Direction - I Haz It?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Yep, I know what I wrote in If I Grow Up… I had a direction and I wanted to follow it. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I want to write, I love to write, I’m going to write. But do I want to make a living off of it? Perhaps I just want to do it for fun.

There’s a bit of a problem with this, in that I crave something to do. The most lucrative thing I can think of is developing software. I like doing it, and I tend to do it anyway, just like writing. There’s at least one project that’s really got me interested, and I’m sure I can cook up more ideas when I’ve finished it.

Finishing What I Start! It’s always been a bit of an issue for me. I’m just going to have to try harder to stay on target and not lose steam before I’m done. I’ll have to nail down my requirements and feature list well before I start coding, and freeze those requirements for version 1.0. There’s always room for improvement later on, and if the first version isn’t solid, what kind of a message does that send to users?

Polish It! Polish is one thing I’ve had trouble with in the past on my personal projects. I tend to get some small details down really nicely, but the overall product is something I’ll have to pay a lot more attention to. If I need to pay someone for a good set of icons, I’m going to have to shell out for it and not balk at the expense. Polish is key to a product that sells and encourages word of mouth.

Marketing? Yep, another part of the process I’ll need to deal with and pay for. It’s inevitable if you want to push a product and make it popular. This is especially true with the iPhone OS App Store being flooded with cheap or free apps. You’ve got to sell your product in a way that justifies a cost high enough that it doesn’t leave you without suitable return on your investment. In-app advertising is, as far as I’m concerned, not the kind of thing I’d want to rely on. A lot of the apps I’ve seen use the same advertising services, and the same products get flogged across the apps the consumer uses. It also cheapens the user experience. I’d rather make a feature-limited free version than a full version with ads.

Platform? I’ve always been a Mac guy, so the iPhone OS and Mac OS X platforms are a shoe-in. If I write any utilities I’d likely create a Mac and iPhone OS version with some way to synchronize between the two. The App Store is a bit of a sticking point, but having a way of simplifying distribution, payment and updatings of at least the iPhone half of a product would be great.

Product Types. Ideally I’d like to write small utilities that help make people’s lives easier, as well as small casual games. While I’m confident in my ability to produce a polished product in the first category with little external help, I’d definitely need someone external for graphics and sound for any decently polished game.

That’s what I’m looking at right now. I’ll still be writing here, hopefully with the original frequency I had in mind for my blog. I don’t think it’s healthy for me to let things distract me from writing, and I’m going to make a more solid effort to give myself time to write. I’ve been terrible lately, spending way too much time on twitter. The people are great, and I think that’s part of what’s got me stuck to it.

I suppose I should get to writing up a requirements document for that utility I’ve got in mind!


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