Yo! Podcast #005 – Steve Schoger – Designer, Refactoring UI
Steve Schoger (@steveschoger) is a Designer and Maker from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. His Refactoring UI book he co-wrote with Adam Wathan was a massive success, so I try break down the full 18 month execution leading to launch. We also go deep discussing low self-esteem, reacting to pricing complaints, influential marketing channels and how he meticulously constructs those viral Design Tip Tweets.
What is Yo!??? Yo! is a celebration of great design and development online. The Yo! Newsletter curates quality new resources each week while the Yo! Podcast spotlights the incredible people building these resources. Subscribe on your favorite streaming platforms:
- 01:00 – Interview starts
- 01:59 – College, Music Background
- 08:04 – Cameo: Mubashar “Mubs” Iqbal
- 12:45 – Intermission: No Context
- 13:23 – Side Projects: Hero Patterns, Heroicons, Zondicons
- 23:15 – Teaming up with Adam Wathan, Viral Design Tip Tweets
- 27:40 – Intermission: @AJLKN Water Break
- 32:30 – Intermission: True, False, Maybe
- 33:10 – Refactoring UI book launch
- 45:30 – Intermission: Rob Question
- 45:52 – Self-Esteem, Anxiety, YouTube, Public Speaking
- 55:55 – Common UI Design Mistakes (and Suggestions)
- 57:50 – Outro
- Steve Twitter: @steveschoger
- Mention: Steve YouTube
- Book: Refactoring UI
- Mention: Adam Wathan
- Cameo: Mubashar “Mubs” Iqbal
- Mention: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
- Mention: Tailwind CSS CSS framework
- Side Project: Hero Patterns
- Mention: Hero Patterns featured on One Page Love in 2016
- Side Project: Heroicons
- Side Project: Zondicons
- Mention: Laravel PHP Framework
- Mention: Taylor Otwell
- Mention: Sara Soueidan
- Mention: The $61,392 Book Launch That Let Me Quit My Job by Adam Wathan
- Reference: Viral design tips on Twitter
- Mention: 7 Practical Tips for Cheating at Design – viral Medium article
- Mention: Binging with Babish
- Outro Track: My Last Long by by Martin Hall (Tigerblood Jewel Remix)
Rob: Yo Steve! Welcome to the show, man.
Steve: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Rob: So you're calling from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, right?
Steve: That's right, yeah. You know, we're about 100 kilometers outside of Toronto, just to give you some idea of where it is.
Rob: If my research is correct, Blackberry put you guys on the map a bit.
Steve: That's right. Yeah, the CEO came out of University of Waterloo. The University of Waterloo kind of put us on the map, almost. And there's a lot of grads that come out of there, like, engineering grads, and so we kind of have this tech thing going on here. And Blackberry put us on the map, but then, you know, they're not really around. They still are around, actually.
Rob: Do you ever see any, like, die-hard hipsters running Blackberries in the wild?
Steve: I hear about people who...Sometimes, I'll be at a conference and I'll talk about where I'm from, and I'll say Blackberry put us on the map, and someone will tell me how, you know, someone they know still rocks a Blackberry. But I don't know anyone who uses a Blackberry anymore.
Rob: Crazy. So you graduated doing a multimedia course, but continued to do a music arts program at the same college with the hopes of being in the music industry. I want to know where you got this passion for music from. You know, it's usually a parent or a sibling.
Steve: Yeah. I started playing, I picked up a guitar maybe when I was like 10 or 12. My great grandma passed away and, with that, I inherited like an old acoustic guitar. And I just started playing on that, and I got really into that. And I played guitar all through high school and, like, back in high school, I really wanted to pursue music. I wanted to be like in a touring band. That's what I wanted to do for my life, right, you know. Then I had, like, my parents. They kind of pushed me probably in a more realistic direction, so they encouraged me to go to college.
I was always pretty artistic, not just, like, in music but in art in general. I was always, like, really good at drawing and stuff when I was younger. And so I think they kind of just pushed me to go towards that, and they pushed me to take something that's a little more...They didn't push me towards the music at all. They pushed me towards, like, the multimedia because the multimedia was...it was this course at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.
And it was kind of a wide range of things, right, because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. And it covered everything from graphic design, to web design, to a little bit of video editing. There was a little bit of audio production in that course. So it kind of got my hands on everything, and I really enjoyed the graphic design aspect of that and the web design aspect of that course. But the music industry, that was a program at Fanshawe. That was a really competitive program. I did apply for that originally, and I didn't get accepted. You usually need like a general arts certificate or something before you get into that, just because it's so competitive.
But after I finished multimedia, I had a little bit of college experience. So I applied for that course again, and I got accepted, so I decided to take that. And when I went into the music industry this time, when I went into school for it, I no longer had my dream of becoming like a touring artist, but I was more interested in the production side going into to course, like just recording like a producer inside the studio, right. But then, as I got into the course, I got more interested into the business aspect, and I got more interested in like the marketing of artists and all the business aspects of the music industry, right?
Rob: So this led you to interning at small record labels doing like brochure and web stuff, right?
Steve: That's right. Yeah, I worked at...So it was a two-year program. In the summer in-between, I didn't get a part-time job or anything to make extra money. I moved to Toronto for the summer. My sister lived there, so I moved into her apartment. And I was interning at a small record label, and I was kind of on the...what do they call it? Like the street team.
Rob: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You were like ambassadors.
Steve: Yeah, I'd pretty much hang up posters or hand out fliers at concerts, right, to fans. And it's just promotional material for new artists or whatever, right. So I was doing this that summer, but even at the small labels, I was doing a lot of the stuff I learned in multimedia, right. That appealed to them when I kind of gave them my resume. They liked that I kind of knew a little bit of graphic design and I knew a little bit of web. And so I found myself doing a lot of that stuff, making little pamphlets, designing pamphlets.
Rob: Please tell me this is where you learned HTML, via Myspace band pages.
Steve: Yeah. I did do a little bit of that. What year was this? This was back in like 2008, maybe? I was still learning HTML. It was still new to me because everything I learned back in multimedia I had forgotten, and I was kind of relearning it. I was, like, relearning stuff by finding online tutorials and online tutorials for web design back in like 2007.
Rob: In 2000. Wow.
Steve: Yeah, it's not like you can just copy and paste code. You know what I mean? Not like today, right?
Rob: No way.
Steve: And so I was still learning some of the basics. Like, Flash was still with Macromedia at that point, right? And then it became an Adobe product, and now it's extinct.
Rob: It's dead.
