Code by Kevin, Programming, code, business, and other pursuits
Kevin Walzer, software developer.
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I have decided to add one additional line of business to my website: helping companies port their existing Tcl/Tk software to OS X.
My expertise with Tcl and Tk on the Mac, my knowledge of the Mac software market, and understanding of Mac UI conventions have convinced me that I can add some value in this area. This type of work builds upon, rather than takes away from, my work on my own products.
For more information, see http://www.codebykevin.com/consulting.html.
A couple of months ago I announced that I was leaving the Mac App Store, shortly after announcing that I was reducing prices on many of my apps. My plan was to remove myself from the technical limitations of the Mac App Store, recharge the sales of my products with lower prices, and move forward.
I've decided to reconsider that plan, in all its aspects.
In terms of revenue, lowering my apps' prices hasn't had the desired effect on sales. I tried lowering my prices by 20-40%, but unit sales of licenses have remained fixed (varying within a normal range of sales), and so I'm making less money: about 30-40% less. Not a huge decline in absolute dollar terms, but that's not the direction I want to go in, obviously.
As a result, I've raised my prices. If demand for my products is relatively constant, and lower prices will not stimulate more demand, then it makes no sense to maintain lower prices.
After reviewing my sources of sales, I've also concluded that the Mac App Store is too big of a sales channel, and too significant a source of revenue, to withdraw. Fortunately I haven't actually withdrawn my existing products from the Mac App Store; I simply had decided to release my two latest apps without including them in the App Store. Given their sales thus far, I think they would benefit financially from being in the MAS.
None of my deep frustrations with the Mac App Store have changed--its slow review time, the technical limitations that sandboxing imposes, and more. But a rational assessment of where my sales comes from says that I can't ignore the Mac App Store--it truly does enable sales that I couldn't achieve elsewhere.
Over the past 18 months I've spent a huge amount of time on software work in realms other than my main development platform--desktop apps for the Mac. I've tried, and abandoned, Windows. I've entered, left, and decided to enter again the Mac App Store. I've spent a lot of work on open-source projects. If you follow my work at all, you would be fair in saying that I've seemed to lack direction and focus. My desire was to broaden my revenue base and grow my software business, but if anything, the opposite has happened--as I've moved in more directions, there has been a corresponding erosion in my core software business.
No more. All this experimentation has brought me back to where I started six years ago: trying to develop awesome commercial apps for Mac OS X, with a secondary focus on open-source work insofar as it complements, supports, and enhances my Mac apps. This is where I'm planting my flag. I'll wrestle with the challenges of the Mac App Store, and renew my focus on trying to develop new apps as well as enhancing my current apps. I'll continue to offer free upgrades for life, in keeping with the Mac App Store policies. And I'll focus on growing my business on the Mac desktop, confident that I've found the best niche and platform to work on--where I've been all along.