Morgan Stanley probably isn't too busy now, you should get their Facebook team to run an IPO based on that, before tomorrow's number come in.
 by July every particle in the universe will own a copy, that might cause sales to taper off.
Valid point though, if you have a small part of a large graph for a new product it somehow always looks like a hockeystick.
But if he can maintain this for even three weeks or more then he's on to something. Stranger things have happened.
A word of advice for the OP: keep it quiet. Bragging like this is going to bring copycats and unwelcome attention in large quantities. If you're making 'easy money' keep it to yourself.
My organization doesn't develop mobile apps, but we provide APIs that power many of the top apps in the "News" categories on the various app stores. We've seen apps that are solely designed to just consume our API reach #1 in categories a few times. And we love to see that.
But, when an app gets popular as described above...? Copycats come out in full force, stealing API keys, decompiling apps for data and info, and other completely nefarious techniques with zero innovation. And they release exact copies of competing applications.
No doubt about it, while "controlled", the app stores are still a wild-wild-west.
Copycats are the best (and worst) form of flattery, but it's a service problem. On the front page of the Mac App Store (here in the UK) there's a tool called Yoink which seems to be a similar product. If the author can compete with the attention the product will only get better for users.
"Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal"
> "Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal"
"One of the surest tests [of the superiority or
inferiority of a poet] is the way in which a poet borrows.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal..." 
If you are reading John, how did you pick $14 as the price? Pricing software is always difficult because you marginal costs are 0.
One school of thought is to take the time needed to write something, pick an hourly rate of what you would have had to pay a person to write it (or use what it cost you to produce it ) and then divide by the 'nominal' market to get a price.
Working a contrived example, lets say you write an App all by yourself, it takes you 3 weeks and you put in 300 hrs of work over those three weeks. Now you say "My time is worth $100/hr" so you've invest $30,000 into building that App. Now if the 'nominal market' which is people that you think need this capability at any cost is 1,000 people, you might charge $30/.3 or $100 ($99.95 if you're clever) for the app. After capturing your 1000 sales you've covered your development cost and are 'profiting' on the long tail with additional sales.
The danger of course is that you can over value your time and over estimate the number of people who might want your product.
 Cost to produce can be tricky if you are building several things, how much of your UI design developer do you charge to one project or another? Even fractions is a common technique but the designer will tell you that some projects took more of their time than others so its not a perfect strategy.
The type of analysis you've described is more applicable to consulting work, where there's a hard limit to how much output you can produce.
"App stores" are an amazingly disruptive power on software development costs. I find them fascinating both from a business perspective and from a more general economics perspective. Perhaps someone else reading this will some day post their experiences to HN as well and we'll another data point.
("Better" in that it's easier and more profitable, but not necessarily as fair.)
But I think this really shows just how hard it is to make real money in the app store. You have been as successful as any of us could hope to be there, yet your peak bounce is $8k/day. This is nothing to sneeze at, of course, but chances are very high it will quickly taper off the way these bumps usually do. In comparison, a decent engineer can pull in $8k/month easily, month after month. So my guess is that over a year you will be lucky to make anywhere near what you could have made at a salaried job with the same effort, and you're probably in the top 1% of earners.
The independence and freedom the solo dev enjoys is certainly worth something, but if you're considering abandoning a salaried job for a crack at the app store market be advised that you're likely to pay a tremendous premium for that freedom.
I think you'd be crazy to abandon a salaried job in the hope of making it big on the app store. I've been working on Dropzone pretty much full-time for almost 5 years now and only now am I starting to see some payoff. I'm wondering whether having multiple apps might be the key to a more sustainable income. Then you can cross sell and hopefully make more money overall.
Relying on Apple to distribute your apps is also very frightening. I feel that policy changes with regards to things like sandboxing could easily put me out of business, and there's no money to speak of to be found from selling outside App Store.
I love writing apps though so I really hope I can continue to do so.
May your tail be long!
It's an HN user's side project and it's the best RSS reader I've found, hands down.
