Comparisons - Interesting content doing the rounds

Of the several tweets that are exchanged across accounts everyday, there are some that help hype up a story or incident, specially when every other account tweets about it or it is from accounts that are followed for their news.

Facebook Camera App
1. Facebook launch their own camera app. There are several links, practically every other website has a story on this and most of them talk about now Instagram buy is making sense. Interesting...
FACT #1: What would facebook do with buying Instagram? Buy it for a million and keep supporting it as Instagram? Of course not, they would redress it in their colours and features, after all now it was theirs to have, modify and release.
FACT #2: Would it be wise to kill off the competition (Instagram) and then release their product? They were not after visibility alone, they paid for the number of users on Instagram. So if they did kill off the competition in any manner, they would have gotten nothing, the users would have just dispersed.
FACT #3: Could they have spend a much smaller amount and bought out the key developers from Instagram? That could have been a cheaper alternative if that would have solved / helped them in what they were after.
FACT #4: This reminds me of the time when I was with a BMW Dealership in the mid/late 90's and Rover was not doing very well and BMW offered to purchase Rover. This purchase cost them a fair bit and integrating the rover parts into IMPHDL (the DMS AS/400 software for dealerships) was a nightmare, but since they had purchased Rover, they undertook that exercise. After this a new vehicle rolls out from the assembly lines, the X5...and the next thing that happens is that Rover is sold off to cut short the losses. Rover was known for their technology with 4x4's now that BMW had that tech, they could do what they wanted, they cut their losses by selling it off for whatever they could get. With software this is just not possible.
POINT: So Facebook releasing the new Facebook camera app related to them buying Instagram is fine, but for what reason?

Slade Villena - Ex-Zynga Engineer
2. A developer called Slade Villena, who is an ex-zynga developer has been criticised by a lot many in the comments of the article Now the developer has lashed out at the company for whatever they have done wrong. He has found a kickstarter project and has moved on, but bitter for the wrong that they have done, it is well known that an organisation never appologises (unless under legal threats) as the ones that actually do wrong are individuals, but then these individuals represent the organisation when they act on behalf of... There are some hostile comments towards Slade and most importantly, from people that have hidden their names under aliases. I do not know what their issues are, but this reminds me of an incident on the Ansca Forums, where a couple of users have violated the forum rules with their language and expression and they are still there, not only as members but also their messages. This one has a couple of ironical incidents in it.
a. Carlos (the Co-founder of Ansca)'s outburst of 15 seconds of fame. Ironically this is about the same time when he quit Ansca.
b. It is also ironical that this post is left there, where as an earlier time, it was Carlos that deleted a thread and posted that he *accidentally* deleted the thread. Logically, if you have a look at the thread, it is not possible to *accidentally* a portion of the thread.
c. The two developers one with his real name and one behind the fake name, has ironically told everyone his own life story while attacking.
d. The funniest part is that he jumps in when it is not even his fight, he wanted a reason and he took that and created an opportunity.
Coming back to Slade, I do not know the developer, but I feel that if he is bitter, there has to be a reason, he known more about the organisation and therefore he is bitter. He can see the path that they are headed towards, so he thinks that they might end up with nothing. In this article, there is also a mention of Michael Pachter, who is a securities Analyst at Wedbush. Judging by the services that they offer, it is paramount that their advice is solid. The clients that invest based on their advice would not be very happy if things went topsy turvy. Everyone knows that public opinion is more swayed by reading about stuff, this article if not refuted or rebutted, it could start a bit of harm to Zynga stock, which could also in turn hurt a few other related companies and so on. My point is that if Analysts are that good and know everything, how the hell did the GFC happen? How is it that the ones that were entrusted with the money were the ones that made it worse for everyone? It is all inter-related. Remember where there is smoke there is fire. In the end he is one individual that has his mortgages, living costs to cover etc against an organisation that has lot more resources than he has. In the end the only thing that Villena Slade might have is the truth in his side of the story, but in this modern world, what is that worth? Nothing...

The article that he posted on reddit that kicked off this debate is

Tools and Framework Pricing
3. Game creation Frameworks and Tools. Just like the app stores are bursting with apps, developers churning out apps there are the other few that are churning out tools. This is good in the sense that there are more options that would be available for the developers. The parts that are more interesting are that the models available for this are from the few
a. The Apple way - Take a 30% of whatever the developers make, more so like royalty payment. If there is a pie, have a finger in it.
b. The Annual Fee - Charge an annual fee that developers need to keep paying (also part of the Apple model)
c. A one time fee - The way that people should buy software. imagine if people were paying for the stuff in their houses like fans, refrigerators, televisions, computers, etc in either of the first two options. However this would have made sense in cases of software that cost thousands of dollars that instead of an upfront lumpsum, they could choose to pay a portion annually and even get replacements on the way.
d. OpenSource - which meant that you do not need to pay anything for the same, but if you wanted any help in using it, you might have to pay for services while using the software.

