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:


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

  1. Congrats Robert and also congrats to Flipboard!

    Like you, perhaps a smaller scale, I’m always honored when I’ve added an idea to a product that ends up included that I have no financial ties to. When you have passion in seeing something become something special, it doesn’t matter who profits, the mission is make the product better for all. It’s the same nature of social media and curation, we do it because it’s in our blood and we want to make this world a better place.


  2. it was my idea to add a camera to the iphone, resulting in an incredible leap in sales. i also came up with the idea for “playing games online” for xbox users (now known as xbox live). also, i am responsible for “3 dimensional” movies and television as well as botox and hair grafts.


  3. love (and not surprised) that you were responsible for the twitter list integration. I heart Flipboard and I’m crazy about twitter lists. If someone I follow doesn’t get added to one of my lists chance are I’ll miss their insights.

    and for next great startup:


  4. I keep showing Flipboard as the compelling reason to buy an iPad Pitched my pals at Cheezburger the other day to have a Flipboard channel, it will be fascinating to see if they do it…


Comments are closed.