companies?


iamthatis

Was a big fan of Apple yeah and already pretty into iOS programming so applied out of the blue and got really lucky haha

BarfTheChicken

How long have you dabbled in woodworking ? And what do you like to make ?


iamthatis

Not long haha, a few years and very much dabbling, I'm in an apartment so my tools are pretty primitive, but I like building small things like dining tables that are nice to have around the house and not too difficult to make. :)

scott210

Dunno if you're still answering these, but if so I'm really really really really curious to know what you worked on at Apple?


iamthatis

It was mostly internal stuff so nothing you'd know of, think internal tools to help stuff run smoother within Apple. Not sure if it ever got used though to be honest, haha.

abakhai

What advice would you give to a computer scientists (last year of uni) who wants to achieve big like you?


iamthatis

I really find building things like side projects is the key to getting places, showing things off that you've created and can physically be like "I made this!" really gets people excited.

Legoman718

I was about to ask “why did you name it Apollo?” but then I realized


iamthatis

It basically went

I need an app name > Reddit is space themed > my app helps you browse something that is space themed > spaceships help you browse/explore space > spaceship name needed > Apollo is an awesome spaceship name

ksaleone

Thank you thank you!! I love Apollo and use it every day. Upgraded to Pro as soon as it came out and now I’m going to upgrade to Ultra!

Question: what is your favorite TV show?


iamthatis

Thank you so much! That's such a hard question, there's so many good TV shows, probably Daredevil right now.

Screwdge_McDickens

My absolute favorite app, here’s my 7 day proof https://i.imgur.com/lefxKqR.jpg

Anyway, you should figure out a way to help me gift my wife an in app purchase!


iamthatis

Thank you so much! Apple recently allowed apps to add that functionality, so I'm trying to figure out a way to do it. :D

OhHerroSpreen

Been using Apollo for a while now. Just got Apollo Ultra lifetime. We got our cat at the local SPCA.

He says hello.


iamthatis

Did you post this elsewhere? That's a gorgeous cat that I can't imagine I'd forget, thanks for being an awesome cat adopter. :D

waltk918

Give a dime to the kitties for me?


Rabuiods

Just wanted to say I love Apollo! I’ve tried every Reddit app out there, but yours is the only one that works the way a Reddit app should.

What’s your favorite song to sing in the car?


iamthatis

Thank you so much! Probably The Reason by Hoobastank. :P

arowana1

By 100% of the proceeds, do you mean all money, or all money after expenses?


iamthatis

All the money I guess? Apollo doesn't really have expenses, I guess there's server expenses that Ultra helps to cover but ehh don't worry about those today it's all good.

covercash

So you’re saying that if I post some pussy pics you’re gonna donate money to the SPCA? https://imgur.com/a/yHE1VX6/


iamthatis

Risky click but very worth it. Are they both yours? They're super cute and also look a little devilish in the best possible way :P

kitikitish

Did you share your beans recipe with me before? I recall calling it Nova Scotia Beans. Have anything others to share?


iamthatis

Hahaha, I did! I wish, the beans recipe is really my go to and the only original one I have. :P I just Google everything else…

[deleted]

[deleted]


iamthatis

Pineapple belongs on pizza.

It's the shelter I got my cats from and they're very local so I know they're an awesome bunch.

Mattgregor

hey happy birthday dude !!
Edit: might aswell throw a question at you, where do you see reddit in 10 years?


iamthatis

Hmm, hopefully holding the same values and not changing a great deal, I love how indie they still feel, they're doing great stuff.

Drublix

I bought the Pro version of Apollo when I used an Iphone, great app. Any thought about an Android version?


iamthatis

I'd love to if I had the time, but as it stands I already wish there was more time in the day for the iOS version :(

pchov

Do you plan to make Android version?


iamthatis

If I had more time I'd love to haha.

