No free lunch…

It's a cookbook
It’s a cookbook

I started coding in iOS since 2009.  I do it part time because I have a full time job, so I dedicate about 3 hours a day, 5 days a week.

I am a tech guy, always have been.  Studied Biochemistry and picked up ASP, PHP and moved into iOS.  But because I live in a country where technicians are highly undervalued, I got my MBA in 2000.  So I know a thing or two about how to run a business.

So when I started meeting indies in 2009, I approached them and said, “I have some ideas for an app, is anyone interested in working with me?”.  Their response was always “No thanks, we all have ideas, we don’t need a business type to come and push us around”.

Something inside me said: “Hey, that’s true, Im a tech guy myself, I should know better”.  So I decided to begin coding my own projects.  I have about 20 of them out of which 5 developed into half-assed apps, Im currently working on 3 and the other 12 are just titles in my Notes.app.

Not only that but I’ve stayed in touch with most of those indies and nobody has made anything out of themselves.  No Zyngas, no Halfbricks etc.  The more I read tweets and posts and blogs and articles about indies, the more I see they all have trouble marketing games, designing effective games, successfully monetizing games etc.  I’m constantly seeing presentations about how a developer “made it big” or at least “worthwile” and he is no longer an indie, but has slyfully re-engineered himself as a development studio (usually 3 or more people).  These presentations are usually about their dev career.  The funny thing is that most of these presentations almost always include tips like:

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of marketing
  2. Design your app to make it monetizable in the future
  3. Get input from beta testers
  4. Don’t put all your money into a single promotion platform

Hmmmm….This looks a lot like:

  1. Marketing & Sales Plan
  2. Cash Flow
  3. R&D/Production Strategy
  4. Financial Plan

It’s still just a Business Plan after all!  And after months or years of starving yourself and getting into family or personal financial discussions with your wife or partner, you have nothing to show for except a nice app in the AppStore with a few ratings and about $200 worth of revenue.  When a sound business plan could have gotten you a personal loan to cover living expenses and a solid business plan to get you through the first 12 months.  After that time you could still have a viable product in the AppStore, money in your pocket, a plan for selling your app profitably into the future, possibly $201 in revenue, but you would still have your sanity…and your wife!

So this is a note to all indies out there.  I’m a tech guy myself, I know what its like to be under-appreciated.  Swallow your pride, have a few drinks with a business type guy and hear him out.  He might know how to get you that studio in 2 months instead of 12.

 

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2 thoughts on “No free lunch…

  1. Nice catch! You are completely right – marketing should never be underestimated since only it can bring the app`s first users. Too much effort is put into developing to waste it all.

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