While all of these are how most software tools are sold these days, option b - the annual fee is one of the favourites. The only thing that is unfair in that model is when the tool makers do not release any features in the period that you have the subscription for, they could add any amount of irrelevant crap, what do you do with that? To start with, take the MSDN subscription, there is always generally one release every subscription year, and after your subscription expires, you have no access to that anymore, It was better with the CD/DVD version where you would get a box full of physical media that could be used at any time even after your subscription ended, with going on-line which should have made things easier, it is the other way, you cannot access anything anymore.
Be it a large software organisation or a small one, the story is the same. Take Ansca for instance, the features that have been added to CoronaSDK have been with the organisation in mind more than the developer. This has not only disgruntled the developers in general but if you read tweets from the people involved, you will read a confirmation somewhere on twitterverse that Ansca did not have the developers interest in their mind. Not as explicitly as that sentence but from people that mattered.

Venture Capitalists
4. Venture Capitalists - There was another article just recently that spoke about how the VC's have started to invest mainly in projects that offer fast returns than investing in projects of value. It went on to suggest how this could impact in the long term on the way how we live, currently the focus is all about apps and app related stuff. Who would refute the example of Instagram getting $1B, or OMGPOP getting the $200M for draw something. Another thing to note is that at the end of the day the VC's are also employees from large organisations that have started to invest in projects that appeal to them or ones that they feel will get them big bucks. As the only thing that stays the same is Change, the days of the VC's are nearly over, you have definitely seen the success of projects on Kickstarter, many have gotten 10000% of their asking (the Pebble e-watch) and this is in the tune of Millions. Kick Starter is definitely having the right business model. I am surprised that many others have not tried to emulate the success of KickStarter and have a similar website, or they are not as popular - yet. 5% of the collections is not bad at all. 5 on a 100, 50 on a 1,000, 500 on 10,000 and 5,000 on 100,000 and 50,000 on a million. With the top 10 collections
Pebble e-watch - 10,266,845 --> 513,342.25
Double Fine Adventure - 3,336,371 --> 166,818.55
Wasteland 2 - 2,933,252 --> 146,662.60
ShadowrunReturns - 1,836,447 --> 91,822.35
Elevation Dock - 1,464,706 --> 73,235.30
The order of the stick - 1,254,120 --> 62,706.00
Given that this was started in 2008, that is nearly 4 years of business, ironically funded by VC's Union Square Ventures. Kickstarter has never offered anything more than a platform for the projects that needed funding. Still they had a 40-50% success rate on the projects listed and an average of $27m in 12010, $99m in 2011 and $175m by April 2012, and 40% success of these are not bad for offering a platform where many others developers, artists, inventors, etc realise their dreams. The 5% for these three years with a 40% success rate amounts to about $6 million not bad at all given a return of $2 million per year.

Amanda Palmer, a musician (I believe orginally from Melbourne) has managed to gather close to a million dollars for her new album. There was one taker for pledging $10,000 to have dinner with her or for sitting an getting the person painted/rendered.
The point, It is interesting to note that people are happy to pay for something that is just a concept and not know if it will fructify (there have been a couple of cases on kickstarter that have been fraudulent, or failed to deliver or had unrealistic or unacceptable performance) but crib on paying for a $0.99 app on the app store.

So, I believe that soon crowd-funding might become the way to go and VC's might not be as lucky, so that might be what is called the market equilibrium, they will be forced to then look at the projects that really matter, because one of the things with crowd-funding is this is like pre-orders with special bonuses. People purchasing the product are fine and happy, but the ones that are investing do not need 10 copies of the software, they want returns. Where as the end user/consumer wants the app and would be happy to pay some extra for the freebies that are thrown in with the software.

WWDC and new Products
5. In the coming weeks Apple will be hosting WWDC and also releasing a couple of new hardware/software products (as they generally do) I am personally hoping for the new iPhone 5 as I already got the call from my Telco about being able to upgrade my handset. The iPhone4 that I currently use can be replaced as soon as the new iPhone hits the shelves (which will be like October :( here in Australia.) The retina MacBookPros are another thing I would look forward to given that running the iPhone3 simulator on the 27" iMac is also not an option unless I run it at 50% size. If they do bring in the retina MBP, then the iMacs might also get a new update which I might be more interested in than on the MBP.

