Why Indie Developers Go Insane

Jeff Vogel wrote this incredibly awesome post about sanity and development within small (indie) companies. He particularly focused on gaming but its applicable across the board:

The Internet exists to crap all over everything. And Flappy Bird is simple, silly, derivative, and casual-friendly, so it was sure to bring the self-styled Defenders of Gaming out of the woodwork.

Dong Nguyen quit. A fortune coming through the door, and he walked away. As I write this, Flappy Bird has been removed from app stores.

Think about this. I mean you, personally. Think about what it would take to make you run from a gold mine like this. Really. Think about why someone would do this.

This is not about money.

If you’ve experienced any time as a public figure, especially one that is mainly hated on, it makes a lot of sense.

Dong Nguyen is a young guy. He wrote a game for fun, put it out there, and found himself at the target end of a massive wave of attention, much of it negative. I can’t stress enough how insanely terrifying this can be, and he wasn’t ready.

There’s a reason most companies put other people in charge of answering customer questions, not the people that wrote the app. Customers, frankly, forget that there are people on the other end of that line. They forget that while they may not like the decisions made, there is a person on the other end who did like the decision and worked his or her butt off to make it work as well as they possibly can.

I incurred this wrath when we launched powerOne version 4. Some of the emails were scathing, hateful pieces of junk that really didn’t deserve a response. They were completely disrespectful of the company and product, assuming we didn’t give a crap about our customers and were pissing on them on purpose. They were also disrespectful to me personally since I wrote the app. In my case I was lucky as I understood that these customers were upset with change, period, and were upset because a product they loved was changed [1].

Yes, it was on a much smaller scale than Flappy Birds’ “feedback.” But it didn’t make the vitriol hurt any less.

[1] I was able to adjust the app and satisfy those who didn’t like the changes.

via David Smith

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