Steve: Yeah. So I was doing a lot of the web and design stuff for these labels, and I realized I really like doing this stuff. And then when I graduated from music industry arts, I still tried to get a job at labels doing that kind of work. But this is in 2009 now, so this is like the peak of the recession. This is at a time when the music industry is just at its low, right? And I'm thinking, "Okay. Well, I really just enjoy doing graphic design web stuff. Why don't I just pursue that more and not have to...Why do I need to focus on just music industry?" But, again, this is the 2009 recession. I couldn't find a job anywhere, anyway.
So I just spent time working on my portfolio, and what this was is just making a lot of...perfecting my craft, like getting familiar with Photoshop again, learning how to code again, making my portfolio again, which is just a bunch of fake websites, right? They weren't real or anything. They were just kind of like making a fake website for like a construction company that never existed...
Rob: They're mock-ups.
Steve: ...just to make it look aesthetically pleasing, right?
Rob: I think everyone had one construction company in their portfolio.
Steve: Yeah, something like that. And I would at other portfolio sites of designers that I admired, and I'd kind of look at what kind of projects they are doing and make my own version of that project. And I think it's worth nothing that I spend a lot of time just recreating existing sites, too, that I liked, seeing how they did it, seeing how they got that look and feel, see how they achieved that effect.
Rob: Just to step quickly back into actual design, you know, on "The Laravel Podcast," you mentioned that, as a kid, your mom made you draw a horse and immediately identified your perception of depth.
Rob: Do you think you were simply born to design?
Steve: I don't know, but I got told that story. Like, I don't remember this. This is when I was like three, right, and my mom apparently handed me like a crayon, or a pencil, or something and a paper and told me to draw this horse figurine that was in front of me. You know when people draw people, they draw figurines, they just draw stick figures, right?
Steve: Apparently, I drew like this dimension. I gave it that three-dimensional look that not like a three-year-old would do.
Rob: Yeah. You gave it some shading.
Steve: Yeah. So I guess they saw this natural talent in me, and they kind of just pushed me to do that. I guess when they handed me a pencil and a paper, I could just focus in on that. I could get lost in that, right.
Rob: Yeah, totally.
Steve: Maybe there's a natural talent to it, but at a young age, I really enjoyed doing it, and as a result I got pushed to do it, and I spent more time doing that. I spent more and more years doing that.
Rob: You learned to love it.
Steve: Yeah. Have you ever read the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell?
Rob: Yeah, I have.
Steve: Yeah. After reading that, I don't really believe in natural talent. I kind of just believe in like...
Rob: 10,000 hours.
Steve: Yeah. I just spent a lot of time doing one thing and getting really good at it. But going back to that story that my mom told me, you know, that is an interesting point there, right?
Rob: Yeah. I want to swing it back to guitar playing, you know, you playing guitar till late at night. Did you play 10,000 hours of guitar?
Steve: Let's see, I started in like grade eight. You know, I'd pretty much come home from school like at 3:00 and play all into the evening. And I did that for like four or five years, so I spent a lot of time doing that. You know what's sad, is I was in San Francisco last week for the Smashing Conference. And we did the speakers dinner at the Dropbox office. And at the Dropbox office they have the drums, bass guitar, piano. They have this little thing you can play, you can jam out on, right?
Steve: So that was kind of cool. So I picked up the guitar and started playing it, and I cannot play anymore at all. I mean, I can pick it up and I know the chords and stuff but...
Rob: You start doing like arpeggios or something.
Steve: Yeah, I can't play any of that stuff anymore. It's kind of sad. I'm sure if I actually spent time and picked it up and played it more I'd get better at it, but it was kind of depressing because I just haven't played guitar for years.
Rob: Oh, dude, I could talk about music forever. Do we even have to talk about design?
Steve: We don't have to, man. I could talk about music forever, too.
Rob: Okay. I'm going to throw one at you quick. So I throw this around. This one question, we throw it off friends a lot because no one really knows the answer. What rock band, formed in the past 20 years, will be legendary still in 50 years? So like The Stones, Led Zeppelin. So what rock band that formed in the past 20 years will still be legendary in 50 years? It's a difficult one.
Steve: Do they still have to be around?
Rob: They don't have to be around, but people will be listening to them constantly in 50 years.
Steve: I'd say White Stripes is a good example of that.
Rob: Did they form in the last 20?
Steve: Oh, when did they form, actually? That's a good question.
Rob: Let me get that up. Yeah, they started in '97, so that's 22.
Steve: Yeah, that's the closest thing I can think of that will be...
Rob: Anyway, I'm going to let that sit with you, and I'm going to re-ask you at the end.
Steve: I think about that question. It's funny you ask that because I think about that every now and then, about rock bands that are relevant nowadays.
Rob: I feel like rock, it is broad, for sure. It's a genre, but you'll be noticing these headliners at Reading and Glastonbury, like, they're introducing rap artists. Nothing against it.
Steve: Yeah. You know what? I listen to a lot of electronic music now. High school Steve would be so disappointed with 30-year-old Steve. I used to like punk music and a lot of rock music, and I slowly shifted to...I like a lot of background music, right? I don't like words or anything. I just like kind of ambient music, stuff I can really focus and work to and not get too distracted by.
Rob: That's why I struggle with podcasts.
Steve: Yeah, exactly, because I can't listen to a podcast and work.
Rob: Don't speak to me.
Steve: Yeah, exactly. I just need pure distraction or, like, distraction-free.
Rob: Okay. All right, man. So I want to break into an intermission I call No Context. So you simply shoot back either of the two words I say, no context.
Rob: Twitter or Instagram?
Rob: IPA or Vice beer?
Rob: About or aboot?
Rob: Myspace or Facebook?
Steve: Myspace, I guess. I don't know.
Rob: Open source software or recurring revenue?
Steve: Open source.
Rob: Wayne Gretzky or Tony Hawk?
Rob: Photoshop or Sketch?
Rob: Stratocaster or Les Paul?
Rob: And last one, Tailwind CSS or Bootstrap framework?
Steve: Tailwind CSS.
Steve: That's correct, yes.
Rob: And around this time, you were starting to ship these side projects, like Hero Patterns and Heroicons. And this is when you first came on my radar because I was reviewing these one-pagers back in 2016 October, roundabouts.
Steve: Oh, that's funny. I remember that. I remember when I made Hero Patterns, and that's how I came across you because you posted Hero Patterns on One Page Love, right?
Rob: That's it.
Steve: Yeah, and it got a lot of traction that day, and I went through my Google Analytics and I saw it was...Yeah, that makes sense because I was trying to figure out how you first came across on my radar, and that was it. That's 100% it. That's funny.
Rob: Yeah. So, I mean, One Page Love, it's not a tool used for promotion, if that makes sense. I just want to list great quality landing pages, but they happen to be great for discovery as well, you know. Someone will launch an icon pack or a web app. So, yeah, you definitely would've got a couple of thousand from One Page Love when it launched.