Leadership at Apple - Comparison
6. Lastly there was another article that spoke about Tim Cook. I must say that I am not a Fanboy for Apple or Steve Jobs, but reading the comparison towards the end, the graphs that have been overlaid show the first few weeks of Steve Jobs as CEO and Tim Cook as CEO. It shows that Tim has done much better than Steve Jobs. Personally, it does not matter to me who is better, after all Apple has just been taking our money and making us upgrade hardware or software much faster.
But from an Analytical point of view, When Steve Jobs came back, Apple was not at the pinnacle but was a company that was at the brink of being shut down, where the famous Michael Dell's quote in 1997 was that "I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders" from there to taking the helm of a company that had billions of dollars in Cash reserves and revenues much more than the GDP of many countries.
So definitely Steve Jobs had a much tougher job as as to day in comparison to Tim Cook. The momentum seems to have slowed down a bit, but given the success stories of the app store, more and more people are buying iOS devices and Macs. The consumers are also finding that Apple products are not as expensive as they used to be at one time and hence they are moving faster than Window boxes. Given that a Mac can run both Windows and Linux either natively or in Virtual Mode, where as the Windows box (can run a Hackintosh) but not really run the Apple OS. So the Mac hardware does seem like a good option. The dependency on the Apple products just keep increasing. I recollect that I had to buy an upgrade for the iPod just to have Google Maps App on them (which did not work as they had some issue with the network connectivity or encryption). It is sad that people present figures and numbers in a misleading manner, specially when they start to play with percentages, as very seldom the sample size is conveyed. This reminds me of an old interesting case, there were a dozen daily workers (for those that did not quite get that, there are workers in many countries that assemble at pre-determined locations and are picked up on a daily basis for working on various proejcts, so the contractor bundles them in their vehicle and takes them to the site) So a dozen of them (10 males and 2 females were taken to a site to work, of this was a couple that had some unresolved issues that escalated at the work site and they stopped working, the supervisor was asked to write in a report. His report mentioned that work was disrupted with 50% of the female staff and 10% of the male staff had ceased work and were disruptive. His % are right, but the story it conveys is different from the reality. People enjoy distorting these facts for their own benefit. I still do not get the idea behind the Launch events it is counting at the rate of 96 events per second on the Ansca site. This is not even a real measure, which reminds me of my previous workplace as a Business Analyst, where some of my colleagues resorted to the MSU principle (Make Stuff Up) and that was used widely and spoken about too. My point is that if the data has to be made up, then why even bother with anything? There was a resume on Twitter of a person that was a recruiter for Flipboard, the funniest thing is that no one at Flipboard had heard of him, it was even more interesting when the picture on the resume turned out to be a stock image that has been used on several sites (thanks to tineye)

On the topic of profiles, suggests that Apple is now turning into a traditional company and there are increasing number of Profiles with MBA on them than before and most of these are less than 2 years with Apple. Having an MBA I can only say that there is a big difference between a fresh out of school MBA candidate and someone that comes back to it after a couple of years at work. That makes all the difference between an economic boom being positive and the same being negative like the GFC, "I want it all and I want it now" attitude has just made it a slightly worse place to live in. Apple is in the news because it is a large company and WWDC is approaching, but this is true for any company. If we look back into the Industries pre-computer era, with people that changed the face and economies of countries with humble beginnings. Even in terms of Records, fan following (given that there was no internet to promote the movies, albums, etc and no CD's or DVD's to watch the movie at home or listen to the music at home, Radios required a license almost similar to many subscription based services for music) So while their efforts might seem like nothing, given the context and scenario, those might have been much more, so the same goes for the article, Tim has just ridden the wave, where as Steve created his own wave.

Some Useful Software/tool realted tidbits
There are a couple of softwares that I came across that I believe can help other developers (maybe I will have a reviewme article on these) They are
a. Showbox -
b. DroidAtScreen.jar - Allows for Mirroring an Android app from the device to the screen
c. A new recording feature in CoronaComplete
d. A new version of GiderosStudio with a few new features
e. Gideros Forums with a lot more CoronaSDK users coming in and loving it.
f. Moai has a new release from the 1.0 version launched a couple of weeks ago.
g. Game Maker Studio has a release version

