He sounds like he has Aspergers. They are renowned for being excellent at coding (or other very clever things) but lousy in interpersonal relationships and often want - no, *need* - absolute privacy to function at all or they can have meltdowns.
He had said that the attention messed up his "simple life":
"He still lives at home with his parents in Hanoi, but finds it difficult to walk down the street in his neighborhood without being pestered. He says he has virtually disconnected himself from the Internet and hasn’t checked his email in days. He is also on vacation from his day job writing firmware for sophisticated computer hardware and said he isn’t sure if or when he will return to work.
The fuss, Mr. Dong says, “is extremely uncomfortable” and he is waiting for his life to return to normal. He refused to be photographed or filmed for this article."
He actually didn't want his picture shared so people posting it are going against his wishes. He doesn't necessarily have anything wrong with him, some people just prefer privacy. Some of the people at Apple are like that and it's understandable. Imagine going to work every day as normal and suddenly strangers all over the internet start photoshopping pictures of you with captions or discussing stories about your personal life. You don't think about it when it's someone else on the receiving end of it because your only connection with them is the media.
Given his recent increase in income, that's another reason to maintain privacy, especially in lower income areas. That happens with lottery winners. Some of the ones that go public suddenly get inundated with letters, emails, phone calls for donations or investment and they'd feel guilty constantly for turning people down because they have more money than they need but choose not to give it to some people. Some lottery winners have even been killed for their money.
It's not as if he's giving up on $50k per day doing this, he'll still get a lot of money. His audience just can't grow any larger. By the time people uninstall the app, he'll have millions. The fact he chose to be a firmware engineer suggests he's not too bothered about interacting with people. That must be one of the least social jobs in the world. These are people who write code to control how hardware works directly - you never see the binaries or data. Think of how rare it is you get a firmware update from Apple. That's the only time you even think about the fact that for all the hardware to work, someone is writing firmware code to control it all and the OS guys are taking all the credit.
A lot of people in the developed world don't understand the notion of giving up sources of wealth. You notice that no matter how many times it's stated that he'll still make money, people still incredulously say 'why would he give up $50k per day?', there must be something wrong with him. Voluntarily giving up wealth strikes a nerve. It goes against what people in the developed world are trained to do - acquire wealth. It's not about producing or contributing, it's about taking and owning. Worship the self-made millionaires and billionaires and give them whatever they want because they've reached the goal state of acquiring huge amounts of wealth. Don't bother about the contribution that resulted in it, it's the result that matters.
This developer is 29 years old, he has likely spent a few years as an engineer. His contribution of 3 days of development on Flappy Birds has resulted in more wealth than he could make in all those years as an engineer, possibly even an entire lifetime. Which of his contributions is worth more? We keep doing this time and time again. We reward celebrities posting tweets of their ass on holiday more than firmware engineers that make sure the technology is there to allow them to send the tweet. It reminds me of the movie The Island:
The high point in the life of the clones is to be one of the few chosen to make it to the island. That's the dream that keeps them going: 'for everyone else, never lose hope, your time will come'. The clones it turns out are being grown for their organs for the benefit of their wealthy owners who need the organs. I think it's such a good analogy of the acquisition of wealth. People don't really stop to think about what's genuinely important, it's all about getting to the island and congratulating the few that make it. When someone makes it, the agenda is to replicate the circumstances - 'maybe I can latch onto the success and make an app called Crappy Flappy and I can take a similar reward'. It's not 'maybe I can spend my life as a firmware engineer'. The focus is always on the reward, not the contribution.
"Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful... that's what matters to me."
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle."
"I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this. I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong."
People don't put their values above their income because there's something wrong with them, it's because there's something right with them.
He sounds like he has Aspergers. They are renowned for being excellent at coding (or other very clever things) but lousy in interpersonal relationships and often want - no, *need* - absolute privacy to function at all or they can have meltdowns. While you and I might not see people playing our game as "interpersonal relationships" for someone with Aspergers they can feel like an overwhelming intrusion into your life. And then there's the media coverage...
I have sympathy for him. Some people don't seek and can't handle fame. Some people can.
Whatever the issue, that he made this game in three days is reason enough for someone to hire him. Edited by SpamSandwich - 2/12/14 at 8:43pm
The stark difference I've seen with mobile apps and desktop/console apps is that the former encourages driving quality down while the latter encourages quality to go up. If you made a terrible desktop app or console game, nobody would buy it.
It's for a few reasons. Desktop apps take more time to develop something that will keep the attention of a desktop user and don't currently have large audiences connected to single app stores and importantly the users aren't in the habit of installing apps casually, usually it's when there's a need for one.
There ought to be a way to keep terrible apps out of the charts but how do you do it? It's like when a nuisance poster signs up to the forum or there are articles about topics that annoy people and you say, just don't reply to them. People do it anyway and that reaction is interpreted as interest. It's what news has evolved into these days, it's all about engaging with an audience.
The App Store quarantine crew can't just decide what is junk or not. EA or Gameloft could easily put out a junk app as much as an indie developer. But what I've found useful on the likes of Steam is having the separation between indie developers and studios. Indie games for the most part are really terrible. There's the odd exception but it's rare and while it's bad to have the exceptions held down by the vast amount of poor efforts, the alternative we have now is far worse because all the good apps are held down.
The global chart is the root cause of it. The app stores are so hard to navigate now that people rely on the chart. Apple has always tried to be a yardstick of quality but this time, the stick got lost in among the flood of apps that kept coming and coming as everyone with $99 tried to cash in on the gold rush (a gold rush they openly promoted).
I strongly feel the App Store should be personal when it's this scale. Think of Amazon, they sell everything: dresses, underwear, groceries, computers, books and so on. Imagine visiting Amazon and there's a global chart showing that the top chart is dominated by dresses because that's what people are buying. But, if you don't wear dresses, what's the point in the recommendation? What it does is serve to advertise those items to you constantly.
What Amazon does instead is recommends things to you based on your interest because that's how they connect buyers with products they are actually going to buy and be happy with. They still have charts but they are mostly customized to your preferences. Instead of showing new apps based on how new they are, order that list based on Genius recommendations. Hide the global chart away somewhere in the back pages of the store so that if someone needs it they can refer to it but replace it with "recommended for you" on the front page. These would be popular apps, highly rated in similar genres and with similar themes to ones you've bought or looked at. They can even have a profile section like Netflix that you can fill in.
e.g Are you interested in kids games? NO! Are you interested in apps about women's problems? NO! Do you want to see apps with ratings 2/5 or below? NO!
The entire front page of the app store can be dedicated to personal recommendations e.g 'you recently bought ... and they've made a sequel', 'your wishlist has these items, here are some similar titles that are popular'. And a blacklist, can we please have a way to exclude apps we're not interested in. I am so tired of seeing the same apps over and over again and I never want to see them again. I don't need to see apps I already own either. They can use the blacklists to push down apps that are not interesting so that new potentially interesting ones that people haven't dismissed come forward.
They have to treat the App Store as though it's a crowd-sourced quarantine and give the crowd more control. Some measures can be abused but they just need to track users more closely. Accounts can have credit cards and dummy accounts surely can't be using cards so rank the activity of someone without a card as being of lower importance, even for free apps. This might stifle younger users but they can check to see if another user has used a credit card with the same IP and has a similar name or email. They can track similar app purchases from groups of people to find out if they are paid promoters but don't ban their accounts, just ignore their purchases in the rankings.