Steve: Yeah, that's right. Yeah.
Rob: So these are fan side projects, man. Why did you build these?
Steve: I think the first thing I ever did that was kind of like an open source, free side project was...I did this icon set, Zondicons, and those I just started drawing one day for a project Adam and I were going to...We were working on this project, and I started drawing these icons for them. And then I just got carried away and drew like 200 of them, right, in a period of like a week. And then I realized I had this full set, and I don't know why I just decided to give them away like that. I think I saw Adam building a following on Twitter, and I thought that was pretty cool. You know, that becomes an asset, right? I never thought about building a following on Twitter before this. I honestly didn't see the value in Twitter. Like, you know, there's all these influencers on Twitter, and it's just like, well, I don't even know how to achieve that. And I saw Adam doing it, and all that he was doing was just providing value, more or less, right?
Steve: And I'm thinking, well, I can do that by, you know, creating a few open source projects, and it's not just about building a following. It's also just, you know, I was working on this fun little project, and what am I going to do with it? I'm just going to let it sit here and maybe use it for a project? So I just published them, and I made a nice little website to go with them. And that was fun. I had a lot of fun doing that, and I got a little boost in my Twitter following. And I started getting recognized in the Laravel community because I had Adam retweeting it and Taylor retweeting it. And then, after that, I was kind of, like, that was fun. That was kind of interesting. And then my second idea was the Hero Patterns because another thing worth noting is the icons I made, there weren't a lot of, like, SVG icon packs available. I mean, SVG was still kind of a new newish concept. Sara Soueidan was talking a lot about it at this time, and I was learning a lot about it through her. So I'm thinking what's another thing I can kind of do that is kind of in this category? And I thought, well, there's no resources for like SVG background patterns. There's that one site called Subtle Patterns, and those are all just like bitmap...
Rob: That's the original.
Steve: Yeah, that's like the original one, right. It was like a JPEG you download, and you make it a repeatable background pattern. I didn't know if it was achievable to do it with SVG, but Adam kind of helped me figure that out, and we made it achievable. But making the patterns itself was a little bit more tedious, to export them and making them work properly. So he helped me with all that stuff, and then I launched that. And because it was kind of a new thing, it kind of got...
Rob: It was one of the originals.
Steve: Yeah, and it got a lot of traction. Like, it was on Product Hunt, and you featured it on One Page Love. I think it still gets...You know what? Let me bring up the analytics for that right...I haven't looked at it in a long time.
Rob: Wow, that would be really interesting. But it's interesting, that first mover advantage you had, and you identified it. You were like, hey, is this even possible, you know? And you just went and did it. It's quite something you dived into there.
Steve: I thought it was a cool idea, right. And then I got the domain name, heropatterns.com. I'm like, that's a great domain name.
Rob: Yeah, that's sick.
Steve: And I'm like, I have to do something with this. I can't just not. That's like the best domain name I've acquired because it's impossible to get good domain names nowadays, right?
Rob: No, they're done, dude, unless you want to go IO.
Steve: Yeah, or .co is the other one that's popular. What am I doing here? So I just have my analytics here for Hero Patterns, and I'll look at the past month.
Rob: Jeez. Okay.
Steve: I have 20,000 sessions in a month, so 21,000. So that's pretty good.
Rob: How passive is that, dude?
Steve: Yeah, and I don't even touch it. You know what? I don't even put...I should put, like, Carbon Ads on there. They've reached out to me, and I'm just too lazy to grab the code and plop it on on the Hero Patterns.
Rob: I'm a big fan of them here. They are great, and they are actually helping monetize lots of sites like this.
Steve: Yeah. The way I kind of monetize it is I have a link to...And this is a segue to my next project. I have a link to Heroicons on there, right.
Rob: Yeah, yeah, totally. That's super smart cross promotion.
Steve: Yeah, it seems like. It's the next SVG thing I worked on. So Heroicons are these kind of like larger icons used for marketing sites, maybe in like the feature section to highlight a feature. And, I mean, if you ask me...I designed those like years ago. I think they're almost kind of dated, but I'm still proud I made them, and I'm proud I went through with that. But you can change the colors with CSS by just...So I thought that was kind of a clever idea.
Rob: I don't even have these in my notes, but you've just talked about putting advertising over a potential funnel to your Heroicons, which is the one that's monetized, right?
Steve: Yeah, that's right.
Rob: I wouldn't. I wouldn't.
Rob: The only thing they can do is go to the icon pack.
Steve: Yeah. I still get, you know, a sale or two every week from that since I've launched it. Like, how long have those been out for? Like two, three years?
Rob: Two-and-a-half years, three years.
Steve: Yeah. I've made like $20,000, $30,000 to-date from those, right.
Rob: That's amazing. It's such great passive income to fun new projects.
Steve: Yeah, like I said, it's a sale or two every week. It's grown as I've kind of built my following on Twitter, and it's just a kind of a link in my sidebar there, right, and people go to it.
Rob: Of course.
Steve: I'm assuming a lot of the sales come from Hero Patterns. People go to Hero Patterns.
Rob: So I've got here that Heroicons made $10,000 in the first few months. Was that the moment you realized that maybe, "Hey, I don't actually have to work for anyone ever again. Like, I can just ship more of these ideas"?
Steve: Well, let me step back a little. Adam was a big inspiration about...For the listeners, when I say Adam, Adam Wathan. There's like a whole story with him and how he got into my life and stuff, but he's the guy I co-published the book I recently launched with, and he's just one of my best friends. And he's a big inspiration in creating these products that kind of have this passive income, right. So he launched a book called "Refactoring to Collections," and I don't know much about the subject, the content. It's something to do with Laravel. Honestly, I feel kind of like a noob talking about it. I don't really know much about that at all. It's funny. Like, I have this following within the Laravel community, but I know nothing about Laravel whatsoever.
Rob: Oh, man, I'm kind of the same, but all my dear friends absolutely adore it, too.
Steve: Yeah. But he launched a book, and he made a ton of money in the first week. He made a blog post about it, so this is public information, but I think he made like $60,000 in the first week. And that's insane.
Rob: In the first week?
Rob: I've read that he's made $3 million in total, though. He made that public on a comment to Courtland on Indie Hackers.
Steve: On all of his products, yeah.
Rob: On everything.
Steve: Yeah. That's a bit more than I thought, but, I mean, he knows his numbers more than I do.
Rob: I mean, he wrote it.
