Sweat, Focus, and Fantastical

May 31, 2021

Apple’s money and resources are effectively limitless. They have the ability to create any piece of hardware or software they desire to create.


I don’t think Apple could have made Fantastical, the calendar application that won Mac App of the Year. Fantastical is a great app, but its greatness does not come from being a revolutionary re-imagining of a calendar. It isn’t that. Its greatness does not come from one specific feature that can’t be found anywhere else either.

Fantastical is great because the people who made it sweat the details.

Flexibits, creators of Fantastical, put in the work. They carefully thought through how users would perform each action a user needs to perform with a calendar. They designed an interface with smooth, delightful animations. One that is always responsive to input, and clearly presents the required information. Every user interaction, every interface detail, every small code change that improved performance: they all add up to Fantastical.

The word that keeps coming to mind with Fantastical is polish. This is what the most polished calendar app you could imagine looks and feels like.

Apple sweats the details on a lot of things. But “polished calendar app” is not going to sell a new iPhone (and thus won’t receive the engineering resources to make it happen). The target they’ve chosen for most of their default software is “good enough.” That creates an opportunity to create something for users who want more than “good enough.” A subset of users want the best calendar app.

Like Apple, we can’t focus on every detail of every project. But like Flexibits, we can seize opportunities to sweat details that others don’t.

First ask where you can sweat the details. Then ask where you should.