Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Follow Your Passion – Do What's Fun!

Great story from Mike Swanson on how he gave up his full-time gig as a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft to become a full-time iOS developer. Some key observations Swanson makes:
Not only was I hooked, but I was constantly learning new things, challenging myself, and having fun all at the same time!
in the summer of 2011, it hit me: I’m having so much fun writing mobile software for Juicy Bits, why don’t I make it my full time job?

Juicy Bits:

After some frustrating weeks learning Objective-C (thankfully, I already knew C/C++), I managed to build an app called 3D Camera that was released in May, 2009. I created a “novelty” app primarily because I didn’t have time to maintain servers or other back-end infrastructure, and I wanted a fun app that nobody would depend on. I also needed an app that the press wouldn’t find very interesting. After all, my day job was still as a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, and nobody needed that article.

At the time, most of my decisions were based on experimentation, and I never expected that this side project would turn into anything real. I told one of my friends that I’d be happy if I could make enough money to pay for a new camera lens. My company name, Juicy Bits, was concocted on short notice so I could release 3D Camera in the App Store. If I knew that it would eventually become my full-time job, I probably would have put more thought into the name!

Since then, Juicy Bits has served as an after-hours technical playground. I didn’t need it to pay the bills, so I was free to experiment. I continued to build novelty apps, and I tried running sales, creating “lite” versions, altering pricing, using social media, and just about anything that could teach me more about this new marketplace. Not only was I hooked, but I was constantly learning new things, challenging myself, and having fun all at the same time!

But I couldn’t tell anyone about it. Only my wife and one of my closest friends knew what I was doing.

As my skills improved, I was able to create and release more apps. In June, 2009, I packaged-up some of my close-up nature photos and published a gallery of wallpaper images. Those gallery apps have gone through some revisions to become Nature Images, Nature Images HD, and Textures HD. While they’re not big sellers, each release has taught me just a little bit more about how the app marketplace works.

In December, 2009, I released Spy Pix. It’s yet another novelty (and photography) app that uses a technique called steganography to hide one image inside of another. Imagine my surprise when I learned that it’s popular with college kids who like to send…err…special photos to each other. Who knew!?

(Via Daring Fireball)

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