[deleted]

Thank you for being such a good humanitarian for our unwanted pets! Have you donated to SPCA in the past or other causes?


iamthatis

Oh yeah! We did $5000 last year as a community and I try to donate regularly otherwise. :)

sorril

What if im on pro already, how do i still donate? Thanks for being awesome! I have 15 cats and i love them all!


iamthatis

There's a Tip Jar at the bottom of the Settings tab. And thank you for being so amazing!!!

nehayward

What feature/API are you most excited about from iOS 13?


iamthatis

That's a really good question, haha, I'm oddly excited for the PS4/Xbox One controller support and building that into Apollo for some reason :P

one23ginger

Do you plan to keep making apps?


iamthatis

Yeah, it's too much fun not to :P

Brcomic

Have you considered adding in MOD Mail support? As a Moderator that mods from mobile a lot it would be a welcome addition.


iamthatis

Already added in and should be shipping very soon. :) It's beautiful.

the_LavaFlow

Your cats are so cute, what type are they?


iamthatis

American short hair I guess would be the term, right? They're adopted from the shelter so I highly doubt they're a fancy pure breed or anything haha

Fluid_Pain

How did you decide on your purple username when you appear on Apollo?


iamthatis

It's pretty much the only color that isn't already used by Reddit themselves for like OP/moderator/admin/friend, etc. :P

justmovealong738

Can you release a link to the shelter for some people to donate even more directly?


iamthatis

Absolutely, here's the direct link, the donate button is in the top right: http://www.novascotiaspca.ca/

stomppad12

Are you using Apollo for this AMA?


iamthatis

No, haha, I'm trying to answer as many questions as I can which means my full fledged desktop with keyboard and mouse set up is a bit faster. :P

melvak

What made you design that app in the first place?


iamthatis

Just wanting to scratch an itch, none of the Reddit apps did it for me 100% so I wanted to try and see what I could come up with.

QuietWyatt101

Any advice for someone getting their computer science degree right now?


iamthatis

Build side projects, interviewers love when you have things to show off that you've built yourself.

rabbitstomp

What is your favourite apple product?


iamthatis

Oh dang. Hmm. Right now the prettiest for me is that XDR Display but I doubt I'll ever own it haha. Probably the new iPad Pros then.

Syng420

What's your favorite color, animal, show, novel, ice cream flavor and subreddit?


iamthatis

Orange maybe, ocelots, Daredevil, Ender's Game, orange pineapple, and r/whatcouldgowrong

tdmd

Waiting for iPad version to purchase Ultra. Can you run a special reduced price for Ultra like you did when you first launched the option?


iamthatis

No plans currently unfortunately. :( The lifetime pricing is hard because it's… well lifetime. If anything I could see it going up eventually so consider it on sale now. :P

ddawnwolf

How's your day been?


iamthatis

Really nice, had a nice breakfast with the gf before starting the thread and now sipping on an iced coffee and talking to cool people. :D

LocusAintBad

Just the fact that your cause goes to the kitties is enough for me to get behind it. Sign me up


iamthatis

Ah the ol double comment. I can respect the hustle.

HumblerMumbler

When will you be getting your third kitty?


iamthatis

Hahaha, when I get a bigger apartment maybe, not even sure if my current landlord would allow that. :P

PedroCPimenta

You are breath taking!


iamthatis

No, YOU are breath taking

casselhag

I freaking love your app!


iamthatis

I freaking love you!

bleddyidiot24

I haven't got a question, you have many to go through I'm sure. Just wanted to wish you a happy birthday!


iamthatis

Thank you so much :)

greenking2000

Why’d you choose purple to be the colour you appear in the app?


iamthatis

Pretty much the only color that isn't used by Reddit haha

HomingSnail

Why do I have to ask a question for my comment to generate dimes for the pups?


iamthatis

An excellent question. I have no idea.

LocusAintBad

Just the fact that your cause goes to the kitties is enough for me to get behind it. Sign me up


iamthatis

Thanks my friend

wsdmskr

I'm not an Apollo user, but I appreciate what you're doing here?


iamthatis

Thank you? Why are we using inflections? :P

itachixsasuke

Are you joining in for the Area 51 raid?


iamthatis

Been practicing my naruto run all week

Cisntt

What’re your favorite pizza toppings?


iamthatis

Probably pineapples, mushrooms, and green peppers right now.

__Pepe_Silvia

I know im late but any plans to port app to android?


iamthatis

Not currently, but maybe if I get more time.

IcemanofOz

I hate cats. Cats are cunts that destroy the native environment. Why would you help sustain something that is so evil?


iamthatis

How do they destroy the native environment exactly? Like getting out and eating birds and whatnot? That's totally fair criticism, my cats are indoor cats per the recommendation of our vet, they typically live a lot longer that way and local wildlife doesn't suffer.

