Are Indie Developers not Rich?

By Zhenyi Tan

Sean Heber, on Mastodon:

[…] I’m a software engineer who’s not making those big bucks everyone else seems to be making. I work for a small company that’s barely hanging on. I used to easily afford eating out and buying toys and still have a bit of cash left for retirement or college savings, but over the years costs have crept up and nothing is left anymore. Now we’re shopping at discount grocery stores and flirting with credit card debt just to get through the month.

Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch. Is his company doing that poorly? Or did Twitter’s changes really mess them up?

What he said hit close to home, though. It also confirmed what I was afraid of: most indie developers, except a few famous ones, are just getting by.

I run an indie app business that had a one-hit wonder. But the “wonder” is making much less money now than it did 2 years ago.

The business isn’t sustainable because the app is a one-time $1.99 app. And it’s too late to change the business model because more users would get angry. Right now, many users are already angry and leaving 1-star reviews because of issues outside of my control. I don’t want to make them angrier.

I don’t have a house. I don’t have a car. My current plan is to buy a government-subsidized flat sometime in my forties. I didn’t buy an Apple Vision Pro, and I often wonder how my fellow developers can afford such luxuries. (I know some people have it worse than me, at least I can afford rent…)

People don’t like to hear about this. I could probably attract more users to Gibberish if I only talked about its benefits, my “vision” for it, or how it’s the future of blogging. But ahh I don’t care, isn’t Gibberish about writing what you want? This is what I’m thinking, so I’m writing it down.