Back in the old days, before last month, releasing software was easy.
You wrote your code, uploaded it to an app store, and let people download it and start using your service. Many apps launched this way. Some were even successful!
Then came Mailbox. Mailbox is an e-mail app. It has a nice user interface and can remind you to respond to e-mails you've allowed to languish, but at the end of the day it's an app that lets you read and write e-mail.
Mailbox's biggest innovation wasn't its reminders, though. It was the virtual velvet rope it established to prevent people from getting into the club right away.
To access Mailbox, users had to request a "reservation." The more people that requested reservations, the hotter the app looked. The day after Mailbox launched, more than 700,000 people were waiting in line. Most of them tweeted about how long the line was. The line only grew.
A week later, Tempo launched. Tempo is a calendar app. It has a nice user interface and can remind you of all the data relevant to your day, but at the end of the day it's an app that lets you see and create appointments.
Because it is a weird year where popes are resigning and meteorites are exploding and Tegan and Sara have released 2013's best album, Tempo became hugely popular. People tried to log in, and Tempo buckled under the pressure. In the old days the developer might have asked everyone for patience as they upgraded their servers. But Tempo has a better idea.
"Making your calendar smart takes time," the company wrote on its blog. "We are continuing to be overwhelmed with the response."
Today, Tempo will submit an update to the App Store -- it's iOS-only for now -- that will let new signups claim a place in line. "We will then e-mail you when Tempo is available," Tempo said.
More than 100,000 people are already waiting, the company said. Now that they're accepting reservations, though, expect that number to septuple.
It's a brave new world, and we will all spend it together in line.
And now here's Wilco's Jeff Tweedy singing the best song ever written about reservations. It's called "Reservations."