Steve: But, yeah, I know he's made a ton of money on all this stuff, and his first project was...He made like $60,000 in the first week, and it's since probably gone on to make probably $150,000, $200,000. And then he launched another product, Test-Driven Laravel, and it was even more successful. Like, every product he does, it just gets more successful than the last, and he just has this framework for marketing it and putting it out there. And he talks a lot about that framework in his blogpost that he wrote. It was on Medium. It was like his $60,000 launch that allowed him to quit his job. I'm getting the title wrong, but it's...
Rob: I'll link it, for sure.
Steve: That was super inspiring to me, and when I launched Heroicons, I kind of mimicked his kind of framework, but I was a little bit more lazy about it. I made $10,000 in the first week for Heroicons, and I should be super happy with that. Like, I'm just totally being really ungrateful, but I look at Adam's $60,000 launch, I'm like, "Oh, that's okay, I guess," right?
Rob: I get it but the bar is high.
Steve: I should be really proud of that. Like, if you launch something and you make $10,000 in the first week, you should be proud of yourself. That's a really impressive launch, right?
Rob: Anyone listening to this would be fucking stoked with that.
Rob: You know, you had good chemistry together. You started off by trying to work on a resume builder. It didn't work out, but you knew you guys wanted to work together. And that kind of just led to the start of the "Refactoring UI" kind of relationship.
Steve: That's right. Yeah, you've really done your research. Yeah, you know all this backstory a little bit.
Rob: I don't think anyone knows what it took for you to actually compose and publish a Viral Design Tip Tweet, and I'd love for you to just run through the process. You were saying it took about two weeks per tweet with Adam?
Steve: Let's go back a little bit. Basically, Adam was doing these little hot tip things, like these little hot tip tweets. And it was always the fire emoji, and like a little thing explaining what the tip is, and then a screenshot of what it's talking about. And his were mostly involving code, right? And he copied that from Wes Bos, and Wes Bos has been doing this for years, right?
Rob: Yeah, the OG.
Steve: Yeah. I met Wes Box last year at Laracon, and he said he even kind of took that idea of a hot tip from someone else. It's funny. Wes Bos recently did a hot tip, and someone commented saying, "You know, you should do more of these, just like Steve Schoger." I followed up saying, "Oh, no, I actually copied him, but thanks."
Rob: That's hilarious.
Steve: Anyway, Adam showed me this little framework for like a tip, and he showed me all the traction it gets. It gets like 300, 400 likes, and I'm thinking that's awesome, that's crazy. And I'm thinking I could do that for design. The first tips were, like, I'd be working on a project, because I'd be working for Taylor or Titan at this point. I would take a screenshot of what I was working on. Like, I might realize I did something, and I might be like, "Oh." Like, I would find myself doing over and over again. It was kind of like a pattern, a little design pattern. And this might be something from, like, maybe instead of using a border, I would use an off-white background to create that distinction of making it a border, right? Like, I'd make one section of a panel an off-white background, and I'd make the other section white, and that would create a border, right?
And I found myself doing that over and over again. I'm like, that's kind of an interesting little insight, and I didn't really think much of it. I took a screenshot of it and tweeted it, and it got a lot of traction, right. And what I mean a lot of traction, I mean this is my first tips that got like 40 likes, and that was more than anything I've ever done on Twitter, right? I'm like, that's cool. And then for the rest of that week, I was kind of doing that every day. And then they were getting more and more traction. You know Jeffrey Way?
Rob: Yeah, yeah.
Steve: He does Laracasts. He tweeted out like, "You should follow Steve Schoger. He does these little design tips."
Steve: And that day I got like 300 new followers. But I think it's worth noting that I already had a little bit of a foundation with Hero Patterns. People started following me on Twitter through that, just through the Laravel community.
Rob: Got it.
Steve: I had a little bit of a foundational following there. So these tips, they caught on pretty quickly. And then after doing these for like a week, Adam would chime in, and he would give me an idea for a tip. And some of the tips that he was giving me were better than anything I ever thought of, and I'm like, "These are golden, man."
So I just started. He'd give me them, and then he gave me an idea for a tip, and then I'd go ahead and create an example that articulates that concept clearly. This was a culmination of searching on Dribbble for that right example. Like, the first one he gave to me was offset box shadows to make it look a little bit more natural so it looks like the light source is coming from above. And, to me, I never thought that was a tip. I just did that, and it was so second nature to me, and I never even thought about when I did it. And he said, "No, developers would eat that up, man." I'm like, "Really?"
Rob: Got it.
Steve: Yeah, and I never thought about this at that point, so that was another big factor, that he was bringing ideas to me that I never even thought were tips.
Rob: Such a good relationship you guys have.
Steve: Yeah, yeah. You know, I'd spend time making that little mockup, and then I'd jump on a call with him, and we'd kind of figure out how do we frame this with words. How do we articulate this the clearest way? And this is back when Twitter had 140 characters, so we had to make it a little more condensed than we have today.
Rob: One hundred percent.
Steve: And then we added the little fire emoji to it and tweeted it out. And that time was my biggest tip. That got like 1,500 likes, right?
Steve: And then each tip kind of got more and more...we spent more and more time on each tip, like, making each one better than the last.
Rob: Did you have a framework for the rollout? Because it seemed it seemed that you were spacing them. You know, it wasn't all of a sudden, like, hey, every day. Was it time of day? Did you have a full roadmap for these?
Steve: At the beginning, I was doing them like once a day for like two weeks, and then it became, like, the ideas weren't coming that efficiently. But then I think it was almost good to do it that quickly at the beginning because people came back to me. I started growing my following really quickly that way, and then I had this reputation of being the design tip guy. So now people were turning on their notifications for me, right? So then I could spread them out a little bit more because were just waiting for them. They had their notifications turned on, and I knew people had their notifications turned on because they were telling me they did. And I'm thinking, well, I don't want to be annoying with Twitter now because I don't want people turning their notifications off. So I tried to tweet only quality stuff.
Rob: I mean, what a lesson.
Steve: Yeah. But when we did a tip, they got more and more refined where it eventually became what you see today where it's kind of like a before and after shot, right? The earliest ones weren't even like that. It was just a screenshot and an explanation, but now it's like, here's an example of something a developer might do or, like, just a non-designer would do. And here's something that looks a little bit more polished. Here's what a designer might do, and here's why it looks good. It would have the X and the check, right. And then later on, it was like, when we had an idea for a tip, it would be like, "Here's the idea. Okay. I'm going to make a note of this in the sketch file that I've been using for all these tips." And I just have a note of that, and it just sits there.
Eventually, we'd have kind of like five or six tips in the kind of pending tips, right, that we don't really know what we're going to do with yet. This would be a combination of having the note of it and then taking screenshots from websites that have that usage, or they'd be shots from Dribbble and I would just be plopping them into that Sketch file. And then, eventually, it would turn into me making my own little mockup of that, and I'd would be taking a bunch of inspiration from a bunch of different things and trying to find that perfect example that articulates that concept clearly.
