Marco Arment was our guest on the latest episode of Debug. For the last hour of the show (after we’d run the ATP music) we got into a discussion about how best to get into the industry. I think it’s a good one and it’s worth listening to. Neither of us profess to have answers but I think we have a good discussion.
I do want to point out that we recorded this episode before the recent community conversation about running a sustainable independent Apple (iOS really) software business was. Marco has a good piece which links to a lot of the other great pieces that make up this conversation.
Since we recorded this episode before this discussion broke out we didn’t address it on the show. By now, it’s been pretty much done to death. You’ll find any number of testimonials out there about the state of independent software for iOS, or the Mac, as of the summer of 2014.
I don’t have much to add but I will say this.
Business is hard. If you’re following along with the independent software scene and are noting that a majority are failing then you’d be right. It’s an awful realization to come to but it’s not an uncommon experience for business owners.
If your eyes ever gloss over at the amount of money that Apple says it has paid out to developers; stop right now. If you think you’ll strike it rich with some odd ball idea; stop right now. If you’re starting a project with an API in mind rather than a problem to solve; stop right now. If you think you’ve got something great that might really please people? It won’t matter what I say. You’ll do it anyway.
Marco and I discussed breaking in to the business. It came down to doing good work and sticking to it. I sincerely believe that eventually that will get you noticed. That’s not to say it’ll come soon or won’t require a bit of luck. Some luck you can make for yourself. Introducing people to your work is invaluable.
This is where you’re thinking of writing a press release. Stop. Nobody like cold calls. Neither end of that conversation can be comfortable. There are plenty of pieces out there, written by people in the press, about how best to address them. Read them. (I’ve intentionally not linked any because, come on, this problem deserves doing a little bit of homework to get it right.)
Odds are you’ll fail. Frankly, those have been the odds for pretty much everything I’ve ever worked on. Many did but a few didn’t. Nobody remembers all the swings. They do remember the hits.
Put the work in. Get happy about what you’ve built. Then rip it apart and get better. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.