The Story

So You’ve Made an App

When I lived in the Lincoln Avenue Residence Halls my sophomore year at the University of Illinois, I got addicted to Fruit Ninja.  That’s right about the time that I started to get the idea that making a game would be great – time consuming – but great.

During one of the floor dinners, I learned that there was a guy who lived in the other wing who made apps.  While we never collaborated on anything, I thought it was pretty cool that he made apps.  I never actually checked any of them out though, or went to his website.  But then just a few weeks ago I ran across him on LinkedIn, and his job title is CEO.  I took a step back.  We didn’t talk too much, but we did talk a bit and he never once mentioned owning his own business.  And that’s when it hit me – apps are a business.  Duh.

It’s easy to think of the big developers, like Rovio and Zynga, as being businesses.  They make millions of dollars probably every day.  (On a side-note, I just learned that the guys who made Candy Crush, my current addiction, make roughly $700,000 a day.)  But how many college students who are making apps out there consider themselves a full-fledged business?  I only know a few other people who make apps that they sell, and even though they make money from it, they still consider it more of a hobby.

Now I’m not saying everything you do that makes a few bucks should be considered a business, but apps can be pretty lucrative when advertised properly.  Even if it’s a free download, you can make a few bucks a month on ads and a bit more on in-game purchases.  While it’s not necessarily going to be serious money all at once,  it definitely builds up over time.  And although that just may be used to fuel the coming weekend’s debauchery, all developers should think of their apps as a business.

Whether or not an official corporation or LLC or whatever is born, thinking of it as a business and not a hobby will foster a greater sense of ownership and responsibility, which only better prepares students for their first job or startup.

Think I’m spot on or that I couldn’t be farther off?  Tell me in the comments.

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About Author

Nate started Yellow Box Studios, a digital advertising agency based in Chicago, in 2010 as a high school senior. He's graduated from the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign with a degree in Creative Writing and is currently working on a Masters in advertising, also at the University of Illinois.