Sunday, December 14, 2008

R U sh#ttin' me?

End of November the number of download-able apps on Apple's App store surpassed 10,000! Downloads to this day are over 300 million. In less than just six months after the launch of this market, astronomical sizes became the norm. Now, if you look carefully, there are many apps that often do the same, like calculators, clocks, cooking, shopping lists, note takers, and games. Nevertheless, it's remarkable to see the (absence of) limits in the human imagination when relatively 'easy' earnings is the reward, like in a sort-of present day El-Dorado's. A couple of months ago, the story hit the press about a few kids who got together and created Air Sharing, an app for exchanging files between PCs/Macs and iPhones/iPods Touch, that sold millions of copies overnight and turned its creators into instant millionaires. If that is not so cool, I don't know what is.

Goes without saying, it is Apple that deserves most of the credit. Their idea to port OSX to the iPhone/Touch which thus became their mobile OS solution, together with a marvelous and robust SDK, make phenomena like Air Sharing quite possible. All you need is a great idea that promises to cover some useful consumer needs and the rest is simply history.

Now, talking about 'useful' consumer needs... I couldn't say that would be the case for this app, that goes by the name Poo Price and costs .99 cents. What the darn app does is to kick-off a time teller when you enter the toilet to do your business and keeps track of all the time you spent there during a day. Based on your monthly income it calculates the total money you made 'doing your business'. How useful is that... I'm pretty sure there will be enough morons around who wouldn't mind wasting a few cents to show-off their stupidity to friends and relatives. 'See dude, I made 30 bucks today, sh#ttin' and p#ssin! Ain't that cool?!'

Reminds me of the CEO of a semiconductor company, here in our little town of Oudenaarde, (East Flanders, Belgium), just over twenty years ago. He went to the bathroom one day and overheard one of his employees in the neighboring toilet making a familiar noise like reading a newspaper. Next thing the moron CEO does is to call maintenance and order them to change all lamps in all toilet spaces with much lower power lamps. This trick wouldn't work today though, definitely not with me, as I'm reading most of my news on my iPod Touch! And this can happen in absolute darkness, if needed. Like, under the sheets on an early winter morning here in the north, before the spouse wakes up...


Dave Howell said...

A few kids, sold millions of copies, man I like the sound of that! I wish any of it were true, but I thank you for the glowing imagery.

If by a few kids you mean six seasoned software engineers with an average age of forty and a collective hundred years of Mac OS programming experience, and if by sold you mean gave away free gratis, then yep, you're spot on!

But even with those corrections, I'm with you... it is "so cool." We're having a blast, and it is especially gratifying to have found something that's so much fun amid generally scary economic times. And the fun has just started! Wait until Apple builds whatever other devices it will build on this platform. The company might make CocoaTouch camcorders, tablet computers, home automation controllers, ... who knows? But we'll be all over it.


Dave Howell, CEO
Avatron Software, Inc.

VJK said...

Hey Dave,

Cool to get your response. Sorry for calling you 'kids' guys... you're still kids compared to me (mid fifties) though... anyways, you get my point. As for the 'free' part... R U sure? It's still charged @ 3.99 euros on our Store and that's it what I paid, so how come it's free on your end?

Have fun, I wish I was part of your team...

Dave Howell said...

We gave away Air Sharing for two weeks as an introductory promotion. Over a million people downloaded it in those two weeks.

After the promotion, the price went to US$6.99. Now we've launched a Holiday Sale at $4.99.

But frankly I prefer your version of the story, which I see as a band of gawky teenagers getting together
after school in their parents' garage to hack the iPhone, and then after they sell millions of copies of their app, they hock their old rusty bicycles and buy brand new Lamborghinis, and start saying things like "Ciao" and "We'll do lunch."