So this goes back to, like, from the original idea for a tip to publishing it live, putting it on Twitter. That would be like two-week to three-week process, right? And I'd be working on it very passively. I'd be working on it like...I would do that early thing, and then I'd make a little mockup, and then me and Adam would look at it, and we're like, "That doesn't really do quite what we want it to do," so we'd scratch that and start over, right?
Steve: Eventually, it would become what it is, what you see when we post it on Twitter. But then the day we post it, it's like we jump on a call and we're talking for, sometimes, two to three hours trying to, like, how do we frame this. How do we articulate this in words now? And sometimes we're staring at it for like a half-hour. Are there any spelling errors? Are there any...So the amount of effort that went into a tip is like the amount of effort that would go into someone writing a blog post, right?
Rob: No one knows it. No one has any idea. It's so cool, man. It's, like, proper execution.
Steve: Yeah. So the amount of traction these got versus a...Like, if I were to take this same tip and put it into a blog post, it got way more activity, right, on Twitter. It went viral because it's so quick and so articulate. It's so instant. It's like instant gratification, right, when you see it.
Rob: So what I found interesting is that, you know, obviously us following the progression of these tip designs over time and when you actually started dividing them into the red cross and the green tick, was sort of time when other designers, who weren't necessarily coders, that you were reminding them of great design principles. And then designers were sharing it, and everyone was sharing it. It wasn't just the dev targeted to...
Steve: Yeah, that's funny because, like, we thought they were tips for developers, right? And they still are. That's what most of my audience is, is developers wanting to learn design or just make their projects look more polished, right? They grew so big on Twitter that they started to get noticed from designers, and I think designers...they resonate with designers because it was kind of like this back to basics, almost. You know what I mean?
Rob: Yeah, yeah.
Steve: There's always this debate of, like, flat design versus skeuomorphic design versus whatever, right? And the tips were just like, no, this is just objectively...this is what makes something more improved. Whether it's flat or skeuomorphic, it's just like a...
Rob: It's just good design.
Steve: Yeah, exactly.
Rob: Okay. Let's just break into it quick, you know, the last intermission. Okay. This section is called True, False, or Maybe. You need to shoot back either of those three words, true, false, or maybe. No explanation needed at all, okay?
Steve: Okay. Cool.
Rob: Music sounds better on vinyl.
Rob: Canadians are friendlier than Americans.
Steve: Yes, true.
Rob: Designers should learn to code.
Rob: People are still buying ebooks.
Rob: Sketch is the superior design tool.
Rob: There is no different between UX and UI design. They should be classed together.
Rob: And last question. Before launching "Refactoring UI" book, you slept only two hours in three days.
Steve: I'm going to say maybe. That sounds about right. That was a rough time. That was dark.
Rob: So, I mean, what is that moment like after working on this thing for, what, almost 18 months? Tweets, videos, promo, blog posts, and then what did you do? Did you hit that tweet to launch or was it the newsletter send?
Steve: Leading up to the launch, that last week was quite stressful because we'd been working on it for like three, four months straight, and we realized we had a lot more work to do still.
Rob: It was also December.
Steve: This is in December. So originally, when we first started working on the book or even talking about the book, we had all these original launch dates. We're going to launch in like early 2018, and then like mid-2018. It kept on getting pushed back, and back, and back. And even in the time when we were working on the book, we had to go to Australia. We were both speaking at Laracon AU, so we even had a break in there. And we didn't get any work done when we were gone for those two weeks, and then we came back and really had to hustle to finish it. So we were working on it like crazy, and then up till like the final week, we still had a lot of work to do. Plus, it was this whole package, so we had to work on all these other components, part of that package. It wasn't just the ebook, right?
Rob: Yeah, the color schemes.
Steve: Yeah. And from the last three days, I was getting no sleep, like you said. I think I slept maybe two, four hours in three days, but I had the adrenaline. I don't know how I didn't...It's almost like after we launched it, it's like I wasn't tired anymore. I was just like on this high.
Rob: Yeah, of course.
Steve: We were up till 4:00 in the morning the day of launch, and when we launched it...Adam kind of does this with all of his courses. He does this kind of silent launch where he doesn't tweet about it, he doesn't send the newsletter or anything. He just publishes the website so you can go purchase the product on Gumroad, right? And we did that. This is around 4:00 a.m. And then we went to lie down for like two hours. I didn't sleep in that two hours. I went to lie down in bed for a bit, and when we woke up or got back down on to our computer, I jumped on a call with him right away. And we refreshed the sales. Like I said, we haven't announced it at all, but it already made $40,000 within that, like, two hours.
Rob: Fuck me.
Steve: People knew it was coming out that day because we announced that, but people were just sitting at their browser, like, refreshing it, I guess.
Rob: So what I want to do now is I want to break up these channels, and I'm hoping that other listeners who have ebooks or products...They're probably overthinking their launches, but execution is so important, and you guys have proved that. And I want to know why you chose Gumroad as your provider, just to start.
Steve: Yeah, Gumroad. The benefit of Gumroad is that they're this, like, kind of in-between...They collect all the funds, and they pay you weekly, right. From a tax point of view, that makes things really simple for us. Rather than collecting all of our sales to the end of the year, putting it into a spreadsheet...It just makes things really complicated. Now, we just take all of the weeks that we collected money from Gumroad and put it all together, and that makes it easier to process our taxes, right?
Steve: I think that's our main benefit for using it, to be honest.
Rob: Okay. And, I mean, it's really easy to just add a quick pricing tier. I know you guys had, you know, the divisions, and you had those extra additions for big companies with 100 employees, and so on.
Steve: Yeah, for teams. If you want a license for like three employees, or five employees, or whatever, we have a third tier for that. We introduced two. Originally, it was just one tier, and it was like 150 bucks, right? And when we tweeted out the pricing, people were furious. People were like, "150 bucks for an ebook?" Because we made the mistake of, when we were promoting the book, we were promoting it as just a book. And all along, we intended to make up this whole package. I think it's worth noting that, like, we were both working on this. We didn't know how well it was going to do. I assumed it was going to do pretty well because everyone was asking for it, but we didn't know how well it was going to do. And for me to quit my job and for Adam, who's already making a ton of money on his side projects, to us to be working on this full-time and commit to that, we needed to make a certain amount to make it worthwhile whatsoever, right?
Steve: So to just sell an ebook for like 20 bucks, we just didn't see it making that much money to make it worthwhile for us doing. But the problem is there's this preconceived notion of, like, an ebook is only worth $20 because you can go on Amazon and buy a physical book for 20 bucks, right?
