No Love in the App Store

One of the problems, the main problem. of Apple's App Store is hierarchy.

What? What does structure have to do with it. I am not talking about structure as in a folder hierarchy, but more to do with the pecking order. I have to explore this idea a little before I can tie it to the App Store.

I am an Indie developer. I don't do this for no other reason but that I love crafting software. I am in someways like that stereotypical computer geek. I dislike hierarchy. The hierarchy in the pecking order. I want to do things for the heck of it, because I love to do them, to explore, to learn. In some ways this is antiauthoritarian. It is the way of the creative.

Becoming part of the pecking order starts to define who you are. It becomes a status thing. It defines your position in the company. You start making decisions with regard to the hierarchy. You might not even realize this, but how many decisions are made because of your place in the company, of your place in the hierarchy. Think about it.

Now what does this do to your creativity in creating great software. How constrained are we to create software the way it should be? It is easier to create great software when the hierarchy is small than when it is large. The hierarchy limits creativity. It is in fact even antagonistic to it.

This is why some developers start going indie. They want to have the control, the freedom, to create software the way it should be created. To make the decisions for good or for bad. Not to be limited by hierarchy. In hierarchy, the love of crafting software is stifled. Crushed.

Hierarchy does have its place though. I am not going to mention the positives of it. I am more interested here in what it does to the creative process.

Now what does this have to do with the App Store? It is simple. The App store has a hierarchy and people make decisions based of this hierarchy.

People have been condescending to the hierarchy of the App Store. What app can I make that will get me in the top 100, the top 10. Yes, money can be made this way. Lots of it. But look at all the crap apps we have.

I hate it. I started making decisions based on it. I created some apps with the app market place in mind. I fell into the trap of the hierarchy. I condescended to the market place. The apps were, kind a, well OK. But I didn't like them. One remains half finished. The other is unreleased.

This is why I dislike the App Store. I don't want the decisions to come from the hierarchy, I want them to come from the freedom I have to make them myself. I get this sense from the Mac market, as each app is treated mostly on its merits as it is sold individually by each company (yes, there is a hierarchy here tool, but it is small). I don't get this sense from the App Store market.

I love developing for the Mac. The iPhone OS not as much, until I realized this. Now my focus has changed and I am loving the iPhone OS development also.

All this has to be kept in the context of a professional Indie developer. This is a lopsided view of the hierarchy and how it affects crafting software.

smiceli@smiceli.com