Apple’s iPhone app platform has made many companies, large and small, a lot of money.
But obviously not everyone has made it rich. Even those who make great apps. Even those whose great apps get praise heaped on them by extremely influential voices in the iPhone community, such as Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber. (The guy we call “King of the Apple Geeks” around here.)
In it, he describes how a little help (and a glowing review) from a guy like Gruber can send sales through the roof — see chart — only to crash back down a day later:
It was a singularity, a furious spike whose tallness and sharpness reduced all our previous sales data to a tranquil sea of ho hum… That’s how helpful Gruber’s review was. But we weren’t suddenly filthy rich. We weren’t even mildly stained rich. You’d be going too far if you said we had “made it.” Actually, we were still very much cash poor and nowhere near Ramen profitability in spite of our decidedly minimalist lifestyles. But we were happy, legitimized, and hopeful.
The lesson: Business is hard! But it can be great fun — and very rewarding, even if not immediately financially.
What’s surprising about this story of Simplenote is that John Gruber was not our kingmaker. People assumed that with his review, we had joined the ranks of the rare but highly publicized few who had wildly succeeded in the App Store. Not so! We’re still working very hard every day to achieve even mild (let alone wild) success. It’s a tough market. We’ve made some mistakes. John Gruber’s endorsement alone was not enough.
What Gruber did for us, though, was discover us and help a lot of other great people discover us too. He contributed ideas to the product and helped set us on a path. He encouraged us to persist. For all that, we’re very grateful.