Rob: Or even $10.
Steve: Yeah, exactly. So you need to throw all this other stuff in it to make it worth that extra amount of money. But it's not just that because there's stuff in the book that's very concrete, but then there's stuff like with design. Design's a very hand-wavy subject, so there's stuff we just can't...We wanted to make the book very concrete. We didn't want to have any hand-wavy stuff in there. We wanted to try our best to do that, so that's where we added the videos to the package. And that's where there's a few more hand-wavy concepts that are worth seeing.
Rob: Yeah, some actual work-throughs.
Steve: Yeah, exactly. We also identify the problem of developers, they have a hard time defining their color palette, so we shipped a bunch of color palettes with it. And then the component gallery is the other aspect of it, and that's a collection of...Basically, if you have an idea for, like, if you want to build like a pricing section of your website, it has all these different layout ideas of how you can lay that out. So I think they're all great resources. I stand behind them, but we had to throw...That was the original package, but everyone was furious about that. Everyone's like, "I can't afford that," so we were really bummed out about...
Rob: I remember. But there was arguments from both sides, though. You had massive guys backing you as well.
Steve: Yeah, there was people backing us, but it's almost like the negative voices outweigh the positive voices when you're...
Rob: Yeah. I mean, they're the ones you remember, and that's what sucks about making products online now.
Rob: I want to just ask just two questions just on the pricing. You know, you've got there $99 reduced to $79. You know, it's talked about a launch price, and you've still got it there in April. Do you feel like this is just a great strategy everyone should just follow?
Steve: Yeah. Well, we were actually planning to increase the price for a while, but we're still making a ton of sales every day, so it's like...
Rob: Why would you change that?
Steve: Yeah, it's still selling like crazy every single day, obviously not like it was when it first launched but...
Rob: Also, you read about the psychology of pricing when you have three pricing tiers. It sort of leads people to the middle one, but you've got two, which is also still good, that premium package with also the different tiers for all the different companies. Are people opting in for their businesses?
Steve: Oh, yeah. I'll give you some numbers here. I have the Gumroad thing up right now. We've made 61 team sales. We have 2,300 of the essential package sales, and then we have 7,200 of the complete package sales.
Rob: Okay. Amazing. Also, on the "Yo!" podcast, I'm actually not trying to, you know, kind of gloat on people's numbers or anything like that. I'm just trying to understand, you know, is it worth someone releasing that corporate package for their product? You know, would you recommend having the $20-ebook pricing option? Do you think it's worth it?
Steve: When you get to the team license, it's somewhat cheaper to buy a team license of three instead of buying three individual, right? And people are going to ask for those either way. People are going to say, "I'm going to buy five copies from you. Can I have a little bit of a discount?" We get those in support all the time. So to offer them right up front, it just makes it a little less of a headache when people are emailing you. So we just offer it right away, and it's a bit more of a discount. We've even added additional tiers. We've had, like, classrooms message us. Teachers ask us, "Do you have a classroom deal?"
Steve: So we've created a tier for that as well since we launched it, right.
Rob: Let's just break down, just for other listeners out there that are considering putting time into channels. Even for myself, you know, I'm a solo guy chilling in the office and I'm wondering, you know, is it worth using YouTube? Is it worth writing a Medium article? So let's just start with Medium quick. You guys wrote two articles, and one of them has got 200,000 claps.
Steve: Yeah. I found out recently that is the biggest Medium post of all time.
Rob: It's crazy, man. So, you know, hindsight, obviously 20/20, but that must've been pivotal to gain, what, newsletter subscribers and Twitter followers?
Steve: Yeah. Back to your question about is it worth building an audience on Medium, and YouTube, and whatever platform you choose. I think it is worth spreading yourself out a little bit. We don't know how long Twitter is going to be around for. I have almost 50,000 followers on Twitter, but Twitter might not be around one day, and then where do all those followers go, right?
Rob: Yeah, it's smart to disperse then.
Steve: Yeah. And using different mediums, it's a great way to just...Like, the blog post on Medium is just essentially, like, a blog form of all the tips, right? And the YouTube videos were just another interesting way to teach design to non-designers and start with a platform that feels most natural to you and feels most natural for the subject that you're sharing.
Rob: That's quite like a Gary Vaynerchuk tip, is that, you know, maybe you don't want to be on camera. Not confident enough? Then don't do that. Then write an article.
Steve: Yeah, exactly.
Rob: I want to interject here in saying you guys have this massive less is more approach, which I don't see a lot of other people doing. Most people would've written 20 Medium articles. They would've been tweeting like five times a day. That's advice people are getting now, you know? On Instagram, five posts a day. Comments on hashtags. But you guys were like, "How much value can we add on this platform?" Let's use YouTube as an example. Five videos leading up to the launch. Just five. And every single one of them was like a 30-minute, super valuable 30 minutes, that everyone will learn from. Those took a ton of time to put together, I'm sure. You know, you're talking about speeding up. Did you do voiceover after?
Steve: Yeah, that's why there's only five videos. It's not because I don't want to do them anymore. It's because they take so much time to make.
Rob: Yeah, it's just interesting how, you know, you could've said we're all-in on video, and then you just did videos. But you did two Medium articles, tweets every two weeks. You did five videos. I assume you got nothing on Instagram, but you did a couple of blog posts. You had a newsletter going.
Steve: Yeah. We talked about using Instagram because Instagram, we can just recycle the tips on Twitter.
Rob: Yeah, it's visual, man. People could gobble that up.
Steve: Yeah, we thought about that. We're lazy, I guess. I don't know.
Rob: Not lazy. You decided to use the platforms you were comfortable with.
Steve: Yeah, yeah, exactly. I think it's worth talking about the YouTube videos and stuff because we're talking about, like, how condensed the videos are. The original idea for the videos was...it was Adam's idea to do design takeovers, right, like, taking user-submitted designs and refactoring them and making them something a little more polished. That was all Adam's idea, and that idea was originally the first Medium post. We did the laravel.io redesign.
Rob: I remember.
Steve: And that was essentially one of the videos in the form of a blog post, right. And we did that one, and we were planning to do that like once a week. That was so naive of us to think we could do that. And we did one, and we're like, "That took way too long. We can't do any more of those. That's nonsense." But we still took a bunch of submissions, because we asked everyone to submit us their designs, and we'll make them into a blog post.
We were planning to do another one. We thought, well, we don't have to do a blog post on this, necessarily. We can recycle some of the Twitter tips and put them into a blog post just to get on Medium and see how that does. And originally, the blog post, actually, that we did for Medium, that one that has all the tips in it, that was originally "Smashing Magazine." They reached out to us and asked us to make a blog post for them, and we started doing it, and then we just decided to do it on Medium. And I think that paid off in the end because it did quite well.