Arcadian_

Android? :(


iamthatis

Someday maybe, porting an app to a different platform takes a ton of time!

PedroCPimenta

Thank you very much for your kindness!


iamthatis

Thank you so much for commenting :)


iamthatis

Hahaha, a beautiful one.

KainoaTheMeme

Will Apollo ever come to Android?


iamthatis

Maybe someday if I had more time. :P

PurpleMemerSloth

Why is your name purple? Is it because I’m on Apollo?


iamthatis

Yes indeed. :)

rabbitstomp

What is your favourite subreddit?


iamthatis

r/whatcouldgowrong at the moment.

chevymonza

What are the names of your adorable amazing cats?


iamthatis

<3 Hugo and Ruby!

AdditionalExcitement

How about using those skills for an android app? ;)


iamthatis

Maybe :P

rodderz9

Cat poo cat poo furry cat poo


iamthatis

Your dinner sounds disgusting

stephenstoffer

Will you donate 10 cents for this comment too?


iamthatis

You betcha.

iamjacksliver66

As a conservation grad I'm all about helping animals and the environment. Why the SPCA though? They only have a C+ rating as a non profit and only around 10 cents on the dollar actually goes to the animals.
https://paddockpost.com/2016/02/17/where-does-1-to-the-aspca-go/ From this budget break down. They look very top heavy. The higher ups are makeing a ton while the animals see very little. In my experience grass roots efforts usaly have more bang for their buck. Is there something I'm missing?


iamthatis

That's the ASPCA, no? I'm Canadian, ours is a different organization, our local one to my knowledge is independently run and does great things. They're also close to my heart since I've adopted my pets from there.

obenj

Did you pay the 10 cents?


iamthatis

My comments count, yeah :D

Kannahayabusa12

What do you have against milk steak?


iamthatis

I trust Charlie

poetinsecret

What’s your cats names?


iamthatis

Hugo and Ruby. :)

AllThotsGo2Heaven2

Can I get a purple name too?


iamthatis

no >:o

viking_redbeard

Why are you so awesome? Apollo is awesome, I’ve picked up all the extras. You are not earning nearly enough from this app, I’m sure.


iamthatis

Oh don't worry about me, people are more than generous, I have a great life! I guess I just love what I do and hope that comes across, I'm very fortunate to be able to do this and being dumb about it would be… dumb

MinoSquinn

Happy birthday!!! 🎉🎁 😸What’s your favorite r/?


iamthatis

r/whatcouldgowrong right now I think, I love the whole "fails" category in general. :P

Glitch_Zero

Apple Music or Spotify and why? Can be from a music selection perspective, design, whatever!

From one Canadian to another, thank you for all your hard work on Apollo!


iamthatis

Spotify for me personally, 99% of my music listening is done on my Mac and I'm not a big fan of iTunes, but since they're trimming it down with Catalina that might change. :D

No prob :D

destructifier

Pander to the masses much?


iamthatis

If pandering helps save some cats or dogs I will be grand marshal of the Pander Parade

PM_ME_YOUR_TAFFY

What’s the best place to get a lobster roll in downtown Halifax?


iamthatis

That's a very good question, I'm vegetarian so probably not the most knowledgeable person to ask but the r/Halifax community is awesome and will probably be able to hook you up with the finest Halifax has to offer. I imagine anywhere on the waterfront honestly. :P

edamamemonster

Any plans for Android?


iamthatis

I wish, I plain ol' don't have the time currently. :(

[deleted]

[removed]


iamthatis

Ha, I don't quite think that's the reality I live in, Apollo's a free app that you can contribute to if you want so my helipad isn't quite finished yet, and I live pretty low-key so I don't think anyone's jealous of anything, I made a time-wasting app I mean come on

1martini

Why does your app route data through Google Firebase & Crashlytics, even when crash reporting & analytics are disabled?


iamthatis

It shouldn't, could you be more specific on what data it's putting into Firebase? Happy to check it out.

alexander-io

Out of the total number of developers what percentage of the devs identify as African-American?


iamthatis

Are you asking what percentage of iOS developers are African American? I'm not sure how you would measure that.

scotty3281

Has it really already been a year since I bought Apollo? Again, thanks for the amazing app!!

