Warm, clothed, and fed: Middle Class Living as an iPhone Developer

A friend of mine, Ed Holzwarth has been working as an iPhone developer for over a year now. He has been setting up a company, Little Green Software, where he can work on his own apps as well as contracting his services to people who want to jump on the mobile bandwagon. When he started this venture, I was definitely nervous for him as it seems like a very “red ocean” environment right now. He pointed me to this great podcast outlining a decent business model for the independent iPhone/mobile developer:

Podcast: Dan Grigsby / Warm, Clothed and Fed: Developer Run iPhone Businesses

The premise is to earn a nice, middle-class living as an iPhone developer, i.e. think realistically about your chances. His business model is basically:

  • If you’re working on apps, work on non-commodity $.99 apps. Do something valuable for a specific target market that can command a premium. Market your application appropriately and aggressively to that market. If you are doing an app for x-ray techs, market your app in the applicable journals. If you are making a comic book collector app, market in comics themselves, relevant comics news sites, etc. All of this makes perfect sense, but since so many people come from a dev background, they often skip this key part.
  • Consult/Contract out your services to people that do want to compete in the red ocean of commodity apps or make something for a target market.
  • To make sure that you can command a premium for your services, make sure that you are a productive, prolific member of the iPhone community. This makes sense as an expert developer can always command a premium and being part of the community is effectively increasing your marketing reach.
  • Consider writing middleware for other iPhone developers. Either use this to up your reputation to command a higher contracting premium or use it to get income directly.

~ by shaunkime on January 14, 2010.

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