My Virtual Acceptance Speech During This Year’s Apple Design Awards (WE WON, YEEEEEHA!)

Image-17-06-2016-10-29.png
Max, Götz and Friedrich on stage at WWDC

Wow! Just… wow! Thank you so much. Apple, everyone at Apple: Thank you! Wow.

Now… sorry *cough*. We're in this for a lot of years now. We started when Safari was still in beta. Remember this? I understand there are people in the audience who weren't even born then. Max was still in school, and I was doing advertisements for Daimler/Chrysler. Yes, that was a thing once. The US was run by some George W. Bush, and everyone thought he was crazy; turns out we ain't seen nothing yet, eh?

Well, anyway. Ulysses. ADA.

When we released Ulysses III a couple of years ago, 2013, we knew we had something special. It was hard to put our finger on one particular thing – we felt it was the whole package that clicked. And it wasn't the app at this particular point in time, that particular release, but rather the foundation we had spent the past 18 months to build, and, yes, the design that went into all its bits and pieces.

Upon release, Ulysses was Mac-only, but we had already designed everything with the later jump to iOS in mind. Back then, that meant iPad, because even we couldn't imagine writing whole books on a phone. And now look at us.

We now got a wonderful Mac app (a great Mac citizen, as they call it), and we got an evenly great iOS app, truly optimized for each of the various devices. Ulysses Mobile works differently and feels right at home, whether you're on iPad, iPad Pro, iPhone or iPhone 6 Plus. This is not just some scaled-up, toned-down UI – we really went and looked at the different sizes and use cases, and we optimized accordingly.

Make no mistake, this was hard work. Lots of discussion. Lots of scrapped ideas. Lots of drawing boards. We poured our souls into it – I mean, what's in a name, right –, and we believe it shows. And obviously, so does Apple. Thanks again!

So yes, it was worth it. Not just the sleepless nights, mind you, but the focus on design from the very beginning. Whatever we do, whatever we implement, we look at it from a wide angle, and a long perspective. We don't implement stuff for today, but for the long run. And as some features get born on iOS, and some start on Mac, we're still giving each platform the full, exclusive treatment it deserves.

So if there's anything you should take home tonight, it's this: Look ahead. And look across. Design, and code, for the future.

I want to thank Max for truly understanding the importance of design in app development, and for allowing design decisions to be paramount. He's probably one of the greatest coders this community has, but more importantly, he's just a really nice and intelligent guy, who knows a good thing when he sees it. And I reckon we make one heck of a team.

And speaking of team: I want to thank everyone involved in Ulysses' journey. We've grown from two guys on three Macs to a company of 11, occupying a whole floor in a beautiful building in the center of Leipzig. Self-funded, if I may add. And brag. Yeah!

Each member of our team is doing an incredible job, starting with our top-notch support, which, funny enough, we get praised for, but you know, it's really them: Lea, Lara, Lina, Eline – please give a big round of applause, they keep our users happy and our issue tracker filled.

Sarah, newest member of the team, adding to the ”design“ bit, freeing me of pushing too many pixels. Thank you!

Rebekka, of course; press, blogs, website copy and everything in between. Keeping us on our toes (and I'm honest, I wouldn't give a single interview, if it wasn't for her). This one's for you. :)

Cheng, for dealing with our Chinese friends. Xièxiè, eh?

Our… coders. Friedrich, Götz, Lucas. They… just… work here. Ha, AWESOME! WE DID IT!!!!!!

Yeah, I also want to thank Michael Wong from Apple, who did the onstage presentation during the awards ceremony. We know, first hand, how hard it is to show Ulysses' strength and appeal. You can make everybody want the coolest games. You can make everyone want to become a DJ after watching that incredible demo from our friends at Algoriddim (hey-ho). But writing starts with a blank page. And most of the process is in your head. And most of your work will end up deleted. It's a tough sell, we are well aware, so thanks again for putting us up there with all that other cool stuff. Thanks, Michael. Thanks a lot.

Last not least, thanks to everybody who's chiming in, sending congratulations and praise and thumbs ups and everything. I can't even begin to express how much this means to us, to me. We already knew you loved the app, as we see it every day in our mailboxes. We see it all the time on Twitter. We see it in the comments sections across the web, and we see it in your blog posts. But this? This incredible amount of positive feedback that's coming our way right now – this is on a whole new level. I'd lie if I said I wasn't overwhelmed. I am. And I'm certainly unable to react properly. It's one thing to know, and an entirely different thing to experience this. So thank you all so much, for everything. We're not done yet.

So here it is. Our very own aluminum cube, engraved with the words “Outstanding Design and Innovation”. We'll try our best to honor these words. We'll keep pushing. Thank you!

Share:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Marcus Fehn

Co-founder, interface designer and hot temper. Loves cats, hates dogmas. Schooled in the art of analytic improvisation. Favorite comic book character: Patrick Bateman.