When I'm shopping in an actual physical bookstore it often makes sense to buy a book that I won't be ready to read for a while.
First, if I become ready for it at a time when it is inconvenient to get to the bookstore to buy it I have to wait to start reading it, and that could be annoying.
Second, it might no longer be stocked when I get around to going back for it. I then have to order it, wait for delivery, possibly go pick it up if I order for delivery at the bookstore.
Third, I might forget about it.
With an e-book, none of these apply.
First, the e-bookstore is for all practical purposes open 24/7/365, and the book is only a couple of minutes away.
Second, it is unlikely to go out of stock.
Third, when browsing at an e-bookstore there is usually an easy way to mark books you want to get back to later.
Putting these all together, there is very little point in buying an e-book when I'm not ready to start reading it soon, unless it is on sale.
B) When I was homeschooling my sons I frequently bought actual (dead tree) books for a dollar or so off the clearance tables. It was cheap enough that I was willing to gamble on their usefulness. Some panned out. Some didn't. Enough panned out for me to feel it was still well worth it.
I've always wondered how much more money Amazon would make if they didn't highlight unread books, and how much people would care about the lack of that feature.
"The 45-chapter novel was published in 31 weekly installments in Dickens' new literary periodical titled All the Year Round. From April 1859 to November 1859"
Likely more people will read a book in short chunks because it looks less imposing. And it gives you an opportunity to "pivot" your story if it's not going well.
Most times if a book is expensive I'll put off buying it, but if its a dollar or two, no love lost if I only read a few chapters and don't like it.
The author stunbled with this by accident. I bet you he will now focus on finding another product that will allow him to repeat that.
Another minor point is that marketing works. Its up to you to find what. So don't stop when your ad words campaign fails. Keep iterating.
> This is beyond my wildest dreams of what I expected to make.
Therefore the app creator did not have an accurate perception of what money he would make. Therefore he is a counter-example to your claim, and your claim is false.
As another data point, so far the only way I've managed to get anyone to notice my app was by making it free (and then it was picked up by all the "free app of the day" feeds and websites, as well as a podcast). I also had a similar "sales" graph:
Unfortunately my giant spike didn't come with any money since the app was free. I ended up making an extra $40 or so as a result of the "free" day sale (and subsequent 99 cent sale), which is (sadly) a huge spike in terms of percentage though obviously not something to write home about in terms of actual return. I did get a ton of reviews, including some really helpful and thoughtful reviews. Interestingly, even with all the free downloads (which I've read can result in a lot of negative reviews) I'm around 4-5 stars in every region except in Italy where I've been mercilessly panned as a "poor rip-off" of what I can only assume is The Impossible Game (the reviewers there only refer to it as "that famous game").
1. Increased exposure: 50%. Buyers got to be reached in the first place.
2. Expiring deal: 40%. This is a close second. Besides establishing urgency to act, it reduces buyer risk without raising value doubt associated with a permanently low price.
3. Lower price: 10%. Lowering the price, IMO, wouldn't have helped much without the increased exposure or the certainty of the price restoration the next day.
"That it would reduce the perceived value of my app, that it would upset other customers who missed the discount and that the support burden would be too high."
But you don't talk about how these concerns played out after the sale. Would love to hear your thoughts on how valid these concerns were.
I would try to lower the price for a month or two, to see how the market reacts. I believe that you still have to find the sweet spot in the price/demand curve.
Personally, $0.99-1.99 falls into impulse buy territory, while $14.99 means that I won't buy it unless I'm positive it's exactly what I need.
For example, I adore Transmit and have no need for any other FTP app. I bought Forklift anyway when they discounted it to $1. Haven't even launched it yet.
Some successful Hackernews marketing in action I suppose.
Good luck on future success in the App Store!
btw: I love how their Revenue counter is poised to go up to a trillion dollars.
Disclaimer: one of my apps participates as well.
Staying higher in the rankings isn't worth it just for the sake of the rankings if you're only making the same amount of money.
Plus, there's the additional support cost.