AT&T’s tantrum, Apple's stumble, and Shazam's BDD

AT&T takes back their tantrum (and let us never speak of it again)

One worry in the massively complicated, “if you don’t pick the right side you’re a bad person and should feel bad” Net Neutrality debate is the idea that without any financial incentive (that is, without the ability to charge content creators extra for preferential treatment), telecom companies would have no reason to upgrade their infrastructures for better performance. The fear is that they’d become the slumlords of data, refusing to foot the (admittedly onerous) bills for upgrades and expansion because there’s no monetary reason for them to do so.

And in fact, just last month that’s what AT&T threatened to do. In light of President Obama’s outspoken support of Net Neutrality, AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson said AT&T would halt their enormous planned expansions until this fight is over and a winner is declared.

Except for the part where they didn’t really do that. In a letter to the FCC, AT&T Senior Vice President Robert Quinn admitted this week that plans to expand their network to 21 new metropolitan areas will continue. So which is it, AT&T? Do you know something we don’t, or has it just become clear that the signs are pointing to a win for Neutrality and you’re just going to have to suck it up and do what’s ultimately best for your 11.5 million subscribers? 

Apple hits the ceiling

Lest you think Apple can do no wrong, they hit a crack in the gold-paved sidewalk to world-dominance this week. In a mere 30 minutes, a stock dive sheared $30 billion off Apple’s value, bringing it to its lowest stock price in three months. But don’t fret. Like Wired, we think this is just a meaningless hiccup in Apple’s otherwise uncontested ascendance into the business stratosphere.

Samsung, on the other hand, saw its Q3 2014 profits drop a cringeworthy 60% to just under $4 billion (Apple’s Q3 profits were a crazy $7.7 billion), putting this year’s performance in sharp contrast with their record-breaking profit of 2013. So Apple is doin’ just fine. Not only have their profits remained sky-high, they’re now stealing the large-screen mobile market, making the final push into the last safe haven Samsung had.

Given you want to choose the best approach to development…

And you have an enormous amount of respect for Shazam

When you evaluate all the options present

Then you’ll find the BDD is the best approach

Most people know Shazam only as the classic app that almost magically identifies songs it hears. Shazam was one of the first apps released with the launch of Apple’s App Store in 2008 and is ubiquitous on most iOS users’ phones. But as far back as 2002 the service (then called “2580”) was identifying tinny tracks in smoky pubs. It’s one of the few apps we just can’t get enough of even after all this time. So it’s exciting to know that they continue to innovate, not only in their product offerings (Shazam now has a social component, a news feed, and a tool to explore what users are “shazaming” across the world.) but in the way they develop.

When we found out Shazam uses Behavior Driven Development, we were floored. Not just because we love it, but because when a company of this scale (well over 100 million monthly users) uses a test-first discipline, it underscores just how important that testing is. Putting it out there for all to see shows just how committed they are.

A lot of developers might pass over BDD, thinking that it’s just going to slow them down. To the contrary, BDD makes sure the Product Owner, the Developer, and the QA lead (in Cucumber parlance, “the Three Amigos”) are all working together, creating a shared, pidgin language and ensuring critical business rules aren’t lost in translation. We love that Shazam is as evangelical about BDD as we are, and we hope more developers follow suit.

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