Rob: I mean, it did, but there's a risk there because "Smashing Magazine," million Twitter followers, big audience.
Steve: My concern with putting it on "Smashing Magazine" is they would've had a little bit more ownership over it, it would've felt like.
Steve: I don't want to discredit "Smashing Magazine" at all.
Rob: No, of course, of course. They're doing such a great job on the internet. Hey, friends.
Rob: [Intermission] Hey! It's Rob from the edit. I was unsure if I should include the music convos, but we had so much fun I decided to keep it in, pushing the show to just over an hour. I'd love to know what you think. Too long? Too much banter? Just right? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org or @robhope on Twitter. It's about to get super honest and deep. Buckle up.
Steve: So we did that, but then we still had all these submissions that we got, and we still wanted to move forward with these UI breakdowns on Medium. But Adam suggested I make them into screencasts, right? The original idea he had for that was me just doing, like, livestreams, like me just spending like an hour redesigning it and explaining my process, and that made me a bit nervous. Going back to our conversation about speaking in front of a microphone and getting out of your comfort zone, I just wasn't ready for doing that. Then I saw...You know the YouTube channel that's called "Binging with Babish"?
Rob: I haven't watched all their videos, but I've seen them, for sure.
Steve: Yeah, but you know what I'm talking about. Basically, he takes recipes from TV shows and recreates them. And when I was watching that, I was more interested in how he kind of did it. He filmed it, but then he did all this post-production stuff. Like, he added the voiceover afterwards, and he had music in the background, and he sped up parts of the video to make it a little more...And I'm thinking I could do that. Like, that seems a little more comfortable for me to do, so I decided to do that. So I recorded the first video, and I spent a lot of time...Like, the process was taking a design and then redesigning it, and then kind of like figuring out how do I take this original design and make it into this good design right in Sketch. So I had to redesign the submitted design in Sketch, right. I have to build it in Sketch and then bring it over into the new design, like, instantly change it while I'm recording myself, like, screencasting that.
Rob: Were you using ScreenFlow?
Steve: Yeah, I was using ScreenFlow for doing that. So that process of just redesigning the site, I spent like a week on that...
Rob: A week.
Steve: ... just making the final design for that. And then I'd spend like another week just figuring out how to break this down, bring it from the poor UI to the good UI, or the final UI. Then, I had to do the voiceover and stuff, and I was so nervous behind the mike that I scripted it. Like, I wrote down every single word that I said.
Rob: Wow. I've done that before, and it's a serious process in the editor.
Steve: Yeah. And another thing is that this is my first time in front of a microphone, so I didn't know my own voice, right? I didn't know how I sounded behind the microphone, so I recorded it all at once. And I listened back to it, and I'm like, "That's not how I sound." I know you sound different from what you hear but, really, that's not how I talk. Like, I wasn't expressive. I was kind of like, "Okay, guys. Welcome back to another edition of..." You know what I mean? Yeah. And I had my wife listen to it, and she goes, "No, that's not how you talk. You're way more expressive."
Rob: I'm just going to stop you there. You have described pretty much every single obstacle I've had in the last year creating YouTube videos, and it's such a rad thing for people to listen and understand that, you know, you can sell an ebook, have good products and stuff. But we have the same fears, you know? It's like we're sitting there for a week going, "Fuck, my voice sucks." We're all humans.
Steve: Yeah. I do want to come back to that in a second, but I'll finish this kind of workflow for...
Rob: Yeah, your wife was saying?
Steve: Well, she was saying, "Yeah, that's not your voice," so I rerecorded it again, and it sounded a bit better. But I still wasn't happy with it, so I recorded a third time because I just wanted it...I think it was worth noting that I've already built a following on Twitter. We have this really good Medium article. I knew this video was going to get eyes on it, right? People were going to watch it because I was going to tweet it out, people were going to go check it out. And so I wanted it to be really good. This is kind of, like, starts will talk about launch early and just get it out there, right, and prove it. But it's almost like...
Rob: You can't do that with a video.
Steve: Well, you can't do it when you have a following right off the bat, either, because you know people are going to watch it. That's their first impression of it.
Rob: You said the Medium article's got 200,000 likes. So you got a massive amount of pressure.
Steve: Yeah. So we've already produced all this quality stuff. There's a pressure to make this next high-quality product. So I recorded the audio three times, and then, you know, I still have this hobby of making music, and I have all these loops I've made over the time. So I had this little background beat that I made, and I put that on there. So that kind of helped enhance my little screw-ups where I talked funny or whatever, and then I edited it down, sped parts up, slow parts down. And that turned into the final product, what it is. And, like I said, it did really well. The first one did really well. And then it did so well that I'm like, "Okay. I want to get another one done right away." So I made another one two weeks later and launched it. That one went viral.
Rob: "Bad About."
Steve: Yeah, that one went on...it was like on the front-page of Reddit and stuff,.
Steve: And then it was on Hacker News. And it blew up. And that was way beyond anything I expected. And then I made a few more, and then I got burnt out doing it. It took so long to make.
Rob: You could burn out so fast on YouTube. No one knows.
Steve: Yeah. And people keep asking me to make more, and I really honestly do want to make more and I...
Rob: Yeah, let's talk about, like, you can have five Instagram posts. You can have, you know, five tweets, and you can have like one Medium article for the same amount of time it takes to make a video.
Steve: Yeah. Oh, yeah, exactly. But I got the five out there, and people still go to them.
Rob: Yeah. I mean, what's cool about videos is they're probably still getting watched while we're recording this.
Steve: Yeah. So, more recently, I've been just doing livestreams.
Rob: Yeah, I've been watching them.
Steve: And they don't get as much traction. They're long. They're, like, drawn out, right?
Rob: I think it's the length.
Steve: Yeah. It's an hour long. No one wants to sit around for an hour and watch it. I think the "Refactoring UI" videos that have all this post-production, they're kind of fun to watch. I've had people message me. A police officer messaged me and said, "I don't do anything what you do, but I just really enjoy watching your videos. Keep it up." I'm like, that's awesome.
Rob: That's amazing. I want to just interject quick, just on the YouTube thing. Maybe I'll slice this in the editing.
Steve: Yeah, sure.
Rob: I used to do this YouTube show called "Yo!" and I was just speaking in front of the camera. And I did it because I was super fucking terrified of it, and I was like, "I'm going to record a YouTube show." I didn't even know how to edit. I didn't even know how this camera works, and I look at the first episodes, and I'm an absolute zombie. And I got this tip, "Hey, speak like you're speaking to a friend at the pub."
Steve: Yeah, exactly.
