I need to set the record straight on some things. Recently the news has hit the Web that I am quitting my job with Sun Microsystems after the success of iShoot, and I’ve had countless armchair quarterbacks telling me what a stupid decision it is to be leaving my day job. I know I should just ignore it and let them be foolish, but it’s getting a little grating having complete strangers telling me what to do (including calling me a “friggin’ MORON”), so I feel the need to respond:
“This is why you will never be rich.”
Now for the record I’m not rich either, but I certainly wasn’t going to get that way at Sun and at least now I have a chance. Conservatively, iShoot will break $250,000 tomorrow. A quarter of a million dollars in two weeks, on a game that took me six weeks to write in my spare time.
Even if iShoot never makes another penny, that’s enough money to last my family well over a year. Are you saying that if you had a quarter of a million dollars (minus taxes, of course) sitting in the bank… you wouldn’t feel comfortable taking a few months off and striking out on your own to see if you could follow it up with another hit?
I’m sorry, but if you want to be successful in life sometimes you need to take a risk. You’ve got to have balls. And calmly sitting at my day job, doing something I can no longer be excited about, while having neither the time or energy to pursue iPhone development at the level I’d like to, would just be a pathetic cop-out, unfair to both Sun and me.
I’ve had a very successful career. I was a pre-IPO GeoCities employee, spent six years with Yahoo!, and have made a name for myself at Sun. My very first Objective C program became a #1 hit. And while I freely accept that I might never have another hit, I have a tremendous amount of difficulty believing that I can’t make at least what I was making at Sun. iShoot won’t be at the top of the charts for long, but as long as it’s making even 2% of what it’s making now I’m still earning considerably more than my job at Sun pays.
And suppose the worst happens — iShoot drops from over $30,000 a day to $0 tomorrow, and none of my followup apps sell even a single copy. A year goes by without my being able to earn another cent. Well, I’d like to believe that the market for competent iPhone and Java developers isn’t so small that I couldn’t manage to find another job somewhere if that’s what it took to pay the bills.
If the idea of giving up the “security” of working at a company that is cutting 6,000 jobs and faces an uncertain financial future for the “risk” of working at a job where you can live in style on just 2% of your current income sounds overly risky to you… seriously, grow a pair. Nothing is risk-free, and this is far less risky than staying at Sun. (Not that Sun isn’t a great company. I love Sun. But let’s be realistic here.)
Obviously, tremendous thanks to everyone that has bought and (hopefully) enjoyed iShoot and offered me their congratulations. This is just directed at the people calling me an idiot for going into business for myself.