It's not the kind of question that gets debated by industry analysts or discussed at tech conferences, but it's worth putting it out there: Has the app economy finally come up against its Lars Von Trier? Graham Bower may be his heir apparent, at least in the mobile developer space.
I've met and spoken with lots of app developers about all kinds of challenges they've faced, not only in making an app or mobile game but in making a living from their work. I have to admit, though, I've never come across anyone with quite the career history of a guy known as Peter.
Buzzfeed is better known for top-10 style listicles and celebrity gossip than longform think pieces, but as the iOS crowd exited the Moscone Center in San Francisco last week, there was nothing more provocative written about Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) than a diatribe by Charlie Warzel.
It used to be in fields like modeling or acting where experienced professionals constantly had to look over their shoulders as ever-younger competitors seemed to appear out of nowhere and rival their achievements. Based on a recent marketing campaign from Apple, however, there's nothing less exciting than a middle-aged app developer.
We all know who the upper class in the mobile games space includes. There are the Zyngas, the Kings, the Rovios and a handful of others. At the other end of the scale--but please, let's not call them "lower-class"--are the hordes of developers who are far below the break-even point in terms of revenue for their apps
I've heard "marshmallow," "marmalade" and everything in between, but this is the only thing I know for sure: Even if it might resonate with app developers, it is highly unlikely the "M" in Google's upcoming Android M operating system will stand for "monetization."
Sometimes, like many other men trying to dress to impress, I will stand before my wife--or even one of my children--with two different ties. "Which one do you like better: this one or this one?" I'll ask, giving them a choice between colors, patterns, or often both. Depending on the nature of the meeting I'm going to, I may follow up with questions like, "Which one says 'knowledgeable' or 'creative' to you?"
When you're the third choice--and a distant third choice at that--the only option you have is to be the best third choice imaginable. That, in essence, is what Microsoft proved with the latest plank in its "universal app" strategy.
Of course, I expected the recent launch of the Apple Watch to be a big day for developers. I knew many of them would try to make good use of the product's availability as an opportunity to introduce new apps and games. Rather than a major step forward into the future of technology, however, the whole thing took me back more than a decade into technology's past.
I don't get a lot of email from Apple, and I'm perfectly fine with that. On the other hand, I probably pay more attention to messages from the company behind iOS than the many other firms that somehow managed to acquire my address. That means Apple has the potential to influence my behavior as a consumer, so when it chooses to use that power to help independent developers, I pay particular attention.