Rene Ritchie gives his take on the state of the indie app market. Like him, I hope things will improve, but I’m not necessarily optimistic.
When I was a child, all my favorite toys were wooden, painstakingly carved by artisans who ran the store near my home. I cherished them. Today those kinds of toys are all but gone, and that business model is no longer viable in the mass market.
Indeed, isn’t this the fate of every product market? Everything distills down to a few big players and a lot of little hobbyists/mom-and-pop shops. I can’t think of another profession where one of the expectations of being “indie” is making a sustainable living…let alone striking it rich.
There will always be customers who care deeply about quality, and there will always be a place in this world for wooden toys. However, in order for wooden toymakers to stay afloat they’ve had to either raise the price of their toys, or take on a different job while making and selling their toys on the weekends.
One last thought: in any market (art, music, software, etc.), indies sometimes see themselves as artists more than small business owners. When the market is thriving, that balance of focus probably won’t hurt their chances of success. However, when times get tough, the ability to wear that small business owner hat with competence is absolutely critical. I like Rene’s final words:
Either way, times have changed and we, all of us, have to change with them. We can lament the past and challenge the future all we want, but ultimately the most important thing we all have to do is this:
Figure out what’s next.