There's an inevitable moment of tension after you share an opinion or something you've created with the world. The moment when someone points out how what you've said or made is problematic. Trying to write more I've realized this was one of my biggest fears. "I can't write about that, people will take issue with it." But noticing that everything is problematic helped lessen that fear.Read More
Joining a community is hard. You go to a meetup, don't know anyone there, awkwardly introduce yourself to a few people, and eventually leave. Or you've been part of a community for a while but there always seems to be an elite clique in the group that doesn't seem interested in engaging with you. People just don't want to be your friend.
Marco Arment just posted the finances for his podcasting app, Overcast. The numbers are very good, and at first glance very encouraging for independent developers. But when you look at the size of Marco's audience, the numbers aren't surprising at all.
Can Louis C.K. sell a comedy special for $5 on his website and have it be a success? Of course. Louis has one of the biggest audiences in comedy, and he sold over 110,000 copies in four days the first time he tried this distribution method. Could a fledgling comedian record a comedy special and try to sell it on their website for $5? Sure, but it probably won't make much money regardless of how funny it is.
When Marco releases an app to his audience, chances are that it will go well. This is not to detract from Overcast – it's a great app. But when you consider that the number of in-app purchases (46,940) is only about 60% of the number of followers Marco has on Twitter (~78,014), the numbers look very different. Not to mention the audience that his blog and podcast have. I am not trying to slight Marco – building an audience is as hard, if not harder, than building a fantastic app. And doing both at the same time is like the Ironman of independent software development.
That's also not to say that these numbers aren't encouraging or reproducible. Because the truth is anyone can build an audience, just like anyone can build a great app. It just takes years and years of hard work and patience.
p.s. I'd love to meet you on Twitter.
I have a lot of Star Wars toys from when I was a kid. The movies were re-released along with the prequels when I was in middle school and I saw them all with my dad. I loved thinking about Star Wars. I loved pretending to be in Star Wars. I loved dreaming about Star Wars. So I did what most kids I knew did – saved up all of my allowance to buy an action figure every once and a while.
I'm at my parents' place for the holidays right now, and have been sorting through my old belongings and throwing out a lot of things...Read More