What new features are in the works that have not been talked about on here or /r/apolloapp?


iamthatis

Oo good question, um, I don't think I've talked about iOS 13 changes in great depth, but I'll keep more details on that a secret for now. :P

DrMantisTobogan9784

How much have Apple and Reddit donated to your cause?


iamthatis

Other than awesome platforms to develop for nothing directly.

Rackemup

Is there an Android version? In any case, thanks for helping those NS kittens!


iamthatis

Not currently, but maybe someday :)

JustALittleBitOff

This might be late to get answered, but with all the app icons available is it possible for the app to change its icon at certain intervals (e.g. every day it picks a random one until it cycles through them all then repeat)? I enjoy the majority of them & think it would be a fun little feature.

Thank you for being such an awesome/caring person & I hope we hit $10k today!

Cats for fun.

Edit: Missed a nice feature of the white cat - heart-shaped spot!


iamthatis

I don't think that's possible for two reasons. The first, you can only make the icon change when the app is active, so you'd have to open it to trigger that, and also because Apple says apps can't change icons automatically, users have to explicitly tap the icon change.

Also I LOVE that heart, that's so cute. Your cats are so photogenic.

Beboppington

I checked the app out. I honestly never thought that reddit app needed much work and it’s kinda crazy you can make money off of a complex reskin of reddit with a few tweaks to make things a little faster. Apollo does seem faster with video which is a big issue with me on iOS. I’m surprised reddit can’t legally shut you down due to this app taking away from reddits app downloads. Are you afraid of reddit issuing a Cease and Desist or is this under fair use or some kind of loophole??


iamthatis

Oh it's fully licensed by Reddit, Reddit has a full API and is great with encouraging and allowing third party apps. People have different preferences for browsing experiences and I don't think it hurts in any way to give people options. Same with Twitter for instance, there's multiple fully allowed third party apps.

[deleted]

[deleted]


iamthatis

Huh, that's honestly not been my experience, but I'm admittedly not as deep in the trenches as you. I guess people see cats as independent and interpret it the wrong way, but in our community whenever a cat gets abused or anything the community always comes together and does amazing things.

buttMann7

Firstly, your Apollo app is one of my favorite Reddit clients! Very sleek and fast and I immediately switched from the original one.

My question is: What are your plans from now on? Besides maintaining Apollo do you have any major projects in mind?

Have a nice day and thank you for your generosity! :-)


iamthatis

Thank you so much. Plan honestly right now is just to continue with Apollo as long as people will let me haha.

Fezzicc

Any plans to develop an Android version?


iamthatis

Maybe, I really don't have the time right now though. :(

ellenty

Don't really have any insightful comment, but happy birthday! Apollo Pro is one of the few things I've ever spent money on in the app store! I'll consider upgrading to Ultra sometime, though probably not today.

Do you remember the first thing you ever purchased from the app store?


iamthatis

Thank you so much. And yeah actually almost positive it was Super Monkey Ball :D

[deleted]

Since I was a teenager I have always been interested in programming, but never had the guts to try to become educated in it. Where would you suggest is a good starting point for someone in Nova Scotia? Also what was the first thing that made you really want to become a developer?


iamthatis

Programming is not hard, people like to make it seem like it is for some reason. It just takes practice, like anything. Honestly there's so many great tutorials and online resources out there that in Nova Scotia we're just as well off as someone living down the street from MIT. Well basically. Find an area you're interested in learning (app development, robotics, etc.), find some basic tutorials and get building. :)

I wanted to become a developer because the idea of being able to build something and actually have people use it and enjoy it sounded crazy cool haha.

brokenchalkboard

OMG, I liked the Reddit app but it’s text sizes were never big enough for me. I had to take breaks between reading posts because the largest supported font is too tiny. (I’m visually impaired) .Apollo works with my system set text size?! Hell yes!!!! Thank you!!!!


iamthatis

Yeah dude!

Posh-Dingii

I didn’t know you worked at Apple. I’m 17, and interested in software engineering, any tips on how to be successful? What paths did you take to get to where you are now?

Also, I just started Apollo Ultra two days ago, wish I had waited till today.


iamthatis

I think passion goes a really long way, build things you enjoy doing and stick to stuff. :) That's basically all I did, haha, nothing too special.

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July 21st 2019