Rob: But what I did, and this is also another tip, is that right behind the camera, I printed a friend, my friend Jerry, drinking a Guinness. And I've still got it. He's, like, behind the camera drinking a Guinness. So I start speaking. I go, "Hey, guys. So today..." Then, I would like, "Fuck it. I would never speak like this to Jerry," and I'm like, "Hey, guys. Yo." And it instantly works every single time.
Steve: I was going to tell a story earlier, going back to getting over your nerves and stuff. Now, doing like a lot of public speaking, right? I go to conferences and I speak at them, but this is all kind of new to me, too. And most people kind of take the path to building a following and getting into public speaking. They start at like small meet-ups, and they work their way up to a bigger stage, right? But I've kind of taken this path of, like, I built a big following on Twitter, and I built a big following on all these different channels. So now I'm getting invited to big conferences before I even ever given a talk anywhere, ever.
Like, my first talk ever was Laracon Online. And I know that's online. It's at home, in the comfort of my own home, but it was in front of 4,000 people.
Steve: So I was incredibly nervous. But in order to prepare for it, I just wanted to make it as comfortable as possible. So I literally read every single word I said during that talk. I had a script in my speaker notes, and I rehearsed it so many times. And because it was online, I could do that. No one could tell I was reading something, and I even wrote down the words...stuff like, "Okay, now we're going to take a look at this," you know what I mean?
Rob: Like, to emphasize.
Steve: Yeah. Like, I'd even emphasize with bold letters what words to...like, how to change my voice and stuff. I was so nervous, right?
Rob: I love how honest you're getting, man. And this is, like, people in exactly the same place going like, "Oh, it's me, man. I've got no self-confidence and stuff." It's like, no, it's not you, man.
Steve: No, it's everyone.
Rob: You were in the other podcast, and you were saying that you're just saying YES. And it's, like, you definitely don't want to speak live, but you're just saying yes because it's out of your comfort zone, and it'll probably make you a better speaker.
Steve: Yeah, exactly. So now I'm getting more comfortable with that. I did the Smashing Conference last week, and Vitaly from "Smashing Magazine," he reached out to me like eight months ago to speak at it. And their whole schtick is that it's all a live...like, you can't use slides. That's their thing. So it has to be kind of like a live design. And when he first pitched that to me, I'm like, "Yeah, that's not happening." But I sat on it and kind of said, okay, well, you know, that's a lot of time to prepare, eight months. I can just rehearse the hell out of it, and so I said yes. I'm like, okay, I just have to put myself out there, and it kind of just forces me to do it. And it's like, I can't get out of it now. And then I just had to do it, and I did it, and it went fine, right?
Rob: Okay sick. Geez bru, I could chat for days. So let's end with three questions quick.
Steve: Sure, sure.
Rob: You mentioned on The Laravel Podcast you're never going to write a book again. Did it ruin you?
Steve: I still feel burnt out from it, to be honest. I was talking about this with Jonathan Reinink yesterday. He's heavily involved in the Tailwind project. Like, he helped Adam kind of get it all started and stuff, and he showed me a design he did. I'm like, "Oh, that's so good, man. That's so cool that you did that. I feel like I can't design anymore," I said to him. And he goes, "Why is that?" I'm like, "I feel like I'm just burnt out." Like, I'll design something, and I'll look at it. I'm like, "This looks fine," but maybe I just feel like the bar has been risen for myself. I just feel like I...because I was just designing so much for the book. Like, every single graphic in the book is an original.
Rob: Did you take a holiday?
Steve: Yeah. I haven't really working for since the book...Like, I've been working on, like, the next project I'm working on, but it's been very slow. And I've been working on a project with Taylor in that time. I've been on a nice kind of break, let's put it that way.
Rob: What do you think the biggest mistake people are making with a UI design is? I know it's probably a combo of a bunch of things, but do you think there's one standout, like, lesson you could give them when designing a user interface?
Steve: Like, that I see a lot of my audience do is like, with like developers, lack of space is the big thing. There's kind of a chapter on this in the book, and this is all Adam's kind of framework. It's almost like you need to double the amount of space. When I see developers send me their design, it's, like, double the amount of space you're using. Adam articulated this in the book quite well. He kind of created this framework for, like, start with too much space. Because often, when we add space, it's like we start with a small amount of space and iteratively add more until it looks right. But he kind of created this framework for starting with too much white space so it looks way too much relative to the rest of the page and slowly remove it until it looks right. I thought that was a great little insight that he thought of.
I'd say another big thing is use good fonts. Everyone just uses Google Fonts, and I get it. It's free and stuff. But the way I learn about new fonts is I'll go to a site like One Page Love or a site like all those inspiration gallery sites. And I'll see a site that I like, and I'll inspect the dev tools and see what font's being used on one of those sites maybe. And that's how I learn about new fonts, and those are usually fonts that come from like a service or like a foundry. I think those high-quality fonts make a huge difference. The problem with Google Fonts is like half of them aren't even good, and the second problem with them is that they're overused. They're everywhere, right? So it's hard to have an original voice with them. So I find, like, learn about new fonts when you see them online. I think it's okay if you see a font you like on one site and use it again on your own site if you think it kind of fits the tone of your project. So, yeah.
Rob: So back to the most important question. Bands that formed in the last 20 years. What'll be remembered in 50 years, rock bands?
Steve: I mean, I still think, like, The White Stripes still stand in my head. Green Day I think will be around.
Rob: Green Day started more than 20 ago.
Steve: Oh, yeah, in the last 20 years.
Rob: It's so difficult, man. So I've done the research, and the only ones I can find is Kings of Leon started exactly in '99.
Steve: Oh, yeah. Kings of Leon. I don't know if they'll be around, though.
Rob: And then The Killers started in 2001.
Steve: The Killers, ay? Yeah, they have...When you say, like, will be around in...
Rob: I love this becomes subjective.
Steve: Yeah, when you say be around in 50 years, it's like, yeah, the hits will probably be around. We're probably going to hear their songs. It's like if we talk about Beatles or Led Zeppelin, like, their whole catalog is still relevant, right?
Steve: But could you say a Killers...like, their entire catalog's going to be relevant? I don't know even know if their entire catalog is relevant now. You know what I mean?
Rob: Sick, man. Anyway, dude, Steve...
Steve: I could talk about music all day. So, yeah, go ahead.
Rob: I know. I was just saying we do a second podcast just music. Like, fuck design.
Steve: Let's do it, man.
Rob: Rad, man. Anyway, dude, I hope I bump into you one day. Thanks so much for being on the podcast.
Steve: Happy to come on any time and talk music so...
Rob: Cool, man. Thanks, Steve.
Steve: Thank you. Yeah, it's been fun.
Hope you enjoyed the Yo! Podcast interview!