How I got a feature in Apple’s app of the year (all for free)

It isn’t every day I get an entrepreneur to put a feature into a product, much less the product that was just named Apple’s iPad app of the year, but here’s the story.

Flipboard Founder Mike McCue just tweeted that I was responsible for Flipboard putting Twitter list support into the product, among other things.

Why do I do it for free? Because I love this stuff and want the best possible apps to use myself. Flipboard without Twitter list support would have been totally worthless for me. It isn’t obvious that Twitter list support is important. After all, how many people use Twitter lists. But for Flipboard it was a must have. I showed Kathleen Kennedy Flipboard and showed her how she could go to Listorious, copy a Twitter list, and make a Flipboard out of it. She was thrilled.

It’s not just me, either, who helps startups build killer products. There’s a whole team at Rackspace (the world’s largest hosting company, where I work) that’s doing this kind of work. Why? Because we know that if the Internet gets bigger and more important we’ll win our share of the new business. Yes, we lost Flipboard to Amazon, but I still helped Flipboard even after I realized they’d never become a Rackspace customer. Why?

Well, because word gets around that we’re helpful and that we support our customers better than other hosting companies. Today I interviewed Ning’s CEO, one of our 150,000 customers. I’m now thinking about a product they will probably ship in February and I’m wondering how to make it better. I hope to show it to you soon, too, it’s pretty interesting.

I’m passionate about seeing things early and work hard at adding value back to entrepreneurs for that honor.

Anyway, congrats to Flipboard for being named Apple’s iPad App of the Year and if you missed my interview with Mike McCue, you can watch that here.

What’s the next great startup? Let me know: