The guy writes an article on a failed Android experiment, makes the front page of HN. I click on the link and I'm on a blog with 32 articles in the last couple of months, all highly-targeted at Android developers. Android book ads on the side. All very nicely put-together (I know some folks would consider my analysis an attack. It is not.)
This guy is either going to make money on Android apps or make money advertising about them!
I like the app idea, but the story shows something really sad about these app marketplaces -- there's so much social engineering it's not funny. The right name, the right logo, the right first customers, the right momentum -- if the die come up the right way, you're on a roll. But if something happens to mess up one or two aspects of it? It can all fall apart. Or to put another way people buying the app are the number one signal for other people to buy the app. So it's kind of a weird little high-stakes popularity contest, at least as far as I can tell.
I just think it's cool that the author took the failed app idea, turned it around into a blog entry, and then might make a few bucks on that. Having the targeted blog to go along with your app efforts was very smart. If nothing else, as long as you keep trying, even if you go through a hundred ideas which never pan out, you could end up with a nice ebook out of all of it one day. Call it something like "How to win by failing"
It has been happening for a while with blogs, YouTube, HN/Reddit comments. For an example just look at reposts. Pick the right title, be the right submitter, get the right first commenter, and some blog spam article has hundreds of votes on the front page while the original source goes without any votes or comments.
Just on the app store, money is involved instead of karma.
The goal shouldn't be to make money with Android - it should be to make interesting and high quality software products for your customers.
I should also mention that I make more than $1000 a month, the site's goal, by selling Android apps.
Posts like yours remind me of why developers are the worst market in the world to sell to. Not only will they spend hundreds of dollars of time trying to avoid paying $10 for something, but they'll look down their nose at you for charging in the first place.
Edit: and they'll downvote you for pointing it out :)
I should clarify - in software, the quick buck isn't usually a good thing. I think that profit should be the reward for value, and that value comes as the result of hard work.
The bottom-tier application developers are little more than con men in my opinion. And again, these are just my opinions.
This is factually incorrect. You are correct that profit IS the reward for creating value. However, from your previous posts I'm under the impression that you believe value is objective. The truth is that value is subjective to each person, however IF something is making money it is providing some value.
And, as a result of hard work? That's obviously not true. The value comes from value. The idea that hard work creates value is verifiably wrong. You can choose to work really hard on your startup and yet still not provide any value.
That's provably false (and a regrettably common belief). Bernie Madoff made buckets of money. Magnetic healing bracelets make money. Psychic surgeons and Nigerian scam artists and spammers make money.
Magnetic healing bracelets, well, we all know they work.
So what should he have done differently?
Is that what you want to do? Or do you want to make money by making something that people value?
People value all sorts of ridiculous things like homeopathic "remedies", psychic readings, and bullshit seeds on Farmville, how are those any better than spamming or content farming? I'd argue that the first two, at least, are far worse.
For that matter, how is the threshold of "acceptable value" set so that we don't similarly condemn, Facebook or 37Signals or SEO firms, for doing work of much less value than say, drug discovery or computer security -- especially when these are all within reach of the same CS grads?
Do Google's adwords count as creating value? Because they're how it makes it's money, search -- which creates value -- is just used to bring people in. If that separation of value creation/profit is all right, then is it okay to make millions spamming and give it to an efficient charity (as below)? If not, why not?
You're substantially raising the cost of using an essential business communication tool (email). Is that not harmful?
> People value all sorts of ridiculous things like homeopathic "remedies", psychic readings, and bullshit seeds on Farmville, how are those any better than spamming or content farming? I'd argue that the first two, at least, are far worse.
Consent makes all the difference (cue BDSM jokes). You have to make a decision to play Farmville to be harmed by it; spam drains the money and time of everyone.
Your goal should not be to create something of negligible value, and extract far more than value than you created simply by doing everything you can to shovel other people's money into your pockets.
Some algorithms are greedy - they maximize their returns at every step, without caring about future returns. Greedy algorithms are not the most effective.
Parasitism is very efficient for the parasite. Don't seek just to make money efficiently, or you'll end up a parasite. Instead look to create value as efficiently as possible.
Suppose you spam your way to a million dollars selling fake Viagra. You have created no value. Your customers have all wasted their time. You've also wasted 100x the time of people who didn't buy. There's more waste in computing capacity and bandwidth, plus the time sysadmins spend fighting and cleaning up after. The resources spent hosting and sending the spam were wasted, plus the time and resources spent making fake pills and fake packages.
The general rule of thumb for business is 10% profit on expenses, so let's assume you had to burn $10m of your own resources to make your $1m. Spamming, though, mainly shifts costs elsewhere. Guessing a 5:1 ratio, let's say you wasted $60m to make $1m.
If we suppose that you're a generous parasite, you'll give 10% to charity, 100k. 25% overhead is very good for charities, so we'll say $75k of resources end up improving the world out of the $60m you wasted. Rather than being "hundreds of time more efficient", you're closing in on 100x worse.
Just talked to my friend who was one of the top spammers in the world. It only takes about 3 or 4M emails to bypass the spam filter for a spammer to make $1M. You're vastly exaggerating the wasted resources in terms of sending these emails, the money spent by customers, the time wasted by people receiving these emails, and the productivity lost by the workers.
$100k given to a charity like VillageReach (http://www.givewell.org/international/top-charities/villager...) on the other hand, will avert 100 infant deaths.
2. Making quality products is not mutually exclusive from building quality products, I hate to bring them up as an example but not many people could argue that apple produces mass produced garbage, and they do fairly well on the money side.
Agree with you 100% that quality is key to success. I just chose to focus on the business & financial side of things, since at the time I started this blog there weren't many people writing about their experiences with Android.
I'm skeptical, but I don't have figures. Still, a race to the bottom and near-zero margins, because crap is easy to replicate, seems like a bad plan for real profits.
I'm not saying that it's bad to make money - quite the opposite! All I'm saying is that shitty software sucks. Writing it sucks, selling it sucks, buying it sucks and using it sucks. Build cool stuff instead.
Sure, with enough marketing, spinning, social engineering you can make anything sell well, but if customers feel screwed they'll eventually avoid you like the plague. At least that is what I believe.
(yes -- I know you can also state the opposite "there is a sucker born every minute, have suckers as your target audience". But I don't work that way)
The first word is typically used to imply endorsement or officialness. So for example Microsoft X or Google Y.
If you build a product based on a third party service, you can generally use the trademark in your name for example "Bob's invites to Google+", as long as it's clear it's not an officially produced or endorsed product.
Really? This guy was making money by offering a dubious service leveraging someone else's brand. As he admits, it was an experiment and the way he conducted it was very ill-advised. Own up to it, don't whine about not being "understood".
As far as I can see he simply filled a need. If google would be so kind as to state what their problem is with it, who knows, it might see a revival.
Is that even true? I keep hearing how Windows users are not selective enough about what they install.
People interested in creating crap seem to find a way, platform notwithstanding.
Also, the Android SDK works really well for testing with a physical device. Plug in by USB, or use wireless ADB, and it only takes a couple of seconds to deploy a debug package to your testing device. Much faster than using the emulator.
I agree, but look through past posts on hn and see if this isn't a oft-mentined opinion.
It's also the language that most big businesses run on these days. It's popular to learn because it's used many places (e.g. useful). Language has nothing to do with it. The iTunes App Store is riddled with comically bad apps and that's never going to change. NetFlix is also riddled with horrible movies, it's the nature of the business.
With the web, it's easier to share, there are far fewer rules, larger user base and if google has a problem with your logo, they can send you a detailed C&D letter which you can take care of without losing your existing work.
(originally as a comment under this blog post)