2009 – Reflections of an App Developer

2009 – Reflections of an App Developer

Now that my latest release (3.03) has been made available in the App Store I’ve decided to take a break and reflect on the year a little. 2009 has been a major change for my family and I, mostly due to the success of Live Cams in the App Store.

Live Cams was started in October of 2008 as a small project for me to work on during the late hours of night after my kids went to bed. I have been a professional software engineer for over 25 years and have always worked on PCs, never Mac. My brother had quit his job earlier in the summer to become a full-time iPhone developer. His software titles were instant successes and it inspired me to give it a try. I bought myself a Macbook Pro (one of the new models) and an iPhone and within 24 hours I had downloaded the SDK and created a simple app that received streaming video.

Over the course of the next two months I polished the app and submitted it to Apple over the Christmas break. 3 rejections in a row delayed the release but it finally hit the app store in February of 2009. For the first two months it brought me $10-$15 a day of extra income. This at least paid for my lunch while I was at work each day. I received my first payment from Apple two months later and it was only a few hundred dollars but it gave me incentive to work harder. By late May my app had matured enough to contain a few hundred public cameras and featured PTZ control for many major manufacturers. At this time my application creeped into the top 100 in both Canada and the United States. These are major markets for iPhone apps and the daily sales were becoming more substantial.

June was a special month. Each day in June I was able to watch my app vault about 10-20 places in the top 100, eventually settling at #6 in the United States, #2 in Canada and #1 in several smaller markets across the world. I nearly had a heart attack each morning as I logged into my computer to check the previous day’s sales reports (Apple reports sales for the previous day by about 7am each morning). My daily sales were earning me more income than my full-time job, which made me realize that any time spent sitting at the office was time that I should be spending on my iPhone development to keep it going!

Mid-June I gave my two weeks notice and left my job of 7 years to work at home and be with my family. By early-July I was starting my new life and working from the guest bedroom at our house (we have an unfinished basement and no office 🙂

6 months later I’ve watched my app slowly slip in the ranks as the App Store bloats to well over 100,000 programs, but the sales are still enough to support my family. My customers have shown me a lot of support this year and I’ve decided to celebrate by returning my app to the lowest possible price in the App Store until the holidays are over.

2010 will bring new challenges (and new apps) so I’m looking forward to continuing the fun! Thanks everyone and have a great holiday season. My children thank you, my wife thanks you, and I thank you!


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