In Summary
Well, you have deciced to be a developer and this is what is in it for you, the companies that want your money, the customers that do not want to pay, the consumers that do not want to buy but would be happiest to leave a 1 star rating the moment you make your apps free. The extra professionals that want to hype up numbers and figures to make things seem much larger than life than they actually are. The lying and manipulation of developers that want to sell their products, maybe even add the bait of an iPad (that is the most commonly offered giveaway to attract some action from the community/users). The best part is that people that fail to get results get invited for much bigger and better things or end up being much better than taking the stress of being in that position. The case books are full of Ex-CEO's and Co-Founders that have ended up running somebody else's show than their own, which they butchered very badly. The name that start on the top is one that everyone knows, Leo Apotheker, one of the reason that one of largest and most stable company like HP has had to have lay offs. He ended up with over $13m when he was asked to leave and the company lost over $30B in the market capitalisation. He wanted to sell the most lucrative business to purchase a consulting business, it is interesting to note that his Wikipedia entry shows his occupation as unemployed ( However that might not be true for others, while they have not come out the better these *executives* that made blunders of epic proportions and cost the organisations some serious damages, end up with even more, they get invited as speakers and dish out advice on how to run businesses where as they failed in doing just that in the first place. Where does the fault lie, in them or the people that associate with them/hire their services?

What a wonderful world... ;)


  1. Hello!

    To be honest, I have been following your blog with attention for a while now, and I am really really interested in the story around Corona SDK and your point of view on the platform. Not just because I am developer, but because it seems an interesting story, a bit like those old cliffhanger series.

    I have a question though. In your opinion, doesn't Corona have at least a tiny bit of advantage over other platforms when it comes to compatibility with Android devices? I see a lot of Corona games on the Android marketplace with fairly good scores; other games, even big names like Plants vs Zombies, are plagued by lower scores due to compatibility problems with a lot of Android devices. Is it possible that from this point of view Corona SDK has still a bit of advantage? Curious about your opinion on this.

    Thanks for the awesome posts.

  2. Hi DirtyHarry,
    I did not quite get the reference to the Cliffhanger series, however to answer your question.

    1. Does Corona have at least a tiny bit of advantage over other platforms -> Yes, ease of use
    when it comes to Android -> not sure of that. OTher platforms do an eaully good job with Android compatibility, given that they also work for the older ARMv6 processors.

    2. A lot of Corona games on the Android marketplace -> You might have seen that there are still a lot of developers that work with Windows and develop for the Android platforms. So maybe that explains the large number of Android apps made with Corona. These apps not getting a bad review in comparison to other apps as a lot of corona developers have set up a group that is beating the system, if you are a corona developer you can be part of that, (call it unethical, that's up to you) but put your app on the list and every member will review 5 apps and leave a good review, such that Apple does not get suspicious, but the developers get a good rating. So that explains why CoronaSDK apps get a better rating.

    I must also add that a lot of developers that use Corona have put in a lot of good work and do deserve some good reviews. Plus when there are more positive reviews, even if it is your friends, family or even a whole group of other developers that leave a good review (if you leave them one). The reviews that are not so good can get drowned or masked. This is similar to App Farm Bots, but flying under the radar.

    So, the advantage that you can get immediately over CoronaSDK is
    -> Easy compilation, (though on-line)
    -> Hype up your reviews by assured +ve reviews if you join the group on Facebook of other CoronaSDK developers.

    You must have noticed that a co-founder has moved on from CoronaSDK and supports another SDK, so let that be a subtle hint to you. Another developer that has an app specifically for CoronaSDK has added support for other frameworks including javascript (despite claiming to be the biggest fanboy for Corona).

    So, to summarise your question, is CoronaSDK so bad? No it is not, it is in fact quite good and could have been better. However the sad state of affairs is that somewhere along the way the plot was lost by the Ansca management and they rubbed a lot of developers the wrong way. Specially the good ones when they released the CoronaBundle app on the app stores.
    The recent post from Walter could signal a change or a chance that it might bounce back, because if it fails to do so now, it will lose a lot of developers, even the ones that are left. A lot of existing developers are looking for alternatives, if they were happy, they would not have even wanted a peek.

    Hope you do get the answer to your question. Thanks for reading and following.

  3. Thanks to you for the great reply. I did not know about the Facebook/Twitter groups! Indeed, I read that the co-founder is supporting another SDK, mostly by reading your articles, and I saw many of his posts supporting the open-source Moai (even though he also mentions Cocos2d, once in a while). That is... interesting.

    And yes, I certainly agree that some developers that worked with Corona SDK made great games and worked very hard, I did not want to diminish their efforts with my previous comment, in any way.

    About cliffhangers, they were very old series of short silent movies that ended up with a situation that made you want to see the next episode - but I think many modern TV series do the same. So reading your articles is interesting also because you always bring an interesting view and angle on things, that makes me really curious to see how things will develop.


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