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How the Mac App Store made money for this indie developer's "side project"

Steve Sande, @stevensande
January 26, 2015
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A number of independent iOS developers have "opened the kimono" over the past few months, giving insight into exactly how much work and effort pays off - or sometimes fails to pay off - when an app hits the App Store. John Saddington, the indie developer behind the successful blogging app Desk (US$29.99) pointed a spotlight at his creation today, showing how his "side project" made a profit of $35,000 with only 63 days of sales in 2014.

Saddington's post is one of the few that has shown what it's like for a Mac developer to make it "big". He notes that for him, success of Desk was dependent on two things: A working product he could use daily, and a profitable app - as long as it didn't deviate from the primary goal of Desk being something he was happy to use.

I won't divulge too many of Saddington's secrets - I'd rather have you read his full post - but some of the takeaways include:

  • The app's net daily revenue over the 63 days it was in the App Store in 2014 was $1,010 (after Apple's cut, before taxes or marketing costs)
  • Sponsoring John Gruber's Daring Fireball was pricy, but well worth it in terms of sales generated
  • He had about one return per day, and only one educational sale over the first two months
  • Indie development "works". Saddington says he won't "be quitting my 'day job' any time soon", but this shows that it can be a "fun, sustainable, and profitable side project"

Desk was ultimately awarded "Best App of 2014" by Apple, and I find it to be a powerful tool for personal blogging. Let's hope that more Mac and iOS fans decide to create tools for their own use and then pass them along to us; Saddington's "side project" has made a lot of Mac users very happy.

In this article: Desk, john saddington, Mac, mac app store
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